Energy Storage Solutions For Your Home
Solar Backup systems (also known as Energy Storage Systems) combine solar PV and a home battery to continue providing power independent of the utility grid or time of day.
While most solar systems are required to turn off during a utility grid outage for safety concerns, solar backup systems continue generating power and storing energy in a battery for 24/7 use, providing you peace-of-mind and protecting your home from potential outages.
Solar Alternatives specialists know how important it is to have access to power, no matter the state of the grid system.
If you want to learn more about the Tesla Powerwall and other energy storage options, give Solar Alternatives a call today at (504)-294-3650
How Do Home Battery Systems Work?
Home battery systems, such as the Tesla Powerwall, raise the value of a solar system by increasing the self-consumption of solar energy and decreasing the need to tap into the grid.
Excess solar energy collected in the daytime is absorbed by the battery and used in the home at night, increasing the system’s overall cost efficiency and energy availability.
Why You Should Invest In A Home Battery
With the cost of storage systems such as the Tesla Powerwall and Generac PWRCell at an all-time low, a solar storage system is a Smart investment that will continue to fuel your energy needs when the rest of the grid is dark.
Remember to ask about solar backup when consulting with the Solar Alternatives team about your solar installation service.
Where to Install Solar Batteries in Home
Solar batteries are often installed indoors in a utility room, basement, or garage.
They are sometimes installed outdoors with a weatherproof covering. A battery needs to be in an area with ventilation and away from direct sunlight.
Some batteries are designed to be wall-mounted for safety and temperature regulation.
What Is A Powerwall?
A power wall is a durable, large-scale home battery that stores sustainable power from your solar panels for on-demand use.
Solar Alternatives, Inc. recommends the inclusion of a Powerwall in your sustainable power system because of its revolutionary, seamless technology and capability to adapt to your lifestyle over time.
Tesla’s Powerwall can be monitored and controlled via your smartphone through its app utilizing a completely automated system.
The liquid thermal controls and touch-safe technology make this home battery a safe and highly efficient option and the integrated battery inverter makes this the most cost-efficient option as a home battery when comparing cost per kWh.
Integrating A Powerwall Or Home Battery
Solar Alternatives can provide additional information regarding the different energy storage options that are available in your area. We understand the investment it takes to convert to clean energy and know that you will be more than satisfied with the results.
We’re ready to help you find the solution that is right for you and your home.
Contact our solar consultants today at (504)-294-3650 to discuss how a Powerwall can add value to your solar system.
We’ll begin with the “how much” question. To get to the answer, you really only need two pieces of information: how much power your home needs and how much power the Tesla Powerwall can provide. Then, you can compare the two to figure out how many of your appliances the Powerwall can run. Power on batteries like these is measured in kilowatts (kW) or amps (A). Amps are a measure of current, while kilowatts are a measure of power. Here is the simple equation to convert amps into kilowatts (to calculate watts, just skip dividing by 1,000):
Kilowatts = (amps x voltage) / 1,000
You can use this equation to calculate the amount of power you’ll need to supply each appliance, and then compare the total with the power output of the Tesla Powerwall.
How much power do you need?
To determine the amount of power you need, you’ll need to know which appliances you plan to back up. In order to figure this out, either you or your installer will need to calculate the power usage of the different appliances in your home.
To get started, we highly recommend taking a quick look at our article on understanding electrical load, in which we walk you through how to calculate the electrical load for your various appliances. By finding the wattage of each individual appliance, you can estimate the collective power requirement for your entire home.
How much power can the Powerwall provide?
Once you’ve figured out how much power your home uses, you can then compare this number to the power rating of the Powerwall. For batteries like the Powerwall, you’ll need to look at two ratings: instantaneous power and continuous power.
Instantaneous power is the power it takes to start an appliance: for example, the power required to start up your car engine. You’ll need a lot of power initially to get your machine started, but after the initial start, the power draw will drop considerably. For your appliances, you’ll want to check if they have a surge requirement, as this metric will then come into play.
Instantaneous Power Rating of Tesla Powerwall = 7 kW
Continuous power is the power your battery can provide over a long period of time: for example, the power needed to keep your car running after it has been started. This will tell you how many appliances you can continue to run over a long period of time, say an hour or more.
Continuous Power of Tesla Powerwall = 5 kW
This continuous power rating is fairly standard for batteries of this kind, which typically range from 5-8 kW.
How long will the Tesla Powerwall provide power?
For the “how long” question, it once again comes down to two factors: usable storage capacity and the duration of time you’re using each appliance. Whether or not you have a solar panel system alongside your battery is also a very important consideration.
Usable storage capacity
The usable storage capacity is a measurement of how much electricity a battery stores. Usable storage capacity is listed in kilowatt-hours (kWh) since it represents using a certain amount of electricity (kW) over a certain amount of time (hours).
Tesla Powerwall usable storage capacity = 13.5 kWh
Functionally, this means you can use either 13.5 kW for 1 hour, 1 kW for 13.5 hours, or something in between.
Duration of time you’re using each appliance
Next, you’ll want to figure out which appliances you plan to use, and for how long. These calculations depend on the power consumption of your particular appliances; below are some common examples. With the Tesla Powerwall, you can power a:
- 3,500 W air source heat pump for just under 4 hours;
- 300 W TV for 45 hours;
- 200 W refrigerator for 67.5 hours;
- Five 20 W light bulbs for 135 hours;
- 25 W phone charger for 540 hours;
- Or a 6 W Wi-Fi router for 2,250 hours.
It’s a good idea to figure out the power draw of the essential electronics you’d need in a blackout, such as your Wi-Fi, computers, and refrigerator, and then calculate how long the Powerwall will last for you.
Are you pairing your Powerwall with solar?
Whether or not your battery is paired with solar is another important consideration. If you only have a standalone Powerwall, in the event of a blackout this battery will be your only source of energy. You won’t be able to recharge it until grid power resumes. However, if you have a solar system as well, you’ll be able to recharge the Powerwall almost indefinitely, with the battery storing the energy produced from your panels.
Ultimately, how much of your home the Powerwall can support–and the duration of time it can do so–depends on your specific combination of appliances. Like any other battery, the Powerwall has a limited storage capacity (unless you’re pairing it with solar!), which means there will be tradeoffs involved when using its power.
If you’re using only the essentials, like your Wi-Fi, phone, refrigerator, and some lights, you can expect the Powerwall to hold you over for around 24 hours during a blackout. Alternatively, if you’re adding in other electronics, like your TV or air conditioning system, this will cause the charge to last a fraction of this time. While your particular power needs may vary, around 24 hours for the essentials is generally a good rule of thumb.
If at any point you’re concerned about the charge of your Powerwall, don’t worry! You can monitor the energy level in your Powerwall using the Tesla app, which also allows you to customize the energy use of your Powerwall for specific circumstances, such as maximizing protection during a power outage.
Pros and Cons of Tesla Powerwall
The tabs below cover Tesla Powerwall’s high-level pros and cons. Keep these points in mind as you read the rest of the review.
Features a round-trip efficiency of 90%
Larger capacity than many competitor options
Multiple energy consumption modes
Stacks up to 10 batteries
Multiple batteries necessary for off-grid living
What We Like About Tesla Powerwall
The Tesla Powerwall battery excels in multiple respects, as we’ll explore below.
It offers superior battery capacity — among the largest on the market. While a single Powerwall won’t be enough to fully power an entire home, it does a great job of storing large amounts of power to keep vital systems running in your home when the power goes out.
These batteries work well in multiples, so if you need more home energy storage than a single unit can provide, invest in several. Depending on your home energy needs, you can use up to 10 batteries for a whopping 135 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy (battery storage) capacity — further reducing your electricity bill.
Powerwalls work well with or without solar, meaning you don’t necessarily need a solar setup to enjoy the benefits of the battery’s offerings. They offer multiple consumption modes, one of which allows you to collect power from the grid when the cost of electricity is at its lowest. So if your area has electricity fluctuating throughout the day, a Tesla Powerwall can help you save money by collecting and storing electricity at its lowest price for use later when electricity are higher.
The Tesla Powerwall features a built-in cooling system that allows the battery to continue chugging along, even in extreme weather conditions. It can function in temperatures as low as.4°F or as high as 122°F. While other batteries often suffer under extreme temperatures, with significantly reduced charge rates, the Powerwall continues offering superior performance even in extreme conditions.
Nationwide availability is another of our favorite perks of the Tesla Powerwall. No matter where you live in the United States, you can take advantage of Tesla’s powerful offerings to run your home or electric vehicles.
Drawbacks of Tesla Powerwall
While Tesla’s offerings make it a formidable choice in the industry, its batteries aren’t without drawbacks. Given their considerable cost, it’s crucial to understand all aspects of the Powerwall before you buy one.
First off, the Powerwall isn’t quite large enough to be a stand-alone option for off-grid living. If you want to disconnect from the grid completely, you’ll probably need more than one Powerwall. You can connect up to 10 batteries for well-rounded energy storage, but since these batteries are expensive, that might not be a good choice for everyone.
Compared to other solar batteries on the market, the Powerwall is 10-40% more costly. And if you need more than one battery to power your home, the costs can quickly rise over your budget.
What Solar Battery Models Does Tesla Offer?
Tesla’s solar battery options consist of two Powerwall models. While they’re similar, a few notable differences set them apart.
This model, also known as the Powerwall 2, replaced the previous Powerwall version. It was released in 2016 and offers twice the storage capacity of the Powerwall plus a battery inverter or charger. The included inverter converts DC to AC power, ensuring you have plenty of power when you need it.
Overall, the Powerwall 2 has excellent storage capacity (but less than the SunPower SunVault) and is easy to use and monitor via the Tesla app. But compared to other top solar backup batteries like the LG Chem RESU and Sonnen ECO it is more expensive.
Tesla Powerwall Plus
The Tesla Powerwall Plus isn’t drastically different from the Powerwall 2, as it only offers a couple of additional tweaks. This model is the latest and greatest, released in 2021.
The Powerwall Plus has an integrated solar inverter, which makes it much easier to incorporate it into a new solar system or as a power backup in your home. This Powerwall system has a slightly higher power output (7 kilowatts as opposed to the 5.8 kilowatts of the Powerwall 2).
Besides the integrated solar inverter and higher output, there are no additional differences from the Powerwall 2.
How Much Does the Tesla Powerwall Cost?
The Tesla Powerwall isn’t a budget-friendly option. On the low end, it costs around 8,700 for a single Powerwall battery and 13,000 for the Powerwall Plus (which includes the battery and power inverter). These batteries have 13.5 kWh of usable storage capacity, which is sizable considering the price.
While these may seem steep, Tesla Powerwall batteries are often cheaper than comparable competitor batteries, like SunVault’s offerings.
Things like installation and labor will tack on additional amounts, and you may face considerable shipping costs. The exact price you’ll pay for your home’s battery system will hinge on factors specific to you, so your final total may look different than someone else’s.
What Affects the Cost of the Tesla Powerwall?
As with many home improvements, the cost of your new Tesla Powerwall battery setup will vary based on factors specific to your home. These factors may drive your final total higher or lower than our estimated cost range:
- Labor and installation
- Number of batteries
- Shipping and delivery
Labor and Installation
Purchasing your Tesla Powerwall is only part of your entire total. Once you buy it, you’ll need to install it, and unless you’re a seasoned expert in installing these systems, you’ll need to hire a professional. This will ensure the installation is done right and your battery will operate properly when you need it the most.
Since labor and installation costs often vary by location and project, the actual cost may vary significantly. If your installation is more complex or time-consuming — for example if you’re installing multiple batteries — you can expect to pay more.
We recommend choosing a reputable installer experienced with Tesla products to complete this project for you, as the installation needs to be handled properly to ensure the product works. So avoid cutting corners on installation to save money, as it’s important to have it done right.
If you have a Tesla solar system or solar roof or are thinking about getting one, the solar company you’re speaking with or the Tesla website can provide you with an estimate on labor and installation.
The cost of Tesla Powerwall batteries varies based on location. For example, if you live in Hawaii or Alaska, you’ll probably pay more for your system than someone in the lower 48 states. Shipping and other overhead costs contribute to the higher total.
On top of that, labor costs typically fluctuate from one location to the next, so you might pay more per hour for labor in one state than another. Each factor will contribute to the overall cost, driving it higher or lower.
Number of Batteries
Unsurprisingly, the number of batteries makes a significant difference in your final total. But while you might be thinking that’s obvious (more batteries, higher cost), the reason falls to something different.
Of course, you’ll still pay more for your setup if you buy more batteries, but you can actually receive a discount when you purchase multiple Tesla Powerwalls. You’ll pay less per unit if you purchase multiples, with a total purchase limit set at 10 units.
Shipping and Delivery
Aside from the cost of the battery itself, you’ll need to pay costs for shipping and delivery. The exact cost of shipping will depend on where you live, as some areas like Hawaii and Alaska may have higher shipping costs due to distance.
Taxes and Exemptions
Like many things, your Tesla Powerwall purchase won’t escape taxes. In addition to other costs, you’ll need to pay any applicable taxes on your new battery, which can add up quickly due to the steep price of these systems.
However, many states offer solar tax exemptions for Tesla Powerwall batteries on top of the federal solar ITC (investment tax credit). So check with your local solar company to make sure you take full advantage of all incentives and exemptions available to you.
The Not-So-Good Things about Tesla Powerwall!
Powerwall 2 Needs an Additional Inverter
While this is not a big issue for me, since I already had my solar panel system up and running, it might put off new customers.
Since the Powerwall 2 is an updated version of the “old” and discontinued Powerwall 2, somehow I expected Tesla to include the solar inverter into this package, too.
If you want a Tesla battery with an integrated solar inverter, you’ll have to stretch out to the Powerwall.
You Can’t Install the Powerwall on an Existing Solar System
I hope Mr. Musk has weighed this decision wisely, but nowadays you can’t buy the Powerwall without Tesla Solar Panels or Tesla Solar Shingles system.
They are sold as a bundle, which is fine with people who don’t have experience with solar panels. But again, it’s bad news for people who’re happy with their solar systems and only want to upgrade them with the Powerwall.
It Takes Two to Off-Grid
I’d be hard-pressed to use the Powerwall as an off-grid energy supply. While this wasn’t the main reason I purchased the Tesla battery, after using it for some time, I see that I need at least two if I want to disconnect from the grid completely.
The Powerwall doesn’t come cheap and it might be disappointing to set aside that kind of money only to find out that you can’t get 100% energy independent with one unit.
Pros and Cons of Tesla Powerwall
Continuous Power Output
Depth of Discharge (DoD)
Round Trip Efficiency
FAQ: Tesla Powerwall
How much does a Tesla Powerwall cost?
A Tesla Powerwall costs 8,500 plus the installation costs. This is the price for the most advanced Powerwall with an integrated solar inverter.
Can a Tesla Powerwall power a home?
Yes, a Tesla Powerwall can power a home in a case of blackout that lasts no longer than 4-5 hours. If you need more offline operation or want an off-grid system, you need at least two Powerwalls.
Will a Tesla Powerwall save me money?
Yes, a Tesla Powerwall will save you money. It actually increases the efficiency of your solar panels by allowing you to use renewable power even when the sun is down.
How long do Tesla Powerwall batteries last?
Tesla Powerwall batteries can last up to 10 years with a guaranteed capacity of 70%. The battery probably lasts much longer but the capacity significantly drops.
Can you go off-grid with Tesla Powerwall 2?
Yes, you can go off-grid with Tesla Powerwall 2 if your energy requirements are moderate. It will power a cabin or a vacation home, but for a full-size house, you probably need two Powerwalls.
Do I need an inverter with a Tesla Powerwall?
Both the Powerwall 2 and Powerwall come with integrated battery inverters, which is OK if you’re charging them through the grid only. For solar charging, you need a separate solar inverter for the Powerwall 2.
Is Tesla Powerwall weatherproof?
Yes, Tesla Powerwall is weatherproof. It has the IP56 rating protection against water and dust. Still, you should install it in a sheltered location such as a carport or under an awning.
Tesla Faces NHTSA Scrutiny Over Reported Steering Failures In Model Y and Model 3
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has initiated a preliminary examination into approximately 280,000 recently produced Tesla Model 3 and Model Y vehicles. This significant figure underscores the scale of potential implications. This action follows alarming reports of steering loss and impaired power steering, raising considerable safety concerns.
This investigation has been sparked by 12 grievances lodged by owners of 2023 Tesla Model 3 and Model Y vehicles.
A Trail of Steering Malfunctions
A troubling case reported in May featured a Model 3 driver whose car’s steering inexplicably felt stuck, causing the vehicle to lose control, skid off the road, and collide with a tree. This incident puts into sharp FOCUS the gravity of the steering malfunctions under scrutiny.
Another disturbing account from Alpharetta, Georgia, detailed a predicament involving a barely two-week-old Tesla Model Y. As the owner exited a shopping center, they reported the steering wheel turning rigid unexpectedly, leading the vehicle to veer perilously close to the oncoming traffic lane.
Further complaints paint a similar picture of concern. A Tesla Model Y, less than a month old, displaying a Steering Assist Reduced error, was followed by an abrupt jerk of the wheel. The owner expressed feeling unsafe due to the suddenly disabled power steering, their unease compounded by Tesla‘s delayed service visit, attributed to a parts backlog.
In yet another unsettling incident, a driver from Honolulu reported their steering wheel randomly locking up within merely a week of purchasing their new Tesla. This malfunction recurred six times before the driver could get their car to a Tesla service center. Presently, the car remains there, awaiting a new steering rack/motor for an estimated three-week period.
Formal Investigation Triggered by Safety Concerns
Traditionally, an NHTSA investigation incites the manufacturer to thoroughly examine potential manufacturing or design defects, often culminating in a voluntary recall. The regulatory body compiles complaints from drivers via phone or online platforms and leverages this data alongside other relevant information to determine the necessity of an investigation.
These incidents have effectively marked the commencement of a formal investigation to assess whether the identified issues pose a considerable safety risk. If the NHTSA determines the presence of a substantial hazard, it may elevate the probe to an engineering analysis, potentially leading to a product recall.
While Tesla has not yet issued a response to the investigation announcement, it’s worth noting the company’s long-standing reputation for safety. Over the last decade, Tesla’s safety accolades have been unmatched, earning them the title of manufacturing the safest vehicles globally. One can be certain that Tesla’s dedicated team of engineers is tirelessly working round the clock, burning the 3 a.m. oil to resolve these emerging issues and uphold the company’s commendable safety record.