Tesla Applies To Become UK Electricity Provider

The Tesla Model X. Image credit: Tesla

Company files with regulator to supply UK premises with electricity, following ventures into batteries for home and industrial power storage

Tesla has applied for a licence to generate and supply electricity in the UK, documents show.

The company is best known for its electric cars, but also manufactures batteries for power storage and solar-power devices.

Tesla Motors applied for the licence to the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority in documents filed on Tuesday.

Evan Rice, Tesla’s energy products sales director, signed the papers.

Tesla’s Powerwall home power storage battery. Image credit: Tesla

Power generation

The firm applied for a licence to generate electricity to supply “any premises” in the UK.

Tesla makes a home version of its battery, called Powerwall, that costs thousands of pounds and requires the installation of solar panels.

The company also supplies electricity on an industrial scale, as in South Australia where it built one of the world’s largest lithium-ion batteries for renewable energy company Neoen.

Tesla constructed the battery at the Hornsdale Power Reserve in 2017 to assist in grid stability after storms the previous year caused severe blackouts.

The facility uses Tesla’s Autobidder software to sell electricity to the state’s power grid.

The company didn’t say whether it planned to construct similar facilities in the UK.

Share volatility

Tesla’s shares have surged 68 percent this year, spurring Tesla chief executive Elon Musk on Friday to remark on Twitter that the company’s “stock price is too high”.

Investors promptly drove the shares about 10 percent lower, wiping $14 billion (£11bn) off the company’s market value, although it recovered most of those losses on Monday.

In the same series of tweets Musk criticised California’s coronavirus lockdown, which has forced the indefinite closure of a Tesla factory, and said he planned to sell “almost all” of his physical possessions and would “own no house”.

Over the weekend Musk did indeed put two of his Bel Air homes on the market for a combined $39.5m, according to property listings service Zillow.

However, Musk owns a further three houses in Bel Air, with all five overlooking the Bel-Air Country Club.