Tesla & Solar Power: What Will 2018 Bring to Light?
Hello folks! Ready for some predictions about the near future of renewable tech?
Tesla is moving at a mile a minute, and now that they’re into the solar energy game, there’s a lot to talk about
Tesla’s stock took a nosedive when they announced intentions to buy SolarCity last year, says Kristin Houser writing for Futurism. Experts were extremely critical, but as he does, Elon Musk went ahead with his plans and promptly turned Tesla into a world leader in solar technology. Because of course, he did.
Houser writes: “a massive Tesla solar farm is bringing power to an entire Hawaiian island, and government leaders are asking Musk to help solve their nations’ energy crises.”
I don’t expect innovation and development to die down, but I think there are going to be some roadblocks in the near future which will necessitate a focus on improving recent breakthroughs rather than flying ahead with new ones.
Those blocks are:
- Tesla’s direct-to-consumer strategy creating more political and industry backlash
- High profile security concerns, not to mention expensive for the end user
Direct to Consumer Spelled Trouble for Tesla Vehicles, and It May Again for Tesla Solar
Tesla’s direct-to-consumer sales model caused a good deal of pushback, not just from the auto dealership industry, but from state lawmakers. They encountered problems in several states where selling cars direct to consumer is not legal. In response to Tesla’s unconventional business model, other states began to consider similar limits in response to the concerns of dealerships.
We’ve already seen pushback against solar energy. Some states ban solar roof panels, and as many as 10 make it very difficult to obtain them. Much of this seems to be to do with the fact that allowing solar panels, especially on residential roofs, cuts out utility companies. They can smell the lost business, which could become even worse if people start hooking up their own batteries and disconnecting from the power grid entirely.
Tesla’s move into the solar energy business is likely to exacerbate the pushback from lobbyists with stakes in utility companies. Considering the pace at which Tesla makes their technological advancements affordable and functional, we might see a more aggressive anti-solar campaign.
There is likely to be a large amount of consumer interest as solar panels become more affordable. Owning a solar power system can do wonders for the value of a home, although leasing a solar system can make home sales much more complicated. A technology that was recently rather problematic may become much more attractive in the near future, just based on cost. But consumer attention may not sway political opinion.
With leading political figures putting a high amount of focus on coal, I expect that rapid advancement in solar technology will deepen anti-solar sentiment in some areas of the U.S.
Security and Expense Are a Consistent Hangup
Jumping back to vehicles, (though not completely dissociated from solar energy technology) I believe that security concerns are only going to become more public in the near future.
It’s all down to connectivity. When devices began to interact with each other, there was a buzz about exciting potential of user-friendly innovation. But security on many new devices was an afterthought. All a hacker or malicious software has to do is gain access to one poorly secured device, and then they have access to every device on a network. With cars in particular, an experiment demonstrated that a hacker could take remote control of some functions on a vehicle through a smartphone.
Unfortunately, security continues to lag behind, as recent high-profile breaches proved. Tesla’s new semi boasts a host of connectivity features but also renews security concerns. The same is going to be true for further developments in home technology. The smart device craze is heating up, but so are security concerns that come with always-on microphones and devices that access cameras and other functions of your household. Integrating power systems into a wider home smart network will add a whole new dimension to these questions about what, exactly, someone could do once they intrude on that network.
Despite these hang-ups, the future looks promising. It may take some time for legislation and security professions to catch up to Tesla, but things are headed in a very exciting direction.