Upgrading Original Tesla Powerwall (The Cheap Way)

Upgrading Original Tesla Powerwall (The Cheap Way)

If you have a Tesla Powerwall, you may be wondering if it’s time to upgrade to a new unit. Maybe the Powerwall isn’t operating as efficiently as it used to, or perhaps it became damaged. Whatever the reason for your upgrade, you are probably wondering if it’s going to cost you as much as the original or if there’s a more affordable option for your upgrade.

There are two Tesla Powerwall models: the original and the Powerwall 2. If you have the original Powerwall, upgrading to the Powerwall 2 will increase your kilowatt hours and cost less than the original unit. Some lower-cost Powerwall alternatives include:

  • Nissan XStorage
  • LG Chem RESU
  • Orison Battery

Want to learn more about the differences between the original Powerwall and Powerwall 2? Maybe you’re curious about the powerwall alternatives.Which one is cheaper? We’ll answer all these questions and more throughout this article.

Tesla Powerwall 2: What is It?

Tesla Powerwalls are generally expected to last about 10 years. Since they are a relatively new technology, chances are, you’ve had your unit for less than 10 years. But if you have one of the original Powerwall units, there are a few reasons you may want to upgrade to a Powerwall 2 even if your original unit is still fully functional.

The Powerwall 2 is a newer and bigger version of the original Powerwall. Whereas the original Powerwall only provides 6.4kWh of storage, the Powerwall 2 more than doubles that, offering up to 14kWh of storage. It also includes higher output and peak levels than the original Powerwall.

What does this mean for you? It means that the Powerwall 2 can store more energy and, in turn, allows you to use more energy at any one time than the original Powerwall does.

Despite the greater storage and output capabilities, the Powerwall 2 costs less than the original Powerwall. So, though the initial cost may be a bit expensive, upgrading to a Powerwall 2 will likely save you more on your energy costs, especially when paired with solar panels or a solar roof.

The Powerwall 2 is the only available upgrade, so if you had it installed to begin with, there are no further upgrades you can get.

How Much Does Tesla Powerwall 2 Cost?

The Powerwall 2 unit, which comes with an inverter, costs $5,500, whereas the original Powerwall unit cost closer to $8,000. Of course, both of these prices are for the unit alone. When paired with installation fees and associated hardware, the total price may increase by as much as $1,500-$3,000.

Keep in mind, too, that whichever unit you have, it will likely need replacement after 10 years. If you just spent a lot of money for an original Powerwall a year or so ago, you may want to wait a few years before spending more money to upgrade to a Powerwall 2.

Then again, if you had the original installed when it first came out, it may be a few years older and replacing it may make more sense.

Only you know how much energy you use, how much money your existing Powerwall saves on energy costs, and whether it makes sense for you to upgrade. And again, if you already have Powerwall 2, there are no upgrades available.

How Often Do You Have to Upgrade Powerwall?

Powerwall 2 is currently the only Tesla Powerwall upgrade on the market.

Generally, the units need to be replaced every 10 years; before that time, they are covered under warranty so you can get the unit fixed or replaced if anything goes wrong with it.

When a Powerwall 2 unit begins to get old or doesn’t work as well, if it is no longer covered under warranty, the best you can do is replace it with another Powerwall 2 unit.

This, of course, is more expensive than if there was an upgrade available, and depending on your energy usage, the cost of the new unit may take a significant chunk out of what you have previously saved on energy bills.

Again, you’re the only one who can run the numbers on your house and figure out if the money you save on energy expenses is worth the cost of a new Powerwall 2.

Money-Saving Alternatives to Tesla Powerwall 2

If you don’t need as much storage as the Powerwall 2 offers, or if you’re looking for a more inexpensive option than what Tesla has to offer, you may be able to find a similar storage battery produced by a competitor.

Many different companies produce units similar to a Tesla Powerwall. Many of these units offer even greater storage than the Powerwall and Powerwall 2, but most of them are significantly more expensive.

If you’re looking for cheaper Tesla alternatives, here are a few good options from competitors that produce significantly cheaper products.

Sonnen Battery

The German company Sonnen has several different home-use batteries with various storage options. The smallest of these options is a battery with 4kWh of storage and costs just under $6,000, including installation and inverter costs.

Other Sonnen battery options include up to 16kWh of storage, but of course, the price tag goes up for these units.

That said, Sonnen has been producing storage batteries since 2010, and it is sometimes possible to find used Sonnen units for a much lower price.


The LG Chem RESU battery is possibly the biggest competitor to Tesla. With similar storage and output capabilities as the original Powerwall, the RESU is priced around $7,500 but is rated to last twice as long as both Powerwall models.

The RESU’s biggest selling point is its long lifetime, which can potentially save you more money in the long run since you won’t have to purchase a new unit as often.

Orison Battery

The Orison battery is different from the Powerwall and most other home battery options in several ways. Most notably, it is small and installation is easy enough that you can do it yourself–no need to pay extra for the unit to be installed professionally.

Though the battery only offers 2.2kWh of storage, it is one of the more affordable options you’ll be able to find. The unit costs just $1,600 and weighs only 40 pounds.

Though one unit will not be enough to power your entire home, you can easily buy multiple units to increase your power storage. Since there are no installation costs, you don’t have to worry about wracking up extra expenses with this battery unit.

What About Preowned Powerwall Units?

On occasion, you may be able to find previously owned Powerwall units that are still in good working order. Though this is rare, it is possible that other Tesla users will sell a Powerwall unit after upgrading to a Powerwall 2, and sometimes you’ll even be able to find a gently used Powerwall 2 if someone decided they no longer wanted the unit.

Again, finding good working preowned Powerwall units is rare, but if you get lucky you may be able to find such units on auction websites or marketplaces. Make sure to ask questions of the seller so you know exactly what you’re getting before you buy it.

Final Thoughts

Though there aren’t many Tesla Powerwall upgrade options, it is possible to find good used units or cost-efficient alternatives. If you have an original Powerwall unit, upgrading to a Powerwall 2 may save you more money over time.

Understand your power usage and do your research beforehand so you can make an informed decision about which storage battery will be the most cost-efficient for your house.

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The articles here on ThatTeslaChannel.com are created by Greg, a Tesla vehicle and Tesla solar expert with nearly half a decade of hands-on experience. The information on this site is fact-checked and tested in-person to ensure the best possible level of accuracy.

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