Tesla is primarily known for its electric vehicles, but they also make solar panels. Once installed, they can provide power for an entire home, but you’ll want a battery to store all that power. The Tesla Powerwall is the battery that stores this power and makes it readily available when required.
Utilizing solar power in a home has various advantages including being both free and better for the environment. Keeping a full battery in your home also provides a backup power source in case of outages.
So how does the Tesla Powerwall work, and how much does it cost?
What Is the Tesla Powerwall?
The advantage of storing power from the grid is that it can act as a backup power source and allow you to charge the battery when power is cheap and use it when it is expensive.
There are currently two Powerwalls available, namely the Powerwall 2 and Powerwall+. These products have replaced the Powerwall 1 which was discontinued in 2016.
Both of these products offer significant improvements over the original with the power capacity being increased from 6.4 kWh to 13.5 kWh. The Powerwall+ is also designed to offer additional power output when the sun is shining.
Do You Need Solar Panels to Use a Tesla Powerwall?
The Tesla Powerwall is primarily used by people with solar panels—but they are not a requirement. A Powerwall can be used solely to store power from the electricity grid but this limits where you can buy one.
Tesla only sells the product to people who purchase solar panels from them. So if you want to purchase a Powerwall for grid usage or use with another solar panel manufacturer, you will have to purchase from an independent retailer.
How Does the Tesla Powerwall Work With Solar?
During the day, the Powerwall takes the energy produced by your solar panels and uses them to power your home appliances. It includes a converter that converts DC power from your panels into the AC power required to power your home.
The energy produced during the day is often more than is needed and this excess energy is used to charge the Powerwall. This power can then be used at night, providing 24-hour electricity. Depending on where you live, you may also be able to sell your excess electricity back to the power grid.
How Does the Tesla Powerwall Work Without Solar?
If you don’t have solar panels, you may still benefit from a Powerwall. Here, the Powerwall is charged by the power grid.
If you live somewhere with electricity that’s more expensive during the day, you can charge the Powerwall by night and then use it to power your home throughout the day. Depending on the difference in rates, this can deliver significant savings.
A full Powerwall can also be used as protection against blackouts.
How Much Power Does a Powerwall Provide?
Depending on how much power you use, a single Powerwall may not be enough to completely power your home. However, if you use a lot of electricity, it’s worth noting that multiple Powerwalls can be added to a single system.
A Powerwall can hold 13.5 kWh of power. This is approximately half of what the average home uses in a day and is more than enough to power a home during the night. If there’s a power outage, it can also last longer if you run fewer appliances.
Continuous Power Rating
The continuous power rating of a battery dictates how many appliances it can run simultaneously. For example, a Powerwall can provide 5.8 kW of continuous power. Depending on the size of your house, this should be sufficient to power your lights, electrical sockets, and kitchen appliances. The Powerwall+ can also provide 7.6 kW of continuous power when the sun is out.
How Much Is the Tesla Powerwall?
The Tesla Powerwall costs $10,500 when purchased directly from Tesla. If you need more than one, the price goes down with quantity. You can currently purchase two Powerwalls for $17,000. If you’re not purchasing solar panels, you will need to find an independent retailer, and prices vary.
It’s important to note that while the price above includes installation, it doesn’t include any necessary adjustments to your home. For example, if your electrical panel isn’t compatible, you may be required to pay an additional fee to replace it.
Provided you’re using the Powerwall with solar power, you may be able to get a federal tax credit of 26%. This can make the Powerwall more affordable but it’s only applicable if the Powerwall gets 100% of its charge from solar panels.
Depending on the state in which you live, additional rebates may also be available.
Is the Powerwall Worth It?
The Tesla Powerwall isn’t cheap, and whether or not it’s worth it depends on how you currently power your home. However, if you have solar panels or are about to buy them, the Powerwall is well worth considering. It’s competitively priced, well-designed, and from a reputable company.
If you don’t have solar panels, or you are buying them in the hope of lower energy bills, it’s important to calculate the savings before you buy one. A Powerwall will save some people money, but how much depends on the difference in rates between the day and night.
The reliability of your electrical grid is also worth considering. If you live in an area with regular power outages, you might find the cost of a Powerwall is worth it, even if it doesn’t save you money.
Be Prepared to Wait, Even If You Buy Direct
If you’d like to buy a Powerwall, it’s important to note that they’re not currently the easiest products to buy. If you want to buy direct from Tesla, you need to also order a solar panel. Otherwise, you will need to find an independent retailer and potentially pay more.
Due to the popularity of Powerwall, customers also report significant delays. As of 2021, there was a backlog of 80,000 units and while the current backlog is unknown, you can still expect to wait many months. Tesla also appears to be prioritizing customers who buy direct.