Should you Install a Tesla Powerwall or other Solar Battery?

People often want to know how they can improve their use of free solar power to reduce their electricity bills.

The Tesla Powerwall 2 has the capacity to store 13.5kwh compared to other systems that offer only 4-6kwh of useable storage. Using this cost-effective solar battery can help households make the most of renewable energy.

In a nutshell, the Tesla Powerwall is a rechargeable lithium ion battery with liquid thermal control as described by Tesla. Tesla is one of the few companies offering residential energy storage solutions. These battery packs are ideal to work in conjunction with solar panel systems and especially good for those homeowners who need or want to become independent of their utility.

As well as storing free solar energy during the day for release in the evening/night time the Tesla battery can be charged overnight for only a small charge per kwh from many companies.

When more electricity is produced by a household’s solar panels than can be used by that household the excess is stored in the battery pack instead of being sent back into the electric grid. This means that later in the day when a household’s solar panels aren’t producing enough electricity the electricity stored in the household’s Powerwall can be used rather than having to buy electricity from the utility.

The pricing of the smaller capacity systems ranges between £5,500 and £8,800 whereas Tesla can provide twice the capacity for £7,650.

If you take into account that self-builders installing new PV & solar batteries benefit from the zero-rated VAT this further reduces the pricing of the Tesla Powerwall 2 to £6,340.

However, if a household is looking to install the Powerwall as part of a solar plus storage system the battery costs are only one part of the equation. Several different factors need to be considered before installing this system into a home. Whether or not the Tesla battery pack is going to be worthwhile for a household depends on the way their electric utility structures its rates as well as their reasons for installing a solar battery.

It is important then to look at each household’s mains electricity usage, existing solar generation and pattern of consumption to work out how to make the best use of a Tesla battery.

Though installing a solar plus storage system is a great way for a household to take control of their electricity bill it doesn’t mean that the household is entirely disconnected from their utility. It is actually a more expensive and complex proposition to go ‘off the grid’ with solar batteries. One Tesla battery will only provide a few hours of backup power and is not nearly enough to cover a household if there is a full day of cloud or weeks of inclement weather.

Solar batteries are still a fairly new technology for homeowners. Though the benefits for some can be significant it isn’t always a necessary investment. Some utilities offer net metering which means that a solar battery won’t save you any money. If, however the homeowner is in an area with time-of-use electricity rates, no net metering or considerable demand charges then a solar battery would be a good choice for them.

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