Tesla Powerwall and Tax Credits – Does it Qualify?


Tesla Powerwall and Tax Credits – Does it Qualify?

As a backup energy system, you might be wondering if you can qualify for federal tax credits when purchasing Tesla Powerwall. This is an excellent program initiated by the federal government that is designed to save you money while helping to generate more environmentally friendly energy options for residential and commercial use.

Tesla Powerwall qualifies for federal tax credits if it is installed and charged properly. To make use of the federal tax incentive, the Powerwall must be installed directly on a solar system that is brand new or previously existing on the property. It must also be charged with 100% solar energy. 

While alternative energy sources are often expensive at the current time, they are nonetheless well worth it from an environmental perspective. Federal tax credits are designed to provide an incentive for businesses and individuals to make use of such energy sources by subsidizing some of the cost. Continue reading to learn how Tesla Powerwall fits into this program. 

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Why Does the Tesla Powerwall Qualify?

As a home battery system that is rechargeable, Tesla Powerwall’s main function is to make a home as energy independent as possible. It works off solar energy and is meant to be a backup that automatically activates when needed. This results in a smaller carbon footprint being left when a home uses energy, which is exactly what the federal incentives are designed to promote.

Furthermore, Powerwall is designed to be an intelligent energy system. This means that it analyzes your energy needs and adapts to them over time. This is how it can ultimately conserve energy in your home, which again is what qualifies it for the federally sponsored energy incentive program. You can charge the system directly from solar panels that you have already previously installed.

Tesla Powerwall Is a Backup System

Some people are concerned that Tesla Powerwall does not qualify for federal tax credits because it is meant to be a backup energy system. In actuality, the program offering federal tax credits states explicitly that both primary and backup energy systems qualify. In this case, the fact that Powerwall uses an existing solar system means that it more than qualifies for the incentive. 

No matter type of energy grid you are using, they can and do fail from time to time. When that happens, the system will continue to make use of solar energy to provide the necessary power to your home. At the same time, the Tesla Powerwall will be charged. 

Powerwall is so intelligent that it can change its charging patterns based upon inclement weather that is approaching. The system regularly receives updates from the National Weather Service. If there is the potential for a power outage, the system will begin to prioritize backup charging to compensate. This is exactly what the unit is meant to do. 

Powerwall Promotes Self-Powered Homes

Depending on the time of year, not all the solar energy stored for residential use can be used. The beauty of the Powerwall system is that it does not have to be. Powerwall will take on the excess energy and use it to charge itself. It will then hold onto that energy and use it on those occasions when more power is needed than the current solar capacity can provide it with.

Make Use of the Time-Based Control

The Tesla Powerwall also allows users to make use of a time-based control system, providing their local energy provider allows for it. This enables homeowners to begin using the solar energy that they have already generated. This results in a lower bill on the average since there will not be any significant energy charges during peak times. 

This is great in areas where electricity prices fluctuate depending on the time of day and the day of the week. In such areas, users often have the benefit of going on a time of use plan. There are incentives for cutting down on electricity during certain periods of the day.

Energy companies that offer such a plan typically divide the day into three main areas:

  • Peak demand – These will be the hours during the day when electricity is in the highest demand. If you used electricity during this time, the rates would be at their highest.
  • Off-peak demand – Typically, these are the hours during the day when electricity demand is at the lowest. As much as possible, you will want to do as many of your high energy tasks as possible prior to this time. 
  • Shoulder hours – These are labeled as all other times of the day when the energy company has not specified them as either being peak or off-peak. 

This is also referred to as load shifting. By using your Tesla Powerwall and associated solar energy panels during certain times of the day, you are promoting the nation’s effort to become less energy-dependent. This is precisely the reason why you are entitled to federal tax credits as well. 

Powerwall Qualifies Because of its Energy Forecasting Feature

Another reason why the Tesla Powerwall qualifies for federal tax incentives is its ability to always make use of an energy forecast. In essence, the system begins to analyze your energy use patterns from the very first day that you use it. Over time, it will begin to adjust how and when it charges and uses energy to become more efficient. 

This system allows Powerwall to alter its energy production based on the season as well. It is meant to optimize the way in which you use energy. If you are forecast to need energy during what would typically be a peak time, then Powerwall will start charging during off peak times. This allows it to then discharge from the system during peak times, even though you are using energy. 

It is a smarter way of using energy. When you use Powerwall, you will have a choice of two different types of energy forecasting and time-based control:

  • Balanced – The goal of this program is to provide a balance between sustainability and cost-savings measures. It will work to reduce your reliance on using energy during peak times while at the same time helping you to maintain a higher overall score on the energy grid. 
  • Cost-Savings – You will want to choose this feature if your ultimate goal is to save as much money as possible. Keep in mind that it might result in a lower self-powered score overall. 

No matter which type of system you feel is best for you and your family, it is easy to set up. Most of the features on Tesla Powerwall can be controlled and set right from your smartphone. Just install the application, and you will be ready to go.

Both of these options will involve your Tesla Powerall engaging in certain behaviors that help it do its job more effectively. With the Balanced plan, the Powerwall will charge excess solar energy during times that are considered off-peak or shoulder. It will then discharge during peak periods. 

Tesla Powerwall will still charge excess solar energy during off-peak and shoulder times on the Cost-Savings plan, but it will discharge during peak and other periods. That is so it can make room for more solar power to be used based on the energy forecast that the system develops. 

Tesla Powerwall Also Monitors Energy Consumption

You can also make use of the Tesla application to monitor your Powerwall from virtually anywhere in the world. One of the main features is its ability to monitor energy consumption. It does this in real-time. 

All you need to do is go to the home screen on your application and press the ‘Power Flow’ button. This will instantly show you exactly what Powerwall is doing to better interact with the energy use in your home. You will also be able to see the grid and the solar system that you are using. 

When you are on that Power Flow screen, you will also be able to visualize a bar chart that is meant to graph historical usage. This is great information to have if you are looking to optimize your energy use further. 

You can also customize your Powerwall to make more efficient use of solar energy in your area. You have three different modes to go through, each designed to help alter how your specific Powerwall is both charged and discharged.

  • Self-powered mode – This is mode is going to help you minimize the carbon footprint that you leave on this world. It moves you one step closer to becoming energy independent. You can only use this when the system is paired with solar, which is a requirement any way if you want to qualify for federal tax credits. 
  • Backup-only mode – This is a great feature to have if there is a power outage. The Powerwall will act as a backup source of energy. 
  • Time-based control mode – You will want to pay attention to this mode if you live in an area that changes rates based on peak and off-peak energy usage times. 

Each of these modes is what makes Powerwall so useful in the long run. It is an intuitive system that continues to learn and adapt to you and your energy needs. 

Combine Modes and Create an Energy Reserve

If you set a reserve percentage on your Tesla Powerwall, you can also then combine modes for even more energy efficiency. A reserve percentage refers to the amount of energy that your system will keep in storage in the event of a power outage. 

You can easily adjust the percent of power you can keep in reserve by pressing the + and – icons on the Tesla application. Once you have done that, you are able to then select another mode and input the remaining percentage. Tesla recommends that you aim to reserve 20% of your Powerwall’s power.

Keep in mind that you can select a reserve percentage of 100%, but this would be equivalent to choosing the Backup Only mode. If you do that, you will not receive any of the benefits of Self-Powered or Time-Based Control modes. 

Powerwall also allows you to change modes as many times as you want to. However, it does take roughly one hour for a change to take effect. 

How Does the Powerwall System Work?

In order to get the federal tax credit for the Tesla Powerwall, the system must work with an existing solar unit. This is because Powerwall enables you to store power that you can use later. It provides you with energy security along with certain financial benefits that are hard to deny. 

When you get a Powerwall system, you will end up with the main unit and a Tesla Gateway. The Gateway is capable of providing energy monitoring services and providing a host of metering and management functions for the entire Powerwall system.

The Backup Gateway provides quite a few functions that are useful to homeowners today. First, it learns to adapt to your own pattern of energy use the longer you use the system. It can also digest over the air updates that it receives on a continual basis, allowing it to make constant adjustments that lead to greater energy efficiency. 

How Powerwall Works with Solar

As the sun rises in the sky, solar energy will begin to power the home. If your home needs more power than the system is generating at the moment, it can start to use energy that is located on the utility grid. 

Powerwall will also be charged by solar energy throughout the day. If your solar panels are making more electricity than your home is using, that is when the charging will take place. Powerwall will then sock away that energy until you need it. This might happen when no solar is being produced at night or when the power grid completely goes out.

How Your Powerwall System is Designed

There are different types of Powerwall that you can install in your home depending on how you tend to use energy. There may also be limitations depending on the size of your home. Below is an explanation of some of the various Powerwall components that are now available.

Backup the Entire Home

This is probably the most advanced feature of Powerwall. It will allow the system to provide energy to just about every component in your home in the event that you have a power outage. This means that all of your appliances should be able to be powered whenever necessary. 

Backup Part of the Home

This will allow Powerwall to provide backup energy to essential parts of the house. These are referred to as essential loads. You might have your lights and outlets receive power, but air conditioners and washing machines would likely be left out of the mix. 

When the power grid is working, you can monitor and use all of the appliances in your home. When your power does happen to go out, Powerwall will only provide backup to those particular loads that it deems essential based on your past usage patterns.

When using the partial home backup, the appliances cannot be more than a combined 5 kilowatts of continuous power for each Powerwall that you have in use. If the power usage goes over that amount, it will automatically shut itself off. This is why it is best to turn off all of your appliances at once if you do happen to be suffering through a power outage. 

Running Multiple Powerwalls at Once

The beauty of the federal tax incentive program is that you can get tax credits for more than one Powerwall unit as long as each is used in conjunction with an existing solar system. 

When you have more than one Powerwall available for use, you will be able to back up more total loads. This will help you be able to power up even more of your appliances in the event of a power outage. You can choose to mount multiple Powerwall systems by placing them one next to the other on a wall or stacking them front to back on the floor. 

Where Should a Powerwall be Installed?

You can install a Powerwall system either inside or outside. This is because the system can operate at a temperature range of -4 degrees F to 122 degrees F. Keep in mind that you may notice some limitations in terms of charging or discharging power at either end of the stated temperature range.

The ideal temperature range for a Powerwall to operate is between 32 degrees and 86 degrees F. This is why Tesla recommends that the unit be installed indoors. You should also avoid installing it in an area that is exposed to direct sunlight or extremely hot or cold temperatures. Keep it away from humidity and rain as must as possible as well. 

Wrap-Up 

The Tesla Powerwall is a great way to provide backup power to your home. When working in conjunction with solar power, it is also going to provide with some federal tax credits. This is a great situation to find yourself in. As noted, there are some great advantages of owning one or more Powerwalls, so it is something to consider.

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Greg

Hi, I'm Greg. My daily driver is a Tesla Model 3 Performance. I've learned a ton about Teslas from hands-on experience and this is the site where I share everything I've learned.

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