The impending deployments of Tesla Powerwalls in the US appears to be starting, with surveys having been sent out to early reservation holders. No firm details are included, but with Tesla already releasing the user manual and installing Powerwalls in the UK and Australia, the timing of the surveys seems like a good sign for the masses waiting for some Powerwall love.
What is still to be seen for Powerwall is how many of the tens of thousands of early reservations Tesla can convert to sales. Recall Elon flipping out about the 38,000 reservations that flooded in within hours of the announcement. The catch with this, though, is that no financial or contractual commitment was required when a Powerwall reservation was put in, so many are likely just testing the waters with the reservation as a way of staying in touch with the latest developments inside of Tesla.
Several reservation holders that I interviewed are in it for the information as it were, and it looks as though there may be thousands more reservations out there that just can’t be converted to an order for one reason or another. My solar setup, for instance, makes Powerwall unattractive, as my solar power is converted from DC to AC via Enphase Energy microinverters before it ever leaves the roof, meaning I would need a separate inverter just to use Powerwall. Solar system owners using single inverters for the full system, like many SolarEdge-based systems, will not have this issue.
This split — with some solar owners having microinverters and all of the wiring being AC, and other users having the DC power piped down to a single system inverter — is going to be a headache for Tesla, as the Powerwall is designed to sit on the DC side of a system. It can still be used with a microinverter-based system but will cost a bit more for the extra inverter.
The split is already confusing the Tesla fanbase, with frustration overflowing to the twittersphere. Will Tesla develop a battery system with an integrated inverter for use with microinverter-based systems? Not likely, but if there’s enough demand, it may just reach across the aisle to pull the inverter in-house and meet customers in the middle.
With the battle over net metering already starting to step on solar system owners and squashing any promise of a return on investments made based on the promise of 20-year paybacks, Powerwall may prove to be a crucial piece of the solution in battle states like Nevada, Hawaii, and Texas.
Images via Tesla Energy, Twitter Screenshot