What Is the Tesla Powerwall and How Does It Work?

Tesla, an automotive and energy company, best known for its electric cars, started expanding its product retinue to the home energy storage market in 2015 when they announced the Tesla Powerwall, the company’s first home battery product. If it’s your first time hearing about it, you might wonder: how does it work?

The Powerwall is an electric energy storage product with enough capacity for everyday use at home. It’s usually complemented by a solar panel system. When the solar panels make more electricity than you can use, this excess energy will go to the battery pack, which you can use later when panels are not producing electricity anymore.

What Is the Tesla Powerwall?

According to Tesla, the Powerwall is a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, which comes with liquid thermal control. It’s one of the few small-scale batteries in the market used for home energy storage. The Powerwall was first released back in 2015, with its successor launched in 2016.

Before 2018, the Powerwall 2.0 had a $5,500 price tag, excluding the cost of installation. But now, this price increased to $6,700. Regardless, these battery packs from Tesla are great if you pair them with solar panel systems.

This pairing works better if you’re looking to accomplish an off-grid project. That way, you’ll become an independent homeowner, free from utility costs that come from your grid connection. With this power supply storage solution, you can sustain your power supply throughout the day.

How Does the Tesla Powerwall Work?

Tesla’s investment of time and money developed this long-lasting battery technology. After all, they can apply their existing car battery technology and improve it for home use. Like other products made to store energy, the Tesla battery pack works by pairing itself with a solar panel system and stores its excess energy.

Once your panels don’t make enough energy, you can use the stored electricity from the Powerwall. It will allow you not to buy from your local utility provider.

The process of energy storage will happen during the entirety of the day. As the sun reaches its zenith in the sky, your solar panels will start making more energy than you can consume. With that, this surplus power goes to your Tesla Battery.

Once the sun starts setting, the solar energy produced by your panels will start decreasing. You can then start using the stored energy from earlier. You’re essentially balancing out both your power production and usage throughout the day.

Can You Go “Off-the-Grid” Using a Tesla Powerwall and Solar?

If you install a solar panel system along with the Tesla Powerwall, you can expect a lot of benefits. It’s a great way of controlling electricity bill since it can decrease your actual electricity consumption. But that doesn’t mean that you can completely disconnect your home from the local utility company.

After all, going off-the-grid using solar panels and batteries can become more expensive. It can lead to a lot of complications due to its variability. With one Tesla Powerwall, you can only expect to have backup power for a couple of hours.

This storage capacity will not be enough to cover your power if the entire day is cloudy. Worse, you’ll expect a long power interruption if the inclement weather continues for weeks or months. With that, you should only use this system to enhance your existing power system.

According to the Tesla website, the Tesla Powerwall can last around 1 and a half day at full charge. It’s assuming that you carry on with normal activities like making toast, brewing coffee, washing clothes, and so on. The company has a page that allows you to select your daily activities and calculate the approximate number of hours your Powerwall can last.

How Much Does the Tesla Powerwall Cost?

The new Tesla Powerwall 2.0 battery can store twice the amount of power compared to its predecessor. With that, this product costs $6,700 at its base, with supporting hardware such as the Powerwall Stack Kit hardware or the Backup Gateway units that can cost about $1,100. As for installation fees, it can add another $2,000 – $8,000 to your final bill, depending on your setup.

Take note, most sellers won’t put in their listings the cost of installing the Tesla Powerwall on your home. Tesla states that installation will often add $800 – $2,000 to the costs. That won’t include all the other associated costs, such as:

  • Electrical upgrades
  • Taxes
  • Permit fees
  • Connection charges

Regardless, the final figures will vary, depending on the specific factors affecting your installation. It will increase more if you opt to make the Powerwall a component of a solar energy system. For example, an average solar energy system will have a price range of $8,500 – $16,000.

This solar power system is 5 kW, and its price increases according to your location and the type of equipment you opt for, such as performance monitoring and racking. It can be quite a hefty investment, but it’s worthwhile since it will allow you to run free from the grid.

How Long Does the Tesla Battery Last and What Is Its Warranty?

The Powerwall will come with an unlimited 10-year warranty. This will assume that you use your battery every day, meaning it will charge and drain as its daily cycle. It also includes a capacity warranty that will guarantee your Powerwall’s charge capacity will retain at least 70% during this period.

Tesla Powerwall’s technology has similarities with other rechargeable batteries. Regardless of its capacity, these will lose some of its charge-holding capabilities. The idea is similar to that of a smartphone losing its battery life after a few years.

Remember, this loss of charge isn’t the result of a product flaw. All batteries will deteriorate as time goes by, regardless of where it’s used. That’s why the Tesla guarantee only applies to a certain storage capacity level.

What Are the Benefits of the Tesla Powerwall?

Most households will use solar installations without using a battery. Take note, if your system is part of the electric grid, batteries aren’t as necessary. But it’s still better if you have the Tesla Powerwall in your home since you’ll get the following benefits:

Prevents Power Outages

Net metering allows you to gain profits from selling excess power gathered from your solar panels back to the utility company. It’s a utility billing mechanism offered by most states that credit you when you send your extra power back to the grid. That means when you’re not using this power, it’s saving you some funds.

But this won’t help you when the power gets interrupted by the source. That’s why it’s important to get a Powerwall since it allows you to store your power. You’ll have power while everyone else is in the dark as well as reducing your dependence on your utility company even more.

Prevents Net Metering Loss

Lots of state governments mandate utility companies to join in net metering programs. It’s unlikely for net metering to disappear within the immediate future. But with a Powerwall in your home, you can maximize your solar energy consumption even when net metering gets abolished.

Increases Your Home Value

Realtors consider residential batteries as property improvements. With that, it will make your property more valuable when you put it up for sale. After all, solar panels and batteries will make power outages manageable, thus putting more monetary value to your house.

Only a small number of improvements can add cost savings to homeowners the same way as a complete solar energy installation. With that, potential buyers will come knocking as soon as you start listing your property.

Environment-Friendly Energy

One of Tesla’s primary objectives is to eliminate the use of carbon-based power. If you want to curb the effects of global warming, a Powerwall is a great way of reducing your property’s carbon footprint. It goes a step further than the usual solar panel setup alone.

Net metering has its benefits, but your property will use fossil fuels at night to operate. You’ll reduce your use of these fuels if you complement your solar panel system with the Powerwall and self-consumption. Some day you might end up avoiding it completely.

Where Can You Buy a Tesla Powerwall Battery?

Tesla has a network of certified installers around the world that can sell you the battery. Whether you opt for the Powerwall or another brand, you’ll need the help of these professionals. After all, the installation process will require expertise, certifications, and the best practices to correctly install your Powerwall.

When looking for the best-seller, make sure to get quotes from several providers. If you can find local sellers, the process becomes easier. Don’t hesitate to ask for the right price.


Having a solar panel system in your home is a great investment. But to make the most out of it, you should get a Tesla Powerwall since it helps you save more energy. While it won’t let you operate completely off-grid, you can enjoy eco-friendly electricity most of the time.

Mike Reyes

I'm Mike Reyes, a guy behind eDrivePlanet.com. I have a background in electrical engineering and I was interested into technology since my early age. My passion is sustainable transport and energy, and my objective is to make eDrive Planet a pillar of the electric vehicles industry with hopefully millions of site visitors each year. I am counting on you, please spread the voice!

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