Tesla has a homemade battery to sell you, with or without solar power

Tesla is opening sales of Powerwall home batteries, nearly two years after limiting them because their supply was “Too low.”

Tesla announced its battery backup technology a long time ago, in 2015, with the explicit intention that the product would work in conjunction with solar panels. However, until 2021, the automaker also allowed people to buy the big batteries separately. Finally, Elon Musk clarified that supply problems were to blame for the restrictions, with the executive teasing in 2022 that “it should be possible to order a Powerwall alone” by the end of the year.

Seemingly a few months late, this is happening now, with caveats.

Tesla said this week that it is now selling Powerwalls separately.”in select US markets.” The company hasn’t released an official list of these markets (as far as we know), but Tesla’s website offers a way for potential buyers to check if they live in an approved location.

For example: I typed in my Los Angeles address and the Tesla site responded: “We are evaluating where to service next. Reserve your Powerwall to help us expand in your area.” However, the standalone device is available in other areas, such as Austin, Texas.

Tesla moved to Austin in 2021. A year later, it launched an invite-only electric plan in parts of the state where retail options are available, including Houston and Dallas. As we wrote in December, the plan is called Tesla Electric and is exclusively available to Powerwall users.

Tesla recently told investors that it intends to expand its electric plan to other markets, but the company has not said where it will go next.

You may be wondering, “Why would anyone buy a Powerwall without solar panels? The standalone device could appeal to people who aren’t in an ideal spot for sunbathing, or to those who don’t want to pay for solar power and a home battery at the same time. As we observed at CES 2023, many companies seem to believe that demand for backup batteries and generators is increasing, and surely extreme weather events related to climate change could be driving interest.

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James D. Brown
James D. Brown
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