Outages in personal homes have caused an increased need for residential power sources to keep the home running, and the Tesla Powerwall does precisely that. The Powerwall is an upgrade from traditional gas generators, which do not have as many capabilities. Usually, a certified installer would take care of this for you, but there is a way to install this yourself.
A Tesla Powerwall DIY Install requires knowledge of high voltage electricity, and it is recommended to be executed by Tesla Energy Certified installers. The Powerwall uses stored energy to power your home during an outage and can be charged through the grid or solar panels.
Installing the Powerwall if you are not a Tesla Energy Certified Installer can be tricky. Knowing the tools needed, home requirements, and exact steps are the only way you are going to be able to complete the installation yourself. Read on to find out the safest and most reliable way to self-install the Tesla Powerwall.
What Is Required To DIY Install?
When you receive your Powerwall, it should come with a manual for installation. If you don’t have a copy or have misplaced yours, you can download your copy from the Tesla site.
The Powerwall is usually attached to the outside of the home, so in order to do this, you will need to make sure there is enough room for the device to fit. Your wall must support 115kg and must not only cover the size of the device, 34″ x 51.3″, but you will also need 1′ of clearance on the top and bottom and 4″ of clearance on both sides.
There is a large list of tools you will need in order to install the PowerWall yourself. Before starting your installation make sure to gather these tools and have them readily available.
Because you will be installing your Tesla Powerwall on an outside wall of your home, it would be easier if you had a cart or some way to transport your tools efficiently, so you do not need to constantly head back to the garage.
Below is a list of all the tools you will need for a Powerwall DIY Install.
- Personal protective equipment (safety glasses, gloves, protective footwear)
- Drill and drill bit for drilling pilot holes in the mounting surface
- Torque screwdriver with a 1/4-inch bit holder and Torx T20 bit
- Large (5 mm) flathead driver bit (for Powerwall Earth terminal)
- Small (2 mm) flathead screwdriver (for wiring connector spring terminals)
- Torque wrench with 1/4-, 3/8-, and 5/16-inch Allen bit (for Backup Gateway power connections)
- Socket wrench with 8 mm hex socket
- Wire strippers/cutters for 24 AWG to 250 kcmil (0.2 mm2 to 120 mm2) wires
- Installation tools (level, stud sensor, tape measure, pencil, painter’s tape, flashlight)
- Multimeter and Loop Impedance Tester
- Lift equipment capable of lifting and supporting 125 kg up to 1.5 m
- Ratcheting strap to secure Powerwall to lift equipment
- Digital camera or smartphone for documenting the installation
Is It Easy To Install The Powerwall?
It’s important to mention again that it is highly recommended to have a Tesla Energy Certified Installer take care of your device’s installation. This is because you will need technical knowledge of high voltage electricity that could cause severe harm if you were to install the device incorrectly.
There are about 18 steps in the Tesla Powerwall manual about how to complete the DIY installation. Steps 1-8 are about removing the packaging the Powerwall comes in and fine-tuning all of your configuration and wiring settings.
Steps 9-12 involve the actual installation of the device to an outside wall of your home. The device is relatively heavy at 115kg and should be installed with two people to avoid injury or damage to the device. These steps will include:
- Determining mounting location
- Installing wall mounting bracket
- Mounting the Powerwall
- Removing any further packaging
When you are done getting the device on the wall of your home, steps 13-15 involve actually connecting your device to your grid or solar panels. This is the most dangerous part of the installation and should be done with extreme caution.
The final steps of the manual involve attaching all protection covers on the device and repacking the shipping box.
How Much Does A Powerwall Installation Cost?
If you don’t have a background in high voltage electricity and are not sure you should be installing the Powerwall yourself, there are plenty of companies who offer installations.
The only problem with this option, and probably the reason you’re interested in DIY installation, is that it comes with a high price tag.
Given that the Powerwall itself costs $6,500 and the hardware costs associated are an additional $1,100, it’s easy to see why many would be interested in saving on installation cost. Adding these amounts to your actual installation could end up costing anywhere from $9,600 and $15,600, which includes the battery, inverter, and installation.
This doesn’t include any additional charges you could incur from a complicated electrical setup due to the layout of your home or how it is connected to the grid.
Benefits of A Powerwall Installation
Tesla is one of the few companies making home energy storage batteries for the mass market, so you may not find a much better product than the Powerwall.
Living Off The Grid
The main benefit of the Powerwall is that it can hook up to your solar energy system to allow you and your family to self-power your home.
The ability to run on clean, solar energy means that you don’t have to rely on the grid to bring electricity to your home. This will not be enough energy to power the home all the time, but it should work consistently if you are looking to lower your energy bills.
You Can Receive A Federal Tax Credit
That’s right. Buying a Powerwall for your home can actually save you money from the government.
The catch is that your Powerwall must be powered by an installed or existing solar energy system. And, you have to charge your Powerwall 100% by solar energy, meaning you can’t be connected to the city grid system and a solar system.
Check with a tax consultant to see if this credit will still be available past 2020, when the credit was expected to be dropped by the federal government.
An investment of this kind to your home will cost a significant amount of money, and you want to make sure your investment has a significant return.
But how you use your Powerwall will ultimately decide how long your device can last and in what capacity. If you are using the device daily to power your home, then you can expect the Powerwall to work just as the warranty suggests.
If you only use the Powerwall on occasion or in times of emergency, then your device should last significantly longer.
Installing your own Powerwall is going to take previous knowledge of high electricity voltage, and Tesla themselves highly recommends you use a Tesla Energy Certified Installer. But, if you are set on doing it yourself, you will be saving a large amount of money in installation costs. Just make sure you run through the manual to be fully prepared with the right kind of tools and instructions.