Powerwall Home Battery Owner Has No Regrets

by Anna Gretz
August 19, 2016
Home Battery

Spoiler alert: Nick Pfitzner loves his home battery, and it’s not hard to see why.

When Tesla first released their Powerwall home battery in Australia earlier this year, Nick Pfitzner was first in line. He’s part of a growing number of Australians who have installed home battery units this year, and he’s here to let us in on how things are going.

Spoiler alert: Nick Pfitzner loves his home battery, and it’s not hard to see why.

After six months of owning a home battery, NIck says that he has cut his daily power bill by nearly 90%. He also says that since their home battery was installed, Nick, along with his family, have been smarter about how they use their home appliances.

“I have absolutely no regrets,” Pfitzner told ABC Sydney. According to Nick, his home battery works just as well as it did on day one. The Pfitzner family uses their home battery along with solar panels. The solar panels generate energy from the sun, which is then stored in their home battery. Nick says that he’ll consider more solar panels and an additional home battery in a few years.

With a home battery, Nick’s electricity bill is only 59 cents a day.

The Pfitzners said that they used to have to pay between $5 and $6 a day for electricity, but after the installation of their home battery and solar panels, their bill has been slashed by 90%. Thanks to their home battery, they now only pay 59 cents a day for electricity.

Their home battery also gives the Pfitzners the ability to monitor the way they use power. Nick says that their home battery has changed the way they use electricity. They are focusing on eliminating waste and saving energy, and their home battery has been a big part of that.

The Pfitzners have also used their home battery to take advantage of time of use shifting--storing energy in a home battery during the day, so they can use their solar power at night after the sun goes down. “You still need to live,” Nick says, and his home battery allows them to do that, even after dark.

On a sunny day, Nick is able to use his solar panels to power the house, as well as charge up his home battery by about 11:00am. In the past six months, the Pfitzners have used solar power and power stored in their home battery for the vast majority of their electricity needs. According ot NIck, many people understand the benefits of solar power, but home batteries bring things to a whole new level.

“When the sun goes down, I’ve still got peak power from the home battery.” Nick says that the perks of owning a home battery are worth the cost all on their own, but that he also expects the system to pay for itself before the home battery life ends. He expects that more and more households will install home battery systems in the near future.

NIck Pfitzner isn’t the only one who thinks home batteries are going to continue to skyrocket: Tesla CEO Elon Musk is banking on the success of home batteries as well. Musk reported his predictions for home batteries in the coming year, and the numbers are BIG. Musk predicts that Tesla alone will sell $500 million in home batteries this year, and between $2 billion and $5 billion in home batteries in 2017.

Though the solar and wind market is currently the biggest renewable energy market right now, the home battery market is growing. Analysts from Greentech Media say that home battery storage, as part of a larger, global, energy storage market, will continue to grow exponentially in the next decade. Currently, federal tax credits in the United States are helping with home battery costs, though prices are expected to continue to drop as production ramps up.

And speaking of home battery production, Tesla has made some big promises. “It’s going to be heavily concentrated in the fourth quarter, and probably heavily in November and December,” Musk said this week during a call with analysts. Tesla shipped out 2,400 Powerwall home batteries in May, mostly to customers over in the Pfitzner’s neck of the woods in Australia, and also in Europe.

Tesla’s Powerwall home batteries pack a lot of energy into a small space, which has made them popular in crowded urban neighborhoods. Susan Kennedy of Advanced Microgrid Solutions says that “as utilities figure out how to use storage [home batteries] in their distribution systems, the market is going to grow dramatically.” The future of Tesla’s home battery business looks bright… but they’re not the only game in town.

Pavel Molchanov, a Raymond James analyst, said this of Tesla’s home batteries: “Though Tesla is an early mover, it is by no means the only or the biggest mover.” Home batteries have been taking center stage with many lithium-ion battery manufacturers. Home batteries have also been developed by Sonnenbatterie, LG Chem, Orison, and car battery manufacturers like Mercedes, all vying for the top spot in the market.

“People ask everyday about getting a Powerwall [home battery],” said Mark Coleman, a rooftop solar panel and home battery salesman. Mark says he usually suggests other home battery brands as well. Though Powerwall is the household name in home batteries today, Coleman believes this is going to expand soon. Very soon.

LG Chem in particular has teamed up with Eguana Technologies to create a home battery that is quickly rivaling Tesla’s fame. With the new AC Battery, LG Chem is looking to become the #1 home battery producer in North America. The AC home battery is pre-integrated and fully certified as an energy storage system with minimal requirements for homeowners. All you need is a grid connection and a dispatch system, and you’re ready for fully functional and incredibly durable and versitile home battery installed in your house. With the AC Battery, you can hook up your home battery as part of a new solar energy system, or you can retrofit it to work with your already installed photovoltaics, which makes it stand out against other home battery competitors (specifically Tesla, which is not yet offering a retrofit option.)

How else does the LG Chem home battery compare to the Powerwall? The dimensions of the home battery are pretty similar, but the home battery itself weighs a bit less, compared to the Powerwall’s 214 pounds. Operating temperature is relatively the same, but the AC home battery tops the Powerwall home battery’s efficiency, which is at about 92.5 percent. The biggest difference in the two home batteries, and the features that gives consumers a huge advantage, is the fact that the AC home battery can be retrofitted to work with already-existing rooftop-solar systems. This is a really big deal. So far, every Tesla Powerwall home battery installation has come with an entirely new solar photovoltaic system that connects well with the Powerwall home battery system. This makes the Powerwall home battery’s cost, which was initially impressively lower than anything else in the home battery industry, no longer quite as appealing with all the added costs of new solar and inverter installations.

We’re excited to see how the ever-rising popularity of home batteries brings us new and exciting battery technologies.

We’ll keep tabs on both the home battery market and the Pfitzner family and keep you updated.