Call from Tesla

August 17th, 2017

Disclosure: I sell solar power systems in New Zealand.

I had a call from a Tesla energy specialist yesterday. She confirmed what we learned a few days ago about the Powerwall 2’s ability to island grid tied inverters for backup purposes.

She also said that Powerwall 2 demand is, “Extreme,” and far in excess of what they had projected. New Zealand won’t get any Powerwall 2 units until early 2018. There is hope that I will be able to sell Powerwalls to my solar customers—eventually. She said that independent vendors will be added in NZ, after a lengthy vetting process. That’s much more encouraging than the Vector-only option we have seen with Powerwalls in NZ so far.

I’ve been in contact with a Powerwall 2 user in Australia who thinks there are terminals and knockouts on the energy gateway for A/C input (besides the grid); provision for generator backup, in other words.

I asked the Tesla person about this, and she sort of stammered a bit, but eventually said that backup charging had not been completely worked out yet.

The fact that the charging power is already controllable with the Powerwall’s smartphone app leads me to believe that an announcement about backup charging could come soon. One would need to be able to change the charging power based on the size of one’s generator.

I mentioned that one of my solar customers has a 3 phase Enphase system and would be interested in a Powerwall 2. How does the Powerwall 2 deal with 3 phase?

Incredibly: 3 phase is supported out of the box.

Also, microinverters work fine in terms of islanding/backup. In fact, Tesla is using Enphase microinverters on the tiny house they’re towing around in Australia. Enphase has not really been usable off grid, and their own energy storage system has no backup capabilities at all. But with the Powerwall 2, it all works.

I mentioned the absurd fireproof box thing that’s coming, and she groaned. They’re aware of it. She thinks that, if it actually happens, they’ll have to show how it’s used around the rest of the world without safety issues. She said it was like trying to make changes in any other area where an established order refuses to yield to changes.

“There’s going to be pushback,” she said.

Yep.

2 Responses to “Call from Tesla”

  1. Dennis Says:

    Pleased to hear you’ve got your foot back in the door.

  2. Kevin Says:

    I’ve probably sold four so far for Tesla. It’s unavoidable when talking to solar customers.

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