One of the areas in which Tesla is truly leading the field in battery technology. In particular, their storage solution, the Tesla Powerwall, is an efficient and versatile means of storing energy for use during times when you need it the most, such as during a blackout or high use periods. But can you get a Powerwall without Tesla solar panels?
While the Tesla website still has information about using the Powerwall without solar, if you want a Powerwall, you must order it with a solar system from Tesla. This seems to be because demand for the Powerwall is so high that Tesla is restricting access to it.
Evidently, Tesla cannot make Powerwalls fast enough. Nevertheless, solar and the Powerwall go hand in hand as a part of Tesla’s philosophy of going green. In the eyes of Tesla, the ideal application of the Powerwall is as a storage solution for the extra energy that your solar system generates. Read on to learn more about the Tesla Powerwall.
This is Why Tesla Powerwall’s are in High Demand
Recent events have shown how strained and vulnerable the power grid can become. Whether it is multiple companies unable to supply power in Texas because of a severe winter storm or PG&E shutting off power in California because of heat waves and concern for safety, the power grid can let you down at any time.
So it is no wonder that people are searching for a way to store power so that they can have use of some essential functions like powering a refrigerator or, with the use of multiple Powerwalls, heat and air conditioning.
Tesla’s Powerwall 2 is a pretty ideal solution. At roughly 45x30x6 inches, it is slim and trim and does not take up much space either on the floor or mounted to a wall (though it does weigh a hefty 251 pounds). It also has some impressive specs:
- The ability to use 13.5 kWh of 14 kWh stored
- 100% depth of discharge with a 90% round trip efficiency
- 5 kW continuous and 7 kW peak power rating
All this is in one Tesla Powerwall 2. The even better news is that you can connect multiple Powerwalls, each one adding 14 kWh to your total capacity to store energy and allowing you to power more than just 120-volt things. No wonder they are in demand whether you have solar or not.
This is Why Tesla Powerwall Goes with Tesla Solar
Tesla’s Powerwall 2 is more than just a neat battery. It is part of Tesla’s philosophy for solar energy and what it can achieve in the modern home. With the Powerwall 2, Tesla customers get more out of the solar energy that they create by storing what they do not use.
The Powerwall 2 has three modes of use that owners can access through the Gateway 2, which is the Powerwall’s brain:
- Time-based control
- Solar self-consumption
- Backup power
This frees Powerwall users from the grid during times when they might otherwise depend on it or be affected by it with no other recourse:
- Peak usage
- High Usage
These are all situations that the Powerwall 2 was designed to help with. If you have a Powerwall without solar, you can have a solution for those times when the grid fails you, but you are dependent on the grid for that solution. With solar, however, the tables turn, and you need only the sun for energy.
This is made possible by the fact that most solar systems generate more energy than a home uses. Production may change from day to day, of course, but in general, it remains true. Without the Powerwall, that energy goes to the grid, sometimes for a nominal payout. But with the Powerwall, that energy remains with you to use as you see fit.
Gateway and Powerwall Management
Customers who buy the Powerwall 2 must also buy the Gateway 2. The Gateway is the means through which you can determine how to use your Powerwall. Whether it is setting it to store energy or scheduling times and conditions under which it kicks in, you access the Gateway through an app.
So no matter where you are, if you have your smartphone with you, you can adjust your Powerwall settings to be ready for what may be coming your way:
- A severe winter storm
- Record high temperatures
These are just a couple of examples of things the Gateway helps you keep an eye on so that you are ready with the energy you need.
Solar energy’s biggest detractor comes every 24 hours once the sun goes down. At the risk of being blatantly obvious, without the sun, you cannot generate solar energy. Traditionally, if you have a solar system, you have to go back to pulling energy from the grid when the sun goes down.
With the Powerwall 2 (or multiples of them), you have the potential of powering your home throughout the night and not having to rely on the grid. This is a huge win for the solar industry and a giant step toward providing a form of clean energy that is self-sustaining and works around the clock.
The potential of the Powerwall is pretty clear for blackouts. Even if you do not have solar, the Powerwall gives you the option to store energy from the grid to use it when the grid fails, either from:
- A storm, or
- A shutdown related to safety or heavy use.
But having the ability to do that through solar is like having bragging rights. Not only have you generated your own energy for your home, but you have also generated energy for your home in case of emergency. At a time when clean energy needs to transition from a supplemental source to a primary source, this is why Tesla Powerwall goes with solar.
Another reason that Tesla Powerwall 2 and the solar system make a good team is during high or peak usage. During peak hours, the Powerwall gives you the opportunity to use it as a replacement for a time from the grid.
If you have only a Powerwall without solar, you can still apply this kind of strategy, but all the energy that you need to replace the grid will have to come from the grid, which means, at some point, you are paying the utility company for something that you could generate through solar energy.
There are times during the day or week when the grid is strained because of high use. This can happen, especially during the hottest summer days. Just as with peak usage, during high use, the Tesla Powerwall can be a backup.
But what is more, when you have a solar system, the Powerwall can act as a supplement, not just for you, but for the grid itself. This is only the case where Tesla has set up virtual power plants such as with:
- Green Mountain Power in Vermont
- The Energy Plan in England
In virtual power plants, Tesla customers have the opportunity to contribute to the community of Tesla users by allowing that community to draw from energy stored in your Powerwall and sourced from your solar system.
Do You Need Solar for Tesla Powerwall?
Despite the fact that the Tesla Powerwall requires Tesla solar panels to purchase, you can use the Powerwall:
- With solar
- Without solar
When you use the Powerwall without solar, it automatically charges itself when your energy costs are lowest, ensuring you do not spend a fortune. It discharges energy when the electric energy costs are highest, so you can save money that way, as well.
The need for clean energy that gives you the ability to power your home when the grid cannot has never been more apparent. Whether it is power outages from severe winter weather or severe summer heat or shutdowns due to safety concerns, the power grid more and more is easily compromised.
Technically, Tesla’s Powerwall 2 can work without a solar system, but Tesla is only selling the Powerwall with a solar system, not without. So the functionality of the battery is restricted to use with solar. That may be frustrating for non-solar users, but for solar users, the Powerwall and solar system combo means less dependency on the grid.