The Tesla Powerwall is a rechargeable lithium-ion battery stationary home energy storage product manufactured by Tesla Energy, the clean energy subsidiary of Tesla, Inc. The Powerwall stores electricity for solar self-consumption, time of use load shifting, and backup power. The Powerwall was introduced in 2015 with limited production. Mass production started in early 2017 at Tesla's Giga Nevada factory. As of May 2021, Tesla has installed 200,000 Powerwalls.
|Type||Home energy storage battery|
|Inception||April 30, 2015|
As Tesla, Inc. developed batteries for its electric car business, the company also started experimenting with using batteries for energy storage. Starting in 2012, Tesla installed prototype battery packs (later called the Powerpack) at the locations of a few industrial customers.
On April 30, 2015, the company announced that it would apply its technology to a home energy storage system, the Powerwall. The device would allow customers to store electricity for solar self-consumption, time of use load shifting, and backup power.
The device was initially announced to have power output of 2 kilowatt (kW) continuous and 3.3 kW peak, but CEO Elon Musk said at the June 2015 Tesla shareholders meeting that this would be more than doubled to 5 kW steady with 7 kW peak, with no increase in price. When originally announced in 2015, two models of Powerwall were planned: 10 kilowatt-hour (kWh) capacity for backup applications and 7 kWh capacity for daily cycle applications. By March 2016, however, Tesla had "quietly removed all references to its 10-kilowatt-hour residential battery from the Powerwall website, as well as the company's press kit. The company's smaller battery designed for daily cycling is all that remains." The 10 kWh battery as originally announced had a nickel-cobalt-aluminum cathode (like the Tesla Model S) and was projected to function as a backup/uninterruptible power supply, and have a projected cycle life of 1000–1500 cycles.
Five hundred pilot units were built and installed during 2015, each being built at the Tesla Fremont Factory. The Giga Nevada factory started limited production of Powerwalls and Powerpacks in the first quarter of 2016 using battery cells produced elsewhere, and began mass production of cells in January 2017.
The Powerwall 2 was unveiled in October 2016 at Universal Studios' Colonial Street, Los Angeles, backlot street set. The Powerwall 2 had a 13.5 kWh capacity and was capable of delivering 5 kW of power continuously and up to 7 kW of peak power in short bursts (up to 10 seconds). Powerwall 2 devices were paired with a device called the Backup Gateway, which acted as a transfer switch and a load center.
In April 2020, Tesla announced that it had installed 100,000 Powerwalls, five years after introducing the product.
Tesla started making several refinements to the Powerwall in 2021. On April 26, during the First Quarter 2021 Financial Results call with investors, the company announced that it had been quietly shipping upgraded versions of the Powerwall 2 since November 2020, which could deliver higher amounts of power, and that the functionality would be enabled via an over-the-air software update. Just a few days later, on April 29, the company started filing for building permits for projects that would use the Powerwall+, a device that combines the functions of a Powerwall 2, the Tesla Backup Gateway and the Tesla Solar Inverter. The combination simplifies installation and allows for even greater power delivery during periods of full sun.
In May 2021, Tesla announced that it had installed 200,000 Powerwalls, selling 100,000 devices in a single year, the same amount that the company had previously taken five years to achieve. The next month, in July 2021, Musk revealed that the company had a backlog of 80,000 Powerwall orders, but due to the global chip shortage, the company would only be able to make less than 35,000 units in the quarter.
Tesla has offered several models of the Powerwall since its introduction in April 2015.
The original Powerwall (retroactively referred to as the Powerwall 1) had a 6.4 kWh capacity and was capable of delivering 3.3 kW of power.
Tesla introduced an improved Powerwall 2 in October 2016 with a 13.5 kWh capacity and capable of delivering 5 kW of power continuously and up to 7 kW of peak power in short bursts (up to 10 seconds). Later versions of the Powerwall 2, shipped after November 2020, had the same capacity, but can deliver 5.8 kW of power continuously and up to 10 kW of peak power.
The Powerwall+, introduced in April 2021, combines the functions of a Powerwall 2, a Backup Gateway and a solar inverter.
Up to 10 Powerwall 2 or Powerwall+ units may be combined to expand the capacity and maximum power of the system.
|Model||Introduced||Price (US$)[a]||Capacity (kWh)||Maximum Power||Weight||Dimensions, H × W × D||Operating temperature||Cycles (during 10 year warranty)|
|Continuous||Peak (10 seconds)|
|Powerwall 1 (discontinued)||April 2015||$3,000||6.4||3.3 kW||214 lb (97 kg)||51.3 in × 34 in × 7.2 in (130 cm × 86 cm × 18 cm)||−4 to 110 °F (−20 to 43 °C)||5,000|
|Powerwall 2||October 2016||$5,500, later $6,500||13.5 (usable)||5 kW||7 kW||251.3 lb (114.0 kg)||45.3 in × 29.6 in × 5.75 in (115.1 cm × 75.2 cm × 14.6 cm)||−4 to 122 °F (−20 to 50 °C)||Unlimited (Used for solar self-consumption, time of use load shifting or backup power)|
37.8 MWh of aggregate throughput (other applications)
|November 2020||$7,500||5.8 kW||10 kW|
|Powerwall+ (includes integrated solar inverter)||April 2021||$8,500||13.5 (usable)||5.8 kW (no sun)
7.6 kW (full sun)
|10 kW (no sun)
22 kW (full sun)
|343.9 lb (156.0 kg)||62.8 in × 29.7 in × 6.3 in (160 cm × 75 cm × 16 cm)|
- Installation cost not included
The Powerwall is optimized for daily cycling, such as for load shifting. Tesla uses proprietary technology for packaging and cooling the cells in packs with liquid coolant. Musk promised not to start patent infringement lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, used Tesla's technology for Powerwalls as he had promised with Tesla cars.
The daily cycle 7 kWh Powerwall 1 battery uses nickel-manganese-cobalt chemistry and can be cycled 5,000 times before warranty expiration. The Powerwall has a 92.5% round-trip efficiency when charged or discharged by a 400–450 V system at 2 kW with a temperature of 77 °F (25 °C) when the product is brand new. Age of the product, temperatures above or below 77 °F (25 °C), and charge rates or discharge rates above 2 kW would lower this efficiency number, decreasing the system performance.
Powerwall 1 includes a DC-to-DC converter to sit between a home's existing solar panels and the home's existing DC to AC inverter. If the existing inverter is not storage-ready, one must be purchased. Powerwall 2 incorporates a DC-to-AC inverter of Tesla's own design. Production of the 2170 cell type (Tesla names them 21-70) for the Powerwall 2 began at Giga Nevada 1 in January 2017.
The National Fire Protection Association conducted two worst-case scenario tests in 2016, igniting Powerpacks to initiate thermal runaway. The design contained damage within the Powerwall structures.
When the 750 megawatt (MW) Kogan Creek Power Station in Queensland tripped in October 2019, system frequency fell and the hundreds of Powerwalls in South Australia combined in a virtual power plant responded to assist in keeping up the frequency.
The Powerwall was unveiled on April 30, 2015, with a 7 kWh Powerwall model that would retail for US$3,000 and a 10 kWh model at $3,500. Shipments of 500 pilot units were planned to begin in the late summer of 2015. Musk indicated that he believed the low Tesla price would cause other storage producers to follow. Before the April 30, 2015, unveiling, some existing solar-panel users[clarification needed] participated in a demonstration program and paid up to $13,000 for a 10 or 15 kWh Tesla battery.
As of May 2015[update], Powerwalls were sold to companies including SolarCity and OUXO Energy for installation. SolarCity was running a pilot project in 500 California houses, using 10 kWh battery packs.[when?] In 2016 in Vermont, Peck Electric Company partnered with Green Mountain Power to install hundreds of Powerwalls in Vermont homes as part of a distributed storage pilot program. A market overview calculates Powerwall 2 at 0.23 Australian dollars per warranted cumulative kWh discharged.
During the first quarter of 2016, Tesla delivered over 25 megawatt-hour (MWh) of energy storage to customers on four continents. Over 2,500 Powerwalls were delivered in North America, Asia, Europe, and Africa. The first Powerwall in Portugal has been sold by OUXO Energy. As of October 2016[update], nearly 300 MWh of Tesla batteries had been deployed worldwide.
Return on investment calculationsEdit
A May 2015 article in Forbes magazine calculated that using a Tesla Powerwall 1 model combined with solar panels in a home would cost 30 cents/kWh for electricity if a home remains connected to the grid (the article acknowledges that the Tesla battery could make economic sense in applications that are entirely off-grid). US consumers got electricity from the power grid for 12.5 cents/kWh on average. The article concluded the "...Tesla's Powerwall Is Just Another Toy For Rich Green People." Bloomberg and Catalytic Engineering also agreed that the Tesla system was most useful in places where electricity prices are high.
There are, however, a number of such locations, including Hawaii and other remote islands that generate electricity with shipped-in or flown-in fuels. Residential California PG&E customers pay as much as 40 cents/kWh if they reach Tier 3 in electrical usage. With residential California time-of-use (TOU) pricing in 2021, off-peak hour pricing (in one PGE plan, 12am - 3pm) can cost around 12 cents/kWh and peak pricing is around 52 cents/kWh (4-9pm). When configured for cost savings, the Powerwall can optimize for being off grid 4-9pm and sending 100% of solar production to the grid, avoiding any peak usage. Arctic and sub-Arctic locations with high energy prices cannot generate sufficient solar energy in the winter due to little or no sunlight.
As of October 2019, the Tesla Powerwall 2 costs $14,600 for the recommended two units (plus $2,500 to $4,500 for installation) in the US; this price does not include the cost of solar panels.
Since Tesla introduced the Powerwall, many other companies have started offering home battery backup products, especially companies that compete with Tesla Energy to sell photovoltaic solar energy generation systems.
The Enphase battery is sold alongside the company's solar micro-inverters (which convert DC power generated by solar panels into AC power using small modules behind each panel) as part of a complete AC-based home energy system. The system is currently the most expensive home battery product, at roughly 50% more than Tesla’s Powerwall. Despite the large price difference, in 2021, Enphase surpassed Tesla as the largest supplier of home energy storage systems.
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