Tesla-SolarCity | Vol. 4 / No. 4.3

I’m travelling today, because this Thursday is American Thanksgiving, the day of the year that we pretend the place was offered to white people and not stolen, and say “thanks, guys!” to the people we took it from. So instead of a full post, here’s a quick note about Elon Musk’s latest venture.

Tesla has finished its acquisition of SolarCity, the solar company that Musk is on the board of directors for, and which now is owned by Tesla and its shareholders. The vote among Tesla shareholders ended last week with 85% in favour of the merger. It’s a bit of a risky move, but all in all it makes sense: Tesla now makes solar roofing tiles, home electricity storage, electric vehicles, and “gigafactories” for making batteries. There’s literally no good reason for the company not to own a solar power company.

The irony of it all is that Nikola Tesla, the company’s namesake, is perhaps best known for the invention of alternating current (AC) power, the creation of which allowed for large, interconnected grids and long-distance power transmission. Meanwhile Tesla the company is an all-in-one electricity localization company, mass producing the ability to generate and store power without large grids. But that aside, I think Tesla himself would have been surprised, perhaps even pleased, to see his name become a household one.

After all, nobody’s buying anything labeled Edison anymore.

And now, before I go, I’m going to leave you with this: a lovely little promotion video about how Tesla-SolarCity has hooked up Tā’u Island in American Samoa to be electrically self-sustaining for its 600 residents: 5328 panels and 60 Powerpacks mean that on 7 hours charge it can produce and store enough electricity for three days. Sure beats the 109,500 gallons of fuel oil they were burning every year.

We’re taking tomorrow off for a day of trying not to call anyone a fascist at the dinner table Thanksgiving, but we’ll resume with our regularly-scheduled #FeministFriday a day late on Saturday, November 25th.


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Richard Ford Burley is a human, writer, and doctoral candidate at Boston College, as well as an editor at Ledger, the first academic journal devoted to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. In his spare time he writes about science, skepticism, feminism, and futurism here at This Week In Tomorrow.