Natural Solar Is Australia's First Tesla Powerwall Installer

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".

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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."

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]

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    Why don't they just sell them in bunnings ? Oh that's right, because we can't be ripped off that way.

      I agree with matter45. I don't know about you but I'm not personally a fan of electrified burning people.
      I wouldn't want to touch anything electrical without a deep and thorough knowledge about electrics, currents, etc. I imagine it's not just a matter of plugging something into a power socket in your home, otherwise yes, they probably would be sold at Bunnings.

        Air-conditioning are sold in many stores but you need a plumber to install them just like you would get an electrician to install the batteries and solar panels.

          He's got a point.

          Anyway no sane person would buy one of these yet anyway. Wayyyy overpriced.

            Good thing there is shortage of insane people out there.

            How long would it take for these things to pay themselves off?

              Take the cost of the powerwall and your average monthly power bill and take the difference you save add yearly and divide by the cost of the power wall. Could be YEARS.

                In my case decades - my bill is under 200 a month and I don't even have solar yet.

                For a family with solar and a electricity bill under 100 a month, it would take 165 months to pay that thing off.

                Give it 5 years and these things will be under $5k - that's if the coal producers don't buy off the government to ban them first.

                  I would have to borrow money to get it. My guess is that the interest would cost me more than the actual product would save.

                I see, thanks for that. I don't really see the reason in buying one of these setups then, I mean if I had that amount of money I'd just invest that amount into my portfolio and watch it grow, hell you could invest that amount into blue chip shares and earn quite a bit just from the yearly dividends.

                The amount that they are asking for one of these things does not make sense + plus whatever maintenance and upkeep costs you would need to pay in order for it to run at 100% efficiency all the time.

                Last edited 11/12/15 3:12 pm

          Yes plumbers and electricians are qualified to install something correctly. If you plumb something incorrectly it might not work optimally or leak.

          If you connect a permanent electrical fixture directly to your mains you or someone in your house might be seriously injured or die.

          20 people a year die from accidental electrocution in Australia. I doubt anywhere near that amount die from poorly fitted plumbing.

          Apart from that little, minor difference between electricity and plumbing, your analogy works perfectly.

        Bunnings actually sells all the hardware to wire your entire home except the meterbox, how is this any different?
        perhaps go outside once in a while and visit bunnings, grab a snag from the BBQ and get a balloon on your way out kid

    no offence, but this is a stupid comment.

      Agreed. Rebuttal was needed.

        Okay I'll bite. Why do you think a rebuttal was needed ? But before you answer, realize there are many things you can buy at bunnings and other places that you would need a professional to install it for you. Think fridges (if it needs connection to water for the ice and iced water. How many people have a tap at the back wall where the fridge lives) stoves, air-conditioning, kitchen cupboards and so on and so on. I never once said that the home person should install any of these things. You can buy crate engines for cars at places but you'd be wise to take it to a mechanic to get it installed.
        So, why did my comment need rebuttal or didn't you think your comment through properly.

          DIY electricity is illegal pretty much everywhere.

          You will kill yourself.

          It's not you I care about, or your mother for that matter, is the thousands of self employed hard working people across Australia that will be inconvenienced by your stupidity when you try and install this thing yourself and die. They will have a lot more red tape to deal with.

            Who said anything about installing it yourself ? I didn't

      Why, you've never heard of an electrician. You can buy stoves in bunnings but you'd need a plumber (if it's gas) or an electrician to install them. Why would this be any different. ?

    I wonder what the requirements are for housing those units are in bushfire prone areas?

    Thats alot of explosive potential during a bushfire...

    The AFR article says a a system with 3 kW of solar is $15,500.
    No other price per kW is given, so using only that.

    For my power company ($0.241 per kW/h cost, $0.08 feed in tariff).

    Payback is 22 years.

    If I took the purchase price from my offset account, it would cost me more in extra interest than I would save / get back in electricity costs.

    This is assuming a full cycle every day, no maintenance costs, and electricity costs staying the same. Depending on electricity costs, feed in tariffs, solar received etc these numbers could be very different for other people.

    It's also worth noting that my household doesn't actually use enough power to fully drain the power wall every day.

      Reading elsewhere, the power-wall + inverter install cost is about $9500.

      Assuming you already have a fully paid off solar array (or ignore it's costs / payback), for me it gives about 14 years payback (including feed in tarrif)

      Using off-peak power (and no solar) to charge, gives a 25 year payback.

      If you had a very heavy use household, it might be possible to get in both a solar and off-peak charge cycle. No doubt that is covered under warranty, but lets ignore the potential lower battery lifespan.

      If you have a 'free' solar system then payback is down to 10 years.

      If you have to buy the above 3 kW $16500 system, two cycles gets a 17 year payback.

    really not worth it. I almost choked when she told me the figure. Plus they only give you a 5KWp inverter even on the 6Kwp array
    a 10kwp array is about 9 grand id rather just that. run my own batteries if I had too

    wait a couple of years, and the price will be half.

    Again people are deceived by a piece of curved plastic.
    Just because it looks chic doesn't mean that it is a New Idea, or State of the art.

    Under the skin, this battery is JUST an "ugly" rectangular prismatic unit containing batteries, very similar to many others on the market.
    Are you really going to put it on the wall in your living room? OR on the garage wall next to your beloved S90?
    (Real estate in most garages is already at a premium, used for parking cars, and storing the toys)
    This unit (or any other battery which you purchase) will live out next to the; Meter-Box, the Solar Inverter, the Water Heater, you know, the other ugly boxes attached to the wall of your house (on the Non-Pretty side).

    There have been backup battery suppliers using many different battery types for years, but when ELON has a projected surplus, the marketing campaign kicks in and he gets to sell the surplus battery at a premium price, rather than having to offload them at near cost to third party manufacturers. The price benefits of mass production are not being realised in this product. The economics are not there for most people, for those who have suffered a couple of long blackouts (>24hr) in the last couple of years, a $500 2kVA generator and 20L of fuel on standby will be all that you will need to fill in the gaps, (what a cost saving that would be).

    For those running Air-Con 24/7 over summer, who already have amortised solar, yes adding a battery and hybrid inverter (inverter with integrated charge controller and battery monitor) could make long term sense, but it is a long term plan, and shop around for the best installed deal, Power wall may be competitive, or it may not, don't be deceived by the curved plastic, which is all marketing. lol.

    Last edited 10/12/15 2:35 pm

      For someone without solar, I'm more interested in that other company who have packed a small inverter and 1kwh battery for connection to each panel. If you're starting from scratch, having individual inverters per panel should be a pretty worth while benefit. Your whole system being modular would also help with expansion and maintenance/replacement of older equipment.

    At the launch event for Powerwall Elon Musk claimed a RRP of USD3500 for the 10kW Powerwall. This article reports $16500 installed for the 5kW.

    Obviously there's the cost of the panels, but what other equipment - and how much labour - is required to blow that USD3500 figure out of proportion like that?

      That was a wholesale price to installers, not including tax

      I saw elsewhere that just battery and inverter and install is about $9500 in Aus.

      So the US price ($3000) is about $4120 at current exchange rates, plus GST, is more like $$4500

      Then transport costs, inverter costs, install costs, plus an actual profit to the company doing the work eats up the difference fairly reasonably.

      In the USA, I had originally read that the installed cost was likely going to be at least double the cost to installers, which +GST and transport costs, is about what we are seeing locally.

      Likely the AUS price will drop over time. I don't think there is an Australia tax situation going on. Probably the only spot for wiggle room right now is the installer profit. But since they no doubt have to make a decent investment into it all, they will expect to make a reasonable return.

    What boggles my mind is that the payback is only measured in the power savings.

    These things are now considered investments on houses. People drop $16k or more on kitchens and renovations knowing that they are making the total house worth more. Powerwalls (and other brands) as well as solar panels are seen by buyers as part of the house. There is such a demand for it that people can put these on knowing that it will increase the price of their house.

    These things last, look at is as a investment on the house.

      That is an excellent point.

      Where people when buying houses see value in the look, feel and functionality of the house and now in some cases the value of panels on the roof, there would also be some who would see a battery-based system and go 'hey, that's a nice feature!'

      Personally, I have had in the last 12 months four power outages in my area, 2 of them lasting more than 12 hours. I could imagine that if the price was right and I was buying a house, if the price was right I would be strongly considering this.

      Give it a few years once production and competition ramps up and the price will drop. We have seen this with pretty much everything.

        Oh, shucks, youll make me blush. The stories are true, the internet is full of nice people being nice to each other.

        My personal experience was a mate who put solar panels on his roof and (for unrelated reasons) has his house re-evaluated 12 months later. Put a big bump on his price. He was pretty proud of himself.

    $3,000USD for a 7kWh model & $3,500USD for a 10 kilowatt-hour (kWh) model

    and Natural Solar are charging an entry level price of around $16,500
    I CALL Rip-Off Merchants !!!!!!!!

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