Solar storage was once thought to be something for the distant future, but Elon Musk’s Tesla Powerwall battery system has changed that. The Tesla Powerwall has gone through several iterations, the most recent of which is the “Powerwall+.”
Without a doubt, the Powerwall is an excellent home energy storage solution. It has some fantastic features and is reasonably priced. Is it, however, the best solar home battery to use in conjunction with your solar panels? You might be surprised by the answer.
What is the cost of Tesla Powerwall in 2022?
Despite Tesla’s claim that the Tesla Powerwall would be half the price in three years, the price of the Powerwall has increased four times, eventually reaching its current price.
Furthermore, Tesla no longer sells Powerwalls separately, so the total price you’ll have to pay will be the price of a Powerwall plus the cost of a new solar panel system if you want your Powerwall directly from Tesla.
Is the Tesla Powerwall eligible for any discounts or rebates?
Yes, the Tesla Powerwall is eligible for the battery storage incentives available in the United States. The federal solar tax credit, which will reduce the cost of a Powerwall installation by 30%, is the most significant incentive.
In addition to the federal tax credit, some states and utilities provide rebates and incentives. In some cases, rebates such as California’s SGIP incentive and Vermont’s Bring Your Own Device Program can cover nearly 90% of the total cost of installing a Powerwall.
Tesla Powerwall Specifications
The Tesla Powerwall has some excellent specifications, as well as some of the most impressive smart monitoring and management capabilities in the solar battery market.
Warranty and lifespan
The Powerwall’s lifespan is fairly typical for lithium-ion batteries; after 10 years, it will operate at 70% of its original capacity. The operating mode you select will influence how long your Powerwall battery lasts.
Tesla’s warranty outlines the specifics of how your usage affects battery life.
The capacity of a battery indicates how much electricity it can store. The higher the capacity of the battery, the longer it can power your home. With a capacity of 13.5 kilowatt-hours (kWh), the Powerwall can store enough energy to cover roughly half of the average American home’s daily energy consumption.
A Powerwall can likely power your refrigerator, WiFi, a few outlets, and a few lights for about 24 hours on a single charge.
Rating for continuous power
The Powerwall+ introduced one significant change: a higher power rating. A battery’s continuous power rating indicates what and how many appliances it can power.
Powerwall batteries connected to the grid can now provide 7.6 kW of continuous power when the sun shines and 5.6 kW when there is no sun. This means that a single Powerwall can power lights, outlets, and 120-volt appliances like your refrigerator. You’ll need more Powerwalls if you want to run high-powered appliances like an air conditioner.
The Powerwall is distinguished by its ability to release more power when operating off-grid, with output ranging between 7 kW and 9.6 kW depending on weather conditions. When the Powerwall is not connected to the grid, such as during a power outage, it can power a few more appliances in your home.
Maximum power rating
In addition to the continuous power rating, batteries have a peak power rating, which is the maximum amount of power a battery can deliver in a very short period of time (usually about 10 seconds). The peak power rating, in essence, measures the battery’s ability to withstand brief power surges, such as when appliances draw more electricity to turn on.
When connected to the grid, the Powerwall has no peak power rating, but when operating off-grid, the peak power ranges from 10 kW to a whopping 22 kW if the sun is shining.
These figures are significantly higher than the industry average for peak power rating, which is typically around 7 kW. However, you won’t be able to fully realise the benefits unless you have at least a 12 kW solar system. You won’t have enough power otherwise to reach that output.
Modes of operation
In addition, the Powerwall has three standard operating modes:
- Solar Self-Consumption
- Time-Based Control
- Backup Power
These modes allow you to control how and when energy is released and stored in your battery. In Solar Self-Consumption Mode, you can use renewable energy to power your home even when the sun isn’t shining by storing excess solar power for later use.
Backup Power mode allows you to configure your Powerwall to simply act as an emergency battery backup in the event of a power outage.
When your utility uses Time-of-Use (TOU) rates, which charge different electric rates depending on the time of day, Time-Based Control mode comes in handy. When your Powerwall is in Time-Based Control mode, it will charge the battery when electricity prices are lowest and discharge when electricity prices are highest, allowing you to save money on your utility bill.
The Tesla Powerwall is an AC-coupled battery, which means it has its own integrated storage inverter (which is simply an inverter built into a battery). The main advantage of AC-coupled batteries is their ease of integration with existing solar panel systems. Furthermore, if your solar inverter fails, your battery will continue to function, and vice versa.
AC-coupled battery systems, on the other hand, are slightly less efficient than DC batteries, and the addition of hardware means that there are more parts that can fail. In our comparison guide, you can learn more about the differences between AC and DC-coupled batteries.
How much time does it take to receive a Tesla Powerwall?
Tesla Powerwalls have a significant wait time due to the high demand for solar batteries as more homeowners seek reliable backup power. Tesla’s output simply cannot keep up. In fact, it was revealed that Tesla had 80,000 unfulfilled Powerwall orders.
A Powerwall can be purchased directly from Tesla with the purchase of a solar roof or solar panels, or from a Tesla partner installer. Customers who order their Powerwall systems directly from Tesla, on the other hand, usually have to wait a few months. Those who purchased a Powerwall through Tesla installation partners had to wait nearly a year for their battery to be installed. Tesla appears to have prioritised filling direct orders first, leaving their installation partners high and dry.
So, if you want to add a battery to your existing solar system and don’t want to wait a year or more for a solar battery to be installed, you’ll need to find a Powerwall alternative.
Is it necessary to have solar panels in order to use a Powerwall?
Tesla Powerwalls can function without solar panels and simply collect grid power to be used as backup power during a power outage. However, because Tesla no longer sells Powerwalls separately, you must also order a Tesla solar panel or solar roof system in order to get a Powerwall directly from Tesla.
If you want to buy a Powerwall without also purchasing and installing a full solar power system, Tesla will not sell the battery directly. You’d have to buy a Powerwall for individual sale from a certified Tesla Powerwall installer instead.
However, as previously stated, working with a Tesla partner usually means longer wait times, and it can be difficult to find an installer who will install a battery without solar because it is less profitable for the installer. So it can be done; it may just be difficult to find one – and you’d have to be prepared to wait longer.
Otherwise, you must order a solar system through the Tesla website in order to receive a Powerwall directly from Tesla in a timely manner.
Is the Tesla Powerwall a good investment?
The Powerwall, in our opinion, is an excellent battery. For a reasonable price, it has advanced features and impressive technical specifications. Is the Powerwall, however, worthwhile? The battery itself is worth it, but the hassle of dealing with Tesla and trying to find a Powerwall probably isn’t.
Tesla’s decision to only sell Powerwalls with new solar panel installations makes it much more difficult for homeowners to obtain one in a timely manner, which is a huge disappointment. As a result, homeowners who have already installed solar panels are unable to obtain a Powerwall directly from Tesla and must instead seek out a certified installer willing to sell them a standalone Powerwall. Then there are Tesla’s notoriously long wait times.
You should also keep in mind that Tesla is notorious for having poor after-sales service when it comes to solar installations, and you run the risk of dealing with subpar customer service if you choose the company. If you bought your entire solar plus storage system from Tesla, you’ll have to deal with it for the next 25 years!
With that said, if you don’t already have solar, are willing to risk receiving poor customer service over the 25 years that you have Tesla panels on your roof, or are okay with potentially months or years-long wait times to get a battery installed, a Tesla Powerwall is the right choice for you.
If that isn’t enough, you can always contact local solar installers to see what solar batteries they recommend or if they have Powerwalls in stock for installation. Using our solar calculator below is the simplest way to find installers who can help you pair a solar installation with storage at the best price in your area.