Tesla Powerwall to hit Australia first, in late 2015


blog Good news for those looking to stop suckling at the teat of Australia’s energy retailers and start providing through their own needs through a combination of renewable energy and home battery storage. Reneweconomy reports that US car manufacturer and burgeoning battery giant Tesla is looking to launch its home and commercial battery storage solution Powerwall into Australia in late 2015, with retailers such as Canberra-based Reposit Power already going public with its plans to act as an integrator. The site reports (we recommend you click here for the full article):

“Tesla said on Thursday that it would be launching its 7kWh home energy storage units in Australia in late 2015, alongside North America and the DACH market in Europe, through a “growing list” of Tesla Energy partners. This is ahead of previous predictions of 2016.”

Internode founder Simon Hackett — who is also backing Australian battery company Redflow — is pretty bullish about the technology. Last week he hit up Parliament House in Canberra to brief politicians on the potential of home battery storage, which he thinks will be as ubiquitous as broadband within ten years. It will certainly be fascinating to see if he is right. I can’t, right now, see any reason why he wouldn’t be. See a further interview with Hackett on this and other issues on the ABC here.

Image credit: Tesla


  1. I wonder how much of a stink the networks will put up over this.

    Recently in NSW networks added a surcharge for residential metering with embedded generation (solar for the most part). Wondering if they’ll be demanding a premium metering fee for sites with onsite storage too anytime soon.

  2. I’m keen to get one installed but concerned about the backlash from the current energy providers. It wouldn’t seem beyond the realm of possibilities that they will introduce more surcharge fees. That may force an answer to the question of staying on the grid or going off-grid but I’m a bit wary of dropping off-grid just yet.

    • I’m beginning to wonder if local micro-grids might be the answer – get together with like minded neighbours and get the benefits of off-grid with the peace of mind of a distributed system. It’s interesting that economies of scale in producing generating technologies (cheaper photovoltaics and wind turbines) might transfer us from the current centralised generation model for residential in some areas.
      Disruption has started and seems to be accelerating in this space.
      (Now I need to find how to move my own career into it. Working in an unequivocally ethical industry would make a nice change from IT.)

  3. Network charges (in QLD) have risen from $0.25/day to $1.16/day over the last 4 years. You can bet your backside that these are only going to accelerate that growth as more and more people pull back their demand from the grid.

    As soon as the charge is over $1.50/day (likely July 2016) it will become financially break even to run on solar + wind + battery, assuming these units meet their target advertised price.

    If you are not getting the solar rebate credit (a 42c/kWh boost, cancelled to new customers in 2012) then cord cutting is going to become very attractive to new entrants to the small scale renewables market

    • Wonder how long it will take before there will be a “Service/grid availability charge” even if you are not connected to the grid at all.. Because the poles and wires run past your home.

      • A charge already exists in the housing rates for water and sewage. You get charged a nominal cost if the pipes run past your house/land even if you aren’t connected.

  4. I’m excited about where this might go, but still feeling pretty cynical about whether what we are seeing represents a tipping point for batteries on the grid, or if it is just Elon Musk marketing hype.

    Think of it this way:

    1. Batteries aren’t needed for power, you can get that from the grid
    2. Batteries don’t make your energy consumption more environmentally friendly (in fact, all those materials in making the battery would make you worse). IF you have solar panels and no battery, you are still generating green power.
    3. The only argument in favour of having a battery in your home connected to the grid is a possible economic one: by allowing you to store and use all your own generated power, you don’t need to sell your precious solar generation to the grid at a paltry rate.
    4. But given the up front cost of the batteries is so high, is it actually going to make economic sense to buy a battery just so you can load shift to avoid having to sell solar generation to the grid for peanuts? I’m not sure.

    There is another argument for buying batteries: tech-fetish. I suspect this plays a big part in the current battery enthusiasm, which Elon Musk effectively taps, especially since batteries for use with a home solar power system have been around for decades.

    • There’s another scenario where it can make sense: Variable electricity pricing.

      If power companies vary the power cost according to demand, it could be financially viable to charge your battery at low-demand times and run off it at peak times. If there’s enough incentive to do this, it could seriously reduce the gap between base load and peak load for the grid. The power companies take a hit on some pricing but get to run fewer plants more efficiently.

      The alternative version of that is power companies covering part of the install cost if they get to pump electricity back into the grid in certain circumstances. A few tens of thousands of batteries like this distributed around a city and unusual peak loads and brownouts become much less of a problem.

      Disclaimer: This all relies on fancy smart grid technology and will probably not happen next week.

      • There’s another scenario where it can make sense: Variable electricity pricing.

        I’m yet to do the numbers but I’m on TOU pricing with a smart meter – off peak Inc GST is 10c p/kWh, shoulder is 20c p/kWh and peak is 30c p/kWh.

        I wonder if it would make sense for is to have 2x 10 kWh units and to charge up the power walls during off peak and use the stored energy during the peak and shoulder periods.

        My reading indicates that with a full discharge per day the power walls are good for almost 14 years (warranty is 10).

        • That assumes the batteries don’t deteriorate in typical Li-Ion fashion. Which they’re not meant to, but the jury is out without a full and detailed independent technical analysis.

          But yes, allowing people to go fully off peak is a big part of the idea. There are just far cheaper existing ways of doing it already.

    • Yes, and Li-Ion is a rather expensive and not entirely long-lived solution, either. Using deep cycle batteries (even expensive variants) is still significantly cheaper than Tesla’s per GWh. Using standard wet cells it is almost an order of magnitude cheaper, but you lose the ability to deep cycle (get lots, keep them above 50% discharge).

      The thing Musk has is svelte sex appeal – his packs are slim and beautiful, packing around four times the energy density of lead-acid. It will also be interesting to see precisely what secret sauce they’ve built in using their new manufacturing techniques – apparently they are not insignificant improvements over previous Li-Ion structures.

  5. I’m going to wait a while, there is a lot of action going on in this field, and not just from Tesla.

    For instance, http://redflow.com/ are developing a home based solution. This is where Simon Hackett is now and I expect he’ll do as well in storage as he did as an ISP. I also like the sound of the battery they are using: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zinc%E2%80%93bromine_battery You can basically change the solution to get more life out of it, and they are still getting big advances out R&D with them.

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