Can You Use a Tesla Powerwall Without Solar Panels?

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Yes. You can totally use Tesla’s Powerwall without solar panels. You can charge the Powerwall from the grid so that you have a backup for your house, just in case there’s a power outage.

BUT!.. Here’s the kicker!

In May 2021, I was starting to hear people saying that you can’t buy Tesla’s Powerwall without buying their solar panels as well (which are either manufactured by Hanwha Solar or Electrek).

At first, I couldn’t believe it because other solar panels clearly worked with Powerwall in the past.

But it was true! Tesla stopped selling the Powerwall to customers who also didn’t buy their solar panels.

Although Tesla is offering the cheapest solar panel option out there, there are two types of customers that would not be interested in Tesla’s solar panels:

  1. This can be a problem for all the people who want a Powerwall but already have a collection of great-working solar panels on their roofs.
  2. This can also be a problem for people who aren’t interested in getting solar panels at all, and just want to charge the Powerwall from the grid. Solar panels or not, the Powerwall is a great backup if a power outage should happen.

Why Does Powerwall Only Come With Solar Panels?

Tesla is trying to make the installation less difficult for installers by making every house look the same electrically.

To do this, every house will only have the power from the solar panels (or solar roof) go directly to the Powerwall. And the Powerwall will only ever go between the utility and main power panel.

In other words, each Powerwall and solar installation will be its own utility and installers won’t have to touch the main circuit breakers of the house.

It’s all about keeping things as simple and consistent as possible at every single house, which is important for scalability.

Tesla Powerwall vs Alternatives

If you already have solar panels or you’re not interested in buying solar panels, then… you’re out of luck when it comes to buying a Powerwall.

So what can you do?

First, let’s look at what the Powerwall would give you in terms of power, and then we’ll compare that to some alternatives that won’t force you to buy their solar panels.

About Powerwall’s “Power” Before We Compare…

Home batteries have limitations for their power output.

The Powerwall has a cap at 5kW continuous power with a peak load up to 7kW. These limitations are per Powerwall. So, if you have 2 Powerwalls, you now have a maximum of 10kW continuous power available. (You can connect up to 10 Powerwalls together).

Continuous Power: The long-term wattage that the Powerwall can supply normally.

Peak Power: The wattage that the Powerwall can supply for a very short period of time when starting an appliance.

Major appliances like an HVAC have a big spike in power usage when the motor starts.

Since 1 Powerwall has a peak load capacity of 7kW, you risk tripping the Powerwall’s emergency shutdown if you overload it when something like your HVAC kicks on in a blackout. (Your installer might recommend a “soft start” for something like your HVAC… without too many details, just let your installer know if you plan on using an electric-guzzling appliance when there’s a power outage to make sure everything is all good).

EcoLinx by Sonnen (The Luxury Option)

Sonnen is the highest capacity one. The ecoLinx by Sonnen can go up to 30 kWh (kilowatt-hours) capacity with a continuous power of 8 kW and a peak output of 12 kW.

The price is on the higher end (US $10,000+ before installation) but you only have to buy one unit instead of connecting 3 Powerwalls to get about the same amount of power.

This home battery is also very sleek looking (comparable to the Powerwall).

PWRcell by Generac

Although this home battery doesn’t have a contemporary look like the Sonnen or Powerwall, the PWRcell by Generac is another popular alternative.

This unit has a capacity of 17.1 kWh (kilowatt-hours) with a continuous power of 6.7 kW and a peak output of 10 kW.

Again, this home battery costs more than the Powerwall (around US $10,000).

Encharge 10 by Enphase

The Encharge10 by Enphase (which is a very popular company when it comes to solar technology) has a capacity of 10 kWh (kilowatt-hours) with a continuous power of 3.84 kW and a peak output of 5.7 kW.

This home battery costs less than the Powerwall (around US $5,000) and you can connect multiple units together to get more power.

LG Chem RESU 10H by LG Energy Solution

A less known (and less marketed) home battery is LG Chem RESU 10H by LG Energy Solution.

This unit has a capacity of 9.3 kWh (kilowatt-hours) with a continuous power of 5 kW and a peak output of 7 kW.

This home battery costs less than the Powerwall (around US $5,000) and you can connect multiple units together to get more power.

Cheapest Alternative to Home Battery Systems: Portable Power Stations & Solar Panels

If you’re only looking for a small portable battery system that will hook up to your already existing solar panels or that you can charge by plugging it into an outlet, there’s another easier alternative.

Solar power stations! (See images of the solar power stations on Amazon).

With a solar power station (also called a solar generator), you can create off-grid, mobile, solar power by just plugging in solar panels directly into the generator! That’s it! The generator acts as the charge controller, battery, and invertor!

Solar power stations are truly is an all-in-one battery-powered system that is safe, completely mobile, and you don’t need to learn more about solar energy. It’s definitely something to think about if you’re not looking to run an entire house off-grid.

I’ve been living in an off-grid cottage for over a year, and I just recently bought the EF EcoFlow Delta Max (2000) Portable Power Station* (Amazon) with 4 x 200W 12V monocrystalline solar panels I already had.

I’ve tried and reviewed a lot of different solar products over the years, and I’ve always been a fan of EcoFlow’s products (the only drawback is they tend to sell out really fast).

But the EcoFlow Delta Max has been such a life changer! I can keep my office and cottage running all day long without thinking about power (I got 2 extra EcoFlow batteries from Amazon because there’s not a lot of sunny days where I live). I can even do my laundry with this thing!

* EcoFlow has less expensive versions of this power station on Amazon too, just in case you don’t want massive amounts of electricity like I do.

Conclusion: Can a Tesla Powerwall Be Used Without Solar?

Coming Soon!