Tesla Powerwall: The Future of UK Solar Energy Storage

Maximise your solar energy consumption and become more independent, cut your electricity bills and lower your environmental impact. The Powerwall 2 is coming to the UK in 2017.

The Holy Grail for solar has always been about how we store all that energy created during the day for times when the sun isn’t out. To date, home and office installations have been linked to the National Grid and users have benefited from a regular supply, which covers any shortfalls, as well as Feed in Tariffs that pay them for the amount of electricity they produce.

Reductions in solar tariffs at the beginning of the year made the return on investment for solar a little less attractive. The development of good storage technology, therefore, is seen by the industry as all the more important. If you can create electricity during the day and store it for use overnight, the savings on solar systems and potential independence of users could well change the way we look at electricity production completely.

The good news is that the technology to do this is beginning to develop at pace and is now more affordable for domestic and small business installations. Leading the way is American firm Tesla, famed for its investment in the electric car industry who are now focussing on solar storage and better solar PV tiles. We could be seeing the start of an energy revolution that will transform how we get our electricity. And it’s coming to the UK over the next year.

What is Powerwall?

When it was launched in 2015, CEO of Tesla Elon Musk said that the Powerwall represented “a fundamental transformation [in] how energy is delivered across the Earth.” It’s a compact, wall mounted lithium ion battery that has a decent storage capacity. That means you can have one or more in your home or office and it can be used to provide power when you most need it.

How does it work? If you have solar panels you will produce a DC current and this gets fed into the battery and stored. The battery is then connected to an inverter that produces AC current which can be used in the home. Since the launch of the original Powerwall, Tesla have now brought Powerwall 2 to the market which has almost double the storage capacity and can power a standard home for the whole day. For those looking to make the most of their energy production, installing Powerwall means you are less dependent on the Grid and able to cut the amount spent on utility bills.

The Benefits of Powerwall

The major benefit of Powerwall is that it can provide the electricity you need when you need it. Most of us are out at work during the day and the major part of our usage normally takes place while the sun is heading down and our solar panels are producing less electricity.

  • Powerwall can easily be installed in the home and immediately reduces dependence on the National Grid for the power you need to operate at peak times such as in the evening.
  • You can install the number of batteries that fit your needs and storage requirements.
  • Your home power system will operate sustainably and you’ll have greater energy independence.
  • During the day you fill up the battery and during the night you use the energy in the battery, it’s as simple as that. Essentially if you have a great solar roof combined with good storage you not only reduce your carbon emissions but your costs as well.
  • The Powerwall is durable, low maintenance, and can be wall mounted or floor mounted. Tesla offer a 10-year warranty for their batteries but you should realistically expect it to last about 15 years.
  • The Powerwall has inbuilt thermal controls which maximise the energy efficiency for a longer life and better power production.
  • It’s safe for home energy storage and there are no unserviceable parts. You can put it on your wall, anywhere in your home, and it is safe to touch so you don’t need to worry about areas of your home being off limits.

The Difference Between Powerwall and Powerwall 2

Powerwall 1

Tesla Powerwall 1
Tesla Powerwall 1

Powerwall 2

Tesla Powerwall 2
Tesla Powerwall 2

With Powerwall 2 coming onto the market, we can see how storage is beginning to develop at a greater pace. The original Powerwall came in 7 kW and 10 kW storage. The new version comes in 14 kWh capacity and is cheaper overall. In other words, not only is the storage capacity rising but the price is coming down.

The Powerwall 2 is expected to come onto the UK market shortly and could well revolutionise energy around the world as we begin to see its benefits. The Powerwall 2 also now has a built in inverter so you don’t have to get additional hardware to feed into your home or office.

Powerwall and Solar Slate Tiles

Tesla’s move on solar and energy storage has been helped by their developing union with Solar City, one of America’s biggest solar panel companies. The introduction of new solar tiles that look like ordinary tiles is not new but the products coming out of Solar City are made from textured glass which allows the sun to reach the hidden solar panels beneath.

According to Musk at the recent launch, these two innovations in combination could well kick start the storage solar industry and give people low cost energy for many years to come. Take a look at what he had to say at the launch in the video below:

Installing Powerwall

Installing Powerwall is easy. A typical system includes the battery, a power inverter, a meter and an electric panel. The size of the 6.4 kWh model is 130 cm by 80 cm and can fit comfortably in any home. If you need more capacity for a busy household, then you can install more batteries or the 14 kWh Powerwall 2 (which has the inverter actually inbuilt).

Find out where you can buy the Powerwall in the UK.

The ROI for Powerwall

As with most things renewable, the devil is in the return on investment. If you are going to install the Powerwall, what savings does it give you? And when can you expect to get money back on your initial investment? Much will obviously depend on your home, the type of solar system you have installed, where you are located and what your usage requirements are. It’s a good idea to get professional advice from a local expert to see just how much your home can benefit from solar and storage.

The average price you can expect to pay for a 7 kWh capacity battery is £4,500. There are cheaper batteries on the market but these usually offer a much lower capacity of around 2 kWh. With the average home usage at 10 kWh, one Tesla Powerwall battery will go a good way to meeting your daily needs.

One of the first to install the Powerwall was the Kerr family in Wales who found that their self-consumption increased from just 15% (because they were mostly out at work during the day and production wasn’t saved) to 67% once the battery was put in. During the summer months, this rose to over 90%. In May 2016, this meant that the family’s electricity bill for the whole month was just a shade over £11.

The new Powerwall 2 is retailing at around £5,400 for a 14 kW array, plus an extra £1,000 for installation and accessories such as the meter. Shopping around can get you a cheaper price, particularly as this market is fast developing across the UK. Return on investment over the average 10 year warranty life is expected to be reasonably good but does depend on how much energy you use and other factors – getting a professional assessment of your usage is therefore important in the first instance, even if you already have solar panels installed.

Tesla’s Solar Tiles

Installing Powerwall with existing solar systems is easy and can produce a good return on investment over the 10-15-year lifetime of the battery. But Tesla are also selling their updated product with the concept of brand new solar tiles that not only look good but are highly efficient as well.

These, in combination with the battery, could mean that domestic installations and businesses will have access to a unique opportunity to become energy independent, with lower and more controllable electricity generation costs and a greatly decreased impact on the environment. Most estimates in the US at the moment put the payback date for investment in these new solar tiles at around 8-9 years, slightly more than existing solar panel systems.

Expect the cost to come down once production is in full sway though. In conjunction with the latest Powerwall battery solar tiles are no doubt going to become more attractive for new builds and installations to combine these two technologies.

Changing How You Use Power

While installing a storage system such as Powerwall and opting for the latest solar tiles can all reduce your fuel costs, so can making a few changes to your energy usage itself. Looking at how and when you use electricity during the day can provide further savings. For example, if you have several high power tasks that you carry out such as putting on the dishwasher, doing this during the day when the sun is shining can be more cost effective and less of a drain on battery energy storage. Swapping a few things around can make a big difference here and ensure that you have capacity later in the day, particularly when the nights start to draw in over winter.

Is Powerwall for Me?

Yes. Solar and other renewable storage is the future and is set to revolutionise not only our home energy production and consumption but on a larger scale too. Tesla are also working on industrial scale storage which means that our utility companies will soon be able to store power created by wind and solar farms across the country.

With better capacity and it’s solid, easy to install design, Tesla’s Powerwall 2 has begun to bring storage technology to the masses. For homes that already have solar installed, it’s a good, strong addition that can spread energy availability and cut down utility bills even further. The more you produce your own power and the less you use the National Grid, the quicker you will see a return on investment and greater independence.

Looking at the way you use energy can bring additional benefits and improve your return on investment.

Where Can I Find Powerwall Installers?

If you want to find out just how much installing Powerwall can mean to your home or business energy production and usage, then it pays to get the experts in to survey your situation.

Contact us today to find out just how Tesla’s Powerwall 2 can benefit your home or business. Our national and Tesla approved install team can come and visit you today to see how this fantastic technology can benefit your home or business.