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The Palmetto Guide to the Tesla Powerwall

February 20, 2024
Brian Church
The words "Tesla Powerwall Guide" over images of two Tesla Powerwalls mounted to the side of a home, storing energy from solar panels.
In this article
01.
A Brief History of the Tesla Powerwall 
02.
The Benefits of a Tesla Powerwall 
03.
Tesla Powerwall vs Whole House Generator  
04.
Tesla Powerwall Product Specifications
05.
What to Know Before You Buy a Powerwall

The Powerwall is a home energy storage system developed by Tesla, the highest-selling EV manufacturer in the US. Often installed with solar panels, the Powerwall and products like it are designed to help homeowners better control their electricity supply and reap several lifestyle benefits.

So if you heard the Powerwall mentioned in conversation or media and want to learn more, this guide will look at everything you need to know about Tesla’s popular residential batteries.

Note: Palmetto does not currently offer the Tesla Powerwall in our home solar energy solutions.

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A Brief History of the Tesla Powerwall 

If the history of a battery sounds boring to you… we get it. Feel free to skip ahead. However for those excited about the rapidly developing world of energy storage, here’s a brief timeline:

The Benefits of a Tesla Powerwall 

While keeping in mind a potentially steep price of admission (we’ll talk more about project costs later), the Tesla Powerwall delivers three key benefits to homeowners.

  1. Backup power: With a home battery fully charged, you can power your lights and other essential appliances during grid power outages, blackouts, and severe weather events.
  2. Energy independence: Especially when installed with solar, the Powewall can lower dependence on grid-supplied power – including the ability to tap into battery reserve overnight, during peak billing hours, and when running high-powered appliances like air conditioners or EV chargers.
  3. Financial incentives: In the right set of circumstances, home batteries like the Powerwall can be used to significantly lower time-of-use rate bills or participate in electricity-sharing programs with compensation for stored electricity exported to the grid.

To learn more benefits of the Powerwall and products like it, read our solar battery guide.

Tesla Powerwall vs Whole House Generator  

While whole-house generators are reliable devices that have kept homes running for decades, the Powerwall and products like it deliver many advantages over traditional gas-powered energy backup systems.

  1. Less maintenance: When compared to the physical fueling, gasoline purchases, and required maintenance of whole home generators, battery storage ownership is a walk in the park for most users.
  2. Lower lifetime costs: Although batteries may be more expensive than gas generators upfront, lithium-ion technology and solar power can significantly lower long-term costs per kWh vs. traditional whole-house generators.
  3. Reduced noise and emissions: Burning fossil fuels, home generators often produce both unpleasant noises and emissions. On the other hand, Powerwalls have an operating noise of < 40 dBA (roughly as loud as a library), and produce exponentially greener results than combustion fuel sources.
  4. Smarter technology: Lastly, advanced home batteries like the Powerwall are also intelligent, grid-capable devices that can be controlled with a mobile app, connected with other smart devices, or used to earn electricity bill credits through energy sharing.

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Tesla Powerwall Product Specifications

Much like the company's diverse line of electric vehicles, you may be able to choose from several Powerwall options as a homeowner in the US. In 2024, three Powerwall models are currently available – the Powerwall 2, Powerwall+, and Powerwall 3 – with specifications as outlined in the image from Tesla below.

Tesla Powerwall Specifications

Tesla Powerwall Cost

According to Marketwatch in 2024, installing a single Tesla Powerwall costs $11,500 in project materials and labor expenses, with about $8,000 extra for each additional battery. Of course, installation expenses vary for every Powerwall purchase and largely depend on your project location and available local resources.

When installing a high-powered device like the Tesla Powerwall, some properties (especially older homes) may require an electrical panel upgrade, which can also add significant costs to your project. Additionally, the price of a Powerwall may be affected if you are bundling it with other products, like solar or EV charging equipment.

To reduce the costs of a Powerwall, you may be able to claim the Residential Clean Energy Credit for up to 30% of the total project costs as well as any locally available incentives through your state, city, or utility.

What to Know Before You Buy a Powerwall

Before you purchase a Powerwall (or multiple Powerwalls), there are a few things you need to consider, the most important of which is where exactly you will be physically installing your equipment. Powerwalls can be mounted on the floor or wall, both indoors and outdoors.

While installations are most commonly found in garages or basements, all home batteries must be installed up to the local and national building and electrical codes. For both safety and legality, Powerwalls also must only be installed by Tesla-certified professionals.

How many Powerwalls should I get?

The number of Powerwalls you should get depends on several factors, including your consumption habits, available installation space, and total budget. While there is no “perfect” number of Powerwalls, keep in mind that you can install up to 10 Powerwall 2s or up to 4 Powerwall 3s to help meet your energy goals.

Project Timeline 

Although your actual installation will likely only take one day, the timeline of any particular Tesla Powerwall project may be highly variable. As one of the most recognizable products in the market, Tesla has struggled to fulfill Powerwall orders in the past and project lengths may vary depending on your location or any unforeseen circumstances.

Tesla Powerwall vs. Other Solar Batteries

While some people are beginning to use the term “Powerwall” to describe any residential energy storage system (much like popular brands of other products like Kleenex, Jacuzzi, and Chapstick), the reality is that many Powerwall alternatives are now available in the US.

Electricity storage is one of the fastest-growing technologies in the clean energy arena, and before purchasing a Powerwall, you may want to explore other options that may be more cost-effective or logical for your particular project.

Bottom Line

Ultimately, whether you are considering a Tesla Powerwall, solar panels, or any other home energy upgrade, consulting a professional can help you best understand and explore your sustainable electricity choices.

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