Tesla took the world by storm when it first started developing high-quality electric vehicles with never-before-seen performance and a price that was justifiable compared to market standards. Since then, the company led by famous CEO Elon Musk has attempted to bring its technological advancements into other markets, most recently the solar and energy storage industries. In 2015, the company introduced the Powerwall, its home energy storage solution, which has been advertised to homeowners as a way to store energy for either emergencies or, in the case of solar powered homes, times where your system is not generating power, such as during the night or on a cloudy day. But how effective is it? Read on to find out.
What Is a Powerwall?
The first questions most people have is “What is a Powerwall? How does it work?” In short, a Powerwall is a giant lithium-ion battery that’s wired into your home’s electrical system. These are remarkably efficient batteries as well: a single Powerwall can save enough electricity to provide up to 13.5 kilowatt-hours of power, or a little less than half of what Tesla claims an average three-bedroom uses per day, and return it with a nearly 90% efficiency rating. Powerwall units can also be stacked and combined with up to 10 units per system, providing up to 135 kilowatt hours of electricity. That amount can power that same three-bedroom home for almost a week.
This is extremely useful for homeowners in two different situations. For typical homes that are reliant upon the electrical grid, a Powerwall system can store electricity and save it for the event of a blackout, keeping your home lit and your appliances running for several hours at a time.
For those who have solar, however, a Powerwall can help you maintain your energy independence. Depending on the amount of energy your solar system can generate and how much your home is consuming, a Powerwall takes energy that is produced by your solar system and not consumed and stores it. Then, at night when your panels are not generating power, the system switches over and uses the energy stored in your Powerwall. Depending on the size of your solar system, this can theoretically keep you anywhere from 65 percent to 99% energy independent of the grid.
A Powerwall, or a battery backup system of any kind, can be an immense benefit to your home. In addition to helping you use more of the power that your system generates, a Powerwall can help you keep your utilities down by allowing you to rely less on the electrical grid at times where your system is not working. However, a Powerwall can only store so much electricity, and when the electricity runs out, your home either has to turn back to consumption off the grid or go without power.
There’s also a large matter of cost: a single Powerwall system, including supporting hardware, costs $6,200 according to Tesla. On top of that, installation can cost anywhere from $800 to $2,000, and that’s not factoring in any electrical upgrades your home may need in order to make use of this system.
This battery system is also limited as well. A single Powerwall system can only provide enough electricity to power your home for a few hours, which means you’ll frequently be running the battery down entirely and switching back to the grid nearly every night, especially during winter when there are fewer daylight hours. Tesla strongly recommends that you purchase a two wall system in order to power your entire three-bedroom home for up to a full day, which nearly doubles the cost. This adds yet another immense expenditure to your solar investment.
However, it’s not a necessary expenditure, and in fact it may not necessarily be the most prudent. If you don’t have a battery backup system, any electricity you generate that is not consumed can then be sold back to the grid, earning you a credit on your utility bills. Depending on how much electricity your home consumes during the day, it may actually be better to sell the energy back that you would otherwise be storing.
Before making the decision as to whether a Powerwall is right for you and your home, speak with an experienced San Diego solar installation representative from Solaire Energy Systems to go over the costs and benefits of having one of these systems.
Find out if a battery backup like the Tesla Powerwall is right for your home! Call Solaire Energy Systems today by dialing (619) 831-8600.