In the realm of renewable energy, solar power has emerged as a leading player, offering a sustainable and efficient solution to the growing energy needs of California homeowners. Tesla, a pioneer in the field of electric vehicles, has made significant strides in the solar energy sector with its innovative solar energy products, including the Powerwall 2 and Powerwall Plus energy storage systems. These home battery systems are designed to store solar energy and provide a reliable power supply, even when the sun isn’t shining. In this article, we’ll discuss the differences between the Powerwall 2 and Powerwall Plus, the benefits of each home battery, costs, main features, and other essential information that homeowners need to know.
Understanding Home Battery Storage
Battery storage systems, such as Tesla’s Powerwall, are a revolutionary technology that allows homeowners to store electricity generated by their solar panels for use when there’s no sunlight available. The process begins when the sun’s rays hit the solar panels, causing electrons to move and generate direct current (DC) electricity. This DC electricity is then converted into alternating current (AC) electricity by an inverter, which can be used to power your home.
However, not all the electricity generated is used immediately. Excess electricity is stored in the battery for later use, such as during the night or on cloudy days when solar generation is low. The battery storage system, like the Powerwall, uses advanced lithium-ion technology to efficiently store this energy. When the stored energy is needed, the Powerwall discharges to supply your home with clean, renewable power.
It’s important to note that solar panels alone won’t keep your lights on during power outages. This is because most solar systems are designed to shut off during outages for safety reasons, to prevent electricity from back-feeding into the grid and potentially harming utility workers who are fixing the issue. However, with an electricity storage system like the Powerwall, you can still have power during an outage as the system can isolate from the grid and provide stored electricity to directly power your home.
What is a Powerwall Plus?
The Powerwall Plus is a cutting-edge energy storage solution from Tesla, one of the leading solar companies globally. It’s designed to maximize solar energy usage in homes with an impressive energy storage capacity that can power your home during the night or during power outages. The Powerwall+ is a step up from its predecessor, the Powerwall 2, and comes with an integrated solar inverter, which is a significant upgrade.
Powerwall 2 vs. Powerwall Plus: Spec Comparison
The Powerwall 2 and Powerwall Plus are both excellent home battery storage options from Tesla, but they have some key differences. The Powerwall 2 has a usable capacity of 13.5 kWh and operates at a 90% round trip efficiency. It can be both floor and wall-mounted, and it’s suitable for indoor and outdoor installation. The Powerwall 2 also has an integrated inverter, which simplifies the installation process.
For full details about the Powerwall 2, you can view the Tesla Powerwall 2 spec sheet here.
On the other hand, the Powerwall Plus has a slightly larger energy capacity of 14 kWh and a power capability of 9.6 kW, making it a more powerful option. Unlike the Powerwall 2, the Powerwall Plus requires a separate inverter and is designed to be integrated with a solar panel installation. It also includes an integrated backup gateway, which provides energy management and monitors grid outages.
For full details about the Powerwall Plus, you can view the Tesla Powerwall Plus spec sheet here.
The primary difference between the Powerwall Plus and the Powerwall 2 lies in the type of inverter used. While the Powerwall 2 requires an external inverter, the Powerwall Plus comes with a built-in solar inverter, making it a more streamlined and efficient energy storage solution. This integrated inverter, also known as a grid tied inverter, allows the Powerwall Plus to convert the DC power generated by your rooftop solar panels into AC power that your home appliances can use.
Why is Powerwall Plus Recommended for Homes with Limited Shading?
One of the key challenges for solar energy systems is ensuring optimal sunlight exposure for the solar panels. Shading, whether from trees, buildings, or other obstructions, can significantly reduce the amount of sunlight that reaches your panels and decreases the system’s overall efficiency.
The Powerwall Plus, however, is designed to mitigate this issue. Its integrated solar inverter and sophisticated energy management system work in tandem to maximize the conversion of available sunlight into usable electricity, even in less-than-ideal conditions. This is particularly beneficial for homes with rooftop solar installations, where shading can often be a challenge.
The Powerwall Plus system is designed to intelligently manage energy storage and distribution. During peak sunlight hours, it prioritizes charging the battery to its full capacity. When the sunlight is limited, the system seamlessly switches to discharging stored energy to ensure a consistent power supply to your home.
Another advantage of the Powerwall Plus is its ability to work with hybrid inverters. These inverters can manage power from both the solar panels and the battery, allowing for greater flexibility in energy management. This is particularly beneficial in shaded conditions, as the system can switch between solar power and stored energy as needed.
How Much Does the Powerwall Plus Cost?
According to Tesla’s website, the cost of a Tesla Powerwall Plus ranges from around $9,200 to $14,200, excluding installation charges. The installation cost is an additional expense that can fluctuate based on your location and the layout of your home.
While the initial investment might seem substantial, the decision to install a solar-plus-storage system, including a Tesla Powerwall, can prove to be a valuable investment. It allows you to utilize renewable energy, safeguards you against power outages, and leads to long-term utility bill savings. The suitability of a Tesla Powerwall for your home is based on several factors, including:
- The rate structure of your electric utility company or retail energy provider,
- Your reasons for installing a solar power battery,
- How frequent power outages or blackouts occur in your area (like PG&E’s Public Safety Power Shutoffs), and
- The availability of solar and storage incentives in your area (like net metering)
If your goal is to achieve true energy independence, you might want to install multiple Powerwall batteries to enhance your energy storage capacity. This would significantly increase the cost of your solar battery system. However, depending on your location, you might be eligible for financial incentives that can offset the cost of installing a home energy storage system.
For a home with an average-sized 9.5kW solar system and a Powerwall Plus setup (including 1 Powerwall), the cost would be approximately $44,200 before incentives. After applying the 30% Solar Tax Credit, the cost would come down to around $30,940. It’s important to note that these figures are only rough estimates. The actual cost will depend on various factors specific to your home, such as roof pitch, available space, shading considerations, energy needs, and more.
Installing More Powerwalls for More Backup Power
One of the great features of the Powerwall is its scalability. If you need more backup power, you can simply install more Powerwalls. Each battery you add increases your storage capacity, allowing you to store more solar energy and providing longer backup power during an outage.
For example, a single Powerwall might be enough to power essential loads like your fridge, lights, and some outlets. But if you want to power your entire home, you might need two or more Powerwalls (up to 10 Powerwalls can be stacked, including a combination of Powerwall Plus and traditional Powerwalls). The exact number will depend on your solar panel system size and your home’s energy usage.
Whether you’re looking to save money on your electricity bills, reduce your environmental impact, or ensure you have power during an outage, a Tesla Powerwall can be a great solution. With the Powerwall 2 and Powerwall Plus, you have two excellent options to choose from, each offering its own unique benefits.
Powerwalls can be purchased from Tesla or from a Certified Powerwall Installer like Solar Technologies. If you want to change the way you power your home and save with clean energy, contact us today for a free customized quote.