Tesla, Enphase lift household battery storage prices

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The price of household battery storage is defying hopes and expectations of significant price falls, with two of the leading manufacturers – Tesla and Enphase  – quietly lifting their prices in recent months.

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The price of household battery storage is defying hopes and expectations of significant price falls, with two of the leading manufacturers – Tesla and Enphase  – quietly lifting their prices in recent months.

The household battery storage market in Australia has been poised for take-off for a couple of years, but most consumers have been keeping their powder dry on the expectation that prices would continue the dramatic falls of the last few years.

Tesla set the scene with the release of their Powerwall 2 product in late 2016 which effectively halved the cost of battery storage, at least compared to the Powerwall 1, and forced most competitors to match those prices.

But nothing much has happened since. In fact, prices have now started to edge up.

Tesla quietly lifted the price of its Powerwall 2  by $US400 to $US5,900 in February this year, and the Australia price followed suit – to $A8,600. These prices do not include installation and other costs.  Prices for Enphase batteries have also risen slightly.

The rises are being blamed variously on supply bottlenecks and the jump in price of certain commodities, particularly cobalt.

A Tesla spokesman in the US told Greentech Media said the company “evaluates its global pricing of energy products based on various factors and continues to make improvements that will simplify homeowner experience.”

Enphase told RenewEconomy it blamed supply “bottlenecks” for its minor price increases, but said it hopes to be able to reverse these price rises later this year.

Cobalt price over last year. Source: Trading Economics

LG Chem, which competes for dominant market share with Tesla and Enphase, says its prices have not risen, but they may do so later this year because of the increased cost of raw materials, such as cobalt.

German battery storage manufacturer sonnen says its prices have not risen, and it is not exposed to the cobalt market because it uses different chemistry.

The situation in the household battery market contrasts to that of the utility-scale battery storage market, where it is thought that prices continue to fall substantially, and will continue to do so.

According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, battery storage prices have fallen 70 per cent over recent years, and it is expected to continue to fall in coming years. BNEF recently forecast a fall from $US631/kWh in 2017 to $US369/kWh in 2025.

Importantly, new markets will also emerge that will recognise the technology’s multiple value points.

Despite this, battery storage is becoming more attractive to Australian households, sick of the high cost of electricity from the grid, the rising share of unavoidable fixed network costs, and the political attempts to deliberately try and slow the transition to a cleaner and smarter grid.

The installation rate of rooftop solar has increased dramatically over the past 12 months, with installations in the first quarter of 2018 running 50 per cent ahead of last year in most states.

Recent statistics from SunWiz suggested that battery storage uptake in Australia had tripled in 2017 to 21,000, and would jump again in 2018, possibly to around 33,000 installations, as the economic continue to improve.

CME director Bruce Mountain recently released a report showing that the combination of a 5kW solar system and a Tesla Powerwall 2 beat grid prices in most states.

The rollout is likely to gain support from a shift to virtual power plants – some of them sponsored by retailers and software providers, and others by state governments, although the big ones in South Australia remain under a doubt due to the change in government there.

In any case, the Australian Energy Market Operator has signalled that its forecasts for the uptake of distributed generation – which includes rooftop solar, battery storage, demand management and smart software, will be increased.

It has already lifted its forecast uptake of electric vehicles by around half – to some 10 million EVs by 2037, representing average purchase of 500,000 a year from now until then.

It has agreed with other utilities and network operators who credit that by 2040, nearly half of all power supply will come from distributed generation rather than centralised generators, as has been the practice for the last century or so.

See also:

Home battery storage has trebled – but should you be installing it?

 

 

Giles Parkinson is founder and editor of RenewEconomy.com.au, and is also the founder of OneStepOffTheGrid.com.au and founder/editor of www.TheDriven.io. Giles has been a journalist for 35 years and is a former business and deputy editor of the Australian Financial Review.

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22 Comments
  1. Ren Stimpy 8 months ago

    Cost of a Powerwall 2 $8600
    Cost of a Powerwall 2 including installation $12,749

    This begs the question. How many qualified electricians are there in Australia? Why don’t they all take delivery of their own Powerwall 2 and install it themselves in their own home for a saving of $4149

    Then do the same for all their relo’s and good mates?

    • Mike Shackleton 8 months ago

      The installation cost is insane. When you think about what is involved, it can’t be any harder than installing a split system AC and electricians charge much less than that for that service.

      • William 8 months ago

        The installation cost IS insane…and the result of price gouging in an uncompetitive Australian market for a storage device that has been designed and engineered as a simple, foolproof, easily programmable, plug and play commodity product.

        I checked out the solarquotes blog link (https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/tesla-powerwall-2-vs-ampetus-super-lithium/) from the poster below and it’s very enlightening to read what “John says”:

        john says:

        June 21, 2017 at 7:59 pm

        For what its worth…An honest consumers perspective.

        The Ampetus, Powerwall 2, LG etc all have there application and seems
        like they are good product. Based on the technical specs, it seems to
        have stepped up to be a better and more appropriate product.
        HOWEVER…..an observation of on the killer of the installation cost.

        The product price is the least of your concern…once you are locked in to
        purchase the item online with a large delay to receive it, there is a
        $3500 to $4000 to install it. That is OFFENSIVE and to be upfront price
        gouging Australian consumers. Tesla quote a price range on their web
        site…NOT one of their installers is even close to this. I have tried to
        find a realistic priced installer and have tried multiple people. No
        success!

        I would like to put it into perspective. The installers all tell me
        its very technical and their is significant work to connect to the AC
        switchboard….In short “rubbish”. Its a length of copper, conduit and and
        AC circuit breaker. (well under $100 in hardware) Lets round up to $200
        to be conservative. I also get installers stating their is significant
        time to program and set up the software???????? That’s not what Tesla
        experts tell me, someone that is knowledgeable will find it very logical
        and straightforward? Lets assume that you have a Muppet solar installer
        and apply some simple mathematics….. $4000 for an A grade electrician
        at $100 per hour is 40hours work……When you ask the installers that
        question the topic gets shifted quickly and you will get an new
        explanation. The short version is they blame Tesla for lack of technical
        support and problems to download the software etc etc.

        – In reality….. there is under $200 in cabling product.

        – Installation of the Powerwall 2 and the 2nd controller device, lets be
        generous and say 1hr to hang on the wall. another 1 hour to cable into
        the switchboard; lets even allow 6hours to program the device. For the
        sake of the story lets assume it takes 8 hours (a day) for an installer
        to be at your home….SO $4000 / 8 hrs = $500 per hour. Hmmmmm That seems
        expensive?

        – The reality is the average installer will do 2 installs day for a
        competent installer. SO $4000 / 4 hours = $1000 per hour. And by the way
        the programmer does not have to be an A grade electrician. In my humble
        opinion NO tradesman is worth $1000-$500 per hour.

        I would encourage you to challenge your installer to justify his installation cost.

        I would encourage you to contact Tesla and explain that the install
        cost is not “value for money’. Polite way of saying being ripped off.
        Possibly a discussion for the ombudsman?

        Tesla (Elon Musk) is trying hard in my opinion break new ground, he
        is entitled to make a profit for the billions he has invested and I am
        happy to pay him a profit for his risk and capital investment he has
        done for us. What I detest is fat, lazy scammer solar installers riding
        on the coat tails of ground breakers like Musk. I still think the
        Powerwall 2 is expensive and based on a return on investment, it does
        not pay for its self. Mass replication, innovation and competition will
        help reduce prices consumers. But installers are milking consumers and
        we need to apply pressure on installers and Tesla

        In summary:

        I can by the Powerwall2 with controller off the Tesla AU website for
        $8750. The blackout software is now supplied free of charge from Tesla.
        Installers wont installer a Powerwall 2 for the price Tesla suggests on
        its website. Allow a couple of hundred for cabling supplies. There are
        no other costs! Tesla is very transparent on the costs. So when any
        installer offers you a great deal at $12000 to $13000 approx, ask them
        how long it will take to install and why their days time is $3000-$4000?
        Remember a good traddie is worth having, however they are not worth
        $4000 for half a days work! The solar installer industry is scamming
        consumers and tarnishing the name of Teslas product. If you do the
        honest numbers on payback on $8750 over 10 or 20 years it is barely
        worth it. Pay back on $13000 is a down right rip off!

        If the install cost for the electrician was under a $1000 I would
        probably accept that, but think with competition it will get cheaper.

        As a consumer I am doing my bit and writing on forums and shinning
        the light on the exorbitant install cost when I see an appropriate
        forum. The solar industry Scammers” are killing the idea of cost
        effective solar and environmental reduction for the future and reduced
        load on the Australian electrical grid. Please form your own opinion
        based on my observations and feel free to tell others and write to
        Tesla.

        • Mike Shackleton 8 months ago

          I think the one design flaw Tesla made with the Powerwall is that a single unit realistically needs 3 – 4 people to safely lift it into place (Safe lift for an individual is max 30 kg, a lot of sites don’t let you lift more than 15 kg) The thing weighs 120kg! So either you need to engage a number of people to complete the installation, or Tesla need to design a handling device that allows a single person to install a unit safely. Another option is that Tesla make the unit modular, so each piece can be carried by a single person.

    • GlennTamblyn 8 months ago

      I think you are leaving out some costs.

      Retailer buys P2 at 8600.

      Installation cost is maybe 800-1200. That’s sparkies etc.

      Retailers other costs:
      The salesperson who sold the system, and their commission (and car).
      The call centre operator (and the call centre equipment) that lined up the salesperson to visit you.
      The retailers other admin costs, billing you, paying Tesla, paying the rent, paying council rates etc etc..
      The retailers provision for warranty. Sure Tesla may warrant the battery, but the retailer has to do any leg work to satisfy the warranty.

      The retailers costs for their premises, staff, sick leave, etc etc.
      The retailers public liability insurance etc etc..
      Finally, the retailer actually wants to make a profit as well, otherwise why are they doing this.

      Add all that up, a roughly 50% markup from wholesale price is fairly reasonable in any wholesale/retail context.

      If you just want your local sparkie to just bung it in and walk away, sure might be cheaper. But when there is a warranty issue down the track, their reaction will be ‘I just installed it mate, talk to the supplier’, which is totally reasonable.

      Buying some kit that lasts for a decade or so (batteries) or 2+ decades (solar) isn’t the same as buying a toaster on eBay. On-going support is a part of what is needed, and that costs.

      • Ren Stimpy 8 months ago

        Look, I was just freewheeling about ways to get more volume into the home storage market quicker. Which would broaden supply lines from mother in the US and push down the cost of each supplied unit. Nothing against retailers, installers or their profits.

        Just that there is no mechanism in the home storage market to boost volume and reduce prices at a faster rate – nothing at all to compare to the mechanisms which kicked off the solar boom a few decades ago (e.g. FiTs and SRET). Meanwhile powerwalls remain our greatest potential technology for solving the energy security and cost (i.e. peak demand reduction) problems.

  2. Paul Szuster 8 months ago

    Agree with Ren Stimpy – we’re providing Tesla PW2 fully installed including back up gateway, all paperwork etc – $12500 fully installed. Anything less and no one is making money. That’s if you can get your hands on one, expect to be waiting 9 months and that’s being optimistic. You could get SolarEdge (with back up) + LG Chem RESU 10 or Huawei + LG Chem RESU 10 – both of which are available in supply with 10 year warranties if you don’t want to wait and competitively priced. LG Chem RESU 10 ~$9500 fully installed with solar PV.

    • Joe 8 months ago

      So Tesla ups it price whilst the install date drags on and on. How does that work? It’s a bit of a free kick for LG.

    • bruce mountain 8 months ago

      excellent info Paul, thanks

    • Tim Forcey 8 months ago

      Thanks Paul…

    • Donald Xu 8 months ago

      What panels and inverters are included in the $9500 LG RESU10 package? And does it has back up?

      • Paul Szuster 8 months ago

        I’ve clarified the post, the solar PV and inverter is in addition to LG Chem. Starting typical packages Huawei 5kW hybrid + 6.5kW Jinko + LG Chem RESU10 for ~$15500 fully installed in metro Melb

    • PLDD 8 months ago

      Paul – are they tricky to install, or do they take a long time to install…?

      $4,000 seems a lot of money for the labor, overheads and additional materials.

      I don’t have a battery but my 8.4KW system took about 5 hours to install, configure and test with a team of 3 and so can’t see the battery installation being much more involved. If it is 4 hours work that is $1,000 an hour which is far far higher than I paid my Level 2 sparky recently.

      What am I missing…?

      • Paul Szuster 8 months ago

        Tesla website “AUD $9600 Total Equipment Cost….Typical installation cost ranges from AUD$1,150 to AUD$2,900” (https://www.tesla.com/en_AU/powerwall?redirect=no). Yes we’re getting very good at solar PV installs since the industry has been doing them at mass scale now for more than a decade. Li-ion battery storage, very little experience and formal training by comparison. Everyone needs more time to play around, double check everything is working. Read through the long install manual for the first time, comply with all of Tesla’s requirements, etc…

  3. Brunel 8 months ago

    The figures for large scale storage do not add up – Musk said that the price of large scale storage is U$250/kWh.

    That is for a very large order – probably something like 29 MWh or 129 MWh.

  4. riley222 8 months ago

    As a nation I think we’ve decided to forge ahead.
    Make it happen .

  5. Damien 8 months ago

    I like Tesla and own one of their cars but this is very disappointing news added to the massive delays… can’t get a Powerwall and have no deadlines from Tesla. Other manufacturers are quite hopeless especially Enphase with low power and energy density. No good options right now 🙁

  6. Guy Stewart 8 months ago

    To those complaining about the cost differential between the wholesale supply cost and the installed retail price, compare other sources of energy supply.

    The wholesale market price of grid connected electricity is about 10c per kWh, and costs between 25c and 40c kWh for the retail customer.

    That makes the mark up for a powerwall look pretty good!

    • Greg Hudson 8 months ago

      And the mark up is the main reason everyone (that can) should install solar ASAP. I say FU** the power companies.

  7. Nick Kemp 8 months ago

    There aren’t enough batteries and suppliers in the market yet. When there are the prices will fall lower than before.

    • Mike Westerman 8 months ago

      It’s a challenging outlook. There is such a wide range of applications for batteries: transport, home and utility use, and a relatively short life. So soon there will be replacement markets as well in all those applications, as well as the recycling industry that will need to be established at similar scale. That will I’m sure mean a much more gradual price decline than we’ve seen with solar. And the given the significant head start solar has we will see massive solar overbuild well before the battery revolution hits. Without proper planning it could get messy!

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