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Tesla launches Powerwall 2, says all solar homes will have storage

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Tesla has officially launched its range of second generation home and grid-scale battery storage products in Australia, with installations of the company’s fully integrated, 14kWh residential Powerwall 2 units to begin in homes throughout the country next month.

The launch was held at a former electricity substation – all irony intended – in Newport in Melbourne’s west, and was attended by Tesla’s vice president of energy products (and Elon Musk’s cousin) Lyndon Rive.

Rive said the company’s gigafactory in Nevada was up and running and producing home and large-scale batteries to meet demand in countries like Australia, which has been tapped by Tesla, among others, as a key early market for battery storage uptake.

Rive would not be led on questions of residential battery uptake or market share in Australia, but said he expected that, within the next 10 years, 100 per cent of homes with rooftop solar would also have battery storage, as homeowners sought to cut their electricity bills and make the most of their solar self-generation, and as network companies better understood the grid services benefits of distributed battery storage.

The uptake of the Tesla Powerwall 2, he said, would stand on the product’s merits, which include it being a 30 per cent smaller, sleeker unit – the new design also means the units can be stacked, as illustrated in the image below – with double the energy storage capacity at nearly half the cost per kilowatt hour of its predecessor, at $A8,000 per 14kWh battery pack, with installation and supporting hardware starting at $2,000.*

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“Tesla’s approach is simply to make the best product, make it cost effective, make it simple… and market share will do what it does,” he said.

Another major difference between the first and second generation Powerwall is that the Powerwall 2 – and this goes for the Powerpack, too – is what the industry describes as a “plug and play” battery; that is, it is fully integrated with Tesla’s own inverter technology, which means it can be added to any solar system without the need to purchase extra inverters.

And while Tesla does make a DC version of its Powerwall 2, without the integrated inverter, it has decided not to sell this model on the Australian market, to keep things simple for the solar and storage consumer.

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Tesla’s Lyndon Rive at the Powerwall 2 Australia launch in Melbourne

Other specs worth noting about the new model are that it can be wall mounted or ground mounted, and can be used both to increase solar self-consumption, and for back-up power in the case of a grid outage.

The Powerwall 2 also has a usable capacity of 13.5kWh, an operating temperature range of -20°C to 50°C, a 10-year warranty, and round-trip efficiency of 89 per cent (compared to 92 per cent for the DC Powerwall, which is why some are unhappy this model is not being offered in Australia.)

On safety – a contentious issue in Australia, currently, with the suggestion of new guidelines prohibiting lithium battery products from being installed in homes or garages – Rive said the company applied the same rigorous safety standards to its Powerwall and Powerpack battery systems as it did to the lithium-ion battery packs the company puts in their electric vehicles.

“Cars have to be able to handle serious impact… serious changes in conditions. (For the Powerwall) it sits, just against the wall. But even still, we apply the same safety standards. So we are confident that our Powerwall is the safest lithium-ion battery on the market and in the house.”

On price, Rive said that he expected the cost of Tesla’s battery storage – currently sitting somewhere between $A530/kWh – $A900/kWh – would continue to decrease with the economies of scale already being achieved via its gigafactory production, but probably not at the same rate of decline seen over the past year.

But already, Rive says home battery storage has “hit that perfect point where it’s a good investment for home owners, between 8-15 per cent return on investment and a function of …security and insurance.”

*This story has been updated to correct a mistake in the $A pricing of the Powerwall 2.  

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  • George Darroch

    I hope they undercut everyone else with price and light up the market!

    • howardpatr

      Lets hope 24M and NEC can manufacture 24M battery which are projected to cost and weigh fifty percent less.

      Even better, a magnesium battery that can be produced with the same low cost manufacturing method developed by 24M.

      Then again we could, with the help of blockchain technology be sending surplus PV energy of to a community energy storage facility and bringing it back when required. EOS and a US power company are about to do this at $400US per Kwh.

      Many exciting developments out there but Turnbull and his LNP colleagues will continue to effectively ignore innovation.

      • Mark Roest

        One of the exciting developments will likely lead to US $170/kWh batteries within 2 years, and then $100/kWh.

        • MaxG

          Not sure why you keep harping on the price; once below $500 it won’t matter… let’s not forget the middle finger effect it has for people… at least it worked for me. 🙂

          • Tom

            @ MaxG – $500/kWh will sell it to the 10% of the population that can afford it and are interested in it, once they get around to it. It will make economic sense but the cap-ex will be prohibitive for most of the population.

            At $100/kWh – everyone will buy them. Even if you don’t have a roof because you live in an apartment – the savings on buying your power at night only will pay off your investment in a year or two. $2000 for 20kWh – who wouldn’t?

            That’s the key, and I have to agree with Mark on this one.

            $500/kWh will be interesting, but $100/kWh will change the world!

          • Connor Mills

            what happens when the power companies get the shits about losing money due to people capitalizing on off-peak rates and gets rid of them/reduces them?

    • Mark Roest

      Look’s like they’re undercutting the market as of today, but not leaving anything on the table, at $571 per kWh capacity for the batteries alone, and $714 or more per kWh capacity including hardware and installation.

      You will know you are getting a good deal when they are marking the batteries up no more than 100% on the $190 per kWh (USD) it is reported to cost them now. If the USD to AUD conversion is 1.05, that would be $399 per kWh capacity, or $5,586 for 14 kWh, plus the $2000 — but that should drop in price too, as it drops in cost over time, with volume, and going up the learning curve on both hardware and installation.

      They have said that if they don’t go below US $100/kWh battery cost by 2020, they will be very disappointed. It should actually happen by 2019 at the latest, because they will be making 2 or 3 times as many batteries in the same floor space as they originally planned, because they designed their own equipment, instead of buying what everyone else is using to make batteries.

      This information comes from SeekingAlpha’s Tesla threads, if you want to get it as it comes out, or go back and see what I’m writing about. Watch out for all the short-Tesla trolls trying to badmouth the brand! Tesla is going to be a 900-pound gorilla juggernaut!