Introducing The Tesla Powerwall 2

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Tesla has become a household name for it’s electric vehicles. Tesla has done an incredible job of publicizing and scaling technologies. This has allowed them to develop a 13.5 kilowatt hour home battery at about one third the cost of previously available Lithium-based batteries. With available incentives, this battery is now on par with pricing for a comparable gas or propane generator. The system is more than just a battery. It includes its own integrated inverter (just like a solar array has), control circuitry, web-enabled software, and a transfer switch (gateway) to safely provide backup power to your home in case of a grid outage.

Installation of the Powerwall 2 system requires a city or county permit, an SDGE interconnection process, and often requires the addition of an electrical sub panel for backed up loads. This equipment can typically be installed in the garage just inside the wall where your main electric panel and electric meter are located. These costs are built in to the pricing below, but may vary slightly for more complicated situations. Powerwall 2 can work with any home regardless of the type or quantity of solar installed, or even with no solar at all.

Why Energy Storage?

Energy storage accomplishes three basic things: 1. Backup power during a grid outage, 2. Load shifting/peak shaving, and/or 3. Self-consumption. While backup power is something most of us rarely need, it can be a life-saver, or even a necessity for others. And while a $400 generator can provide some backup power in a pinch, Powerwall 2 could essentially run indefinitely, being charged by solar, under a grid outage. Load shifting and peak shaving move your electric usage or solar production to the times of day where they could offer the most value. This is an opportunity for present or future savings.

While today’s southern California utility tariffs don’t require energy storage to save money with solar, places like Hawaii and Arizona do (because of their lack of net metering). Energy storage insulates a customer from future changes in utility billing, such as the time-of-use billing, which will become mandatory for many customer within the next few years. Additionally, time-of-use tariffs are available now, and combining those with battery storage could allow you to charge batteries when power is worth around $0.20/kWh and use the power or output to the grid when power is worth around $0.40 per kilowatt hour.

Federal Tax Credit

As long as your battery storage system is charged 75% by solar, it is eligible for the same 30% tax credit for which solar is eligible. We believe Powerwall 2 will accomplish this, when installed along with solar. As always, consult your tax professional regarding your eligibility for any tax incentive, as everyone’s tax situation is different, and not every customer is able to use the tax credit. If you are not eligible for the credit, we have a finance company who can work with you under an “Energy Services Agreement,” which will, in effect, give you a 30% discount on system cost in lieu of a tax credit. Please inquire for further information.

Can I go off-grid with Powerwall?

The short answer is: you won’t want to. SGIP incentives are only available for grid-connected systems, and being connected to the grid currently costs only $10 per month. However, off-grid functionality will soon be added to Powerwall 2. The capacity is certainly there, and if being connected to the grid should become more expensive down the line (after the 5 year grid-connected requirement of SGIP), it would likely be possible to go off-grid completely with a Powerwall 2 system. This may require more Powerwall 2 batteries than you’d need for simple backup power, time shifting, and peak shaving applications.

Why is our pricing higher than the Tesla website?

ALIVE has been installing energy storage systems and working with the SGIP program since 2014. We understand the nuances, time, effort, and potential pitfalls of the incentive, permitting, installation, and interconnection processes for energy storage. In fact, SDG&E has told us that we were the first company in their territory to install grid-connected residential energy storage back in 2014.

The costs and margin built in to the Tesla website pricing are not sufficient to cover the costs of all of the above, and to provide any profit to a contractor. We have adjusted pricing to a level that is acceptable for us to take on the risk, work load, and responsibility to carry out these installations to our high standard of workmanship, customer service, and ongoing support. When you buy Powerwall 2 from ALIVE, you’re buying from experts in residential energy storage, who you already know and trust. Your system will be installed and supported by our seasoned professionals, providing the same top-notch level of service you’ve come to expect from ALIVE.

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