Tesla Energy has unveiled the PowerWall, a battery for the home. This could change the way we use energy forever – and save us all a fair few quid into the bargain. But how do you get your hands on one?
Why do I want a Tesla PowerWall?
The main selling point of a Tesla PowerWall is that it’ll kick in automatically if you suffer a power cut.
This will stop your freezer full of food from defrosting and your desktop PC ticking over, not to mention prevent you from having to dig out the candles on your way to the bathroom.
If you’ve shelled out on solar panels, you’ll be able to charge up your PowerWall during the day, rather than energy it to your utility company (and then buying it back later in the evening).
Even if you don’t have solar panels, you’ll be able to charge the PowerWall up during off-peak periods, when energy is at its cheapest, and then use it during peak times, which would save you money and help balance the load on the grid.
And for all of its usefulness, the system is relatively unobtrusive, looking like a neat, matte suitcase mounted to your wall, so you needn’t worry about the value of your property being negatively affected by some gargantuan battery stack, drilled into the masonry.
How does PowerWall work?
Related: ‘Storing renewable energy is a massive challenge, but one we’re excited about’ – Climote’s Derek RoddyTesla’s PowerWall is a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery which can be charged by the grid or solar panels. Think of it as a huge mobile phone battery hanging off of your wall.
Once charged, Tesla claims that PowerWall will either feed energy back into the grid (if there’s an excess) or simply maintain it for you to use at a later date, when energy prices are higher, or when there’s a blackout or power cut.
PowerWall comes in two flavours, the 7kWh and 10kWh. The smaller edition is aimed at homes, charging during off-peak and consuming during peak.
The bigger 10kWh PowerWall is aimed predominantly at bigger homes and businesses looking to protect themselves during outages.
Tech companies with busy server rooms are likely to want more than one 10kWh PowerWall. If your home or business is particularly power hungry, you can have more than one PowerWall battery installed and they will work together to meet your expanded needs.
How much money will a PowerWall save me?
Related: Tesla Model S shows the combustion engine who’s boss (again)The system could potentially save the average family between £200 and £500 per year, depending on their energy supplier.
British Gas customers on the company’s standard tariff, who charged the PowerWall during off-peak hours (between 4pm and 8pm) could end up saving around £39 a month, which mounts up to £474 over the course of year.
When factoring in the unit’s wholesale cost and approximate installation charges, you’ll have to run the PowerWall for 5 and a half years for it to pay for itself, but given the fact that the hardware is guaranteed for 10, you’re definitely looking at a significant saving over the course of its lifespan.
Alternatively, if you were an nPower subscriber on the company’s Economy 7 tariff, you’d be looking at an annual saving of around £315 a year, whereas the same tariff on Eon would only net you a saving of £219 a year.
How much is Tesla PowerWall?
The 7kWh version will cost suppliers $3,000 (£1,962), while the meatier 10kWh version will cost $3,500 (£2,290). This price doesn’t include supplementary kit or installation, so the final price you’ll pay could be higher, depending on your electrician’s rates.
When is Tesla PowerWall coming to the UK?
Tesla Energy has partnered with a number of companies in the United States, including Treehouse, SolarEdge and Vermont’s Green Mountain Power, and will begin shipping in the summer.
The system will also be available in both Australia and Germany by the end of the year, but there’s no official word yet on when we’ll get to see it here in the UK.