For a variety of reasons, more homeowners than ever in the San Diego, CA, area are turning to rooftop solar to meet their home’s power needs. Since Friar's Heating and Air is one of the premier purveyors of solar technology in the area, our team of solar power experts loves everything about that. However, we’ve noticed that there’s a persistent misconception in the general public about one particular part of the rooftop solar equation: residential battery storage. In particular, we field plenty of questions about the Tesla Powerwall since it’s one of the most well-known types of battery storage on the market. So, we’ve decided to create this guide to the Tesla Powerwall. We’ll cover what it is, what it does, and all of the ways it can make your San Diego, CA, home more efficient.
What Is the Tesla Powerwall?
One of the biggest problems homeowners face when they install a rooftop solar power system is finding a way to maximize its utility. After all, the sun doesn’t shine at night, which often means continued reliance on standard grid power. Fortunately, the power companies here in California offer net metering, which helps homeowners with solar systems offset a substantial part of their electricity bills each month.
However, there is another option to extend the utility of a rooftop solar power system. It’s to install a battery storage system to store excess power produced by your solar panels during the day. Then, overnight or during periods when the sun isn’t shining, your home can draw power from the battery instead of the grid, and that’s where the Tesla Powerwall comes into the picture.
It’s a large lithium-ion battery-based storage system built specifically to augment the utility of renewable energy sources like solar. Produced by the well-known Tesla, Inc., the Powerwall comes in two configurations, called the Powerwall 2 and the Powerwall+, respectively. The main difference between the two is that the latter offers higher surge power capacity. They both also contain smart circuitry that allows homeowners to manage their home’s power and storage system. It’s also worth noting that it’s possible to use a Powerwall in concert with grid power too, where it acts as an emergency power reservoir.
How Does the Tesla Powerwall Work?
Once installed in a home, the Tesla Powerwall can charge itself using excess power produced by a home’s solar panels. It uses smart circuitry to detect how much power the home uses throughout the daylight hours, so it won’t interfere with any appliances or devices inside the home. Then, as the power output of the panels begins to decline towards dusk, the Powerwall augments the home’s power supply.
If the home has a rooftop solar power system and a connection to the grid, the Powerwall will operate with both. It can charge itself using grid power, typically during the hours that offer the most advantageous electricity prices. In that way, it can stand ready to meet a home’s power needs during peak times, thus preventing the home from drawing power from the grid when it’s more expensive to do so.
There are also five main settings on a Powerwall that help their owners get the exact functionality they want from the units. They are:
- Self-powered mode – The default mode for homes with solar panels, collecting energy by day and discharging at night
- Backup-only mode – A mode that sets the Powerwall to act as a backup power source during a power outage
- Time-based mode – A mode that relies on hourly grid power rates to automatically optimize energy costs
- Storm watch mode – Uses data from the national weather service to proactively store power for use during inclement weather
- Preconditioning mode – A mode that heats the batteries to optimize charging during colder weather
How a Tesla Powerwall Makes Your Home More Efficient
The most obvious way that a Tesla Powerwall makes your home more efficient is by making solar power viable at night or during bad weather. With a rooftop solar system of adequate size and output installed, a Tesla Powerwall can be the last piece of the puzzle to make your home self-sufficient, energy-wise. However, that’s not the only benefit homeowners get from a Tesla Powerwall.
They also gain a reliable source of backup power that can see them through grid outages and power interruptions. In an era where major weather events, wildfires, and other threats to power grids are happening with increasing frequency, that’s a big deal. Plus, a Tesla Powerwall is an environmentally-friendly alternative to installing a natural gas-powered whole-house backup generator.
A Tesla Powerwall also improves your home’s efficiency by helping it to take advantage of time-of-use electricity rates. However, they don’t require you to modify your behavior to do it. For example, if you’re only home in the evenings, you have little choice but to cook, do laundry, and do other high-energy usage tasks then. With a Tesla Powerwall installed, you can keep your routine the same and time-shift those lower rates to fit it. The result is lower electricity bills with no lost convenience.
Plus, the Tesla Powerwall comes with one more great benefit that helps improve a home’s efficiency. It gives homeowners a mobile app that allows them to see and control their home’s power usage from anywhere. Using the app, it’s possible to change the Tesla Powerwall’s settings to switch between the operating modes listed above. It will also alert you if power conditions in your home change, like if there’s a grid outage while you’re at work or on a vacation. Then, you can take appropriate actions to manage the situation without having to rush home to do it.
Your Trusted Tesla Powerwall Experts
Any way you look at it, the Tesla Powerwall makes for an amazing upgrade for homes with rooftop solar systems. They even make great additions to homes that still rely on grid power. And if you’re considering adding one to your San Diego, CA, home, Friar's Heating and Air is the place to turn for help. We offer complete rooftop solar panel services, including installation, repair, maintenance, and battery storage system installations. That, of course, includes the Tesla Powerwall.
We also provide top-notch HVAC services, and we know how to best integrate such systems into homes with solar power. With over 40 years of combined experience in the HVAC and solar power industries, you won’t find a more experienced home services partner anywhere in the area. So, if you’re interested in adding a Tesla Powerwall to your home’s electrical system, contact the experts at Friar's Heating and Air today and we’ll be happy to help!