We here at enrg.io love everything Tesla as we’ve stated before. While we can’t all be lucky enough to own one, I think it’s fair to say that anyone with any interest in all-electric vehicles (EVs) can appreciate the excellent work Elon Musk and his company have done. Tesla has advanced EV technology significantly and I dare say made owning one “cool.” Let’s face it, as great as my Leaf is, it doesn’t scream style and sophistication like the Model S does. In addition to vehicles, Tesla is also in the battery storage game. Development of Tesla Powerwall began in 2012 and was officially launched in 2015. Even though this project hasn’t received as much fanfare as the various Tesla automobiles, it is certainly no less important.
What Is It?
Tesla Powerwall is quite simply, a battery. A large, large battery. Powerwall is designed for residential use in homes that are already connected to an electrical grid. The battery uses advanced technology to package and cool the cells in the battery packs with liquid coolant. All lithium-ion batteries used in the Powerwall system are manufactured in conjunction with Panasonic to ensure high quality. As of the date of this writing, Tesla has maintained its promise to avoid filing patent infringement lawsuits against anyone using Powerwall in good faith. When combined with solar panels or other sustainable methods of energy generation, it can be used to maximize electricity production and use.
Powerwall is engineered to be used from day to day in a residence. When paired with a solar panel system, excess energy can be stored instead of being sent back to the utility company. When inclement weather prohibits solar panels from producing enough electricity, customers can use the electricity stored in the Powerwall as opposed to having to buy it from the electric company. For customers who need exceptionally large amounts of energy, multiple Powerwall units can connect to each other for expanded capacity. Users can monitor energy usage through the Tesla app much like they do with their vehicles.
When the Grid Goes Down
Tesla claims that Powerwall has the capability to detect outages and automatically disconnect from the grid. The system will then restore power to your home almost instantaneously and your lights and appliances will run without interruption. If you have a Powerwall and solar panel combination installed, solar energy will continue to charge the battery. If you don’t, your solar panels will shut down electricity production during a power outage. Conceivably, having Powerwall and a solar panel installed could keep the lights on during a prolonged power outage. This would be contingent upon the weather being perpetually sunny however.
Going “off-grid” is a noble if not lofty goal. Unfortunately, Powerwall is not designed to remove the customer from the electrical grid completely. As great as Tesla Powerwall is, it will only provide backup power to an average sized home for a few hours. Powerwall will not be sufficient to power your home if you have an entire day let alone weeks or months of cloudy or otherwise inclement weather.
What it Costs
Second generation Powerwall units are priced around $10,000. Homeowners who install a Powerwall system can be credited up to 30% of the unit’s cost under the federal solar tax credit, providing a significant reduction in price. This price includes installation and will provide roughly 13.5 kWh of usable energy storage. Given the astronomically high costs associated with solar energy storage, this is actually pretty decent. The battery comes with a 10-year unlimited warranty. This warranty assumes your Powerwall will be charged and drained daily. The warranty also guarantees that your battery system will maintain at least 70% of its capacity during this time frame.
How Do I Get One?
Convinced that the Powerwall is worth it for your home and ready to make a buy? Slow down there turbo. Tesla Powerwall is by far the most requested household electrical storage system in the U.S. That being said, supply has not kept up with demand. As first reported by electrek.com, this survey of solar installers conducted by energysage.com revealed the following:
“According to installers, more than one in three solar shoppers are also interested in a home battery, resulting in more solarplus-storage installations in 2018. However, responses also illustrate a gap between consumer brand preference and what installers stock. While over 55% of installers reported that their customers specifically request Tesla battery solutions, only 12% of solar installers surveyed actually carry and quote the Tesla Powerwall.”
Quite simply put: consumers want the Powerwall but can’t get it! This may be partially due to Tesla’s decision to divert battery production efforts to the wildly successful Model 3. For those lucky enough to live in a market offering Powerwall installation, there is currently a 6 to 9 month backlog from the time of deposit to the time of installation.
Let’s Hear it from the Boss
In a call with reporters after last quarter’s earnings were revealed, Tesla CEO Elon Musk was quoted as saying:
“We would have done more in stationary storage last year except we were so strung for vehicle production. We had to convert a bunch of stationary storage lines, battery lines, to vehicle battery lines. Otherwise, we would have done quite a bit more in stationary storage.”
Still, these issues may be temporary. In early 2019 Tesla announced that Powerwall units had been installed in over 50,000 locations worldwide. Earlier this week, Tesla announced that it will begin offering Powerwall units in Japan in an effort to break into the power storage market there. It is clear that Tesla management believes in the potential of Powerwall.
Should I Get a Tesla Powerwall?
The answer to this question, like it is for so many others is: it depends. If you are considering “on-grid” solar technology, you may want to have a system installed that will increase reliability. If you are concerned about climate change and want to see energy storage technology flourish, what better way to do so than by investing in it? Maybe you have more money than you know what to do with and you think the technology is cool, so why not?
One thing is for certain: the current iteration of the Tesla Powerwall is just the beginning. The technology will continue to improve and prices will continue to decrease. I for one couldn’t be more excited about what the future holds.
What do our readers think about Powerwall and other brands of home energy storage? Would you consider having a unit installed along with solar panels? What does the future hold for this type of technology? Please leave us a comment below and let us know.
Source | Images: Tesla