Electric car maker Tesla Motors is teaming up with the solar panel leasing company SolarCity to make what might be the first complete, packaged electrical system for an off-the-grid solar home.
Right now, homes equipped with solar panels are almost always tied into the local electricity grid. When the power goes out, the panels go too. Allowing panels to back-feed onto the grid risks the safety of a linesman making repairs. Using the panels during an outage—or just saving their daytime juice for use at night—requires storing the electricity the solar panels collect. These days, the rare homeowners willing to invest in battery backup usually accomplish it with a gang of lead acid car batteries.