24 September 2015
by u/k

Tesla prioritises Australia for home battery Powerwall

Tesla announced in mid-September it would be releasing its home battery system Powerwall in Australia in late 2015.

Although Tesla has not released any information about availability and pricing, it said the Powerwall will be sold via “a growing list of Tesla Energy partners.” One of them appears to be SunEdison Australia –the firm announced that it will be one of the first companies not only in Australia, but also in the world to take delivery of the Tesla Powerwall. SunEdison Australia revealed it will celebrate the arrival of Powerwall with a competition in which the battery will be the main prize. Those interested in the competition, pricing of Powerwall and other pre-release updates are invited to register on Energy Matters.

Initially, only the 7kWh daily cycling version will be available, but the 10 kWh is expected to be made available in early 2016, Energy Matters reported.

The Powerwall is a lithium-ion battery module which stores backup electricity from solar panels and charges up during non-peak energy usage periods. The battery which was first unveiled by Tesla chief executive Elon Musk in May provides energy back during peak hours.

Although solar panels are heavily used in Australia, the entry of Tesla’s Powerwall is likely to be a game changer. According to Business Insider, Tesla’s move to launch Powerwall in Australia in late 2015 is smart because Australians are early adopters especially when it comes to technology. Plus, electricity is expensive, so pairing a battery with a solar array would make it appealing for many Australians. One in five Australians have solar panels, so convincing them to upgrade may not be a challenge at all.

According to a recently-released report by Energeia titled Sound and Fury –Australia’s Distributed Storage Market to 2025, demand for battery storage will be booming by 2025, as energy services business models gain traction, system prices fall and retail tariffs become more cost reflective, RenewEconomy reported.

Therefore, the country’s energy storage market could be worth hundreds of millions a year by 2025. The report also suggested there will be little in the way of regulatory support for storage in the medium term, especially since most activity in battery storage over the past couple of years has been driven by government and regulatory incentive programs.

Plus, the UBS Utilities Sector report published in mid-September and covered on RenewEconomy indicated that the point of ‘mass adoption’ of household battery storage could arrive in Australia in 2020, at which time the payback period for storage systems for solar households would be five to six years. The UBS estimated that households installing battery storage can save anywhere between $585 AUD and $660 AUD per year on electricity, a scheme which “should make some storage relatively attractive to most households.”

There are currently a handful of alternatives to Tesla’s Powerwall, including Redflow. However, the arrival of Musk’s company is important because “they have such a high profile,” Professor Anthony Vassallo, sustainable energy expert at the University of Sydney said.