Back in 2015, automaker Tesla Motors set their sights on the home energy storage market and announced the launch of the Tesla Powerwall, their home battery product.
Tesla Motors has been lauded in the past for delivering high-quality electric cars and for their ability to re-imagine and effectively rebrand existing technology. And, though Tesla's automobiles revitalised the demand for electric vehicles in the 21st century, more than a hundred years ago the first electric cars were invented.
Tesla's residential-use battery rebranding is consistent with their tradition of reimagining existing products. Tesla's battery could be the first time in history that ordinary homeowners are genuinely excited about the energy-saving potential at home. Combined with the groundbreaking Tesla Solar Roof, the Powerwall is both potential cornerstones of Elon Musk 's dream for the future of renewable energy.
The Tesla Powerwall pairs well with solar panel systems , particularly if net metering has been decreased or eliminated by your utility, time-of-use rates imposed or demand fees implemented. Installing a storage device such as the Tesla Powerwall with a solar energy network helps you to maintain a continuous day or night power supply, as long as you store enough power from your panels while the sun shines.
The Tesla Powerwall, like many other home battery devices, is designed for everyday use at home and is also paired with a solar panel device. If your solar panels generate more energy than you can use at home, instead of putting it back into the grid, you can store the excess power in the tank. Eventually, when your panels don't generate enough energy to meet the needs of your home, instead of purchasing power from your utility provider, you can use the energy stored in your battery.
Tesla defines the Powerwall as a "rechargeable liquid thermal-controlled lithium ion battery." It is one of a few companies on the residential energy storage market that allows small-scale batteries for home energy storage. First-generation Powerwall debuted in April 2015, and in October 2016 an upgraded Powerwall 2.0 was announced.
There are various significant metrics and technical requirements to bear in mind when testing the Powerwall. Among the most critical are the battery size (power and capacity), its chemistry, discharge depth, and the efficiency of roundtrips.
The Tesla Powerwall comes in a mere 14 kilowatt-hour (kWh) capacity. A power and available space are two critical metrics to bear in mind when comparing the Powerwall with other home storage solutions. Power (measured in kilowatts or kW) defines the maximum quantity of electricity that can be produced at a single time, while available power (measured in kilowatt-hours or kWh) is a measure of the maximum quantity of electricity stored at full charge in your battery. The Tesla Powerwall has a max. power output of 5.0 kW to go along with a usable capacity of 13.5 kWh.
It's also critical that the Powerwall system is modular, so you can add multiple battery products to your storage setup. For example, for a home with high energy demands you may want to instal multiple Powerwall batteries. The Tesla website shows you can connect up to 10 Powerwall batteries to create one big storage device together.
Think of your battery as flowing water through a pipe. The amount of water required to pass through the pipe is the usable energy capacity, while the pressure is the size of the pipe itself. Larger pipes at once allow more water to flow in, which will deplete the water more quickly. Likewise, a high-powered battery will provide more electricity at once, but it will also burn faster through its limited energy capacity.
The strength of a battery determines what devices you can run with it at the same time, while the available capacity determines how long those devices can operate. Batteries with a higher power rating will power more powerful appliances or more appliances at once, whereas batteries with a higher usable capacity will hold more total energy and thus can operate the appliances for longer periods of time without needing to recharge.
The functionality of one solar battery next to another can vary; some batteries have excellent off-grid capabilities while others provide arbitrage-specific software solutions. Here are the main Tesla Powerwall qualities:
Tesla has made a concerted effort to ensure its battery solution is compatible with most popular off-grid and hybrid inverter brands and models. This ensures that your Tesla Powerwall battery will be able to provide backup power to your home as long as the appropriate components are installed by your manufacturer when the grid runs down.
Tesla Powerwall is a lithium-ion storage product; it is actually a lithium-nickel cobalt oxide manganese (NMC) battery. This is one of the most popular lithium-ion battery technologies, and with good reason: in comparison with other battery types, LFP batteries are known with their high energy density (the amount of energy they can carry compared to the physical space they take up) and improved protection. To learn more about how different lithium-ion battery chemistries match up against each other, check out our summary of variations in battery chemistry.
Two main ways of evaluating a solar battery 's output are its discharge depth and roundtrip capacity.
Depth of discharge (DoD) indicates the percentage of the energy emitted from a battery compared to the battery's total power. Since a battery's useful life decreases every time you charge, discharge, and re-charge your battery – or cycle – many battery manufacturers recommend a maximum DoD level for optimum battery efficiency. In general, batteries that have a higher discharge depth are considered to be products of better quality. The Tesla Powerwall has a 100 per cent discharge depth demonstrating its remarkably healthy and advanced NMC battery chemistry.
The efficiency of round trips is a calculation of the electrical losses involved in charging and discharging a battery. The higher the percentage of output, the more effectively the battery can transform incoming electricity into stored electricity, and then return it to usable electricity. The Tesla Powerwall has a high roundtrip capacity of 90%; which means you'll get 9 kWh of output for every 10 kilowatt-hours ( kWh) of energy you put into the tank.
Warranty: 10 Years
End of guarantee power guaranteed: 70 per cent
Homes with a Tesla battery can in most cases charge and discharge their battery daily. The Powerwall comes with a warranty of 10 years. Tesla promises that during that time span, the battery can retain at least 70 percent of its ability to carry a charge.
Tesla's battery technology is similar to other large and small rechargeable batteries: with the passage of time, the battery loses some of its capacity to carry a charge. Think about how a brand-new smartphone's battery life compares to a few years old one. When you constantly charge and drain the battery from your cell, it starts losing some of its capacity to hold a charge.
Your Powerwall battery life will likewise deteriorate. That's not an indication of a product defect – all batteries lose some of their capacity to carry a charge over time, whether it's a battery for an electric car, a battery for home energy, or an AA rechargeable. This is why Tesla provides a warranty that in the future will guarantee a certain amount of storage space for 10 years.
Warranty, efficiency, and power are three of the most important metrics to consider when evaluating the options for home batteries. If you're interested to know more about the best way to make your own battery comparisons, check out our video demonstrating how to compare the storage options for your home energy:
If you want to compare single battery models side by side, our Battery Buyer's Guide allows you to pick and compare products based on performance, energy, strength, and more.
Tesla rates the Powerwall alone at a cost of $6,500 and places the cost of supporting equipment at $1,100, taking the price of both the Powerwall and its components to $7,600 before installation. You may expect the Tesla Powerwall to cost between $9,600 and $15,600 for a full device build, as a rough estimate. The number includes the battery, an inverter, various other cost of equipment and approximate cost of construction. The cost of building a battery is not as easy as looking up an individual component's list price – i.e., your battery. In reality, the installation costs will vary widely depending on your electrical setup, among other factors.
Battery costs are just one aspect of the equation if you want to instal the Powerwall as aspect of a solar-plus-storage network. A 5 kilowatt (kW) solar energy system costs between $9,000 and $15,000 anywhere depending on where you live and what sort of equipment you want.
Which may sound like a lot of money but it can be a worthwhile investment to instal a solar-plus-storage device. Whether or not the Tesla Powerwall makes sense to you will be dictated by how your electrical utility structures its prices, as well as your reasons for building a solar battery.
For certain situations, depending on where you live, you may have access to financial benefits which may reduce the cost of building your home energy storage. Give LocalPro Electrical a call for specialist advice on how much it will cost to install a Teslat Powerwall in your home or business on 1800 747 547.