The growing energy demands of the modern world call for cleaner and more sustainable energy production and storage. It has also caused moments of power interruption in times of severe energy deficit in some regions, prompting many Australians to consider pairing their solar panels with solar batteries to offset their energy consumption or to serve as a backup to the grid.
Tesla is one of the key players in the renewable energy space, and its Powerwall solar battery is one of Tesla’s most prominent products to date. The Tesla Powerwall is the company’s solar battery storage product, designed to store excess energy generated by solar panels.
However, Powerwalls do tend to be expensive, and they’re not compatible with other brands’ technology, so the barrier to entry is high.
This article will share key information on the Tesla Powerwall, the available models, the pros and cons of owning one, and the best Tesla Powerwall alternatives – including some of the best solar batteries in Australia.
Read on to find out more!
Table of Contents
What Is a Tesla Solar Battery?
The Tesla Powerwall is a solar battery made by Tesla. They are solar batteries that store energy and will power a home in an outage. Powerwalls are intended to be used alongside solar panels for energy generation and recharge with clean energy.
Tesla Powerwalls are designed to detect power outages in homes and automatically become the home’s energy source. Unlike conventional backup energy sources such as generators, Powerwalls do not produce noise or require upkeep (such as fuel) as they automatically recharge in a home with solar panels installed. Powerwalls complemented by solar panels can keep a home’s essential appliances up and running for days when the grid is down.
The Powerwall integrates with the Tesla mobile application, allowing individuals to monitor their home’s energy production and consumption. The app may also set additional features such as optimisation for energy independence, outage protection, or power savings. Lastly, the app will notify the individual of relevant alerts so they can remotely adjust power settings even when they are out.
The Powerwall’s design complements modern homes with its compact size and sleek look. In addition, it does not have any exposed wires or hot vents, enabling indoor installation and making it child and pet friendly.
How Does a Tesla Powerwall Work?
The Tesla Powerwall works by taking energy from either the grid or solar panels and storing it for later use when the energy generated by solar panels does not meet or exceed your household’s usage.
It is important to note that although the Powerwall can store energy directly generated by the grid, it is no longer sold itself. This means regardless of how you plan to store energy in the Powerwall, you will need to purchase a Tesla solar panel and/or solar roof system.
Who Makes the Tesla Powerwall?
Tesla Energy makes the Powerwall – the company’s clean energy subsidiary, which is in charge of photovoltaic solar energy generation systems (including solar panels and solar roofs) and stationary energy/ battery energy storage products such as Megapacks and the Powerwall.
The subsidiary was founded in 2015 when its CEO Elon Musk announced that the battery technology originally developed for their automobiles would be used for a home energy storage system – the Powerwall.
What Tesla Powerwall Models Are Available in Australia?
While a couple of Tesla Powerwall models are available globally, only the Tesla Powerwall 2 is currently available in the Australian market. It is the successor to the original Powerwall (which is no longer available).
There is a Tesla Powerwall+ which is essentially a Powerwall 2 with a built-in solar inverter, giving it a larger output. However, that model wasn’t as well received and is not as widely available as the Powerwall 2. Below are the specifications of the Tesla Powerwall 2:
|Power (Continuous and Peak)||5kW|
|Round Trip Efficiency||90%|
|Depth of Discharge||100%|
|Operating Temperature||-20°C to 50°C|
|Dimensions||115cm L x 75.3cm W x 14.7cm D|
Unfortunately, there is no announcement or confirmation about the availability of the Tesla Powerwall 3 in Australia yet.
How Much Does a Tesla Powerwall Cost?
At the initial launch of the Tesla Powerwall 2 in February 2017 in Australia, it cost approximately $9,000. Since then, the price has increased and decreased every year. As of May 2022, a Powerwall 2 has peaked at $14,650 – a more than 50% increase over its initial price.
Pros & Cons of the Tesla Powerwall
You’ll need more than just statistics and numbers to determine if the Tesla Powerwall is right for you. Below we have accumulated the key benefits and drawbacks of the Tesla Powerwall to help inform your decision on whether to purchase one.
Pros of the Tesla Powerwall
The key benefits of using a Tesla Powerwall are:
- The Tesla Powerwall is capable of charging directly from the grid, and solar panels
- It has a mobile application which allows for remote operation
- Tesla Powerwalls are designed to be safe around children and pets with the absence of any wirings and hot vents
- It has a relatively large energy storage capacity compared to most solar batteries on the market
- Includes an industry-standard 10-year warranty
- Has a round-trip efficiency of 90%
- They are manufactured using Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide (NMC) batteries, which are known to have a much longer lifespan than traditional battery materials.
Cons of the Tesla Powerwall
The most notable issues with the Tesla Powerwall include the following:
- The Tesla Powerwall only costs $11,500 if bought directly from Tesla; the relatively low price is not guaranteed when purchasing from a 3rd party installer.
- Depending on your house, Tesla may require an upgrade to your electrical panel before installing the Powerwall. This may cost you as much as $2,500, which is not mentioned in the installation estimates.
- It is generally much more expensive than similar-performing solar batteries
- Because the initial investment cost is so high compared to other solar batteries, by the time it’s at the end of its usable life it may not have paid for itself
Tesla Powerwall Reviews
Tesla Powerwall solar batteries have received an average customer rating of 4.9 stars on SolarQuotes.
“The fact that I’m not truly in control of the product that I purchased outright – because it is a Tesla and they have complete unrevokable remote control over it at all times (it has a mobile phone cellular modem in it that allows it to talk to Tesla to receive commands over the 4G internet even if you block it on your home Wi-Fi) isn’t very consumer-friendly, but other than that it is a great product” – David, SolarQuotes
“Would like to have more control via the app. For example, ability to set a schedule for reserve power percentage depending on time (I need a bigger reserve at 8pm vs 5am). Ability to trigger manual discharge to grid. Ability to pause charging and export all solar to grid (when solar price is high).” – Ash, SolarQuotes
“I had the solar panels and inverter put in by a different company a year earlier and recently when the feed in tariff was dropped to 6c, about half of what it was before, I decided I would be better off storing my own energy than buying it back from the grid. I have just received my first bill and was shocked to see that the battery made no difference to my bill. I rang Tesla, they said I am already on maximum benefit setting. Their app is only available on a mobile or tablet and my mobile is an older model that doesn’t support the operating platform version the Tesla app needs, so I can’t monitor at the moment. They did say they are working on an app that can be downloaded to a computer. The Tesla service person was missing the point, talked about my power usage rather than why my power bill was effectively the same. She said I am set up on the maximum benefit. The Tesla is brilliant kicking in if there is a power outage, which is an issue in the rural area where I live. I really don’t understand why it hasn’t reduced my power bill however, it makes it expensive paying for both the loan for the battery plus power bills. I think this would be the same regardless of which battery was installed. If in an area subject to power outages well worth the investment. The quality of the battery is excellent but has not met my expectations regarding reduced power bills, very disappointed.” – Kerry, SolarQuotes
Tesla Powerwall FAQs
Is the Tesla Powerwall Compatible With My Home Solar System?
The Tesla Powerwall 2 is an AC-coupled battery, meaning it could connect to an existing home solar system through the 230VAC at the switchboard, although this doesn’t guarantee compatibility. The Powerwall 2 comes with a built-in battery inverter which makes it independent from the existing solar system.
Does the Tesla Powerwall Come With a Warranty?
Yes, Tesla Powerwalls come with a 10-year warranty, with a guaranteed 70% energy retention after 10 years if used as a solar backup with unlimited cycles. Although it still guarantees a 70% energy retention after 10 years if used to power appliances, it loses the unlimited cycle guarantee and drops to only 37MWh.
Where Are Tesla Powerwalls Manufactured?
Tesla Powerwalls are manufactured at the Tesla Gigafactory in Nevada, alongside other products and components such as the Powerpack and the Tesla Model 3’s electric motors and battery packs.
What Is the Lifespan of a Tesla Powerwall?
The lifespan of a Tesla Powerwall is around 20 years. However, many factors affect this, such as the frequency of the battery’s use and how much of its usable capacity is being used at any given time. If a Tesla Powerwall is not depleted of its maximum capacity on a daily basis, then it could last up to 25 years.
Is the Tesla Powerwall Tax Deductible?
Unfortunately, the Australian Government’s tax incentives only apply to solar panels, not batteries. However, there are discounts for installing a Tesla Powerwall available through the following incentives:
- Empowering Homes Solar Battery Loan
- Solar Battery Incentive of VIC
- South Australian Home Battery Scheme
- ACT’s Solar Battery Storage Discount (or the Next Generation Energy Storage Program)
How Many Solar Panels Does It Take to Charge a Tesla Powerwall?
A Tesla Powerwall can be charged by a single solar panel, depending on the panel’s size and capacity. Generally, you need 5kWh of solar panel capacity to charge a Tesla Powerwall adequately.
Should I Get a Tesla Powerwall?
Given the overall price of the Tesla Powerwall and the poor customer service that some customers claim, many people choose to avoid the Tesla Powerwall, at least in its current state, and opt for one of the many solar battery alternatives currently on the market.
Although a 2021 statement said that Tesla is no longer accepting orders for the Powerwall if it’s not connected to a Tesla solar system, that may not necessarily be the case for the Australian market. If you’re interested in a Tesla Powerwall, it’s best to speak to your local solar specialist about availability and compatibility.
It should be noted that despite the praise for the Powerwall’s technology, Tesla has been known to have poor after-sales service. This means that buying into Tesla’s product ecosystem (which includes the Powerwall) puts you at risk of tolerating their lacklustre customer service.
Best Tesla Powerwall Alternatives in Australia
SENEC Solar Battery
The German-engineered SENEC solar batteries use a multi-award winning technology which allows the battery to cycle twice a day. These solar batteries are engineered and rated to last up to at least 12,000 recharge cycles, putting it well ahead of its competitors.
SENEC solar batteries, much like the Tesla Powerwall, are compatible with all solar photovoltaic systems, including those already installed. These solar batteries are approved by the Clean Energy Council (CEC) and can increase their capacity when necessary. It also has a mobile application that gives the user remote monitoring and tracking capabilities.
BYD Battery Box
BYD solar batteries are Chinese-engineered who also have their own electric automobile division, much like Tesla. The BYD battery boxes are also expandable when more usable capacity is needed and have an established after-sales service in Australia, unlike Tesla.
This article is published in good faith and for general informational purposes only. JFK Electrical does not make any warranties about the ongoing completeness and reliability of this information. Always seek personalised advice on solar energy to ensure any recommendations suit your property and scenario.
John Lyons, the owner of JFK Electrical Solar & Air, started his career in the electrical industry in 1997. With years of experience gained in the industry across multiple continents, he relocated to Australia and decided to specialise in solar and air conditioning. After deciding he wanted to be closer to his family, John began his own local electrical business in Mandurah, using his extensive knowledge and training in the industry. At JFK, John’s number one goal is to provide tailored solutions to his customers. And thanks to his experience and commitment to his customers, JFK Electrical is now one of the most trusted local businesses in Mandurah for solar and electrical services.