The Tesla Powerwall is a rechargeable lithium-ion battery stationary home energy storage product manufactured by Tesla Energy. The Powerwall stores electricity for solar self-consumption, time of use load shifting, and backup power.[1][2]

Tesla Powerwall
TypeHome energy storage battery
InceptionApril 30, 2015 (2015-04-30)
ManufacturerTesla Energy
Models made
  • Tesla Powerwall 2
  • Tesla Powerwall+
  • Tesla Powerwall 3

The Powerwall was introduced in 2015 as Powerwall 1 with limited production. A larger model—Powerwall 2—went into mass production in early 2017 at Tesla's Giga Nevada factory, with a more capable model with an internal DC–to–AC inverterPowerwall 3—entering production in late 2023. As of May 2021, Tesla had installed 200,000 Powerwalls.

History edit

As Tesla Motors (now 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 developed into the Tesla Powerpack) at the locations of a few industrial customers.[3]

Giga Nevada, Tesla, Inc.'s battery factory where the Powerwall is made

In November 2013, Tesla announced that it would build Giga Nevada, a factory to produce lithium-ion batteries.[4][5]

On April 30, 2015, the company announced that it would apply its battery technology to a home energy storage system: the Powerwall.[6] The device would allow customers to store electricity for solar self-consumption, time-of-use load-shifting, and backup power.[7]

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.[8] Two models of Powerwall were planned: a 7 kilowatt-hour (kWh) capacity model for daily cycle use (solar self-consumption, time of use load shifting) and a higher capacity 10 kWh model for customers who also wanted backup power.[9][10][11][12] By March 2016, however, Tesla had removed all references to its 10 kWh battery from the Powerwall website, as well as the company's press kit.[13] The production units would ultimately offer a capacity of 6.4 kWh.[14]

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 January 2016[15] using battery cells produced elsewhere, and began mass production of cells in January 2017.[16]

The Powerwall 2 was unveiled in October 2016 at Universal Studios' Colonial Street backlot set.[17][18] 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).[19] Powerwall 2 devices were paired with a device called the Backup Gateway, which acted as a transfer switch and a load center.[20]

In April 2020, Tesla announced that it had installed 100,000 Powerwalls, five years after introducing the product.[21]

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.[22] 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.[23] 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.[24] 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.[25]

Powerwall models edit

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.[14]

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.[26] The Powerwall+, introduced in April 2021, combines the functions of a Powerwall 2, a Backup Gateway and a solar inverter.[27] Up to 10 Powerwall 2 or Powerwall+ units may be combined to expand the capacity and maximum power of the system.[28]

Powerwall 3 started to be rolled out in September 2023. Like the earlier Powerwall+ it includes an integrated solar inverter, but instead of separate solar and battery assemblies, the two are integrated into a single device.[clarification needed] However, the device was criticized[according to whom?] as being less visually appealing with the black plastic sides with lighting used on the Powerwall 2 replaced with bare metal sides on the Powerwall 3.[29]

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) Locked Rotor Amps
Powerwall 1 (discontinued) April 2015 7 2 kW[30] Unknown 209 lb (95 kg) 51.2 in × 33.9 in × 7.1 in (130 cm × 86 cm × 18 cm)[30] −4 to 110 °F (−20 to 43 °C) 5,000[31][32]
$3,000 7 3.3 kW[33] Unknown
10 6.6 kW[30] Unknown 223 lb (101 kg)
Powerwall 2 October 2016 $5,500, later $6,500[citation needed] 13.5 (usable)[34] 5 kW 7 kW Unknown 251 lb (114 kg)[35] 45.3 in × 29.5 in × 5.5 in (115 cm × 75 cm × 14 cm)[30] −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)[36]
November 2020 $7,500[citation needed] 5.8 kW 10 kW 106A[citation needed]
Powerwall+ April 2021 $8,500[citation needed] 13.5 (usable)[37] 5.8 kW (no sun)
7.6 kW (full sun)
10 kW (no sun)
22 kW (full sun)
118A 344 lb (156 kg)[38] 62.8 in × 29.7 in × 6.3 in (159.6 cm × 75.5 cm × 16 cm)[30]
Powerwall 3 September 2023 $7,300[citation needed] 13.5[39] 11.5 kW[40] 30 kW[41] 185A[40] 290 lb (130 kg)[40] 43.25 in × 24 in × 7.6 in (109.9 cm × 61.0 cm × 19.3 cm)[40]
  1. ^ Installation cost not included

Technology edit

Tesla Powerwall 2 in use at an elephant sanctuary in Kenya

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.[42] 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.[43]

The Powerwall 1 battery uses nickel-manganese-cobalt chemistry[31] and can be cycled 5,000 times before warranty expiration.[31][32] 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.[14] 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.[44]

Powerwall 2 incorporates a DC-to-AC inverter of Tesla's own design. Its rated roundtrip efficiency (from AC input to AC output) is 90%, when brand-new, and when being charged and discharged at the rate of 3.3kW at an ambient temperature of 25 degrees C.[45] Its measured RTE is 87%, with a seasonal variation of -3% in summer and +3% in winter, when mounted in an enclosed porch near London.[46] Production of the 2170 cell type for the Powerwall 2 began at Giga Nevada 1 in January 2017.[16][47][48]

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.[49]

Return-on-investment calculations edit

Powerwall 2 on display in the lobby of the Giga Nevada factory

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."[50]

Bloomberg[51] and Catalytic Engineering[52] also agreed that the Tesla system was most useful in places where electricity prices are high. Examples of locations with very high electricity prices are Hawaii and other remote islands that generate electricity with fuel that must be shipped-in.

Another possible savings comes from areas with time-of-use (TOU) pricing. For example, Northern California's Pacific Gas and Electric Company charged as low as 12 cents/kWh in 2021 during the off-peak hours (12a–3p) and as high as 52 cents/kWh during the peak hours (4p–9p). When configured for cost savings, the Powerwall can allow a home to go off-grid during peak hours, avoiding the highest cost power usage.

The Swiss bank UBS said that the Powerwall makes sense in Australia and Germany where electricity is very costly but solar panels are well distributed.[53]

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.[54]

Competition edit

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.

In 2023, Powerwall had a 47 percent share of the residential solar-plus-storage market, with Enphase Energy having a 17 percent market share.[55]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Powerwall". Tesla Energy. Retrieved January 5, 2022.
  2. ^ "Powerwall Modes". Tesla Energy. Retrieved January 5, 2022.
  3. ^ Terdiman, Daniel (June 25, 2015). "How Tesla's Commercial Batteries Have Changed The Future...For Winemakers?". Fast Company. US. Retrieved May 29, 2016.
  4. ^ Hull, Dana (November 15, 2013). "Tesla Motors may make its own batteries". The Mercury News. Bloomberg News. Retrieved July 19, 2021.
  5. ^ Savov, Vlad (November 6, 2013). "Tesla's solution to battery shortages is to build its own 'giga factory'". Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  6. ^ Russell, Jon (April 30, 2015). "Tesla's $3,000 Powerwall Will Let Households Run Entirely On Solar Energy".
  7. ^ Debord, Matthew (May 1, 2015). "Elon Musk's big announcement: it's called 'Tesla Energy'". Business Insider. Retrieved June 11, 2015.
  8. ^ Chirgwin, Richard (June 16, 2015). "Elon Musk pours more Kool-Aid into Powerwall". The Register. Retrieved July 19, 2021.
  9. ^ Gordon-Bloomfield, Nikki (May 6, 2015). "Tesla Motors Posts Q1 2015 Losses, Due to Strong Dollar, High Capital Expenditures. Hits 1,000 Car/Week Model S Production". Transport Evolved. Archived from the original on June 13, 2017. Retrieved May 9, 2015.
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  16. ^ a b Randall, Tom (January 4, 2017). "Tesla Flips the Switch on the Gigafactory". Archived from the original on January 4, 2017. Retrieved January 4, 2017.
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  29. ^ Lambert, Fred (September 8, 2023). "Tesla starts Powerwall 3 installations: It looks worse but is more useful". Electrek. Retrieved September 8, 2023.
  30. ^ a b c d e "Powerwall Emergency Response Guide" (PDF). November 11, 2022. Retrieved September 8, 2023.
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  38. ^ "Powerwall+ Datasheet" (PDF). June 1, 2021. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 29, 2023. Retrieved July 18, 2021.
  39. ^ The Tesla Powerwall 3 is here!
  40. ^ a b c d "Powerwall 3 Datasheet" (PDF). Tesla, Inc. 2024. Retrieved February 20, 2024.
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  54. ^ "Tesla Powerwall".
  55. ^ Issokson, Max (March 12, 2024). "US distributed solar and storage competitive landscapes shift in 2023 | Wood Mackenzie". Retrieved March 29, 2024.

External links edit