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Elon Musk offers discounted solar panels and batteries after blackout in California



Tesla is offering discounts on solar panels and batteries to people affected by fire outages, tweeted CEO Eles Musk of Tesla today. More than 2 million people across California have been hit by power outages since Oct. 25 as utility companies try to prevent their power lines from setting off new fires. A fire just north of San Francisco has already consumed more than 66,000 acres and is only 5 percent under control.

Musk offered $ 1000 off to customers affected by the power outage. His generosity is likely to benefit more wealthy Californians who cope with the power loss, given the cost of a home installation. On its website, Tesla shows the average price of a sunroof as $ 33,950. The home battery system, Powerwall, costs about $ 14,100 for a 2,200 square foot home. The company unveiled Solar Glass Roof Tiles just three days ago.

Preventive power outages become the new norm in California as the state faces increasingly devastating fire seasons and relief companies are blamed for being the culprits behind disasters like Camp Fire 2018 that nearly leveled the entire city Paradise. The current outages are the second massive blackout affecting Pacific Gas and Electric Company customers this month. Although the power outages are intended to avoid disaster, they can cause crisis for those who rely on medical devices.

The fragile, flammable nature of the power grid means that some residents turn to solar energy as a way to keep the lights on. Houses with solar panels are still connected to the power grid, but with a battery system they can keep the power on if the grid fails. After about two million people lost power about two weeks ago, the solar panel and battery sales jumped, reports CBS News. "It's like controlled chaos right now – it's an overwhelming response," Tim Hamor, co-owner of California-based solar energy installer Alternative Energy Systems, told CBS.

Tesla seems to be seeing an uptick in sales. "Apologies to those waiting for Solar / Powerwall outside of California as we prioritize those affected by wildfires," Musk tweeted today. In an Oct. 25 interview with reporters, Musk said his company "saw some growth in demand" as a result of the blackouts. "When you just sit there in the dark and all your devices are battery powered and you lose the phone connection, it's like a security risk. You can't even call 911."


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