Tesla Powerwall: How Does It Work?

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Tesla Powerwall: How Does It Work?

With advancements in solar technology moving at light speed, it’s no wonder people are trying to get their hands on the latest innovations. And the Tesla Powerwall is one of them.

The Tesla Powerwall is a rechargeable home battery. Tesla built it to maximize your home’s green power use while also giving you greater energy independence. This means you have another way to store backup power while further reducing your carbon footprint. Plus, you save more money on your electric bill

Although many people are interested in going solar and finding battery solutions, there’s still some confusion about the Powerwall. 

So, how does Tesla Powerwall work? 

In this article, we’ll answer the question. We’ll also explore its components and design, skim the benefits of purchasing one and review how you can install one in your home

[Related: The Benefits of Energy Independence With Freedom Solar]

How the Tesla Powerwall Works

The Tesla Powerwall allows you to store energy for use at night, on cloudy days or in the event of an unfortunate power outage

The Tesla Powerwall system includes at least one Powerwall and a Backup Gateway. You can monitor, meter and manage your system through this gateway. 

It’s unsurprising that the Powerwall system is intelligent, but the Backup Gateway is one of its most interesting capabilities. The gateway learns and adapts to your unique energy usage over time. The Backup Gateway can manage up to 10 Powerwalls at any given time and can even receive over-the-air updates. 

One of the biggest perks of the Powerwall system is that it works with and without solar. 

With Solar

Most of us know solar panels absorb solar energy when the sun is out and turn it into usable power for businesses and home solar installation. However, if your panels don’t (or can’t) produce enough energy during the day to meet your needs, you have to pull energy from the grid. 

This is why it’s helpful to have hybrid solar panels. They can both disconnect and connect to the grid as needed. 

Without Solar

Electricity rates tend to vary throughout the day. The Powerwall monitors those rates and charges up when costs are low. When rates are high, the Powerwall discharges (that is, it stops charging until better rates spring up). 

The Powerwall’s goal is to reap you the most possible financial savings. 

The Tesla Powerwall can also detect outages and automatically provide backup power, thus becoming your home’s main power source rather than the grid. 

[Related: Why Would You Want a Battery That Doesn’t Get You Off-Grid?

Tesla Powerwall System Design

Here’s a look into the Tesla Powerwall’s system design. 

Home Backup

The Tesla Powerwall can perform a whole-home power backup as well as handle essential energy loads. Whole-home backups refer to lighting and appliances. A partial-home backup depends on your unique electrical setup. Typically, 5 kilowatts (KW) of power is enough to support your residential power needs during an outage. Businesses usually require more, depending on their size and average energy usage, of course. 

With a partial home backup, you can handpick which loads are essential for your daily use. Most people choose lighting and outlets. But if your home runs on a three-phase power supply, a Powerwall energizes select appliances on a single-phase. 

It’s important to note that you should limit your power consumption as much as possible during an outage. If your home exceeds 5 KW of energy use during an outage, the Powerwall automatically turns off. So, use your energy wisely.

[Related: Tips to Save on Energy Costs]

Multiple Powerwalls

One Powerwall is usually enough to power a home with average energy consumption. However, owning multiple Powerwalls is an option if you’re worried about consuming more energy than one system can store.

You’ll need to analyze your utility bill and know your home’s average energy consumption to determine if having multiple powerwalls make sense for your home. 

In addition, consider environmental patterns in your area and know your solar panel system’s average power production. For example, do you live somewhere that’s generally overcast or has a low average number of sunny days per year? If so, your Powerwall will likely store less energy than those in states such as Texas, Colorado, Florida, North Carolina and Virginia

Multiple Powerwalls let you store more energy, and that makes winding up in the dark during an outage less likely. 

Additional Tesla Powerwall Capabilities

We’ve talked about backup power, but here are additional Tesla Powerwall’s features. 


You can navigate various Powerwall features using the Tesla app. One of those features is monitoring its current energy stash and usage. You can also opt for notifications that alert you when the system switches to backup-only mode. 

Time-Based Control

Some utilities offer time-of-use rates. If yours does, you can source energy from the grid when electricity rates are low. And then when they’re high, you can return to using the power that your panels generate. 

Combining Systems With the Tesla Powerwall

People often connect the Tesla Powerwall with other systems. Let’s explore how to best leverage your Powerwall’s capabilities. 

Powerwall and Solar Panels

The most common system combination is a Powerwall and solar panels. It’s hands-down the best way to maximize its value — especially because Powerwalls are compatible with any inverter type.

But if you want to ensure your system remains operable and reliable, you should have at least one Powerwall for each 7.6 KW of generated solar power

Powerwall and Renewable Energy Sources

Impressively, Powerwalls can charge other renewable energy source outlets, such as hydropower and wind. But they can do so only if you install one outside the backup circuit. 

Powerwall and the Grid

As stated earlier, Powerwalls can connect to your local utility grid. Then, they can leverage Time-Based Control and Backup-Only features — which helps you save money. 

So if you don’t own any solar panels, you can still charge your Powerwall by connecting it to the grid. You then use that stored energy to power your home.

Powerwall and Electric Vehicles (EVs)

We know Powerwalls can power lighting and home appliances. Fortunately, they can also charge EVs via energy from solar panels or the grid.

Connecting your Tesla Powerwall to home or public charging stations using an inverter allows you to conveniently charge up whenever your EV isn’t in use. Charging at home is most common during the night or when the car’s parked in the garage. 

As for public charging stations, they’re becoming increasingly widespread as regions dedicate more funding toward green infrastructure. 

Note: There’s no direct connection between a Tesla Wall Connector (the device that connects to a Tesla EV) and a Powerwall. You need an inverter. 

[Related: Solar Panels and EV Stations: The Prevalence of Solar-Powered EV Charging Stations]

Contact Freedom Solar

If you’re ready to customize your energy needs, contact solar panel company Freedom Solar. We provide, install and service SunPower solar panels and backup batteries for home — including the Tesla Powerwall

To get started, call (800) 504-2337 or complete our online inquiry form. One of our solar specialists will be in touch!

Featured image via Unsplash

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Willie Nelson for Freedom Solar

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