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Tesla unveils a new 1 Powerpack + 1 inverter system with 6-year payback

Tesla has unveiled an interesting new Powerpack project in Rockhampton, Queensland, where they installed only one Powerpack with their own commercial inverter.

After recent massive Powerpack projects, like the 100 MW/129 MWh energy storage system announced in Australia and the Tesla solar + Powerpacks project powering Kauai, the new project shows the flexibility of Tesla’s energy storage products.

These utility-scale projects feature hundreds of Powerpacks and large commercial battery inverters, but Tesla can also configure smaller systems for different usage and still achieve a return of investment in the right conditions.

For small projects, customers can use Tesla’s Powerwall 2, which is aimed at the residential market with a capacity of 14 kWh, but can be stacked with up to 9 packs for a usable capacity of up to 121 kWh.

But now with this new project in Queensland, Australia, Tesla shows that it can sometimes be worth it to use just one single Powerpack with a higher capacity commercial inverter.

Tesla wrote about the project:

“The Cathedral College in Rockhampton, Queensland is the first school in Australia to Tesla Powerpack store sustainable energy generated from solar during the day to power the boarding house during the evening and into the morning”

The boarding school’s main power consumption happens in the early morning, late afternoon and throughout the night, when solar power doesn’t generate enough energy.

Yet, they still hired GEM Energy Australia to build them a solar array to reduce their energy bills and they turned to Tesla to solve the energy storage issue in order to use their own solar energy.

At an energy conference in June, Benjamin Kölle, General Manager for GEM Energy Australia, confirmed that they configured the Powerpack at the minimum capacity of 95 kWh and used a 50 kW Tesla battery inverter:

“Exploring all different battery types and inverters, the solution we have implemented is 80.08kW of Q.CELLS Q.PLUS BFR-G4.1 280w with SolarEdge inverters with a Tesla Powerpack battery setup which includes 95kWh of usable storage and a 50kW Tesla battery inverter.  We chose this combination because of the performance, space requirements and cost effectiveness.”

When releasing its latest generation of Powerpacks, Tesla also released its own commercial inverter developed in-house using their expertise for in-car inverters and stopped offering the Dynapower inverter as the standard for their commercial and utility-scale projects.

Using the system with just one Powerpack, Tesla says Cathedral College should see a return on investment within 6 years and GEM Energy sees an expected payback of 7 years for the entire project with the solar arrays.

Tesla released a cool new video of the project, which was brought online earlier this year and has been supplying 61% of the school’s energy since:

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