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Elon Musk offers discounted solar panels and batteries after a power failure in California

Tesla offers discounts on solar panels and batteries to people affected by wildfire, tweeted Tesla CEO Elon Musk today. More than 2 million people in California have been hit by power outages since October 25, while utility companies are trying to prevent their power lines from causing new flames. A fire just north of San Francisco has already consumed more than 66,000 hectares and is only 5 percent under control.

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Musk offered a $ 1,000 discount to customers affected by the disruptions. His generosity probably benefits more prosperous Californians who have to deal with the power loss, given the price of a home installation. On its website, Tesla mentions the average price of a sunroof as $ 33,950. Its own battery system, the Powerwall, costs around $ 14,100 for a 2,200 square foot home. The company unveiled solar glass roof tiles just three days ago.

Preventive power outages are becoming the new standard in California, as the state is experiencing more and more devastating natural fires and utilities are blamed for those responsible for disasters such as the 2018 campfire that has leveled almost the entire city of Paradise. The current disruptions are the second massive blackout that affects customers of Pacific Gas and Electric Company this month. Although the disruptions are intended to prevent catastrophe, they can cause a crisis for those who depend on medical devices.

The fragile, flammable nature of the electricity grid means that some residents turn to solar energy as a way to keep the lights on. Homes with solar panels are still connected to the energy grid, but with a battery system they can keep the power on when the grid fails. After about 2 million people lost power about two weeks ago, the sale of solar panels and batteries increased, CBS News reported. "It's like controlled chaos right now – it's an overwhelming reaction," Tim Hamor, co-owner of California-based solar installation program Alternative Energy Systems, told CBS.

Tesla also seems to see an increase in sales. "Apologies to those waiting for Solar / Powerwall outside of California, because we give priority to those affected by forest fires," Musk tweeted today. In a call to reporters on October 25, Musk said his company "saw some demand growth" as a result of the blackouts. “If you are just sitting in the dark and all your devices are running on batteries and your telephone connection is losing, this is a security risk. You can't even call 911. "