Elon Musk’s company, Tesla, is much better known for its electric cars. Did you know they also make and install roof solar panels?
They’ve also created a battery designed to work specifically with their solar panels. It’s called Powerwall. It permits owners to track energy production and work with their local electric company to sell back energy to the grid.
Perhaps you’re interested in purchasing Tesla solar panels without installing Powerwall.
Here are just some of the key points that I’ll cover on Tesla’s solar panels and Powerwall:
• Tesla solar panels
• Details on Tesla’s battery, Powerwall
• Is it possible to install and run Tesla solar panels without Powerwall?
• How do you run Tesla solar panels without Powerwall?
• How do you install Tesla solar panels without Powerwall?
You may be surprised to learn how difficult it is to install and use Tesla solar panels without Powerwall. Read on to find out how to do so.
Tesla Solar Panels without Powerwall
Elon Musk, the owner of Tesla, announced in April 2021 that Tesla would bundle all its solar products, including solar roofs and solar panels, with its Powerwall battery pack for the rest of the foreseeable future. Musk considers energy generation and storage one large, integrated product.
This means you won’t be able to buy solar panels without buying Powerwall from Tesla. Tesla will no longer take orders for separate purchases of these products.
This doesn’t mean you can’t buy and install Tesla solar panels without Powerwall. It simply means that Tesla has made this much more difficult for you.
Tesla Solar Panels
Tesla offers homeowners conventional solar panels for their roof and the unconventional “Tesla Solar Glass Roof,” which is composed of solar panel tiles or “solar shingles” which interlock much as terracotta tiles do.
Conventional panels have a visible grid, which is not aesthetically pleasing on a roof. Tesla’s panels have no visible grid, a concealed edge, and a low profile. They don’t attract unwanted attention. This glass roof gives the house a more stylish appearance.
Better yet, these solar panels are more “power-dense.” Since they cover the entire roof, there’s no wasted space. The glass roof provides more electricity to power the house than conventional panels do.
The drawback is the cost of a new roof. Tesla cannot install Glass Roof on existing roofs.
These panels are tough. They withstand temperatures up to 185 degrees F.
Tesla also offers homeowners a mobile app through which they can monitor their panels’ energy production and their house’s energy consumption.
A graph will show homeowners their trendlines of energy production and consumption, revealing growing or decreasing efficiency over time.
Homeowners can also choose their peak hours of electrical usage through the app.
The Tesla Powerwall is a fully integrated AC battery system for residential housing. It’s a lithium-ion battery that provides energy storage for solar installations. It’s fully rechargeable.
It’s crucial to have a battery system for night-time and inclement weather use of electricity. It also offers protection during blackouts.
Powerwall software permits it to interface between your utility meter and your house’s main breaker panel. This offers the solar homeowner several advantages. It makes it much easier to install solar panels and battery packs.
It gives your house and all your electrical devices immediate backup during power outages.
It permits you to run your electrical systems night and day. And it permits you to easily sell back excess energy to your electric company.
In 2016, Powerwall was upgraded to Powerwall 2 with a large software update.
With a vast dataset of operation details gathered by the original Powerwall, Tesla can now operate solar panels far more efficiently at peak and steady power generation. The gains in power generation may be as large as 50%.
How Tesla Solar Panels and Powerwall Work Together
The Powerwall computer permits Tesla solar panels and the battery to become one tightly coupled system.
Tesla discovered that houses lose energy and require costly maintenance due to unreliable inverters. Therefore, Tesla introduced Powerwall+ in May 2021.
This battery comes with its own embedded inverter which converts solar-generated DC electricity into usable AC for the home.
It also has a computer that permits it to control and communicate with your solar panels and your electric company’s meter.
In those states that offer homeowners battery storage incentives for solar, installing Powerwall may save them over $2,000 in installation costs for the battery.
Tesla Solar Panel Installation
After you order your panels, Tesla will use aerial surveying technology to measure your roof’s angles and slopes. Tesla will design the most optimum placement of panels on your roof.
The company will make sure all local permits are followed and inspections made while installing your solar panels.
If you’ve purchased Tesla’s Glass Roof, Tesla will select the best configuration of solar tiles to cover your roof.
Tesla does not offer installation services nationwide. If you don’t live in one of the zip codes they cover, try a third-party installer.
Why Would You Not Want to Use Powerwall with Tesla Solar Panels?
With all the safety restrictions on where to place a large, backup battery for solar power, you may not have a spot where you can install Powerwall if you live in a smaller house.
Here are some code restrictions for installing a backup solar battery:
• No installation is allowed inside or outside a habitable room without an expensive firewall installed between the room and the battery.
• The space must provide some access for your cables to connect the battery, solar panels, inverter, and switchboard.
• The space must shelter the battery from inclement weather.
• The battery cannot be installed in direct sunlight.
You may be installing a few Tesla solar panels to supplement your electrical needs. In which case, the costs of battery storage would be a strong argument against buying Powerwall.
If your electric company has a policy of not paying solar power users for their excess power production, buying a battery may not be cost-effective.
Installing Tesla Solar Panels Without Powerwall
The fact that Tesla can’t cover the entire nation with installation services leaves open the possibility of installing Tesla solar panels on your roof without also installing a Powerwall.
Any installer that has Tesla solar panels on hand could install them on your roof without Powerwall if you wish.
Also, Tesla does not manufacture its own solar panels. One brand Tesla uses is the Hanwha Q Cells. Solar installers throughout the nation offer these panels.
You may be able to purchase panels identical to Tesla’s under the Q Cells name. You would not be required to buy and install Powerwall with these panels.
Reasons to Install Powerwall with Tesla Solar Panels
Solar Energy Storage
No energy goes to waste. If your solar panels produce more than you need during the day, you can save energy for use at night and during inclement weather.
Tesla offers a 10-year warranty against defects and a guarantee of at least a 70% energy retention rate for 10 years.
Independence from the Grid
With Powerwall’s management of energy production and retention and enough Tesla solar panels, you may be able to produce enough electricity to become permanently independent of the electrical grid.
This will save you a huge amount of money over the years.
Backup in Case of Blackouts
Even if you don’t achieve independence from the grid, your Powerwall battery will make your electrical system and devices secure against blackouts.
Powerwall will sense power interruption and immediately kick in before any of your devices lose power.
Solar power is renewable. It uses no fossil fuels and produces no greenhouse gases. Powerwall’s ability to store solar energy will help you keep it that way, at least for your house.
The Future is Virtual
Virtual power plants are the coming thing. Owners of solar power generating systems in houses and businesses will be able to link together to create the equivalent of today’s massive, centralized power plants while creating no pollution in the process.
A Powerwall will enable you to manage your portion of the community’s virtual power plant efficiently.
Return on Investment
Your energy savings will more than pay for your solar panels and Powerwall over the years to come.