Tesla was not the first manufacturer of electric cars, but the Elon Musk owned company has certainly instigated a revolution in the industry. Tesla created innovation and interest that has driven the electric vehicle market to new heights. Now, Elon and crew have their sights set on bringing battery power to another market, your home.
Like their popular cars, the Tesla PowerWall is not the first residential-use home battery but it is certainly a major entrant into the field and will no doubt do for solar power what the Model S did for electric cars. In this post, we’ll take a detailed look at the Tesla PowerWall. We’ll look at what it is, what it does, and most importantly, why you should care.
What is the Tesla PowerWall?
The Tesla PowerWall is basically a lithium-ion battery for your home. It allows you to store power that can then be used in the case of a power outage or, for solar owners, to store excess power produced by the panels. Although not specifically tied to solar as a technology, one can easily see how the PowerWall works very nicely with a solar installation. Moving the world away from fossil fuels is clearly a large motivating factor for Elon in the creation of the technology. When it was announced he said, “Our goal is to fundamentally change the way the world uses energy. It sounds crazy, but we want to change the entire energy infrastructure of the world to zero carbon.”
How does it Work?
One of the biggest problems facing electric cars was the lack of a battery powerful enough to provide a meaningful range to the vehicle. A car that has to be charged at every stop isn’t very practical. Tesla’s engineers, in the course of creating one of the most popular and performance brands of electric vehicles, became very good at creating highly efficient lithium-ion batteries.
The Tesla PowerWall builds on the expertise and technology of Tesla’s engineers to produce a lithium-ion battery that is small enough to reside neatly out of the way in your home, but powerful enough to provide meaningful electricity when you need it. Usually paired with a solar panel installation, the battery stores up excess power while your panels are getting lots of sunlight and allows you to use that power at night when they are getting none, especially during a power outage.
What Benefits does PowerWall provide?
Many people operate solar installations without a battery. Batteries are not a necessary component of a grid-tied solar installation. So what benefits does it provide that will make your solar installation an even better deal?
Nullifies Power Outages
With net metering, you can “sell” excess electricity from your solar panels back to the power company. This means that even when they are not producing power, they are saving you money. However, using the power company as a sort of virtual battery does you no good when the power goes out. A PowerWall will allow you to save up your own power. Not only does this mean that you’ll be sitting pretty with the lights on while everyone else is in the dark, but it also allows you to further reduce your dependency on the electric company.
Protects Against Loss of Net Metering
We just touched on this already, but it bears repeating as its own benefit. Currently, many state governments require power companies to participate in net metering programs. Like many politically motivated things, we don’t know what the future may hold. Although chances of net metering disappearing any time soon are very low, having a PowerWall to store your excess electricity instead of relying on the power company to do so for you is a surefire way to maximize self consumption of solar energy, even if tides turn and net metering goes away.
Increases Property Value
Residential batteries are a property improvement and like any improvement, they will improve the value of your property. Solar panels, and the batteries that can make them useful during power outages, are especially beneficial improvements to make to your home because they directly add actual monetary value to the property. Many improvements are attractive and will make people want to pay more. Very few actually bring cost savings to the owners the way that a complete solar installation that can store its own power does.
More Environmentally Friendly
As we learn more about the effects of global warming, many people feel compelled to do their part to help reduce the impact we humans have on the environment. We mentioned Elon’s quote about wanting to rid the world of carbon-based power earlier. If you share Elon’s goal, then a PowerWall is a great step that you can take as an individual to reduce your carbon footprint even further than solar power alone can. While net metering is great, at night your property is still operating from fossil fuels. But with a PowerWall and self consumption, your use of fossil fuels is greatly diminished or even eliminated.
Does it qualify for the Federal income tax credit?
If installed alongside a solar array, then yes the battery also qualifies for the Federal tax credit. Currently sitting at 30% for 2019 and dropping to 26% in 2020, the investment tax credit is a major incentive to go solar with battery storage. In addition, the state of Maryland has a battery storage tax credit, which directly lowers your state taxes for the battery itself. You can claim both of these in Maryland.
About Mountain View Solar
Like Elon, we are believers in the green energy revolution. We believe that solar power is not only a way to help do our part to save the planet, but also a truly great alternative to being completely dependent on the power grid. It is for that reason that we became solar installers. Our experts are on hand to help you deploy the best solar installation for your particular needs. It is how we do our part to help reduce the world’s consumption of carbon fuels and its dependence on third-party energy providers. If you would like a free, zero pressure consultation for solar and/or battery installation, please contact us today and one of our professional consultants will be glad to answer any questions you may have. mtvSolar’s inventory is stocked with PowerWalls ready for installation today!