Tesla Powerwall is one product that stands up to the marketing hype. It’s a scalable, well-designed product that is playing a role in revolutionizing the energy sector in the United States and the world.
A&R Solar is now installing it in the Pacific Northwest.
When the power goes out–whether from a storm or an earthquake–solar energy systems are designed to immediately shutdown to prevent power being sent back to the grid, which can endanger line workers.
But when you have a storage system like Tesla Powerwall, you can still draw power from your solar panels and store it locally while not sending any of it back to the grid. Storage systems also protect against any potential time-of-use electricity rate hikes. While most Pacific Northwest utilities don’t adjust rates for electricity by time of day, many expect that to change in the coming years as utility rates continue to rise.
Storage systems charged primarily from solar energy systems are eligible for the federal solar tax credit. Solar energy systems are eligible for the credit as well, along with additional state and local incentives. We’re happy to walk you through them.
Browse through our Frequently Asked Questions below to learn more about battery storage solutions.
If you have a home or business in Washington or Oregon, get started now by filling out this form. Solar incentive rates are at their highest levels, so going solar now will maximize your savings and your investment.
Energy storage–aka a battery system–allows your home to safely disconnect (island) from the utility grid when the grid is down. Your home becomes its own microgrid. The battery system will balance your home’s energy needs. If you have solar, it will tell your solar inverter(s) that all is well, and they can come back online and produce power when there is enough light. You will need to conserve electricity (especially in the winter), but depending upon the size of your household loads, you should have many hours or days of power even when the grid is down.
An average home in the Pacific Northwest should see 6-12 hours of backup power from a single Powerwall. If you have solar or other grid-tied generation, you could see this extended by hours in the winter or days/weeks during the time of the year when we have longer and sunnier days.
We will work with you to properly size your battery system based upon:
1) the size of your solar system
2) the duration you want to be able to run when the grid is down
3) the size of loads you want to run
Battery storage systems are more than just a battery that can hang on your wall. The system also includes these necessary components: battery inverter, transfer switch, protected load panel, monitoring device, software, miscellaneous electrical materials, and all associated permits and labor required for a professional installation. Your home may need a single battery unit or it may need multiple. However, a battery system paired with solar runs charged primarily with solar are eligible for the 26 percent federal solar tax credit.
But let’s get down to numbers:
No – you could charge a storage system by other means, but power from the sun is certainly the cleanest and most reliable method. Solar plus storage also has the greatest tax advantages and is the cleanest way to recharge during a power outage. Powerwalls can be charged from the grid or from solar. If you are interested in charging your system from a generator, please work with your design consultant for options.
Most of our customers offset a significant amount of their annual electric energy with solar. You can offset 100 percent of your energy usage and not completely cut the cord from your electrical utility. Having all of your electrical needs provided by solar energy means that you are net zero.
In other cases, people have cabins or RV setups that aren’t connected to an electrical utility. This is really what off grid means. A&R Solar is focused on-grid interactive solar and battery systems. If you are interested in being totally off grid, we recommend visiting www.backwoodssolar.com.
Unless your home is in a remote area not served by an electrical utility, we highly recommend staying connected to the grid. As freeing it sounds to completely cut the cord, here’s why we would remain grid tied:
As with all tax credits, please consult a tax professional before making financial decisions. However it’s commonly known that battery systems charged primarily with solar are eligible for the 26 percent federal solar tax credit.
That depends. What do you need to run? And how long do you need to run it? Battery storage can provide perpetual amounts of power when combined with solar. The grid might be down, but your solar panels are now feeding into your battery system instead of pushing all of that power back to your utility.
Here come the variables: the size of your solar PV system, the size of your battery storage system, and the biggest one of them all, how much energy your home might consume during an outage.
To illustrate further, picture your bathtub. The faucet is the power your solar modules are generating, while the drain represents how much electricity your home is consuming. The bathtub is the battery. It has to balance the amount of energy coming in with the amount going out.
That’s where we come in. We work with our customers to determine what essentials they’d like to have backed up during a power outage. It’s never a one-size-fits-all approach.
Tesla is providing an estimate that doesn’t include local labor rates, travel time, permitting fees, or any additional electrical work that will be needed to pass inspection in Washington and Oregon. These estimates are just that, estimates by remote sales people who haven’t visited your property. Tesla is subcontracting the installations out to a handful of companies like A&R Solar which have been approved as a Tesla Powerwall Certified Installer.
Here’s some feedback from Tesla customers in other areas of the county, as reported on EnergySage:
“Tesla estimates that installation will add $800 to $2,000 to your bill. However, this estimate doesn’t include the cost of electrical upgrades, taxes, permit fees, or connection charges. EnergySage users have reported installation costs that add anywhere from $5,000 to $8,000 (before any financial incentives are applied). The final number will be dependent on the specifics of your installation.” EnergySage (May 2018)
Here’s how A&R Solar is approaching Powerwall sales:
Check with us on compatibility, as it varies across storage technologies. With Tesla Powerwall your Solar+Battery will be your first line of protection. Your generator will only be needed if your batteries are empty.
AC coupling is just a technical term for when you add battery storage to your existing grid-tied solar energy system. All grid-tied solar PV systems are required by code to shut down when the power goes out in order to protect utility line workers. However, with an AC coupled battery system, your solar system will be able to remain online during an outage and provide power when you most need it.
The Tesla Backup Gateway is a critical component that allows Powerwall(s) to safely operate whether the grid is up or down. It provides monitoring and management of the overall Powerwall system.
Yes, we love to pay our referrers. The referral program pays you $500 when the person you refer goes solar. The person signing up for the system gets a discount, too. In fact, if you refer a solar + battery prospect and they go with both, they can earn $1,000 off their new system, and you receive the same amount as a check from us.
Yes. Microinverters work great with batteries and provide a lot of flexibility in designing the optimal storage system.
Yes, two kinds: First is the incalculable kind that keeps your lights and heat on during a power outage or disaster. It’s tough to put a price on that kind of peace of mind. The second involves Time of Use (TOU) charges that utilities are considering implementing in the Northwest.
Because the storage systems can be programmed for both backup and daily use operations, you’ll be ready if your utility ever decides to charge more for electricity during peak times. This is because you can automatically move from paying a premium for grid electricity to utilizing stored solar electricity for free with the embedded software. It’s the primary reason batteries are becoming so popular in states like Hawaii and California where Time of Use billing systems are already in effect.
Although we can solve lots of problems with neat and clean conduit runs, the best location for the battery system is as close to your main service panel and inverter(s) as possible. The most common places are inside or adjacent to a garage by the electric panel.
No. Most are floor or wall mounted and require adequate ventilation and clearances for efficient operation and service access.