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Tesla Powerwalls Survive Hours Underwater In Hurricane Ian

This Tesla Solar Roof and Powerwall stood up to the challenge of Hurricane Ian in Florida last week. And how about those hot new Virtual Power Plants?

A Tesla Solar Roof coupled with a Tesla Powerwall is not an inexpensive home improvement. Many people who live in areas that are subject to flooding and high winds due to storms wonder how well they will stand up to hurricanes like Ian, which tore through Florida last week and left more than 2 million people without electricity. Those are legitimate concerns that couldn’t be addressed previously because there were no real-world experiences involving high winds and flooding.

Until now.

Kelly Roofing is a large roofing contractor in Southwest Florida where Ian came ashore a few days ago. It also is a licensed Tesla Solar Roof installer. Here’s what happened to one of its customers during the storm.

The company says the roof needs a few small repairs — that will happen when a 30 foot boat lands on it. Other than that, the roof is intact and working perfectly, as are the two Tesla Powerwalls that are part of the owner’s PV system. While the Tesla Powerwall is weatherproof and can be mounted outside, no one ever recommended immersing one in standing water for hours on end. And yet that’s what happened with no apparent ill effects.

No one is pretending that a Tesla Solar Roof plus Powerwall systems isn’t expensive. It is. But don’t assume there are no offsetting benefits. Teslarati tells the story of Marc Gilland of Sacramento, California who installed just such a system, which costs him more than $500 a month. That’s a ton of money, right?

Yes and no. While Gilland does have a new monthly bill to pay, his average utility bill used to be $650 a month in the summer when his air conditioning was on full time. Since his PV system — which includes 3 Tesla Powerwall storage batteries — went online, he now pays just a $10 a month connection charge.

But wait. It gets better. When he was offered a chance to participate in Tesla’s VPP program that offers a $2 per kWh incentive, he signed up immediately and is reaping more rewards. After California’s most recent grid emergency in early September, Gilland’s system sent 35 kWh back to the grid. Overall, his solar and battery system had sent a total of 255 kWh to the grid during the ongoing heat wave, earning him $510 in compensation for just a week’s worth of VPP events. He’s a pretty happy camper.

What do you call an expenditure that pays for itself and puts money back in your pocket? An investment. Expect interest in rooftop solar and energy storage to accelerate as word about their affordability and durability spreads. No one wants to be hit by a hurricane, but knowing you will have electricity once it is over when most of those around don’t? Priceless.

 
 
 
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Written By

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. 3000 years ago, Socrates said, "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." Perhaps it's time we listened?

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