This past week, Tesla unveiled one of the most exciting advancements in renewable energy. Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk announced the Powerwall, a battery for your home or business to provide you with backup power when you need it most. The intent behind the battery is to store excess solar energy for use when the sun goes down.
The battery is much smaller than you would think. It mounts to your wall and looks like a piece of art (pictured above). You could even coin the Powerwall as a smartbattery, as it comes loaded with a “liquid thermal control system and software” that allows the consumer to choose when they want to use the Powerwall’s stored energy. For example, instead of utilizing its energy during the evening, a consumer could choose to pull power from the battery during peak times when electricity from the grid is most costly.
The Powerwall comes in two energy storage variants, 10 kWh and 7 kWh. According to Tesla, the ” 10kWh [is] optimized for backup applications” while the “7kWh [is] optimized for daily use applications.” They’re also not nearly as expensive as you would expect. The 7kWh variant will cost $3,000 while the 10 kWh variant will cost $3,500 dollars. That does not include the inverter nor installation costs of the battery. (I probably wouldn’t recommend installing this yourself. Thousands of watts of energy and human bodies don’t typically go well together.)
You may be saying to yourself, “I’m not an electrician, so how much power do the 10 kWh and 7 kWh Powerwalls provide and could I realistically get off the grid using the Powerwall?”According to EnergyMadeEasy.gov, the average household uses 18.1 kWh per day; fluctuating a bit depending on the season. The amount of energy that solar panels produce is determined by the number of many panels and hours of direct sunlight it receives each day. So let’s use an example, a ” 10 kW solar installation can produce 55 kW·h on a standard sunny day in Texas” That’s more than enough to provide adequate power during peak use while also charging your Powerwall. Considering that the majority of household energy is used during the day during peak hours, 10 kWh, and even 7kWh, should be ample power for the average family after the sun goes down.
This could become a popular choice for households that have installed solar panels. When solar was first introduced, consumers were able to save big on energy each year as any energy they did not consume was sold back to energy companies making their overall energy bills very low. However, power companies began to take note that the amount of revenue generated by solar customers was not sufficient to offset their grid maintenance expenses. As a result, many companies have begun charging solar customers a grid maintenance fee if they are using solar energy.
For example, SRP recently instated a change that will cost the average solar customer an additional $50 per month! As a result, many are now questioning the true value of home solar systems. The Powerwall solves for this current problem. It doesn’t, however, solve for energy companies lost revenue from customers lost to solar energy. (Oh well, considering that fossil fuels are a non-renewable resource, power companies should have seen the writing on the wall long ago. )
So the answer to your question is, as long as you’re not a heavy power user during off-peak times, you absolutely could get off the grid using the Powerwall. Business use is another story entirely as typically offices are often much larger and provide power to a much wider range of devices and people. The Powerwall could certainly act as a decent backup system for businesses during those intermittent moments of lost power.
The Powerwall is set to be released this summer. If you want to learn more about Tesla’s new Powerwall, take a look at the following video put out by the Wall Street Journal:
Are you wanting to get off the grid? If so, are you considering Tesla’s Powerwall? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.