Tesla's Powerwall 2 is perhaps the most famous solar backup battery option, though it is not the highest volume sold. Tied to celebrity tech entrepreneur Elon Musk, the first Powerwall was announced in 2015 and the Powerwall 2.0 a year later.
Does it measure up to the buzz? Both Powerwalls were met with enthusiasm, and with mixed reviews from customers.
Some customers experienced Powerwall 1 fan noise as loud as a garbage disposal in the initial rollout. Tesla promptly fixed that with a firmware update and no further complaints have surfaced on this point.
Tesla Powerwall 2 - Warranty Issues?
One of the major drawbacks for Tesla’s battery in 2016 was a somewhat vague warranty. The parameters guaranteed the unit would be “free of defects” for 10 years or unlimited cycles—which sounds good, but did not include “normal wear and tear,” which natural battery degradation could fall under. This left buyers feeling insecure about the longevity of their investment.
It seems that enough people mentioned this oversight, however, as Tesla's more recent warranty update does include maintaining an output rate of 70% at 10 years. This matches assurances from other industry leaders such as Sonnen and exceeds LG, which only offers 60%.
All These Parts: The New Powerwall Is More Integrated
Another Powerwall update is the integration of the AC inverter into the battery. Early Powerwall models and competitors, such as Sonnen and LG, required a separate DC inverter to use power from the grid or solar. The Powerwall 2 inverter is now part of the package, eliminating the need for a separate hybrid inverter.
This makes for a more compact system that’s theoretically easier to install, with fewer parts to cover by separate warranties.
Time-Of-Use Rates and Tesla Powerwall 2
While incentives and rebates can mitigate the cost of a solar investment, some markets still can’t justify the cost. Net metering is an option in most states, which allows customers to send any excess power generated from solar back to the grid. They are compensated for these contributions throughout varying policies across municipalities.
Alongside net metering, time-of-use rates are being adopted by utilities, making the economics for battery storage more viable. An automatic load shifting firmware update is due for the Powerwall 2 in 2018, though this deadline has already been pushed back before. This will allow the Powerwall to automatically detect when it’s time to pull power from the battery, thereby avoiding grid rates when they’re most expensive.
Customer Experiences with the Tesla Powerwall 2
There may have been (and still could be) interruptions and delays in Powerwall 2 installations. Tesla forums show some people still frustrated at spending endless months on the waitlist with little response from customer service.
This is characteristic of a company spreading itself thinly across several facets of industry. Whether this all-in-everywhere approach will eventually pay off is yet to be seen. But it seems that overall, once a customer finally gets their sleek new Powerwall 2 unit home, the experience is a good one.
To satisfy your curiosity about the system in action, check out these videos from a Powerwall 2 customer in Australia. They’re first-person POV clips of his recently installed Tesla backup system. He sets up various situations in different weather conditions to show how the battery responds.
Boris Feldman is our own Pick My Solar customer who had a Tesla Powerwall 2 installed at home. Here’s what he had to say about his experience with his new backup battery.
"The Powerwall 2 is a really cool piece of technology that allows me to have total control of our household electrical usage. It's a sleek design, and the mobile app is incredibly intuitive."
You can visit his website at www.baseenergy.net.
All in all, most customers seem to report that the Powerwall 2 works as advertised and has intuitive monitoring software that’s fun to use.
You can read more about the technicalities of home solar batteries here. If you have any questions about the Powerwall or solar storage in general, feel free to call our energy advisors at 888-454-9979 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.