The first company that will provide Tesla Powerwall battery energy storage and matching solar panels and inverters has said that it will provide one-stop solutions for customers wanting to install new solar systems and upgrade existing setups. Natural Solar will begin its installations of Powerwall initially to New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, with other states to follow in the future of what the company calls “a nationwide rollout”.
Origin Energy will also be selling the Powerwall in Australia, according to Fairfax Media, and is pegging the basic price of a Powerwall, inverter and solar photovoltaic system at an entry level price of around $16,500. Government subsidies could drive prices slightly lower, but are variable between states and are rapidly decreasing as uptake rises.
In an interview with Gizmodo, managing director of Natural Solar, Chris Williams (pictured above, right), said that the company has been collaborating with Tesla Energy for some time: “[We] have been actively monitoring the residential and commercial lithium-ion battery industry since early 2013. We reached out directly to Tesla before any news of the Powerwall was mentioned, because of their game-changing Gigafactory and the obvious advantage they offer in terms of economies of scale.”
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The Australian-owned installer will be using Tesla’s 5KWp (kilowatt-peak) Powerwall units, in conjunction with its own solar panels and third-party hybrid inverters. The Powerwall is a particularly versatile battery energy storage system, because it can be connected to the mains power of both single- and three-phase households, is weatherproof for outside installations, and can function as an islanded battery backup in the case of a blackout.
Natural Solar’s inverter supplier SolarEdge has developed an inverter system to be compatible with the Tesla Powerwall, and the company will also use Fronius hybrid inverters; these will let Natural Solar install the Powerwall for customers with existing or new solar setups, as well as install the Powerwall in homes with no solar panels. A hybrid inverter allows for both photovoltaic power generation and draw-down from a battery system, with an additional connection to the national energy grid.
The company says residential installations without solar panels are “a growing and untapped market with tremendous potential”. Thousands of properties, especially in metropolitan areas where apartments and high-density housing are common, are unable to install rooftop solar due to renting or not having access to sufficient roof space with a high enough quality of sunlight. Natural Solar will be offering complete turn-key solutions in its installations, with no additional hardware required. [Natural Solar]