In this Tesla Powerwall review we’ll aim to give an accurate account of what this new unit will mean for the average Joe in Australia (and around the world). The world will move to self-storage methods. This much is almost unanimously agreed among energy experts. The question is, will the Tesla Powerwall be the “game-changer” it’s expected by many to be, or will it be a small stepping-stone to the future?
If you want to get straight to the point, a Tesla Powerwall investment is not going to be as good as a “traditional” grid-tied solar system in terms of payback period and ROI. At least not at the moment. It’s a fantastic development in technology. But it’s not practical for most at this time. What does this Tesla Powerwall review think? You’re better off getting grid-tied solar now (pay $6,000 for $2,000p.a.) and batteries later… When a $6k investment will return the equivalent savings (ie. $2k/yr). At the moment it’s more like <$1k/yr.
Tesla Powerwall Review Overview
In case you haven’t noticed, the Tesla Powerwall was announced by Tesla Motors in April, 2015. It was announced as a major stepping-stone in energy innovations and has made a bit of a splash to put it lightly. The Lithium-iOn Tesla Powerwall is designed to make an average household less dependent on the grid and more self-sufficient. It can provide backup power when the grid fails and can be used as a “stand-alone” battery unit.
This thing is exciting. But I promise my Tesla Powerwall review will look beyond the hype!
The battery capacity comes in 10kWh and 7kWh units with a price tag of $3,500 and $3,000 respectively in USD (wholesale). Many houses in Aus use an average of about 20kWhs a day. So the Powerwall will make it some of the way, but would stretch to meet 100% of most homeowners’ energy needs.
Tesla Powerwall Review – The Awesome
Anyone who understands solar power and the problems that come with it, knows how freaking awesome batteries would be if they were cheaper and lighter. The Tesla Powerwall is pretty much designed to meet a MASSIVE hole in the market. Around 30%+ households in Australia now have solar panels. All of these systems are pretty much wasting any power the homeowners themselves don’t use. So what’s so great about the Powerwall?
- It’s lightweight – replacing the more traditional (extremely heavy) lead-acid batteries
- It’s cheap-ish – $3,500 (wholesale) for a 10kWh battery bank is less than half what the same capacity costs now
- It looks shiny – Tesla brings its slickness to inverters and makes the Powerwall a nice looking beast
- It saves you more money – Hybrid solar power systems are likely to save about double what a grid-tied system does. This pretty well means it’s a good investment to upgrade!
- A 10 year warranty – So if it can pay for itself in less than 10 years, you know you’re ahead.
Tesla Powerwall Review – The Not-So-Awesome
As far as doing what it does, the Tesla Powerwall is brilliant. But what about what it DOESN’T do?
- You gotta buy a Fronius inverter! – Fronius makes good inverters. But nobody wants to throw out their existing SMA, JFY, Growatt, ABB or whatever-brand inverter. I mean you just paid like $1,000 (or more) for that thing. The Powerwall is awesome, but this brings the cost up another $2,000 or so… Not cheap.
- The price tag keeps going up – $3,500 sounds reasonable… What!? That’s in USD? So it’s $4,750 AUD right… Well that’s no so bad. What!? That’s the wholesale price? So it’s likely to retail for more like $6,000. OK then… What?! Installation cost will be something like $1,000!? Oh, and I have to buy a new Fronius inverter for $2,000? All of a sudden, retro-fitting your existing solar PV system is costing you some $9,000+. Not so cheap. Still better than many options out there today.
- Lithium batteries – While this seems like a much more appealing option than most others… It’s not very environmentally friendly. It’s somewhat naiive to say that Lithium is the future and I think new technologies will need to be found with haste! What happens in 10 years when 1 billion Powerwalls expire? Perhaps they can be recycled, or perhaps not entirely.
Tesla Powerwall Review Conclusion
The Tesla Powerwall is an exciting piece of technology which is a huge step in the right direction for global energy. It’s cheaper than any other option available to date, it’s pretty and it’s awesome. The Powerwall could perhaps be more environmentally friendly and the 10kWh capacity might be a little slim for many households to entirely cut-off from the grid, but it’s a massive step into the future of energy.
Watch the Powerwall launch video: