The Tesla Powerwall is a home-based rechargeable lithium-ion battery designed to store solar power generated from Tesla’s Solar Roof and Solar Panel systems for later use when the sun is not shining. The Powerwall also provides emergency backup, time-based control and other grid service applications.
A Short History Of The Tesla Powerwall
Tesla began developing the Powerwall in 2012, with early prototypes being installed for selected industrial customers. Elon Musk launched the Tesla Powerwall v1 on April 30, 2015, as part of his new Tesla Energy initiative. The water-heater sized home battery was designed to efficiently store renewable energy collected via Tesla’s solar roof and panel products, thus solving the solar industry’s age-old problem that the sun does not shine at night. Existing batteries were expensive, unreliable, poorly integrated, inefficient, not scalable, had short lifespans, and were just plain ugly. The Powerwall addressed those issues, offering a solution that was affordable, reliable, tightly integrated with Tesla’s solar product offerings, efficient, scalable, had increased lifespan, and was aesthetically almost like a piece of art. The Powerwall was was intended to achieve Musks’ ultimate goal of fostering a clean energy ecosystem and helping to wean the world off fossil fuels.
In October 2016, Tesla announced that almost 300MWh of Tesla batteries has been deployed in 18 countries. That same month, Elon Musk unveiled the Powerwall v2, with more that double the energy storage capacity, at a commensurate price. And, in April 2020, the 100,000th Tesla Powerwall was installed.
Tesla Powerwall v2 Specs
- Inverter: Fully Integrated Tesla Inverter
- Usable Capacity: 13.5 kWh
- Power Delivery: 5 kW continuous, 7 kW peak
- Efficiency: 90%
- Operating Temperature Range: –20C (-4F) to 43C (110F)
- Warranty: 10 years
- Dimensions: 1150 mm x 755 mm x 155 mm (45.3 in x 29.7 in x 6.1 in)
- Weight: 125 kg (276 lbs)
- Price: $6,500
Tesla Powerwall Version 1 vs Version 2
The Tesla Powerwall v1 introduced in 2015 was much cheaper, but also had significantly less impressive specs. However, with v1 priced at just $3,000 for 6.4 kWh of energy storage ($469/kWh), and v2 now priced at $6,500 for 13.5 kWh ($481/kWh), the energy storage values are comparable. Other notable differences between the two versions of the home battery are v1’s 2kW output rating vs v2’s 5kW, and v2’s significantly increased recharging cycle lifespan.
Tesla’s Powerwall is optimized for daily cycling. Daily cycling occurs when the battery pack receives energy from connected solar panels during the day while the sun is shinning and then delivers energy in the form of electricity to the connected home at night after the sun has set.
The daily cycle battery employs a lithium-ion chemistry and includes an internal DC to AC converter of Tesla’s own design. The integrated converter saves a homeowner from having to spend up to several thousand dollars for additional connectivity hardware. Paired with one of Tesla’s Solar Roof or Solar Panel options, the Powerwall system really is an all-in-one solution to a homeowner’s renewable energy needs.
Can I Use It Without Solar Panels?
Yes. In many locations, smart-metered electricity rates vary based upon time of day, charging more during peak-use hours. The Powerwall can be easily programmed to charge its battery when electricity costs are low and then deliver power when they are high. This generates automatic savings and should be factored in to the total cost of purchase if you live in an applicable area. Also, the Powerwall acts as an uninterruptible power source for your entire home, automatically becoming the home’s main source of electricity in the event of a neighborhood power outage.
Is the Tesla Powerwall Affected By Cold Environments?
Possibly. The Powerwall has a listed operating temperature range of -20C (-4F) on the low end. And, it has thermal management systems that do their best to keep the unit operating at optimum temperatures. However, there have been reports that in extremely cold regions during winter, Powerwalls have had issues. One solution to address this possibility is to have the Powerwall installed inside your home or garage where the climate is regulated or talk to the Tesla installers about potential heating solutions. Ideally, stable moderate temperatures are better for battery life.
Is the Tesla Powerwall Affected By Hot Environments?
Again, possibly. The Powerwall has a listed operating temperature range of 43C (110F) on the high end. And, although it does have internal fans to help cool components, the cooling system is passive and can only blow air as cool as the ambient temperature of the location. Therefore, in a hot environment such as Las Vegas, placement considerations need to be made to ensure that the Powerwall is not damaged or does not become inoperable in extremely hot weather.
Is There A Powerwall Monitoring App?
Yes. The Tesla app allows you to monitor energy production and storage in real-time and control your PV and storage system from anywhere in the world. It also provides instant alerts and notifications should an issue arise.
Is The Powerwall Worth It?
The cost of electricity using the Powerwall with one of Tesla’s Solar Panel products is approximately 30 cents/kWh if the user’s home remains connected to the municipal power grid. It is the same price to purchase electricity from local providers in Hawaii. However, in states where the purchase price is significantly less, such as Louisiana where the average rate is just 8 cents/kWh, that is a significant difference to pay just for the luxury of having a Tesla system installed on your house.
Tesla Powerwall In The News
Tesla: Company Website