Published on May 7th, 2015 | by Zachary Shahan


38,000 Tesla Powerwall Reservations In Under A Week (Tesla / Elon Musk Transcript)

May 7th, 2015 by  

One of the huge pieces of news coming out of Tesla’s conference call last night was that 38,000 reservations have been made for Tesla’s Powerwall (but with an average above 1/reservation resulting in something more like 50,000 Powerwalls or more), as well as ~2,500 reservations for the much larger Powerpacks. This has apparently even blown Tesla away, and looks to mean that Tesla is sold out through the middle of 2016. I don’t think anyone can put it in better words that Tesla CEO and Product Architect Elon Musk himself, so here’s a transcript from that portion of the conference call:

“The response has been overwhelming. Okay… like, crazy.

“In the course of less than a week, we’ve had 38,000 reservations for the Powerwall, 2,500 reservations for the Powerpack. The Powerpack, it should be noted, typically — this is bought by utilities or large industrial companies, for heavy industrial work. Typically, Powerpack, it’s like at least 10 Powerpacks per installation, so if there’s 2,500 reservations, there’s actually 25,000 Powerpacks.

“Powerwall also, we suspect, is probably an average number of Powerpacks is probably 1½ to 2 per installation. So, you know, so, 30,000 reservations is more like 50,000 or 60,000 actual Powerwalls.

“I mean, there’s like no way that we could possibly satisfy this demand this year. And we’re basically, like, sold out through the middle of next year… in the first week. It’s crazy.

“We had 2,500 requests from companies that want to distribute or install the Powerwall and Powerpack. We can’t even respond to them. We have to, like, triage our response to those who want to be a distributor. So, it’s like crazy off the hook.

“It seems to have gone super viral.”


Later on he said that they could “easily have the Nevada Gigafactory just do stationary storage,” clearly indicating that even the production capacity of the Gigafactory (or Gigafactory #1) isn’t enough for demand.

Elon also mentioned that Tesla expected demand for its stationary storage, as measured in megawatt-hours or gigawatt-hours, to be approximately double that of the car.

Tesla Powerwall price

SolarCity Comments About Economics of the Powerwall… in Context

Answering a question about a SolarCity spokesperson saying that the Powerwall doesn’t really make sense for most homeowners yet, Musk stated:

“For the specific case of SolarCity, what they’re referring to is that, there’s two version of the Powerwall — there’s the daily cycling version, and there’s the Powerpack version. One’s energy optimized and one’s daily cycling optimized. For the daily-cycling-optimized one, the economics is true in the US, with rare exception, are more expensive than utility. So, if somebody wants to do daily cycling — basically, go off grid — it’s going to be more expensive than being on grid.

“This doesn’t mean that people won’t buy it, cause there are people who want to go off grid on principle, or they just want to be independent. That’s what the SolarCity comment is about.”

CTO JB Straubel then chimed in:

“It might also be worth noting, SolarCity doesn’t yet operate in Europe, and the main target application for the daily cycling battery pack was actually — were several markets not in the continental US, and particularly Germany and Australia are very strong markets where it does make economic sense today based on the feed-in tariff and the electricity rate structures in those countries. So, you know, SolarCity’s comments, I think, need to be sort of put in the regional context.”

Elon Musk again:

“Yeah, SolarCity’s only operating in the US, and the Powerwall will be available from SolarCity and from other solar installers in both configurations, but if someone’s doing the daily cycling application, they’re doing it specifically because they want grid independence, and there are some number of people who will want to do that, and that’s good.

“It’s also important to appreciate, even the power backup system so that you always have power in the event of a power outage, let’s say that appeals to like 2% of households in the US, or 1%, that’s a million households — like, does one person in a hundred care about having battery backup in the event of a utility outage, probably. We couldn’t even support a small fraction of that right now, so it’s kind of a moot point.”

Tesla Powerwall Chemistry vs Tesla Powerpack Chemistry

And he mentioned that there are indeed different chemistries in the two Tesla Energy products. The backup power option, the Powerpack, is quite similar to that in the Tesla Model S and X, using a nickel-cobalt-aluminum cathode. The daily cycling option, the Powerwall, is made of nickel-manganese-cobalt (with “quite a lot of manganese in there”). The first is meant for ~60–70 cycles per year, and the other one for 365 cycles a year. Tesla expects the Powerwall to last for approximately 15 years, ~5,000 cycles (but with the warranty being 10 years). The Powerpack is expected to last for, “depending on how it’s used, anywhere from 1,000 to 1,500 cycles.” And they have comparable calendar lives.

Elon also emphasized that, on the utility level, the Powerpack is basically competing with (expensive) peaker plants. On the other hand, the Powerwall is more aimed at complementary use with wind and solar energy. Furthermore, Tesla expects most of its energy business to be at the utility and heavy industrial scale, probably 5–10 times more MWh being deployed at the utility and heavy industrial scale than at the consumer scale.

Tesla Powerwall Inverter

Clearing up some misperceptions about the Powerwall, Elon noted that the product does include “a DC-to-DC inverter that can interface directly with a solar panel installation. And if somebody has a solar panel installation, they’ll already have a DC-to-AC inverter for the solar panel system, and so no incremental DC-to-AC inverter is needed.”

If you want to listen, you can listen to the whole conference call here.

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • NCA has higher energy density than NMC, but higher risk of thermal runaway, so NCA needs a better thermal management system or needs to run at a lower voltage to prevent high temperatures in the first place. As far as cycle life, I also have seen studies showing that NCA can last more cycles than NMC, but Panasonic has probably figured out some additives that make it better.

  • Greg Wilms

    Am I missing something here?? I went on to Tesla’s website and “reserved” a Powerwall. Now being completely open, I have no intention(although I would love to) pay for a powerwall battery. I didn’t have to pay any money to reserve. Therefore Tesla’s reserved system is just a show of interest. Not in any way an accurate showing of who will buy this..

  • Gentlemen and Women,
    In AZ, the unregulated utility, SRP, recently tacked a $50 per month charge on anyone that installs solar panels on their home.
    Other utilities will and are trying to do the same thing. I am grandfathered in due to the fact that I installed my panels in 2010. I will not need to worry about this right now. The utility, SRP, just created a huge market for these battery systems. Musk is brilliant ! !

    • neroden

      Those charges are the stupidest thing ever and will create a huge market for batteries. At $50/month, in 10 years, that’s $6000, and that’s enough to buy an entire Powerwall with money left over. You probably need two Powerwalls for a typical Arizona house, but the economics of it are overwhelmingly positive at that point.

      • GCO

        A single Powerwall installed is 7k$.
        Its maximum sustained output is 2 kW, so a modest house will need at least two, more likely at least 3, so that’s ~15k$ right there.
        Assuming that those last a generous 12~15 years, we’re at ~100$/month already, not including interests… and the 15~25k$ PV system which will have to go with it (and going off-grid means that you’ll need to oversize it).

        From Elon Musk himself (above):

        if somebody wants to do daily cycling — basically, go off grid — it’s going to be more expensive than being on grid.

  • Jacob

    Musk should have unveiled it in Australia instead. He would have got worldwide attention anyway.

    • But he’s getting huge attention from Australia anyway, no? 😀

      • Jacob

        Yeah but journalists in USA are dismissing this battery because electricity is cheap in Texas. They cannot think beyond the state they are living in.

        • vensonata

          It is like the global warming denialists, they think because its colder than usual in their backyard it disproves global temperature rise. It is called “local think.”

        • Ha, true.

          It’s a sad sate of affairs if you look “too” closely. 😛

    • Kyle Field

      To support global markets, they will need a handful of gigafactories in each geography. No point in stretching beyond the core markets until they have manufacturing that can support it imho. This initial demand supports future expansion, another gigafactory, etc. Just the estimated 55k powerwall unit reservations alone equate to $192.5 billion USD in sales…

      • Jacob

        Well a state government here could have offered $1 billion to build Gigafactory #2 in a state in AUS.

        AUS is not going to export cars any more so cell production could have been the next thing.

        • neroden

          That makes a lot of sense. It must be very expensive for Tesla to ship raw materials from the Old World to the US (they aren’t yet using US-sourced raw materials) and then ship the finished products back across the Pacific. An Australian Gigafactory would make tremendous sense. And there’s so much solar to power the factory with….

  • Its free to reserve a spot unlike the cars where you have to put $2,500 to $5,000 down. Why not reserve then cancel later if you don’t like the details (since so much is missing in content up front).

  • Joel

    I think I read somewhere that half of all electricity in Africa is generated by diesel/gasoline generators (can be wrong). Must be a huge potential for this sort of thing given unreliable grid, plenty of sun and booming economies. Same for Asia.

  • heinbloed

    The peak load future power price for 2016 in Germany went down by 0.9% during the trading day today. To an all-time low of flat €40.-/MWh.
    All futures dropped today – esp. the peak-load futures for the years ahead.
    See at!/2015/05/07

    ” Phelix Peak Year Future “

    • heinbloed
      • heinbloed
        • eveee

          Does that mean you are saying the PowerWall announcement has speculators thinking peak power prices will fall further due to the battery?

          • heinbloed

            Yes, I think so.

            The price at the EEX did not recover today, stood flat where it ended yesterday (minus 1% within a day).

            We have seen larger fluctuations at the power exchange the last few months, up and down, but now the downtrend is dominating again.
            Within a year the prices for futures dropped by around 7%, so the 1% drop (within a day!) as seen yesterday was far outside this trend.

            Here a short overview published (in German) 2 days ago examining the price developments within the last year but not taking into account yesterday’s movements, naturally:


            I’m not a trader, I can only speculate about the speculator’s behavior.

          • Thanks. Very interesting.

          • eveee

            It adds up. More evidence of the revolutionary nature of the Tesla announcement. Musk is even considering adding 50% to the GigaFactory. By the time the Model 3 comes out, IMO, he will need two GigaFactories. Nobody, not even Elon Musk, is prepared for the radical nature of this paradigm shift. All this chattering with doubters will stop soon as the change washes over us.

          • neroden

            How is Musk going to get the capital to finance a second Gigafactory? It looks like he has to build it *immediately*.

            And then… is there going to be a bottleneck of metals supply? Because I suspect there might be…

          • eveee

            Metals? Perhaps. Is a throughput problem. There are materials, but they have to be acquired. The pipeline has to get filled. Its going to be a problem of rates, not just quantities. Finance will probably limit the rate of expansion somewhat, but when you have that many orders in your hand, its not as hard to get investors.

          • heinbloed

            From what I got the last 2 years via the media the mine at the lithium lake in the Andes had been upgraded, PV-power been istalled there replacing Diesel generators.

            And there must be hundreds if not thousands of tonnes of used Li-batteries waiting to be recycled.
            It is time to pay for scrap 🙂

          • Bob_Wallace

            The world is awash with capital looking for opportunity.

            If Tesla continues as it has been going there will be no problem getting the funds to expand.

            Tesla knows what it costs to ship batteries from Nevada to Europe/Asia/wherever. They know how much it costs to set up a battery factory. They have some idea how large a market they can expect, especially once they bring the Mod3 to market.

            I’m not going to second guess their decision. They have piles of data that I can’t access.

          • heinbloed

            Do you have a link to the planned up-grade of the battery factory?

          • eveee

            It’s not planned. Elon hinted several times in the investor conference call that an upgrade would be necessary. Nothing firm yet. He is basically saying its in the math. At the rate things are going, he will have to expand capacity to deal with the combination storage/EV market, with Model X coming on line and Model 3 in the wings.

          • heinbloed


  • Omega Centauri

    This is good to hear. The PR had seemed to be very heavy on the hype-side, but having a few markets where the product really makes sense is all thats required at this point in time. I would agree, that the demand in front of the meter is probably much more significant than the behind the residential meter market (which seems to monopolize the public mindshare).

    • Yeah. I would guess a lot of people are also eager to be off grid more strictly because of philosophy, as Elon noted here, “if someone’s doing the daily cycling application, they’re doing it specifically because they want grid independence, and there are some number of people who will want to do that, and that’s good,” and he expounded on that further in parts I didn’t transcribe.

      I think there are a decent number of people who are looking to buy without caring too much about how the math works out. But that’s certainly speculation, so don’t take it as a claim. 😀

      • mike_dyke

        It’s not the only reason that people get Solar+Storage as economics also plays it’s part.

        Looking at my bills years ago, showed I was using about £1500 worth of Electricity a year which works out at about £30,000 over 20 years. By buying a PV system, the savings made would mean that after about 8 years, I’m getting free electricity. By adding in a storage system, I’m probably looking at about the same time again until I get even more free electricity – hopefully enough to not require any from the grid except for rarely/emergencies.

        Solar PV allows these long economies due to effectively zero maintenance and a very long life (at least 40 years and counting!)

      • vensonata

        The money quote for me was the clarification about the DC-DC inverter being available to plug in your PV system, and that it would be compatible exiting the battery bank with a DC AC inverter already installed. This has been a contentious and speculative issue. I am still not sure it is completely clear but it sounds much like I had hoped it would. The 5000 cycle life is as I predicted. And I believe it still may have a few thousand beyond that at lower capacity. Every hour it gets clearer and in fact better.

        • eveee

          Yup. It can connect directly to your existing solar. You don’t get perfect MPPT. Solar Edge offers optimizers per module to take care of that. I think Musk elected to make it a product that had as few objections as possible. He tried to hit a triple and put it in orbit.

          • mike_dyke

            Let’s see if I’ve got this right…
            I’ve got a 4kw PV system on my roof (2 strings) connected to a SMA grid-tied inverter (3600TL).
            If I disconnect the PV from the inverter and put it into the powerwall, I then run one cable to the inverter. (I’ll get an electrician to do the actual work)

            Assuming it’s a sunny day in July, I can get up to 24kwh per day from the panels, so I’ll need to have 3-4 powerwalls to store it all.

            Correct? If so, it’s looking nice but expensive.

          • eveee

            Seems correct except you have some loads running while the sun is out. In fact, its good if you do. They lower the amount of storage you need. So let her rip with the delayed start washing machine, dryer, dishwasher and whatever else you got. Then, too, you don’t need to store all the energy in PowerWalls. Since you are grid tied, thats unnecessary and your goal is different, but you may be doing it because its advantageous to use your own energy rather than sell it to the utility.
            Lets say you run all those things during the day while the sun shines.
            You use about 7 kwhr right there. So you have 17kwhr remaining. I would say about two PowerWalls is good. A little goes back to the utility, but thats OK. Your system costs about 10k outright, but a 9 year lease would be something north of 5k, lets guess about 7k. Not bad really.
            You have a pretty good size solar there. Why so large? Big load?

          • mike_dyke

            Thanks for the confirmation, it’s a little bit confusing at the moment and you’ve just cleared it a bit.

            The solar size was a combination of factors –
            1. The house is orientated approx SE/NW and the South facing roof can’t have panels on it so I’m only getting 80%.
            2. The house was owned previously by someone who worked for the local electricty board, so the whole house (including heating) is electric.
            3. When I put the panels up, the limit for the largest FiT was 4kw which would just fit on the roof (16 panels).

            The main problem is the orientation which I can’t really do much about.

            I’m really looking to load-shift the generated power to the evening to use more of the generated power.

          • eveee

            The electric heating is inefficient if its baseboard. Heat pump is the way to go for that.
            You are on a FiT system, so I can’t do that math for you as good as you can.
            The battery pack should be great for load shift.
            I recommend you get a watt-hour monitor and check some of your usage to see how much you use in the evening. You may be able to do just fine on on PowerWall.
            since you are grid tied, an exact match isn’t necessary,..
            and you can get emergency backup as a bonus if you want. : )

            check with solar city and / or SolarEdge to see if any of this makes sense or if some details were left out.

        • Yeah, he seemed a bit irritated that some “supposed experts” had assumed there was no inverter and added high $ figures to add that in. However, he quickly noted they could have done a better job communicating that, and should, and I do think that was the biggest factor creating the confusion — the release specifically highlighted “inverter not included.” Somebody really messed up communicating the situation there.

          But nice to get it cleared up. Still some details it would be nice to have. But looking better with this info out, imho.

          The 2 kW limit does seem to be the biggest downside at the moment, imo. How much of a problem that is for likely buyers, I have no idea.

          • vensonata

            2kwh is not a problem. People who have been born and raised on the grid are frequently “unconscious” as regards electricity use. A little training goes a long way, like learning to sort your garbage, or not litter.
            Consider, for instance, that the average European daily household electricity use is half the American average. And that Vermont daily use might be one third of Georgia daily use. Now you see it is largely waste and ignorance. Often people quote: “the average American home uses 30 kwh per day, therefore I need such and such number of solar panels”. That is senseless because that average is twice what they need. Now consider, 15 kwh spread through a 24 hour day. That is an average demand of .62 kw. So it is a matter of not using more than 3 times your average demand in any one hour. By the way I think the battery will “peak” at 3.3kw. So for short periods you can use that much power.

            Next: if you are serious about living off grid, then buy two packs, and you can be largely oblivious to demands. Remember two packs do not double your cost per kwh, it stays the same or in fact, slightly less because the batteries last twice as long. When they are discharged less than 100% their cycle life may increase in a non linear way. I could go on, but enough for now. This comes out of many, many years of living happily and comfortably off grid with PV and batteries.

          • vensonata

            Oops, typo from me. Not “2kwh”, but “2kw” in my opening sentence.

          • You should be able to edit that, fyi.

          • Michael G

            You are 100% correct about people being oblivious to their use but who will do the necessary training you mention?

            There is a *huge* resistance to change – training or not. Someone called me a “light Nazi” because I keep turning off lights and stuff (like computer monitors) when I am not using them. I don’t understand why it is so hard to flip a switch when leaving a room but they keep saying “they’re just leaving for a few minutes”. That and some other things keep our electric bill way down, but if I have so much resistance in my own family after years, imagine how much there is in the general population.

            Another example, when we moved into our house there was no insulation at all so we boiled in Summer and froze in Winter. Added some insulation on the roof and problem solved, but 30 years of prior owners couldn’t get it together to do that simple obvious thing.

            I am not sure the problem is as easily solvable as you may think.

          • vensonata

            Yes, looking back to the resistance to seat belts, smoking, etc. It might be a steep climb for some families. An observation from a cluster of 8 “Zero net energy” solar houses in Mass. they found that though they were identical, some families used 50% more electricity than their next door neighbours. Therefore the study concluded “there are no energy efficient houses only energy efficient families”!

          • Yeah…

      • Omega Centauri

        I would tend to agree with you and Elon here. A rational economic actor would say “stay on the grid, save your money”. Even some on the grid want the feeling of near independence -it would be a great feeling to have most of my nights covered by PV+storage (even if not all) , but I’m not prepared to pay $5000 for that feeling. [Or is it less, Elon implied his system might be able to piggyback off a PV inverter -in my case not even surge power to cover peak demand (electric driver, electric range AC compressor etc.]

        But if you have either demand charges or time of use, it might make economic sense. Perhaps in Hawaii if your circuit has so much solar that the only way the utility will allow it is with storage?????

        • RobS

          It also makes sense in countries or states with non 1:1 feed in tariffs, here we pay 30c/Kwh for our power but on,y receive 6c/kwh for surplus solar fed back into the grid, which means storage only has to have an amortised cost of 24c/kwh to be economic, the new Tesla offerings are about 10c/kwh.

          • Jacob

            Even if the batteries store electrons for 20c/kwh it would make it worthwhile for you and me in Australia.

          • RobS

            Yep, it’s odd though, solar has gone through the process where initially it’s immense expense could only be justified on satellites and spacecraft, then in remote off grid scenarios with huge fuel transport costs to run generators, then in specific on grid areas with particularly high tariffs until now with grid parity essentially everywhere. Now with battery storage undergoing exactly the same economic journey where we are just reaching the point where expensive on grid areas justify the cost people dismiss it as not ready for the prime time with no sense of the historical context or technological and cost trajectories.

          • Excellent writeup. That’s the story, imho. I think I will quote you in a coming article. 😀

          • RobS

            I’d be honoured

          • I’ve got it saved on my email to do so. 😀

          • Exactly. The “common sense” markets are Hawaii, Australia, and Germany.

            But it seems a fair number of people are willing to pay more for “a great feeling to have most … nights covered by PV+storage.” (Great line, @omegacentauri:disqus .) That is hard to quantify, but at about $46/mo, people with cash and that interest are going to put the money into it.

            And, of course, costs will come down. In 5 years, what will the price be?

      • eveee

        I think a lot of people in Hawaii still remember being burned by HECO.

      • BtotheT

        Due to the restrictive nature enforced by the administrative oversight of your site I’ll no longer be commenting.
        My mentality is unwelcome I guess.
        Anyways, Goodbye Zachary, it’s been nice sharing discussions with you.
        It would seem you won’t know of me til I choose it the right time to make my impact on the future of truly sustainable co-habitation.
        Til then I wish you the best in your passion for green.

        • Huh? We very seldom restrict comments. I am curious to know what you are referring to, as I assume it’s a mistake or misunderstanding at worst.

          • BtotheT

            An author which posted on german wind growth within his self descript termed himself ‘A Christian, a geek, and a nerd’
            I attempted to call him out on Christianity being willfully ignorant to science. Mr Wallace proceeded to ‘remove’ my comment telling me to act like an adult. My response to him expressing that being the one not succumbing to fairy-tales makes me the adult while expressing the hatred and devisiveness religion causes and the lost potential due to this large portion of the populace not being scientific participants, also removed.
            I’m not sure how Mr Wallace would feel if I deleted his voice. I assume displeased. He’s lucky I’m not the vengeful type or his harddrive, cloud, and disqus account would be bricked.
            I’ve never taken well to the belief in moderation of anything beyond spam and trolling.
            What I saw as a constructive means to bring about sound realizations he translated and treated as if an attack. Attacks destroy, that’s never been my goal as a being, I’m a builder. If he can’t see my long term goal, it’s his shortsight a flaw of interpetation due to a precedence of uncivil actors in his past, of which I am not.
            That’s the problem, everyone expects ill intentions and answers with defensive actions.
            That said I understand his perception in the politically correct sense, but science and progress are apart from cultural morality which is arbitrary, trivial, and temporary at best.

          • Hmm, okay, I see. I would assume that was taken as a personal assault on the author, someone who is very scientifically minded but also obviously passionate about his religion. I’d say that this is not really the place for a debate of Christianity’s overall merits or mores (also noting that there are many different ways to interpret the religion’s core), and if the criticism was presented in a way that was insulting the author, it’s fine with me that the conversation be removed.

          • BtotheT

            As I noted I understand the percieved grounds of the action. I also understand what religion and it’s accommodation does to the world.
            While 7.8 million people die this year due to starvation and a further million to murder, I’ll know why science fails man. The chain has too many weak links due to cultures and cults.

            Are my points too loud, or are those out of sight too quiet?

          • Bob_Wallace

            ​Your comments had zero to do with the topic.

            You engaged in a personal attack on the article author.

            There are knowledgeable and ​thoughtful people who post on this site. They are not interested in wading through a bunch of juvenile crap. Now quit your complaining and add meaningful, on topic comments or go to a site where people like to waste their time on things that have nothing to do with clean tech.

          • BtotheT

            Saying theology doesn’t/hasn’t effected science is like saying the Sun doesn’t/hasn’t effected weather. The same goes for capitalism and science.
            What you find an off topic attack I know to be a necessary discussion related to the future course of mankind.

            Believe in the butterfly effect? String theory? Guess not.

        • Bob_Wallace

          You have the option of acting like an adult and making ‘on topic’ comments.
          If you are looking for a site where you can release your inner a$$hole then go fish.

          • BtotheT

            Gated mind.

            ‘It’s amazing imagination lives through formal education.’

            And some times it seemingly doesn’t.

            If you wanna be a restrictor go on and be it, water off a ducks back. I have no need to comment here as I said, and don’t plan to.
            While you’ve got your ruler out, measure yourself, Nun.

            And I bid you adieu.

          • Bob_Wallace

            And farewell to you, sweet prince,,,,

  • Philip W
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