The Money Shot: solar, so good

A house running off a large battery
Home is where the charge is
"Where are you going to put a pachyderm-sized battery pack in a modern two-bed semi?"
  • | by Derri Dunn

This week we learnt that e-supercar manufacturer Tesla has turned its attention to making our homes run off battery power.

Aside from the obvious elephant in the room – which is where are you going to put a pachyderm-sized battery pack in a modern two-bed semi? – it seems like a stunningly simple yet effective solution to spiralling energy bills.

When Tesla proffered its electric sports car in 2006, the Money Shot remembers quite distinctly pondering what on earth all those other e-car companies had been playing around at for years.

Here, at last, was an electric vehicle that didn't look like a fully-faired shopping trolley, that had better crash protection than a paper lantern, that could competently outrun a moped but – crucially – that could travel well in excess of 100 miles on a single charge.

In fact, probably the only reason we're not all gunning around in Tesla Model S and Roadsters now is the 60-grand starting prices and distinct lack of second-hand bargains.

But Tesla this week once again made us wonder what the rest of the industry has been faffing around with for the last decade, except this time the industry in question was the energy sector.

It presented the breathtakingly simple concept that solar panels would be a lot more useful if we chucked some of the juice they generated into a battery to have handy for when we actually need it – namely when it's cold and dark out.

With a start-up cost of $3,000 for the home battery, the upshot is that instead of funnelling your surplus sun-juice back into the grid with a feed-in tariff, you get to gleefully hoard it and eke it out yourself.

So, are we confronting an off-grid future of shunning the establishment completely? Probably not if, like the Money Shot, you're based in Newport where the weather's been relentlessly Welsh for the last fortnight. After all, no one wants to run out of spark with nowhere to plug in.

An obligatory bit about the election

There was a general election last night.

As you may have heard, there were quite a lot of surprising results, not least Labour getting wiped out almost entirely in Scotland, the Liberal Democrats being wiped almost entirely full-stop, the Scottish Nationalist Party making whopping gains north of the border and the Conservatives doing far better than most pollsters predicted.

“But what are the immediate personal finance implications of all of this?” we hear you a-hollerin’.

Well, this is what we know.

First of all, the pound and stock market ‘surged’ with the uncertainty of what was going to happen next dispelled.

With a majority – as they’re expected to get – the Conservatives will be able to bring in some of their financial proposals. These include a new £175,000 per person transferable allowance for married couples and civil partners when their main residence is passed down to children on death, an extension of the Right to Buy, putting a cap on benefits at £23,000 and freezing commuter rail fares for five years.

The Money Shot will be observing with interest, and a quizzical arched eyebrow.

On Covered mag this week

Dan Moore peered through the keyholes of some former political leaders.

Kristian Dando popped off to Portmeirion in a Citroen Cactus.

We let our imaginations run wild and mused upon a trio of situations which could make you wish you bought your travel insurance sooner.

News in brief

The AA spooked us with the news that a 'ghost tax' of double-charging on VED in the wake of axing tax discs could cost the nation's motorists £38m.

HSBC chief Stuart Gulliver banged on about all that's bad about being based in Britain.

Takeaway service Just Eat reported a 47% increase in like-for-like orders during the first quarter of 2015 – surely the clearest indicator yet that we've swum clear of the choppy waters of recession.

Join us next Friday for another scintillating instalment of the Money Shot. Until then, email us your letters