Tesla, the Silicon Valley-based company best known its pioneering plug-in electric cars recently unveiled home and industrial battery packs that can provide backup power or help businesses and government agencies avoid high-priced electricity.  With power rates for San Diego country school districts skyrocketing upward, Tesla Motors Inc. has inked a deal to build stationary battery storage systems for three Escondido high schools.  Officials hope the project will help save hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in electricity costs.  Tesla has begun building the world’s largest battery factory in Nevada to realize its energy-storage hopes.  This is a positive development for the Escondido Union High School District, which is believed to be one of the first to partner with Tesla in this program.

The three Escondido schools, Escondido High School, Orange Glen High School and San Pasqual High School, would receive anywhere from 400 to 600 kilowatt hour battery storage systems, which could collectivelly cut the school district’s rising utility costs by as much as $300,000 annually after they become operational at the end of the year.  The Escondido Tesla project comes as school officials have been working for months on a plan to battle electricity increases that hit school districts hard last fall, with some SDG&E bills shooting up as much as 40 percent.  Thirty-eight local school districts ranging from San Marcos, Carlsbad, and Grossmont Union are now fighting a new application by SDG&E that could send rates even higher.  Hopefully Tesla’s Escondido project will expand to other San Diego area schools so that more money can stay in the classroom rather than going towards spiking electricity costs.