When latest technology models are usually released, the latest model replaces the previous one. In the case of Tesla’s Powerwall, both 2 and 3 models will coexist for unique purposes from 2024. Based on Tesla insight, an all-in-one solar and battery system of equal capacity (13.5 kWh) will be available later that year. The differences are minimal, although enough to target a key piece of the market. From the inaugural Tesla Installer Day held at The Calyx (Sydney), here’s what we can share.
Supply chain restrictions from the post-COVID effect limited the global implementation efforts toward Powerwall. With global supply chains returning to a near-normal level, Tesla plans a full-scale assault on the energy storage market while ramping up diverse market options. Enter Tesla Powerwall 3.
Unlike alternative technological devices, Tesla has no intention of phasing out Powerwall 2 when Powerwall 3 comes to market. Powerwall 2 is a beyond-successful design adaptable to 95% of existing and new solar energy systems consisting of over 500,000 units (>6.75 MWh) installed globally. To date, it’s the most successful Powerwall ever built, and with the same energy density as Powerwall 3, enduring designs improve affordability and adoption rates through improved return on investment.
Suppose you must compare various models of alternative technology in the world. It would be more relatable to consider how electric vehicle models are released. Each may have a similar range/storage capacity, yet the function is unique for the intended purpose. When comparing specifications and costs, both Powerwall 2 and Powerwall 3 appeal towards different installation purposes, ensuring Powerwall 2 relevance.
From a manufacturing level, the engineering, design, manufacturing, distribution and implementation requirements and the likelihood of reinvestment timeframe of any generation of Powerwall to generate profit must surpass an extended period of ideal function and uptake. This may make Powerwall 2 one of the most successful energy storage systems ever should the recent rapid uptake continue. Tesla’s self-initiated rebate has the affordability of the Powerwall 2 at its best ever. The improved affordability will unlikely extend to Powerwall 3, which packs additional features for a key market segment.
You’re ready to invest in a solar and battery solution from the start. You intend to invest in a holistic energy solution of solar-powered energy generation, storage, energy security, power management and blackout protection from the start. Powerwall 3 is the all-in-one Teslafied solution with no more 3rd party solar inverter required.
Tesla is backing its ideal base energy storage capacity of 13.5 kWh within the Powerwall 3, which is scalable in the same way Powerwall 2 is with the same energy density (13.5 kWh). Powerwall 3 supports a glass front plate that is removed and the heatsink casing separates the units. The iconic Tesla T glass front plate attaches to the final front unit. What will assist the affordability of scaled energy density is the expansion of PW3 units, which are more likely to be available in a reduced format version internally where additional solar componentry would be redundant or obsolete.
Begging the question, what features can we expect from Powerwall 3? Even though official specifications are yet to be released, expect a resounding six MPPT (Multiple Power Point Tracker) hybrid solar and battery inverter for unrivalled solar array design flexibility. Most standard solar inverters possess only two MPPTs. Powerwall 3 allows for various roof face and pitch optimisations. Should all six MPPTs not be utilised at the initial installation, the remaining MPPTs accommodate future solar panel electrical character mismatch for a purely independent optimisation.
Expect slightly increased load capabilities in backup power mode due to a higher current rating of the backup-mode feature. Guidance has yet to be released on three-phase compatibility or options, although it remains a consideration.
Short summary: If Powerwall 3 were a car for release comparison, consider it the Tesla Model Y. It’s not as slim as its predecessor. Yet, an expanded design makes it more versatile for certain installations.
Additional features are almost always accompanied by additional expenses. Expect Powerwall 3 to be greater in cost than Powerwall 2. An unofficial estimate of 20 to 30% (supply) is based on the additional internal component costs that Tesla must recover to deliver product success for investors.
Guidance rests at late 2024 usually referencing a Q4 release.
Given operational testing is already in place at selected global regions, we’re more confident of a Mid 2024 release (Q3) should Powerwall 3 not face too many delays gaining the necessary approvals with the Clean Energy Council and other Australian regulatory bodies.
Powerwall 2 has proven to be a global best-selling retrofit solar battery solution for good reason: impeccably adaptive design and function. However, the finest attribute of the Powerwall 2 isn’t necessarily the battery. Much of Powerwall 2’s success stems from the more recently upgraded Gen 2 gateway–the connected computer. Without the Gen 2 Gateway, Powerwall 2 is just a battery. Gen2 Gateway is the unheralded hero that delivers Powerwall’s unique advantage over other retrofit batteries.
A battery-only system, Powerwall 2 reads compatible solar system data (3rd party solar inverter) and displays an entire energy profile with the software common among both Powerwall models for outstanding user experience.
Considered a masterstroke in design, the 13.5 kWh energy storage capacity and 5 KW output have proven to be the ideal accompaniment to most average household energy storage requirements to mitigate grid-tie energy dependence effectively. This design and configuration is a perfect capacity/output combination for various conditions, especially if more significant expense is attached for enhanced specific. With a near-perfect solution for a broad cross-section of users, a more likely additional cost to be associated with the Powerwall 3 will be a barrier in most instances where R.O.I (return on investment) is the overriding factor.
Powerwall 2’s affordability has improved incredibly on a cost per kWh basis and has levelled since release, indicating that further reductions by Tesla, if any, will be minimal.
If Powerwall 2 were an electric vehicle for comparison, consider it the Tesla Model 3. An earlier release model with substantial global success and appeal supporting a sleeker design than its sibling with a like-for-like range. Is Powerwall worth it? Cost, lifespan, features ›
Powerwall 2 will remain the most cost-effective Tesla energy storage solution compared to Powerwall 3 due to a more lightweight feature set ensuring the most effective storage solution for return on investment calculations.
Due to season cost variations and offers Powerwall 2 cost is updated frequently within the PSW shop. Current Powerwall 2 price and installation timing ›
Within 4 weeks from the time of ordering due to supply authority application processes involved to install an embedded generation device (solar or battery) to your property.
At times of high demand, or additional design requirements, this can be up to 6 weeks.
Slightly different designs deliver a similar outcome for most users. This is because the overall storage capacity, integrated computer system and software are the same. Without an official Powerwall 3 specification/datasheet to compare, we can compare product features now circulating due to field trials in North America. These specifications are likely to change before the Australian release.
13.5 kWh storage
5 kW power output
Solar input: n/a
1150 h x 753 w x 147 d mm
13.5 kWh storage
10 kW output (5 kW Western Australia)1
Solar input: 6 MPPT
1098 h x 609 w x 193 d mm
Features are why there is a purpose for both Powerwall 3 and 2 to coexist from 2024. Comparing features side by side, Powerwall 2 is the ideal retrofit solar battery for existing and new systems with alternative solutions. The absence of a 6 MPPT solar inverter within the Powerwall 2 will ensure superior affordability over the Powerwall 3 and expedite the return on investment for those who desire a sharper payback solution with similar energy density.
Powerwall 3 provides a one-box, all-in-one solar and battery inverter solution ideal for new energy systems. The six MPPT (solar inputs) will accommodate various roof optimisations for solar panels or future array expansion if need be.
Output options have only been released for the North American region. However, Powerwall 3’s Australian output specifications are more likely to reflect the largest phase loading permitted by Australia’s regional supply authorities. 5kW max single-phase permitted by Western Power in Western Australia will see even greater similarity between Powerwall 3 and 2, each limited to 5 kW output.
Which is better
Best choice cases towards energy generation equipment are always circumstantial. However, the intended purpose of each Powerwall design cannot be ignored. Powerwall 2 will continue to enjoy red-hot uptake through superior affordability and the ability to retrofit with almost any 3rd party solar energy system. Combining Powerwall 2 with a 3rd party solar inverter may offer greater whole-system affordability (depending on the nominated 3rd party inverter).
Powerwall 3 will form a comprehensive, well-designed, all-in-one Tesla solution, ideal for those seeking a solar and battery system from the start. Estimated only, Powerwall 3 will most likely receive a 20-30% increased cost disparity due to the added solar functionality and slightly greater load provisioning under blackout protection.
As most determine battery feasibility based on ROI (Return on Investment ) calculations, Powerwall 2, with an enduring design, will continue to enjoy superior uptake when Powerwall 3 becomes available in the Australian market in mid to late 2024. A resounding statement made clear at the Sydney Australia Installer Day 2023, “Tesla have no plans to discontinue Powerwall 2. It’s a fantastic product with outstanding success”, a testament to an enduring design.