Tesla PowerWall Review: to Buy or not to Buy

Tesla PowerWall Review: to Buy or not to Buy
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In 2015, Tesla Motors announced Powerwall, a battery-based energy storage that has been touted as a revolution. Tesla Powerwall is still shipping to its first generation of customers, and many more are weighing between the upscale cost of this device and its rampant benefits.

Simply put, Tesla Powerwall is a home battery that recharges using solar-generated electricity. The battery can also recharge from the grid whenever utility rates are low. Once recharged, the device stores energy that can be used to power your home at night, or at any other time on the go. Homeowners can use this new battery device to store solar panel generated energy for use at night, and reduce utility bills.

Despite its clear benefit, the Powerwall is not the typical battery pack that you can purchase on online for a few hundred bucks. The cheapest unit costs about $3000 exclusive of installation fees.

Tesla powerwall

How much power can the Powerwall store?

Each Powerwall is able to release a daily cycle output of 7 or 14 kWh. That is enough output to keep most homes powered at night just using electricity produced by solar panels during daytime. For homes with larger consumption needs, multiple Powerwalls need to be installed to meet this increased demand.

How does a Powerwall work?

Each Powerwall relies on a nickel-manganese-cobalt design that optimizes efficiency. The Powerball converts the DC (Direct Current) energy generated by solar panels into the AC (Alternating Current) needed by household appliances such as lights, TVs, and other devices. Tesla allows 5,000 cycles before an expiration of the warranty. Most Powerwall installations have a meter to measure home energy usage and solar production.

How much power does your home need?

The Tesla Powerwall outputs 7 kWh (or 14 kWh) of electricity, enough to power the typical households in the evening. But different homes have different power needs. So, you need to figure out about how much power your home needs before you can decide whether or not to buy a Powerwall.

According to Tesla, below is the average power consumption for common household appliances:

  • A flat screen TV uses 0.1 kWh each hour
  • It takes 0.1 kWh each hour to keep a room lit
  • A laptop uses an average of 0.05 kWh of power each hour
  • Refrigerators need 1.6 kWh daily
  • The clothes washer will consume 2.3 kWh each time it’s used
  • The clothes dryer will consume 3.3 kWh each time it’s used

Using the above items as guidelines, you might form a pretty good idea just how much electricity you might need in your home on a typical evening.

How much does a Powerwall cost?

Currently, Tesla has a 14-kWh capacity Powerwall that can dissipate a peak 7 kWh of energy. This goes for $7,000, including installation but exclusive of taxes and miscellaneous fees.

Can I actually save money by buying a Powerwall?

That actually depends on where you come from. For most Americans, the Tesla Powerwall doesn’t actually save you money in terms of power costs. However, in some parts of the world such as Hawaii, where electricity is very expensive, this is an economic solution. Australia is another country where electricity costs are peak-high, and a Powerwall can help save money. There’s also widespread solar usage and a sunny climate in Australia, making solar energy storage a feasible proposition.

Nonetheless, Tesla has fulfilled tens of thousands of orders for the Powerwall in the U.S alone. As costs for solar panels and storage batteries become less prohibitive, Powerwalls will hopefully become less costly in the future.

Can I use the Powerwall to provide backup power for emergencies?

Tesla’s Powerwall is an excellent solution if you’re looking to have some backup power in place whenever there are outages or any emergencies.

Should I buy the Tesla Powerwall?

At this point, you should have enough information to decide whether or not to buy the Tesla Powerwall.

If you need further guidance though, here’s my take…

Yes if:

  • You live in a stage or country where electricity costs are very high.
  • You live in an area where there are constant power outages and you’re looking for some form of backup.
  • You own a solar panel and are looking to use the same clean energy when there’s no sunlight at night.

No if:

  • You’re looking to save money, but electricity costs in your state are less than 30 cents per kWh. According to an article published on Forbes.com, the average total cost of electricity via a Powerwall is 30 cents per kWh.

How to buy a Powerwall

Tesla Powerwall is only available via online orders at the official Tesla website.

Even so, you can buy your Powerwall direct. You’ll need to make a reservation and wait for some time before the Tesla installation team comes to your home. The company has once said that it gives preferential treatment to people who already have installed solar panels and those who drive Tesla vehicles.

If you’re interested in buying a Powerwall, go to https://www.tesla.com/powerwall and make your order.

Note: Tesla’s home batteries will be available in the mass market after the company’s battery Gigafactory is finished in 2017.

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