Tesla’s Powerwall vs Powerwall Plus

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In April 2021, Tesla’s Powerwall got a massive upgrade.

Although both the original Powerwall and the Powerwall+ (Powerwall Plus) look very similar to each other on the outside, the architecture and the installation configuration have been completely switched around.

Let’s first look at the Powerwall and what it’s capable of. And then we’ll look at the Powerwall+ and its added features.

About Tesla’s Powerwall

In a nutshell, Tesla’s Powerwall works with solar panels and gives you the ability to store the sun’s energy in a rechargeable home battery system.

Charging the Tesla Powerwall Battery

The Powerwall battery is charged with solar panels during the day.

When solar panels are producing more electricity than the home is consuming, it charges the Powerwall battery. If additional power is needed for the home, the home can get its electricity from the utility grid.

About the Powerwall Battery

The Powerwall battery can store up to 13.5 kWh. This energy is stored until the home needs it, such as when solar is no longer producing at night.

When the sun comes out the next morning, the solar panels start to recharge the Powerwall.

The Powerwall delivers clean, renewable energy with its batteries said to last 10 years with no maintenance.

Powerwall vs. Power Outages

When the utility grid is offline during a power outage, Powerwall will detect this and will automatically generate backup power by becoming the home’s main power source.

Monitor Your Powerwall System

Each Powerwall system works with an app on your phone to provide energy monitoring, metering, and smart controls to customize your Powerwall system.

Metering can help you accurately monitor your solar production and home energy consumption.

Powerwall’s Automatic Updates

The Powerwall system learns and adapts to your energy use over time and receives over-the-air updates to add new features and enhance existing ones.

Save Money with Powerwall

Powerwall is great at giving you automatic savings.

If your electricity rates vary throughout the day, Powerwall can charge the battery when your utility’s electricity costs are low. And, then it can discharge the battery when electricity costs are high.

Scaling Up Your Powerwall System

A Powerwall system can be built with up to 10 Powerwalls, including a combination of Powerwall+ and traditional Powerwalls.

Limitations of Powerwall

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.

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.

So these caps might mean you can’t have all of your appliances on at once unless you get more Powerwalls connected together.

If you want all of your appliances running at the same time, you’ll have to add up how many watts per hour they all use and make sure your network of Powerwalls can handle it.

How many Powerwalls you need to power a home really depends on what your goals are with a battery backup. If you just need an emergency battery backup when there’s a power outage, and your goal isn’t to get 100% of your appliances up and running, you might be just fine with 1 Powerwall.

And make sure to let the Powerwall installer know of your goals. Let them know if you want all your appliances backed up by the Powerwall, or if you’re just looking for a few things to work during a power outage (like the fridge, lights, TV, and desktop).

Another thing you’ll want to discuss with your Powerwall installer is if you want a major appliance, like your HVAC, to work during a power outage. 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).

Differences Between Powerwall vs Powerwall+

Now that you understand how the Powerwall works, you can understand the table below and see the difference between the Powerwall and the Powerwall+.

Powerwall Powerwall+
Energy Capacity 13.5 kWh 13.5 kWh
On-Grid Power
(Full Sun)
5.8 kW continuous 7.6 kW continous
On-Grid Power
(No Sun)
5.8 kW continous 5.8 kW continous
Backup Power
(Full Sun)
10 kW peak 22 kW peak
Backup Power
(No Sun)
10 kW peak 10 kW peak
Size
(L x W x D)
45.3 x 29.6 x 5.75 in 62.8 x 29.7 x 6.3 in
Weight 251.3 lbs 343.9 lbs
Warranty 10 years 10 years

As you can see, the Powerwall+ has a higher continuous power of 7.6 kW when in full sun, compared to 5.8 kW with the original Powerwall.

The Powerwall+ also has a higher backup power peak of 22kW when in full sun, compared to the original Powerwall.

And that’s basically it! The + (plus) in the Powerwall+ pretty much refers to a higher peak power capability when there’s full sunlight on your solar panels.