WIRED Presents Primer Video On Tesla Powerwall


Tesla Powerwall Graphic

Tesla Powerwall Graphic

WIRED walks us through the need-to-know info on Tesla’s recently announced Powerwall:

Elon Musk recently unveiled Tesla Energy and the Powerwall home battery. I’ll attempt to cut through the hype and break down the basics to get you primed for your next water-cooler convo.

NOTE: One of the most important things we neglected to mention in the video is that a big part of the appeal for this system is not economical, but environmental. I think the same is generally true of Tesla’s cars. It may not be easier on the wallet (at least not yet) but you’re powering your home with green energy instead of fossil fuels, and there’s a lot to be said for that.

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20 Comments on "WIRED Presents Primer Video On Tesla Powerwall"

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These will not only help householders, but will help Electricity Suppliers, too.

With peak power costing suppliers as much as 10 times ‘cheap rate’,(here in UK) it will eventually pay power suppliers to equip their customers with batteries, to reduce their peak consumption.

Whether the Tesla units are the future remains to be seen, but the concept of customers drawing off their own supply at peak times will soon be the new normal.

It will already benefit owners in SRP territory here in AZ. SRP is levying demand charges against solar owners now and only a battery system or a whole house shutdown each day for 30 mins will make solar feasible.

In some cases, connecting a house to the grid in low population region can be really expensive, making the Tesla powerwall really interesting.

Moreover, I would guess that people that use the powerwall consume less electricity than the average home in the USA (except for their Tesla).

I know quite a few people who have been quoted in excess of 20000€ to join their new property to grid. You don’t even have to live on an island to be quoted that much.

Indeed. If you are already connected to the grid then it is hard to justify this unless your electricity cost is really high.

But . . . if you are building a new house and you are going to have to pay tens of thousands of dollars to install new power polls and string the AC wires to connect you to the grid . . . then perhaps you might want to buy solar PV and this instead. You are already going to pay tens of thousands . . . why not invest that money in your own system instead spending that money for the right to become a slave to the local utility?

As noted in other articles, the commercial version, the Tesla PowerPack, is going to have a lot more near-term impact than the home unit, the PowerWall. For most home owners, the cost/benefit analysis shows it’s just not worth buying a PowerWall.

Contrariwise, electric utilities and industries that are heavy consumers of electrical power can benefit quite a lot from “peak shaving”; that is, averaging out peaks in demand by having a few minutes’ worth of stored electricity, to avoid “on demand” charges or surcharges.

Yep, there are a lot of reasons for the powerpack:
-Avoid building new generation (stores some excess energy generated at night for use during day-time peaks and thus delay the building of a new peaker plant)
-Frequency regulation
-Avoiding ‘demand charges’.
-Avoiding/delaying building new transmission lines (store some electricity that is transmitted over transmission line at night and then use it up locally during the day when transmission line is maxed out.)

But home use? Mostly doesn’t make sense.

Very low maintenance compared to deep cell lead acid batteries is important as well….

Many homes and small businesses already invest $1,000 to $10,000 in UPS’s with lead acid batteries. These batteries last 2-4 years depending on cycle life and depth. The PowerWall standby version would be very competitive compared to those solutions.

Also, not everyone has access to natural gas and the runtime and total install and maintenance costs for gasoline or diesel generators is significant.

But the first people that should be getting a PowerWall are those that have intermittent or oil burning based electricity generation. Think places like Hawaii, Caribbean islands, Alaska and the like.

If you build it as part of your solar array in North Carolina the cost for the 7kWh runs about $1365 which isn’t bad. That is assuming you already are running a central inverter opposed to microinverters. You still have controller cost and installation. If Tesla can deliver one to me by the years end before Governor McCrory takes our credits away I will buy one.

Excellent..Musk had a lot of hype with little substance…the capacity is disappointing for now..hopefully prices will come down and capacity will go up so we can truly use these batteries to cut free from the grid and the knuckleheads at our utilities as they continue their insane efforts to limit the spread of roof-top PV systems and the utilization of clean solar energy.

Since the Power Wall announcement I’ve read many articles disparaging the “small” size of the Power Wall vs. the overall needs of a house. Like if there’s a storm and the power is out, I need to go on as if nothing is wrong. I’m going to run the dishwasher while I’m vacuuming the house and my wife is blow-drying her hair. No, I need the fridge to keep my food from spoiling, a few lights, and a radio or tv to hear the news. I don’t need to power my whole house at typical levels during a power outage.

Carbon should be priced so high that coal states have to charge as much for power as Hawaii. Period.

No, not period. Take the carbon price and return it to everyone equally. Through a monthly check or a decade long payroll tax holiday, I don’t care, it just has to be returned absolutely broadly and equally. Take from the problem, give back indiscriminately.

Yes, that’s exactly what my provincial government has done, and it’s worked like a charm. Also, it’s lowered everyone’s income taxes.


Especially me, since the only carbon I buy is gas for the fireplace and barbecue.

“Gentle Assassin”? This guy is annoying.

“All that energy we generate during the day essentially goes to waste” . . .

Uh . . . No, it doesn’t.

And it is just me or does he seem so damn smug?

And its nice to have a graphic to prove your point, but it would be nice if it was remotely related to the truth.

Electrical consumption does not drop to zero at lunchtime.

Think of all the ev’s plugged in over lunch hour.

When we used to make something in this country, factories used to take up the slack. Now its air conditioned shopping malls. Or the fluorescent lights in them.

The Powerwall generated a lot of hype but the pricing announced is “installer” pricing and it is highly deceptive in that there is no mention of the actual inverter and other components. It is also not available to most solar installers. Finally 2kW power output means if you are running a fridge and a few lights then turn on the microwave for a few minutes, you will trip breakers. The JuiceBox Energy solution on the other hand is available now, 5.5kW and they provide wire diagrams and the full picture.

I have had a PbA backed-up PV system in So. CA for 18 years. I’ve lost the grid a handful of times, and the specific circuits hooked up directly to the inverter continued to function flawlessly. In fact, one time I went outside to find out why my neighbors were milling about, only to find their jaws drop when I exited using my garage-door opener. They explained that we had been without power for several hours because of a transformer failure, and they were waiting for the generator truck. I simply hadn’t noticed that the grid was down. When asked how I did it, I pointed to the PV on the roof, and described my battery box. To a person, they said they were going to look into backed up PV.

That was 1999, and as yet, no one else has solar.

We all need to know what our night time consumption is as well as consumption for only those items you must have during an outage – refrigerator, heating system during the winter, lights in one or two rooms, and perhaps a TV and a computer. Knowing these things you can calculate what kind of battery backup you might need whether you have PV or not. I suspect we all could configure a sub panel system so we could operate off a moderately sized battery pack in critical times or during an outage. When I lived in Maryland we had an outage that lasted more than a week one winter. Myself and 3 neighbors operated our refrigerators and freezers off a generator that we shared 6 hours each day. None of us lost any food which was our only consideration.