First unveiled in 2015, Tesla’s home battery, the Powerwall, is currently in its second generation. The second-generation upgrade was announced in October 2016 and came with a bunch of improvements over the previous version. The Powerwall 2 costs more than the previous version, but can store twice the energy and has an included inverter, which allows for easier installation. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Tesla’s home battery system, its price, lifespan, and availability, and discuss some of Tesla’s closest competitors in this space.
The introduction of Tesla’s home battery has a lot of implications for the company and the renewable energy industry. The presentation of the upgraded Powerwall 2 coincided with the presentation of Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)‘s latest product, solar roof tiles, which are expected to take solar rooftop installations to a new level, thanks to better aesthetics and improved durability over traditional roofing materials. For the renewable energy business, Tesla’s home battery provides a nice workaround for households in states that are eliminating so-called net metering.
Solar rooftop installations have seen a surge in popularity in the last several years amid escalated concerns about climate change. However, in 2016, the growth rate for installations in the U.S slowed to 16%, versus the average rate of 63% registered in the preceding three years. Among the reasons for the slowdown are increasing interest rates, new White House administration, and the elimination of net metering.
Until recently, most U.S states allowed residential households to sell their excess solar-generated power back to the grid at retail cost. However, utility companies have been pushing for the elimination of this incentive by arguing that it is unfair to homeowners that don’t have solar installations. With the elimination of net metering, the cost savings associated with solar rooftop installations are disappearing, which is driving demand lower (Nevada had a 92% drop in new installation permits in Q1 2016 after the state curtailed its net metering program in 2015).
Here’s where Tesla’s home battery comes in. The battery allows storage of energy generated during the day and then powers the house in the evening, when the house requires the most energy (and obviously can’t get it from the sun). An average U.S household uses around 30 KWh of power per day. Given that one Powerwall provides 13.5 KWh of storage, this should be enough to power the house throughout most of the evening. However, Tesla’s home batteries are modular and allow several units to be installed, so technically they could power the house throughout the entire day, assuming the solar panels generate enough power.
So, as utilities are lobbying for eliminating incentives on rooftop installations in order to prevent over-burdening of the grid and non-solar households, storage solutions like Tesla’s home battery could be a solution to the problem, so it seems like Elon Musk has got into the right market at the right time.
If you are considering acquiring a Tesla home battery, or another power storage solution, some of the most important facts you need to know are revealed on the following pages.