Energy

Musk's Tesla among alternative power companies offering help, seeking business boost from blackouts

Key Points
  • Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk on Monday tweeted that anyone impacted by the California power cuts could receive a $1,000 discount on the company's solar and power storage products.
  • The company's battery is called Powerwall, and costs a minimum of $10,199 before the discount.
  • More than 2.4 million California residents lost power over the weekend as fires rage in California and PG&E tries to stop additional outbreaks.
  • Backup-generator maker Generac Holdings hit a new all-time high on Monday as demand in California surges, while residential solar panel company Sunrun tweeted about the merits of its battery storage system.

As power cuts in California become the norm, Tesla founder Elon Musk joined the ranks of alternative power producers looking to help others keep the lights on, but also lift their business.

On Monday Musk tweeted that anyone directly affected by the California wildfire power outages is eligible to receive a $1,000 discount on Tesla's solar panel and battery storage system.

One Powerwall device currently costs at a minimum $10,199. The battery itself costs $6,500, with supporting hardware costing $1,100. Installation costs adds another $2,500 to $4,500, and it currently costs $99 to reserve a device.

"We don't make much money on this product, so $1000 actually means a lot," Musk separately tweeted.

Further details on the discount could not be found on the Tesla website at this time.

"When the grid goes down, solar energy will continue to power your home and charge your Powerwall," the company's website says. "Powerwall can detect an outage, disconnect from the grid, and automatically restore power to your home in a fraction of a second. You will not even notice that the power went out. Your lights and appliances will continue to run without interruption."

How many Powerwalls a customer needs depends on the size of the house, power usage and whether or not the customer has solar panels. If the battery device is paired with solar panels, the company recommends more than one Powerwall for any house larger than 1,200 square feet.

Tesla Powerwall
Source: Tesla

Over the weekend California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency as wildfires rage in Sonoma County, powered by wind gusts over 100 mph.

Earlier this month PG&E announced that it would preemptively cut the power for more than 800,000 customers, or about 2.7 million people, in an effort to curb the outbreak of fire. Since then, the company has cut the power an additional three times.

Other providers

Musk is not the only one looking to hook customers as fire season rages on and embattled PG&E struggles to find an immediate solution for how to make its grid safer and more efficient.

After PG&E announced the first wave of power cuts, Solar company Sunrun tweeted about the benefits of using its battery storage system Brightbox, saying it allows users to "take back control."

Backup-generator maker Generac Holdings gained more than 3% on Monday, soaring to a new all-time high as demand for the company's products surges. The stock is up roughly 20% this month, and 89% for the year.

On Friday Generac CEO Aaron Jagdfeld told CNBC that the surge in demand caught the company "totally off guard."

"We didn't see the largest utility in the US coming out and saying 'look our only solution is to turn the power off,'" he said.

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PG&E blackouts in California spurs surge in demand for generators