We reported on Nick Pfitzner just over a year ago when he became one of the first people to have a Tesla Powerwall in Australia. After now over a year of ownership, Nick shared his experience just as a lot more people are considering installing home energy storage now that the market expanded with new products, including the upcoming Tesla Powerwall 2.
Home Solar Power
Powerwall resellers in Australia combine the product with a solar array and that’s what Pfitzner family bought in January 2016: a 7 kWh Powerwall battery, a 5 kW solar array, a SolarEdge inverter and a Reposit monitoring system for a total of $16,790 (~$12,800 USD).
Nick was expecting an 80% drop in his utility bill, which added up to $2,289 (~$1,750 USD) in 2015 before he got the solar array and Powerwall. 80% is to be expected with a solar installation, but you can stretch that with an efficient use of a home battery pack.
That’s what he did since a year later, the household saw a 92% saving of $2110. They only paid $178.71 (~$137 USD) out-of-pocket for electricity throughout the entire year in 2016.
According to his own estimates before installation, he was looking at a return on investment after over a decade, but now that he has the actual numbers, he is looking closer to 8 years for the entire system. After that, the system will virtually be producing free electricity for him and his family.
Australia has the world’s highest per capita penetration of rooftop solar technology with 15% of households using solar for a total of 1.5 million households across the country.
High electricity rates are helping the adoption, but favorable net metering is what is really making solar + home batteries economical in the region.
Nick told Australia’s CHOICE in his 1-year review of the Powerwall system:
“The system will power whatever the house needs first as a priority, then it will fill the battery as a second priority and then anything over it’ll export. The aim is to try and export about three times of what I import because my electricity cost is about three times [as much].”
The going rate is 8 cents (~$0.06 USD) per kWh, which is fairly low, but when demand is very high, the grid is sometimes willing to pay as much as $1 ($0.77 USD) per kWh. If they can afford to discharge the entire Powerwall when the prices are that high, it pays itself rather quickly.
If they have a higher capacity pack, they would be able to profit more when the prices are higher and also go off-grid for longer periods of time when there are outages. That’s where the new Tesla Powerwall 2 comes into play. It has twice the energy capacity of the first generation – 14 kWh.
As we reported last week, Tesla is about to start shipping the Powerwall 2 by the end of the month. It is expected to be particularly popular in Australia where local distributors see a return on investment in 6 years.