Using the world’s renewable, natural resources to meet our energy needs is no longer an option but an imperative. Solar power is a thriving industry in Australia where 21 percent of all power comes from renewables. And we want more.
Forward-thinking technology companies are stepping in to support our growing demand for renewable energy. Tesla, Inc, a California-based company run by Elon Musk, took a giant leap forward in 2015 with the Tesla Powerwall, a residential-use battery system for solar power.
Only one year after the launch of the Tesla Powerwal Elon Musk and his team launched the Powerwall 2. A game-changing product, the Powerwall 2 has twice as much capacity as the Powerwall 1 and features a built-in inverter. All for the same price. But what exactly is a Powerwall and how does it differ from what came before?
A Tesla Powerwall is a large-capacity battery that stores electricity generated by solar panels. When your home’s electricity is pulled from the grid, you can use the exact amount you need, when you need it. With a solar power system, your electricity needs remain the same but you can’t turn off your system.
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If you’re not connected to the main grid (ie, you have an off-grid system), the excess electricity you generate needs somewhere to go. That’s where a battery comes in. By using a Tesla Powerwall you can store electricity for use when your solar panels aren’t producing enough, such as at night or on rainy days.
The Powerwall is a lithium-ion battery system. Working with solar, the Powerwall can meet 100% of your energy needs and power your home for 7 days should the grid go down. The product also has an open patent. This means other energy companies can build on Tesla technology to create even more efficient batteries!
Installing a Tesla Powerwall doesn’t mean you have to disconnect from the grid. Many people use their solar power system and Powerwall as their main source of power but stay connected and pay for top-up power, when needed.
However, the real money is in energy self-sufficiency. If you’re disconnected from the grid, you are unaffected by energy prices. Australia has some of the highest energy prices in the world, a trend that may continue to worsen. Having your own energy system is like being your own mini power station and means you can benefit from feed-in tariffs. A feed-in tariff is the amount of money an energy company pays you for your excess energy.
Powerwall technology could also save you money indirectly. Tesla is developing large-scale Powerwalls for use by power utilities. If storing power becomes easier and more efficient, energy prices should go down as old infrastructure is replaced by new, sleeker systems.
As listed on the Tesla website, a Powerwall costs AUD$10,100. Installation could cost anywhere between $1,450 and $4,400 depending on your specific needs. Installation cost is based on your current electricity set up, energy usage and logistics of where you’d like your Powerwall placed. These sums don’t include any GST, permit fees or connection charges from your energy company.
You also need to consider that a Powerwall is only part of a solar power system. It is usually possible to add a Powerwall to an existing solar power system. But if you’re making the switch from grid-connected energy supply to solar energy, you need to pay the cost of an entire solar power system. A 5kW system (the average for an Australian home) can cost anywhere between AUD$12,000 and $15,000.
The efficiency of the Tesla Powerwall is truly remarkable and the latest version is now available from suppliers all over Australia.