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It’s Here..Almost. The Tesla Powerwall

Tesla Powerwall

 

 

It’s Here..Almost. The Tesla Powerwall

What do you get when you cross impossible technology, a billionaire, and economies of scale?  One correct answer might be the Tesla Powerwall.  A few months back it was hinted here, and in several other locations across the net, that Tesla might be bringing some of their automotive technology to the off grid home.  In a press release yesterday, they’ve announced that the Tesla Powerwall is almost here, it should begin deliveries later this summer.  Let me tell you this right now, this is an absolute game changer for all of us.

We’ve recently gone “off the grid”, so to speak, here at the Tin Hat Ranch and put together YouTube’s Ultimate Guide to DIY Off Grid Solar Power.  We are intimately familiar with all of the details and nuances of powering a home via alternative energy.  While most solar installations across the country are focused on going green or saving money on an electric bill, our system is one that will continue powering our home should the grid go down.  Because most systems are focused on feeding power back into the grid, as is the case in most green and money saving applications, they lack some of the components of an off grid system, namely the batteries.  Due to this simple fact, the research and development in solar systems tends to be directed at making the power generation side of the equation more efficient, i.e. the solar panels.  We’ve seen solar panel efficiency increase year after year.  Prices per watt have decreased year after year.  Large scale battery technology has been stagnant for a century.  Unfortunately, to be off the grid, once you’ve generated your power you have to store it somewhere, and that somewhere for most of us has been lead acid batteries.

I’m not going to expound too much on lead acid batteries.  I’ve previously done so here.  Suffice it to say that lead acid batteries are expensive, inefficient, and quirky.  Until now, they were the best option we’ve had.

I said that the Tesla Powerwall was a game changer.  Why?  Because it is inexpensive.  Tesla offers a 10kWh Powerwall for $3,500.  Yep, $3500 for a 10 kWh battery IS inexpensive. In fact, it is so inexpensive it is going to change the world.

In our DIY Off Grid Solar system we attempted to put together a basic power system that anyone could follow and recreate at their own homes.  It supplies enough power to offer folks all of the electricity they will ever NEED should the grid go down for good.  I’ve yet to total the receipts, but with everything, every last screw, solar panel, and switch, it came in around $3000.  What do you get for three grand?  About 1.5kWh of power per day.  Every off grid solar system includes panels, a charge controller, batteries, and inverter.  In my case, the battery portion was $534, with all the necessary hardware to wire, enclose, vent, and safety equipment it was closer to $800.  For that money I have a 5kWh battery bank.

I must be nuts.  Many of you will remind me that simple math shows if I just double my batteries I will have the same capacity for less than half the cost (5kWh x 2= 10kWh, $1,600 for 10kWH).  If that is your first thought, then you need to understand batteries, and these details are the great equalizer.

Like I said before, lead acid batteries are quirky.  Yes, I have a 5kWh battery bank…but not really.  If you watched our video on sizing batteries for an off grid solar system, you will note that you can never use all of the power in lead acid batteries.  If I ran my batteries dead, they’d be toast.  Finito.  The truth is, I can only every use half (2.5kWh) of my batteries capacity.  Even so, using half of the batteries capacity on a regular basis will severely shorten their life, probably to the tune of 3 years.  In reality, I’ve got something near a 2kWh battery bank, of which I dip further from time to time.  Even at that, I will be replacing the batteries in five to seven years.   To get 10kWh of actual use from a lead acid battery, you would be looking at  25kwh battery bank.  Comparing what I have (5kWh=$800) and accounting for some economies of scale, we could match the Tesla’s capacity for the same price, $3,500.  Keep in mind, you will be replacing this capacity in five to seven years.

The Powerwall is a true 10kWh battery, meaning you could use all or most of the 10 kWh’s between chargings.  Oh, and it lasts over 10 years.  In fact, it is warrantied for 10 years and I bet it will last much longer than that.  It’s smaller, lighter, and safer than lead acid batteries as well.  As you see, the upfront costs are the same as lead acid.  Accounting for the fact you will be replacing the lead acid batteries, probably two times in the lifespan of the Tesla, they are actually half the cost.  Until now, lithium batteries (which is what drives the Powerwall) were about four to five times the cost of lead acid.  That’s what you get when you cross a billionaire’s drive with economies of scale.

With careful usage, 10kWh of energy would replace ALL of the average prepper’s needs for power.  The average American household utilizes 30kWh per day.  There are six people in my family, we use 20 without any real regard for saving energy.  If I was given the opportunity to get a Powerwall, I can guarantee I could run the entire household on 10kWh.

Maybe we try a little experiment?  Would you like to see a review of the Tesla Powerwall by Tin Hat Ranch?  Who wants to do us a favor?  I am going to write Tesla and ask very nicely for a Powerwall (hey, I blew my savings on the initial system).  Would you write them as well and ask very nicely to give the Tin Hat Ranch a Powerwall?  Tell them what you thought of our tutorial on DIY Off Grid Solar.  they can be reached at:

Press@teslamotors.com

Check out the Tesla Power Wall Here

Permanent link to this article: http://tinhatranch.com/its-here-almost-the-tesla-powerwall/

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  1. The Ultimate Guide To DIY Off Grid Solar Power - TinHatRanch

    […] are going to need to store that energy.  We currently tend to lean towards lead acid batteries (although the Tesla Power Wall is coming!).  There are lots of things you need to know when sizing, understanding, and using your batteries. […]

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