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No. Technically you don’t need a Powerall with solar.
You could have a solar system with just a deep cycle battery (check out my post if you’re interested in this topic: Solar Power for Beginners) or you could simply hook up solar panels to a portable power station (Amazon) if you’re just looking for a smaller amount of electricity.
BUT!.. Here’s the kicker!
In May 2021, I was starting to hear people saying that you can’t buy Tesla’s solar panels (which are either manufactured by Hanwha Solar or Electrek) without buying their Powerwall as well.
Although Tesla is offering the cheapest solar panel option out there, having to buy a Powerwall with their solar panels isn’t in everyone’s budget.
Why Does Tesla’s Solar Panels Only Come Powerwall?
Tesla is trying to make the installation less difficult for Powerall 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
So if you’re not interested in buying Tesla’s Powerwall, you’re out of luck when it comes to buying a Tesla’s solar panels.
So what can you do?
Cheapest Alternative to Home Battery Systems: Solar Panels & Portable Power Stations
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.