Is a Tesla Powerwall 2 Worth the Money?

I just got my tesla powerwall is installed and sort of in love with them it's just such a cool feeling to know that you no longer need the energy grid for you know your daily life however when I started to look into the data it came clear to me that not everyone should buy one of these so I wanted to dig into just kind of my experience so far what I've learned and maybe help guide you on whether or not a tesla powerwall makes sense for your home let's dive in the latest version of the tesla powerwall also called the tesla powerwall 2 has just under 14 kilowatt hours of energy 13.5 is what they list and this is part of the tesla eco system where if you get solar and you have the home batteries and then you have the cars you have a lot of freedom and independence based on just the stuff you're generating and storing at your own home most houses use around 28 kilowatt hours of energy per day so with two of these at 27 kilowatt hours more or less you're pretty good to be a full day off-grid and then of course within those 27 hours if the Sun comes out even a little bit your solar panels should charge them back up giving you this kind of off-grid energy independent feeling now typically these run around 7,000 dollars with installation every install is different so when you go through this process you have to fill out a form take pictures of lots of things and send it to them and then they come back with a quote I earned these two power walls from the Tesla referral program back in 2017 thank you to everyone that used my code because these are super cool and as I mentioned I am really really stoked on them now the ones I got were the white ones these are the standard ones you buy you may have seen some other folks that received the red ones that were actually physically signed by JB and Elon and Franz that's super cool but it actually kind of worked out better because I think the white ones look better and as you'll see when we talk about installation we had to put them outside there just be kind of a shame to have these really fancy ones with a hand signature sitting out getting rained on every day speaking of installation it actually was kind of the original idea I had was to put them in the garage but the garage where they would be located was over 100 feet from where the electrical panel is my house built in the 1950s put the electrical panel kind of on the opposite end and so it was gonna be too far because there's a communication wire that has to run and it runs in a very low voltage so over a hundred feet it just doesn't really work as well now they can change that apparently but then they'd have to kind of reconfigure the system and all that and it just didn't make a whole lot of sense to put them in the garage plus if they are in your garage they have to have these barriers in front of them so you don't hit them or they have to be amounted high enough that they would be above the standard hood height of a vehicle which is pretty high my garage is pretty short so it just didn't make sense so that plan was out the next challenge was to figure out where to put them outside we would just mount them on the house however they can't be next to a bedroom and so we had to find a place where we didn't have a bedroom and we could put it and so it ended up being just right between the studio that I used to work that I used to make these videos from and our master bathroom it's kind of right next to the AC unit and it's close to where the electrical panel is so it all made sense one of the interesting things is that we had to basically make a concrete pad for them to sit on because it's not there's no concrete there and I was able to find one for about 50 bucks from a local Building Supply Company so this is a tip if you are in this boat trying to do this like their initial thought was you need to actually pour concrete you know go make molds and and make a concrete pad but a local building company here in San Diego just had one that I could buy for 50 bucks so I went and did that worked out great so in addition to the power walls the both had to have their own AC disconnect switches then you had to have a gateway and a whole new panel set up with basically every circuit from the old electrical panel rewired into this new one and basically now the the grid itself is upstream from the rest of your house meaning the grid can go away and you can still function in fact that's how the primary function works typically if my solar system isn't generating enough power I am pulling from the battery so it's really cool and it and it does give you the sense of independence and freedom because in theory you could go off grid however that doesn't really make a whole lot of sense one thing Tesla just added was the ability to look at very detailed data about how you're using your energy and what Gloria's data it is so in the app you can see that I have my power wall here it's currently charging there's two of them listed there and you can click into the power flow which is easily my favorite diagram of all time showing exactly what's happening with your energy here we're looking at over four kilowatts of solar energy being generated right now three point six of that or three point five going back to the grid so I'm I'm building up a credit with the electric company here and point five of it powering the stuff that's currently used in my house and occasionally it's powering up or it's charging the power wall I can dive into the the history of this and see very detailed stats of what's happening with all these different sources and how the energy is flowing from one place to the other and until recently you could only look at today and yesterday in the app now you can actually click and look at a week or even a month I don't have that much data but you can kind of go back you know look at the lifetime of it etc etc so they're giving you just a really cool visualizations of ways to to understand this data and and I love that obviously that that's my thing but you know prior to this you had to go to the api's and kind of reverse engineer it so thankfully they did this and one of the cool things is if you don't like these visualizations I particularly don't find bar charts are good over time series which is the data we're looking to here you can download the data and obviously I did that either way I think it's really cool that they're giving you this data and it's really awesome just to see this I actually made an old iPad into sort of an art stand with that power flow thing so anytime we have people over I kind of explain what's going on it's just a really beautiful visualization so cheers said that tells the team for making that the bar charts the other stuff I think can be better but hey it's a step in the right direction and you're freeing the data about this which is amazing one of the challenges I've found so far with the powerwall is charging my car so typically I charge at work where I have a charger here and that kind of fills up mine but Jenny charges our model three at home now she doesn't drive a lot so she doesn't charge that often you know maybe once or twice a week at most but when she does if you think about it the model 3 long range has somewhere around 78 kilowatt hours of energy stored and if she needs to fill that thing up from from close to zero this 27 kilowatt hours stored in the and the power walls are just a snack that's not even you know not even approaching enough on a regular basis if you went to work and came back and charged every night it would probably be fine but essentially what's gonna happen is we're just gonna just hammer that battery and then have to go to grid power now thankfully because we're using even less grid power than before we've built up enough credits to where it all kind of washes out going back to the app though there are a few ways to set up your power wall and I think it makes sense just to kind of talk about these and give you my thoughts on them I'm not sure I've had enough experience yet to be the expert at this or really figure out what's best but when you go into the customize option here you can see there are different ways to kind of use the energy stored in your power wall the first one is backup only where you never really use the the power wall except in the case of a backup so in the case of a storm or something like that the other one is this self powered one where generally all your energy is going to be coming out of there when instead of pulling from the grid I like this because that means I'm just reducing the actual load on the grid and I'm becoming more self-sufficient now in there you can and I've set it here to 20 percent you can reserve a certain percent of the battery for power outages for here in San Diego it doesn't make a lot of sense because we really don't have power outages regularly but if you do you may want to set that up to thirty forty percent whatever really makes sense or just go on the backup only so I choose the self powered mode because I feel like it's just it's just really good being you know kind of off-grid as much as possible now there's also this time-based control so if I click on this advanced one here what you'll see is it actually will will learn the peak and off-peak schedule and so here in San Diego as well as many other parts of or other parts of the country now are based are going to this time of use rating where you pay more for the the peak rates versus the off-peak and this is pretty common and you can actually kind of design that and set it up to match whatever your local company charges you that way let's say here in San Diego it's between 4:00 and 9:00 p.m.

Are the super high peak I think it's like 53 cents a kilowatt hour which is nuts you can you can say hey use the battery during that time but 12:00 to 5:00 a.m. when the energy is much cheaper don't worry about it go ahead and pull from the grid just just kind of let the battery be this actually could save or help with that problem with charging the car where if the car is designed to charge between 12 and 5 a.m. and use this mode then it may you know not use the battery don't go straight to the grid which seems like a better deal so I'll have to play with this over time and see exactly what makes sense but right now I'm just kind of in love with this idea of being self powered and being off-grid as much as I can be living in a relatively a you know suburban kind of area and then of course you have the storm watch which which I kind of mentioned but they actually have a system here that monitors the weather patterns and looks for when there's a storm coming up and it will it will kind of prep the battery for that so you don't have to really worry about you just leave that on if there is a storm coming that looks like it may cause power it'll it'll adjust the the energy flow to optimize for that so that way if you guys do have an issue it you know it'll be fine so really cool really advanced you know and like I said I just love this concept of being off-grid or you know kind of is independent as I can be so speaking of going off grid it definitely is possible with solar panels and batteries but the cost of being connected to the grid and having it as a reliable backup is pretty low it's 10 bucks a month and for me that that's something that that's worth it you know it's cheaper than Netflix and a lot of other things you probably spend money on and it gives you reliable backup power but another thing you could do is if you don't have solar right now you can take advantage of the federal 30% tax credit the federal ITC it's called and bundle this in so you would actually get 30 off the cost of your power wall making the economics much more palatable much better much you know more in your favor versus just buying them outright we're honestly the economics don't make a lot of sense for most people let's look at my actual utility bill from last year and just kind of see how this would shake out without the power walls but with solar now most months I actually did not produce more than 100% of the power that I consume so I was still using the grid even though I had a relatively large solar system on my house but you know due to the power company giving me a $500 credit for having solar I ended up not knowing anything for all of last year other than that $10 a month connection fee which is kind of a separate thing that you just have to pay for and the reason this works is because of net energy metering now nem is a sort of controversial topic there were some some recent changes to it but in the end well the way it works is you sell back or you you know give back energy that is in excess of whatever you're consuming at that moment so what you do is you kind of use the grid as a battery here and you give them that excess storage and then when the Sun Goes Down in your solar panels are no longer working you essentially buy back you use those credits so if you're generating more energy than you're consuming you have a negative balance in general this is a super common thing that makes the economics of the power walls really not worth it for most people now you may be wondering hey do I have net energy metering well I'll put a link to that to a website there that'll let you know but 38 states plus a lot of the territories and provinces of the United States offer this so chances are you do so in that case when you have solar and net energy metering it doesn't really make hardly any sense to actually put your money into this except for one case we'll talk about in a second but let's assume you don't have solar right now you could actually benefit from this and a recent Stanford study showed that across the the warranty period the 10-year warranty that you get on the power walls if your average per kilowatt hour price is above thirteen point nine cents you would at least break even if not come out you know well ahead now that comes out to about twelve states in the United States some of the places with the most expensive electricity are the ones you can imagine Hawaii of course being number one as always so in those places if you don't have solar this could make a lot of sense by doing what you know I like to call rate arbitrage another term you may see out there is called peak shaving where essentially when you have the lowest time of use rating the cheapest electricity you fill these up and then during the highest the peak time you you live off of them and that was in the app where I showed you that customized where it'll actually figure that out for you you just kind of go in and tell it when is the expensive you know the peak rates versus the off-peak rates but that other case where it does make sense is if you live somewhere that have regular power outages so in the United States this is kind of the the sub Atlantic area the south that is on the coastal side where hurricanes regularly come and you know knock out power or cause other kind of problems like that these things could be really beneficial for you you know it could literally be the difference between life and death in some cases there are a lot of cases and a lot of people in the world that live in areas with kind of insecure or unstable electricity grids and so if you live in one of those places this could be something that whether or not the economics make a whole lot of sense having energy when the grid is down and not being a regular thing is totally gonna be worth it for you so it's not one of those things where you're just looking about looking to save money you're looking to just have a better or a better quality of life with this and this definitely offers you that opportunity and lastly I really can't stress enough how awesome it feels to look and see that I am really not using any electricity from the grid at all I mean it's just just incredible seeing this and knowing that I have control over how I'm consuming energy and what's happening to it it really is a great feeling and so you know we're human and you know this is why behavioral economics exists because we're not machines this isn't just a math equation here and so you know that is definitely valuable and so if that's something that is valuable to you and you can do things like pair it with the solar purchase or get you know that one of the discounts from the SGI program in california or similar where you live then this can totally make sense right if I naturally may not be a hundred percent but knowing that you have energy independence and security could be enough for you depending on your financial situation so I'm curious what you guys have to say about this do you have a power wall or are you considering one do you have solar let me know if there's anything I missed in these calculations because that's essentially what we're trying to do here is is explore sustainable technologies like this and see how they're transforming the world around us through the lens of data of course so thank you for watching don't forget when you free the data your mind will follow I'll see you guys back in the news hey thanks for watching the video I hope you got something out of it now if you want to dive a little bit deeper become a part of the Taz nama community consider joining us on patreon so what we have set up are different things and ways to engage such as a discord group which is like this chatroom that is just the folks that support the channel through patreon I'm on there almost daily engaging in conversation about how Tesla and others like them are changing the world around us for the better so if you'd like to learn more go ahead and go to patreon.com/scishow so mcc's and i hope to see you there soon [Music]

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