Tesla Powerwall – the ultimate guide

If you are interested in this specific battery pack or are simply wanting to make your home more energy efficient, read this ultimate guide to the Tesla Powerwall. We’ll look at what it is, what it costs and what models there are. 

Tesla Powerwall Fast Facts

  • Stores electrical energy in a battery so that you can use it to power your home
  • Ensures 24/7 electricity supply
  • Reduces your energy costs (after paying off the unit & installation costs)
  • Reduces your carbon footprint as it provides a clean energy supply (when used with a solar panel array)

What is a Tesla Powerwall?

The Tesla Powerwall is a beautifully designed battery pack that is installed on an internal or external wall of your home. It is quiet, low maintenance and doesn’t require any fossil fuels to run, unlike an electric generator. 

The advantages of a Tesla Powerwall are that it can be used when solar energy is low or the grid is offline for any reason. This means that you can take advantage of lower rates if your utility supplier has peak and off-peak rates. You can store electricity from your solar panels while they are working in premium light exposure and use it when they are not generating energy, e.g. at night time. You can also sell electricity back to the grid and make a saving that way. 

How much is a Tesla Powerwall?

In 2022, a Tesla Powerwall will set you back around $10,000 a unit and around $15,000 installed. The unit cost reduces if you buy multiple units, so multiple units might cost less, circa $8,000 a unit and $11,000 installed. This is before any tax incentives are applied. 

In the U.S. there is a tax incentive called the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which is currently 26% (it drops to 22% in 2023). You can only qualify for this incentive if you have a Powerwall installed together with solar panels, but it could net you savings of nearly $6,000 off two units (Southern Energy). 

In the UK, Empower Energy is quoting £9,100 inclusive of VAT to install a Tesla Powerwall as part of a Tesla Energy Plan. The VAT on this figure will change if you have solar panels installed at the same time, as they are VAT rated at 5% not 20%. 

With those sorts of prices, you might find yourself asking whether it is worth installing a Tesla Powerwall. 

Is it worth installing a Tesla Powerwall?

If you are contemplating the Powerwall simply for the economic benefit, it is unlikely to be cost effective. There is a big initial outlay. The warranty is only for ten years. 

In a study by the Institute for Energy Research, they calculated an approximate saving of AUD 358 a year, which meant the Powerwall would take 30-40+ years to pay itself off. The study came under criticism and Tesla responded in Engadget with a comment that the IER had missed the point, saying that very few people are interested in the Powerwall for financial reasons, instead they are more likely to be “interested for energy independence, backup security, environmental reasons and tech early adoption, none of which are taken into account.”

If you want to install the Powerwall and solar panels from a sustainability perspective, the Powerwall might be an investment you want to make. 

Tesla Powerwall 2

Powerwall 2 has a 14 kWh capacity, 13.5 kWh is usable (the rest is held in abeyance so it can recharge when the grid/solar comes back on line). It has a rechargeable lithium ion battery with 120v/240v AC voltage. It can supply 7 kilowatts at peak and 5 kilowatts of continuous power. This is enough to keep basic appliances running. To do anything else in a moderately sized home, you will need to install 2 or more powerwalls. The average American home uses 10,715 kWh to run (EIA). 

Powerwall 2 is 1150 x 755 x 155 mm so it is quite compact. It emits less than 40 decibels (the sound of a quiet library). Older Powerwall 2 models were in a gray box and weaker hardware. Tesla ramped the hardward up in November 2020 and introduced Powerwall 2+. This has a new sleek design more in line with their luxury brand. The new minimal white casing fits in well with the modern home. 

Tesla Powerwall 3

The world has been waiting for the Tesla Powerwall 3 to be launched for a few years. Rumors circulate all the time about when it will be available, the latest saying it would be in the Spring 2022, but that date has come and gone. Delivery of the new model may have been delayed or maybe the truth is that Tesla does not need to develop a new model when the Powerwall 2 is selling well and performing well. Or maybe it is somewhere in between. 

If you do decide to go ahead and buy a Tesla Powerwall, expect a lengthy wait before it is delivered. As well as reported delays due to the popularity of Powerwalls, they need a permit before install. 

Tesla Powerwall alternative

Looking for a Tesla Powerwall alternative due to price or lead time? There are competitors who supply batteries for residential homes. 

Sonnen has three products, sonnencore, eco and ecolink with 10 kWh, 20 kWh and 30 kWh capacity respectively. Expect to pay around $9,500 for the sonnencore unit before installation (this is the 2020 price quoted in Yahoo). It is super quiet at under 25 decibels. A Lithium iron phosphate battery with 5.52 volt amps (max 30 minutes) and 4.8 volt amps continuous ‘apparent power’ output. It is 690 x 1730 x 280 mm (without legs). A classy white unit. 

Generac sells the PWCell batteries and the cabinets separately. Each PWCell battery module is a 3 kW Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt. Three modules inside a cabinet that is 559 x 254 x 1727 mm can supply 9 kWh, four 12 kWh and so on. Max continuous output of 3 modules is 4.5 kW. Expect to pay $9,999 for a base unit with an inverter, cabinet and 3 battery modules (Get PWRCell). 

LG offers the RESU 16H Prime with 32kWh (the world’s largest capacity, they claim) and RESU 10H Prime with 9.6kWh capacities. The RESU 10H Prime cabinet has a silver aluminum housing and is 504 x 817 x 295 mm. LG don’t include much detail on the official spec sheet but Europe Solarstore says 5 kW continuous and 7 kW peak output. They sell the unit for 4997 EUR plus delivery and then of course you would need to install it. 

That’s a wrap with the Tesla Powerwall 

That’s a wrap with the Tesla Powerwall and alternatives. Do you have a Powerwall installed? Let us know what you think of it. It is a good piece of kit, but does have a significant install cost. That said, if you want to own the market leading battery or want an independent power source and are prepared to pay the cost, the Tesla Powerwall has great specs and good capacity. Then there is the kudos of being green and it is also a great design that will add value to your luxury home.