As Tesla and others jump on batteries, market could stall its growth 

Source: By Smith/Sweet, Wall Street Journal • Posted: Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Billionaire entrepreneur and CEO Elon Musk of Tesla Motors Inc. envisions a world charged by solar and shaped by super batteries to store the excess energy.

Whether people are willing to shell out lots of cash to turn homes into tiny, solar-powered entities boosted by battery storage is the big lingering question.

Analysts said the market for electricity storage is still very small, and most buyers tap into lucrative state and federal subsidies aimed at slashing air pollution to offset the installation costs. Installation costs for battery-solar combos can hover around the tens of thousands of dollars for homeowners and hundreds of thousands of dollars for the industrial-sized batteries.

Even Musk acknowledges the battery doesn’t make much economic sense currently for individual homeowners, especially as grid power is still cheaper than solar-battery combinations. However, rising electrical rates could change that future.

If the costs fall enough, the residential market could become a hot one, said Haresh Kamath of the Electric Power Research Institute in Palo Alto, Calif.

“It won’t be the first time a product has gone from being a novelty to an essential item in the home.”