Australia Gets Tesla's Powerwall Battery Later This Year

That's right. Tesla's much-talked-about Powerwall — the battery that can power your entire house — will be available in the Australian market from late this year. Tesla, the company best known for its Model S electric sedan, is launching Tesla Energy in Australia, which will bring products including both the residential Powerwall and the industrial scaled Powerpack to our shores.

Tesla Energy expands on Tesla Motors' efforts to decrease our reliance on fossil fuels. Tesla wants the world to use more clean, renewable energy, and the release of their Powerwall technology could easily see a spike in the number of Australian households utilising solar power. Similar to the battery in the Model S, the Powerwall is a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, only this one can be mounted on the wall of your house.

For those with solar panels already installed, it can store the excess energy being collected, allowing you to theoretically disconnect from the grid entirely. It can also allow users to utilise their own stored power at night, rather than losing out with the current electricity rates and feed-in-tariff system.

The standard model being plugged by Tesla — for the average household — is the 7kWh Powerwall. Tesla Energy will also be supplying 10kWh Powerwalls for higher throughput, along with the commercial and utility scale Powerpack, which groups powerful 100kWh battery blocks for anywhere from 500kWh to upwards of 10MWh.

We'll be looking out for more from Tesla in the coming weeks as it provides more information on the Powerwall's availability and pricing in Australia. There is, apparently, a 'growing list' of Tesla Energy partners in Australia that will be able to help you get your hands on one of these super-powered batteries for your house, although no companies have yet been named.

With our solar-fearing former Prime Minister recently being removed from office, this recent announcement may signal a move towards wider adoption of renewable energy and modern energy storage systems in Australia. Maybe we truly are witnessing the beginning of the end for fossil fuels.


Comments

    $?

      Apparently $3500USD is the figure being floated about. Not sure if that's for the 7kWh or 10kWh

        That was the figure before the AUD dropped massively. I don't think you will get much change out of $5k now.

          Ummmm the figure he gave was in USD so your comment is pointless.

          The figure being bandied about is still USD3500. Depending on the AUD and Tax, it will be anywhere between AUD4500 and AUD7000.

    I wonder... could you use terrestrial power to charge a powerwall during off-peak times?

      That's a good idea. I'd be inclined to say that it is likely possible with little effort.

      Isn't that the entire point?

        The Powerall is intended to store solar power for later use. @spyder means charge your Powerwall during the night using off-peak power from the grid, not solar power, then utilise the Powerwall to run your household during peak hours of the day, rather than using grid power.

        That's a great idea, and would be a great intermediate option for those of us that don't have solar panels, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the Powerwall will only be made available here under certain conditions, and one of those conditions would, I expect, be to prevent the above scenerio. The Government has to look after their mining buddies afterall.

          The intention of the powerwall is to do exactly as you mentioned.

          Whilst its going to be most beneficial in using it combined with solar panels, you can actually just use it with mains power. With a lot of the company outfitted with Smart Meters, you can move to a flexible pricing plan and have the powerwall charge itself during the off peak periods.

          That said..... why not combine solar and the flexible pricing to get the most benefit.

          I would love to daisy chain two 7w units with a solar system and go almost completely off the grid.

            Actually, the Powerwall is to be used with your solar panels, charging during the day and used at night rather than fed back into the grid. You use the electricity you generate for free rather than sell it to the power companies and then buy it back again. The mains electricity is used to supplement the stored electricity. You can add more batteries as your budget allows. It defeats the purpose of having batteries if you just charge them off the grid.

            You're right. I just watched Tesla's video on the Powerwall and I stand corrected. I've only ever heard the Powerwall being flouted as a means of storing solar energy for use at night, but it's definitely intended for off-peak charging then dispensing energy throughout the day. That's really good. Makes you wonder though whether off-peak tariffs will start to rise once a decent number of households begin charging up overnight.

          No it isn't designed specifically for use with solar. Part of its purpose is to charge overnight at a lower cost, then run your house off the stored charge during the day when it would usually cost more.

            No, you charge during the day using solar panels and use that power at night when the panels are not operational. Why bother charging them off the grid and pay, when you generate electricity for free with your solar panels? The mains electricity will be used as a backup rather than the main source of power.

              My point is that they CAN be used either way, they're not designed ONLY to be used with solar.

          Although I'm sure energy companies would just switch their tariffs so that night time is peak time or get rid of peak time altogether, in which case you're left with a very large, semi-pointless UPS...

            They won't do that. It is actually very beneficial for them to move people to off-peak usage as it reduces the peak load on their system, which allows them to operate more efficiently, thereby saving them buckets of dough. That's why they sell off-peak cheaply.

              Yeah but if everyone charges their powerwall from 11pm onwards then that will become the new "peak time" !

          Although I'm sure energy companies would just switch their tariffs so that night time is peak time or get rid of peak time altogether, in which case you're left with a very large, semi-pointless UPS...

          Mining giants (re coal) are not only using solar to cut costs at own mines in some locatrions but moving into other investment areas... and power companies especially are now seeing the writing on the wall and becoming the purveyors and gatekeepers for solar energy etc.

      Exactly what I was thinking. Game the system!

      There's a pretty common misconception that off peak power is available when you use it outside peak times. i.e Turn on a light at 2am and the electricity will be cheaper than at 6pm. Not true. You will pay the same rate at both times.
      What you actually need to do is have your electrician install a separate "off peak" circuit. (If you have off peak hot water, then it will already be installed). Smart meters might change this, but at the moment if you want off peak, you need to have the appliances physically wired to an off peak circuit.

        The more you know! Thanks contestant no. 3. You'll always be contestant no. 1 to me.

        I know if you have a smart meter you get billed separate amounts for peak and off peak, with certain times listed.

        Of course this data could just be averaged or ratio'd a certain way to make it look like you are getting off peak rates.

          It's not averaged out. Smart meters record the power consumption in 30 minute intervals, so this is then used to determine how much was used in each period. Customers can also contact their retailer to request the interval data if they don't believe the usage listed on the bill.

        If you live in Victoria this is no longer an option. Offpeak or dedicated circuits are no longer available to new consumers. Smart meters have Time of Use (TOU) and FPP (Flexible Pricing Plans), however the peak rate increases significantly so you really need to do a calculation to determine when you use the power most and whether you will benefit.

        Not just smart meters, interval meters are also designed to take periodic measurements and allow shoulder and off-peak billing.

    Imagine building a home now with a few of these and solar panels on the roof. No need to be on the grid, amazing.

      You can say good buy to your $1000 dollars electricity bills.

        I think the biggest electricity bill I have got was $168 but I said goodbye to all that more than four years ago. Now I make all my own electricity.

        and say hello to your $20,000 solar system + battery costs which both have to be replaced in 10 years.

        Last edited 21/09/15 10:20 am

          Its a fantastic Idea especially now our state government is talking about Raising the cost of the connection/Power for those people that have installed Solar. Mark_D that's a typical comment from someone with no foresight.
          Its about time Western Power started to think how they can improve there system to save money rather than taking the easy option and charging customers who have no other option but to pay up..

            Someone with foresight knows that you will ALWAYS need grid power to either sell or use. Off the grid "systems" are unreliable to the point of painful. Without mains support you will go long terms without power which, yes includes hot water. To think that you can live off-the-grid in comfort is naive ideology. Go try it for a few years and get back to me. Speaking as someone who has experienced the extreme pains, good luck buddy.

            Last edited 08/12/15 1:45 pm

      Anybody who wanted to has been able to get off the grid for 50 years or more and do it far more cheaply than this thing. With a shelving unit from Bunnings and a bank of lead-acid batteries (golf cart batteries are best for this kind of application) you could be off the grid for around one-third of the price of a Powerwall set-up. I've never understood why people haven't done it, especially people who own a house and could set up both solar and wind power to keep it charging night and day.

        Sounds great, they probably would, I assume most people have no idea how to go about doing it though. There may be a job in for you to help people?

        I disagree with the "far more cheaply" comment as I looked into this. friends of ours are completely off the grid with golf cart lead acid batteries, but they pay about $5000 every five years or so to replace them all, as they eventually decrease in their ability to hold a charge. The powerwall has a guarantee period of ten years, so if this is just the guarantee period, the battery probably lasts considerably longer. Let alone the fact that the lithium ion technology of the powerwall also probably charges faster, holds the charge longer, takes up less space, and requires virtually no maintenance, all of which comes together mathematically to make it a more feasible option.

    Very exciting.
    It will be interesting to see the prices and then calculate some "real world" costs vs savings.

    from a previous Giz article, I think it was concluded that is worked out to be more expensive over the 7 or 10 year warranty period. I.E the savings did not offset the cost of installing this unit. I'd still be keen just so we can switch to cleaner solar especially with the advancements in solar (new tech uses heat and light to generate power) and panels becoming cheaper.

      The interesting scenario here could be a new build - I'm not sure what the mains connection costs are, but they may tip the balance in favour of a standalone system.

      From memory it was close to break even, although the article had to speculate as to where electrical prices may go? I think they may have used a mains to supply the battery vs solar too.

      But yeah, I wouldn't expect a huge amount of savings in this initial batch. When the prices are half of what they are, which will happen some day, then we'll see some real benefits. In the mean time I think the big benefits are to provide you with somewhat of a UPS system should you lose power and to possibly lower your environmental footprint, particularly if you use it in conjunction with solar.

      It's a great step in the right direction but.

        For people who have installed solar after the higher feed in tariffs were cut, storage makes sense. If you're getting the 4-8c per KWh for solar feed in, and paying 26c or so per KWh for the electricity you use from the grid, you need to put 6-8 times more into the grid than you use to break even. but storage brings that ratio back to 1-1. You will still need to run through thousands of cycles over quite a few years to amortise the battery cost, but you're going to be better off than now by doing it.

      At the end of the day though, your energy bill is only going to raise in 10 years, not lower. At least this is a known cost. I'd also rather give my money to Tesla towards genuine renewable energy efforts than my local power company to burn more coal.

        Yeah well said. As long as making the batteries is less harmful to the planet than burning coal (most likely, but there were rumours that building the original Prius was worse for the environment than building and running a regular petrol car)

      The interesting point another article made is that as this new technology takes off, the power companies lose customers that they can spread the service fees over, meaning your bills will get more expensive.

      So it might not be worth it now, but when they release powerwalls with better quality batteries and longer shelf life the cost of energy might have risen enough to make it an easy choice to go solar.

      Which would be ace!

    How physically big is it? From the picture it could be the size of an A4 page or a fridge.

      Somewhere in between:

      Dimensions: H: 1300mm W: 860mm D:180mm

        So it's a smug piece of modern art, something you'd hang just in view when guests are around so they would ask you about it.

          Nup, mine will go in the garage! Assuming the cost/savings ratio is right.

    @dman
    http://pix.avaxnews.com/avaxnews/7d/2f/00022f7d_medium.jpeg

    Whilst there may be arguments about cost v efficiency at the moment, what is really exciting is that this market is just starting!

    Early adopters will get on board, and then more and more companies will too.
    This will lead to better, cheaper tech becoming more prevalent to the consumer.

    Don't expect the traditional energy providers to give up without a fight, Billion dollar industries won't let this erode their margins....

      The utility market in Australia is not a very profitable business. It costs a lot of money to maintain all the power stations, substations, distribution and transmission lines to every house in the country.
      Large industrial areas will still require base load power capable of adjusting to load demand, something solar etc is not that good at.
      I also wonder how well these batteries can cope with multiple items in the house being used at once, i.e kettle, microwave, air conditioning and if the system will simply fial to deliver the required power output.
      If it works, awesome but I don't think off the grid type system is feasible for most people at the moment.

      Batteries like this can actually benefit the power producers by allowing them to flatten their production cycle as consumers charge during off peak times. It's more expensive for them to produce the large volume of power required during peak hours than it would be for them to produce a constant medium output, so adoption of this tech could actually help to improve their profits. Of course, this relies on people remaining on grid and not switching to solar.

        I agree, though I'd imagine it best to remain on the grid as some kind of electrical insurance, at least while a grid still exists. If I was a power company I'd be offering incentives for centrally managed domestic battery systems similar to peak smart air-conditioning etc. A range of scenarios will likely be necessary for decades.

    Great, another thing that will drive up the cost of electricity for people who are unable to afford or install this and solar systems.

      Conversely, early adopters will drive down the future price of these technologies, meaning more and more people will be able to afford them in future.

      In a functional market reduced demand equates to reduced prices. If prices go up it's because the government is interfering with the market. Don't blame technology and innovation - this is something that future generations will benefit greatly from and should be applauded. Who would have thought the sun, effectively a never ending resource, could power everything, for all of us? Amazing.

        In a functional market. Something pure and untouched by regulation or industry manipulation.
        Such a thing, I suspect, does not actually exist.

        That aside...

        It is great that such technology exists, but it is lamentable that the people who lose out from its efficiency will find a way to transfer their hurt to those less able to afford it.

          I think the smart companies will integrate these products into their own portfolio through selling and installation services, and if they are big enough possibly even producing their own products. If they can strike deals with building developers to deploy them to new areas which are targeting certain green energy ratings, that's another way to make some money off customers before they've even moved into their house.

      Yes because it's solar shafting Aussie consumers. Not the coal industry. Over $1700 the fossil fuels industry took out of my taxes last year for subsidies as well as prices doubling in a decade. You can get solar for free with finance now. Melbourne working on an initiative to get solar in apartments. Join the revolution @Luke

      We should stop renewable energy innovation because your power bill might go up? Get off your high horse mate.

        I wouldn't have called it a high horse, I'd just say he's one of the countless with a sense of entitlement. If I can't have something, nobody else can.

      @luke where you say:
      Great, another thing that will drive up the cost of electricity for people who are unable to afford or install this and solar systems.Lets play this theory out and just say this does happen. At the same time, battery and solar technology will become more affordable as it continues to saturate the market. There will eventually be a break point where all of a sudden those who cannot afford it realise.....they are paying more by not having it. their next logical move will therefore be...to get it installed.

      Last edited 22/10/15 11:21 am

    I have a hybrid solar/battery/grid system. I'm pretty sure that it is against the legislation to do what you suggest. (At least in Vic) Batteries are only allowed to be installed with a solar system.

      Where are you getting that from? Genuinely interested as I've never come across that rule.

      But my phone uses batteries. Is that illegal?

    The rich will snap them up and then the power companies will petition the government about them and they will be made illegal or some kind of restitution will have to be paid for anyone else that wants to buy them. The power companies have already been talking to the gov about it and how the batteries will hurt their bottom line.

      This kind of industry lobbying (which we're also seeing from creative rights holders in any area touched by digital media) frustrates the hell out of me.

      Just like how the buggy-cart business had to move into cars or die, maybe the power companies should diversify to what's emerging as well.

      Continual protectionist bullshit for no benefit other than propping up outdated paradigms is one of the worst things government can bend over for.

      The rich have most likely installed their solar systems when the feed in tariffs were higher than the cost of the power supplied e.g. 50c feed in versus 26c cost. In Queensland those who did have their rate locked in till 2028 - so batteries make no sense economically until those older feed in tariffs end. Why pay for batteries when you only need to feed in half of what you use to break even. Batteries make that ratio 1-1 (plus the costs of batteries and installation).

    Enphase are also bringing out a battery in Australia soon. Be worth comparing them before buying.

    wrong!!!! too small
    home battery swapping station for the car, 70+kw and less then $35,000
    Home storage go for an Ultrabattery or Red-flow.
    at home weight and volume are not a controlling factor.
    love the man, but this is to get turnover for the Gigafactory. not innovation!

    Hi, Spyder: Provided there is a normal power input into the Powerwall, there is no reason why you could not use 'mains power' to charge the batteries, it will be just like any other battery system. If you do use mains supply, it will only be an advantage if you have 'time of use metering' and have controls (timer) to ensure that charging only happens during 'Off Peak". If you do not have this facility it will be a waste of money as having the battery be of no benefit!
    One warning though (and this applies to ALL battery systems): you will need a process to completely isolate the batteries from 'mains' power in the event of a power failure, or when the street mains power is turned off for maintenance! To achieve this can be achieved by various methods of connection, BUT whatever is used make sure the batteries can be taken out of service for maintenance without complex rewiring!

    I had a look at the specs for this and noted something:
    Operating Temperature -20°C to 43°C

    Max 43°C!!! Would need to be installed indoors for most places around Australia.

    guaranteed this tech will be out of the price range for most consumers.

      That is what the lovely banking institution is for. I got a credit card from a credit union that had no interest for the life of 2 year payment period for my solar panels. I paid $65 per week over 24 months and now (4 years on) my power bill has dropped from $700 per quarter to less than $300 per quarter. All in all, we are much better off and we are not a rich family.

    I really like the idea of the the PowerWall, but it simply doesn't make sense to me right now. I'm one of the lucky ones on Queensland's original feed-in tariff. As the power my 5kW solar system produces is bought back by the utility company at 48c/kWh, and I only pay 24c/kWh for electricity I consume, it makes financial sense to sell all the power I generate myself and then buy back from the grid when I need it. Using batteries to store generated power to use later would actively cost me money.

    Our next house, however, will be a self-build and designed to be energy-efficient from the get-go. For that, I' seriously considering 10kW of panels and 3 PowerWalls and going completely off-grid.

    @danhalford. The rest of the country pays for your feed in tarrif.
    lucky indeed my friend.
    I get 6c/Kw feed in. in a 5Kw system

    They are actually made by Panasonic and have been available in Australia for some time. Check the Australian Panasonic website.

    I really hope these are somewhat affordable, but I can't see you getting much change from $20,000 at least not initially.

    It is very exciting though.

    What risk is there of power companies lobbying the govt to prevent these? AGL and co need to look for some new revenue streams IMO. Then we have "SA Power Networks" in SA as well who provide the infrastructure and constantly want to increase prices to compensate for gold plating their network. I hope we won't need them soon.

      jjcoolaus, AGL has actually referred to "generation at the point of consumption" (i.e. your place, RTA, batteries) in their new business plan to address this paradigm shift in energy supply. They, along with their competitorsare already offering battery solutions to their customers. Consumers need to be acutely aware that energy co's, retailers and distributors, are not in the habit of accepting "declining consumption" (which has been the case since 2009) without compensating by commensurate price increases. That said the home storage option "packages" they offer need care forensic analysis to ensure the customer actually achieves a long term "saving", most unlikely, you'd agree?
      A good insight into some of these conflicting issues is discussed at arrayarray.blogspot.com
      Long story short, electricity consumption reduction ("conservation") is anathema to private enterprise's basic business profit model, especially since 2009.

        Thanks for the info. This a good reason why electricity never should have been privatised in the first place, but sadly that ship has sailed long ago.

    I don't understand why people don't see the actual reasoning behind this technology being introduced and therefore the associated pressure on keeping the costing affordable to the masses.
    The fact is these will be priced for "everyday" consumers. This is an essential business decision for Tesla Motors and has little to do with the price the home user pays for electricity. Currently there is no way that Tesla, or any other electric car company, can have their cars become mainstream as the electrical load the cars would put on the network when everyone comes home from work would be additional to normal peak usage levels and would cripple the network. Therefore by introducing this technology at an affordable rate, the Powerwall can provide the necessary charging load during peak times to offset the additional network load. This allows the cars to be distributed throughout the masses without having to wait for the electricity companies to upgrade assets. At its essence it really has little to do with user electricity prices.

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