How do you pick the perfect battery for your needs? There is a lot of information available, and unless you've done extensive research and have a technical aptitude, it could become confusing and overwhelming. Don't worry; we'll explain everything to you shortly.
People's initial thought is, what is the best battery you have? Solar panels generate power by gathering energy from the sun. Residential solar energy systems are often grid-tied, which means they are linked to the local electrical grid. When your house solar generates more power than it consumes, the grid absorbs the excess.
When your home's solar energy systemv is not providing enough power, the electric grid comes in. The grid serves as a battery storage system for your home's PV system. The issue is that not every homeowner has access to a public service to which they can connect. Even when a connection to a local utility is available, it may be unable to deliver constant service due to frequent power outages. As a result, some customers opt to go fully off the grid. How do they achieve this? By including a battery backup with their PV system.
Energy/storage capacity: the amount of power a battery can hold
Power: the battery's capacity to store and release energy (higher power ratings have the ability to deliver more energy but also use storage space more quickly.)
High-capacity batteries have the potential to store more overall energy and can operate your appliances for extended periods of time before requiring recharging. Batteries with a higher power rating can run heavy-duty appliances or multiple appliances simultaneously.
Let's relate a battery to a water pipe to make power and capacity easier for you to understand. The energy capacity is like the amount of water that will flow through the pipe, and battery power is like the size of the pipe itself. Depending on your appliances and energy requirements, different levels of battery power and capacity can work well. A wider pipe lets more water flow through, but it also depletes the water supply faster.
Cycle: the process of draining and recharging a battery
Round-Trip Efficiency (RTE): is the ratio of the amount of energy your battery can supply to your home to the amount you can store.
Depth of Discharge (DoD): is the proportion of a battery's energy that has been used up as compared to its total capacity.
Even if you are new to solar technology, you have probably heard of Tesla. Their electric vehicles and other cutting-edge items routinely make headlines and are in daily conversation.
Tesla's Powerwall energy storage technology has been so popular that Tesla has had to create a waitlist and alter their supply to match the public's strong demand.
But, apart from its popularity, is the Powerwall truly all that? While it offers a number of excellent features, it is essential to compare its capabilities to those of other existing energy storage alternatives.
We will compare the Tesla Powerwall and Enphase Encharge batteries in this post so that you can make a well-informed decision if you are interested in energy storage.
We will first go through the fundamentals of both the Encharge battery and the Powerwall, after which we will compare and contrast the two products in terms of cost, effectiveness, depth of discharge, battery type, warranties, and monitoring.
Overview of Enphase Encharge
Enphase is notable for producing reliable solar technology. The business has dominated the microinverter market for the last ten years. Enphase provides two Encharge batteries for energy storage:
|Battery Type||Storage Capacity Per Battery||Continuous Power Rating|
|Encharge 3||3.36 kWh||1.28 kW|
|Encharge 10||10.8 kWh||3.84 kW|
Remember that the Enphase Encharge only works with the M and IQ series of Enphase microinverters. As a result, unless your existing inverter system is Enphase, you cannot put an Encharge battery on it.
Additionally, because they are modular, you may combine more units to maximize the storage space in your house. Enphase permits a maximum of 40 additional units per installation.
The dimension of Encharge 10 is 43.13 in x 26.14 in x 112.56 in, whereas Encharge 3 measures 14.45 in x 26.14 in x 112.56 in.
Overview of Tesla Powerwall
Tesla CEO Elon Musk declared in April 2021 that the Powerwall is now sold in packages with other Tesla solar goods, making it impossible to buy Tesla solar panels and the Powerwall alone. With a 13.5 kWh storage capacity and a 5 kW continuous power rating, the Powerwall is only available in one size.
Ten Powerwalls can be put together since they can be stacked. The size of a Powerwall is 45.3 in × 29.6 in × 5.75 in.
How Much Is a Tesla Powerwall?
The solar and energy industries have been significantly impacted by Tesla since its founding. Tesla has pushed solar to become more dependable, efficient, and cost-effective via innovation and distinctive marketing. These elements have made it feasible for customers to get premium goods at affordable prices.
The installation cost of the Tesla Powerwall is about $10,500. (13.5 kWh capacity).
Installing an extra Tesla Powerwall costs around $6,500. (13.5 kWh capacity each).
You can build a battery with a 27 kWh capacity by purchasing a second Powerwall and stacking it on top of the first. Ten Powerwalls can be stacked together.
This pricing for residential batteries is the lowest possible given the level of quality and dependability offered. It should be noted that the Powerwall is only available in one size with a 13.5 kWh capacity.
How Much Is an Enphase IQ?
Enphase just unveiled what it expects would be a strong rival to the Tesla Powerwall. The Enphase IQ is similar to the Powerwall in many ways but varies in that it contains two different sizes of home batteries: the larger Enphase IQ 10 and the smaller Enphase IQ 3.
Installing the Enphase IQ 10 costs between $8,000 and $11,000. (10.1 kWh capacity).
Installing the Enphase IQ 3 cost between $4,000 and $5,000. (3.36 kWh capacity).
The Tesla Powerwall is the obvious winner in terms of price. Tesla has established a reputation for providing cutting-edge technology at the most competitive prices in the solar industry, and the Powerwall is no different.
|Tesla Powerwall||Enphase IQ 10||Enphase IQ 3|
Since the Tesla Powerwall is only available in one size, you will need to purchase a second complete Powerwall even if your first Powerwall is just marginally underpowered; nevertheless, the second Powerwall costs only $6,500 as opposed to the entire $10,500.
With the Enphase IQ, a smaller Enphase IQ 3 combined with an Enphase IQ 10 might provide more energy in more manageable amounts, but the overall cost will still be greater.
It is easy to see the cost difference between Powerwall and Enphase IQ when you compare their costs per kWh.
Compared to the Enphase IQ series, the Tesla Powerwall is always the less expensive choice.
Tesla Powerwall Warranty
Under typical usage conditions, Tesla promises that the Powerwall will have a 70 percent capacity for ten years.
These typical conditions correspond to one charge and discharge cycle per day for Tesla. These conditions are typically connected to solar energy backup and storage.
The battery will degrade more quickly if you use your Powerwall numerous times a day to benefit from solar energy and off-peak electricity. In this case, the battery is only warranted for 3,200 cycles rather than the normal 10 years as stated in the warranty's fine language.
Enphase IQ Warranty
Regardless of usage, the Enphase has warranted a 70 percent capacity for a 10-year period or 4,000-cycle warranty.
Due to this straightforward warranty, you are free to use your home batteries in a variety of ways up to 4,000 cycles without fearing that you may void it.
Both household batteries come with a 10-year, 70 percent capacity warranty. Enphase IQ, however, gives a 4,000-cycle warranty, which is 800 times greater than the 3,200-cycle warranty offered by Tesla Powerwall.
|Tesla Powerwall||Enphase IQ|
|Standard Use (Discharge once/day)||10 Years 70% Capacity||10 Years 70% Capacity|
|Non-Standard Use (Discharge >1/day)||3,200 cycles||4,000 cycles|
Although the two batteries have the same lifespan of 10 years and 70% capacity, Enphase IQ's warranty benefits them by including coverage for 800 additional cycles.
Tesla Powerwall Size
The remarkable useable capacity of the Tesla Powerwall is 13.5 kWh, and its power output is 5.0 kW.
A maximum of 7.0 kW may be produced by the Powerwall, but only for ten seconds at a time.
Enphase IQ Size
With a 10.8 kWh useable capacity and 3.84 kW of power, the Enphase IQ 10 falls just short of the Powerwall in terms of power and capacity.
The peak power output from the Enphase IQ 10 is 5.7 kW, however, it can only be sustained for 10 seconds at a time. The smaller Enphase IQ 3 comes in second with a 3.36 kWh useful capacity and 1.28 kW of power. The Enphase IQ 3 can produce 1.92 kW of peak power, but only for 10 seconds at a time.
In terms of power and capacity, the Powerwall wins. Simply said, it has the capacity to store more energy and run machinery that consumes more energy.
|Tesla Powerwall||Enphase IQ 10||Enphase IQ 3|
|Total Capacity (kWh)||13.5||10.50||3.36|
|Usable Capacity (kWh)||13.5||10.08||3.36|
|Peak Power (kW)||7.0||5.7||1.92|
|Continuous Power (kW)||5.0||3.84||1.28|
The additional power provided by the Powerwall may be needed if you have a lot of high energy demands. Due to the Powerwall's greater useable capacity, it will operate well at high continuous power levels as well as at low power levels for a longer period of time.
Tesla Powerwall Efficiency
The Tesla Powerwall unquestionably satisfies the efficiency requirements with a DoD of 100 percent. The Powerwall is one of the most effective batteries on the market with a 90 percent round trip efficiency and a 10 percent energy loss.
Finally, an expected degradation of 3% demonstrates the product's outstanding quality.
Enphase IQ Efficiency
The Enphase IQ (both sizes) has a DoD of 100 percent, but its round-trip efficiency is just 89 percent. A deterioration of 3%, like with the Powerwall, shows a high-quality product.
You would assume that the Powerwall and the Enphase IQ are equally efficient because they show the same metrics, with the exception of a tiny 1 percent differential in round-trip efficiency. But over the course of the battery's lifespan, that 1 percent difference results in an additional 0.1 kWh of production every 10 kWh, which makes a significant difference.
|Tesla Powerwall 2||Enphase IQ 10||Enphase IQ 3|
|Depth of Discharge (%)||100||100||100|
|Degradation (%) Round Trip||3.0||3.0||3.0|
When considering efficiency, it is evident that the Tesla Powerwall outperforms the Enphase IQ series in the long run.
The Tesla Powerwall has an average power rating and a higher-than-average density thanks to its Lithium Nickle Manganese Cobalt Oxide (NCM) battery. Cobalt's usage also improves the security of these batteries and NCM are a good option because of their reasonable production costs.
The Enphase IQ batteries use a kind of lithium iron phosphate (LFP), unlike the Powerwall. When compared to other lithium-ion variants, this variation often has a high power rating but a poor energy density. Because iron does not overheat and does not require additional cooling, using iron promotes the safety of the products.
Beyond this point, both the NCM batteries and the LPF have benefited since the former can store more energy while the latter generates more power.
Thermal cooling is crucial for heat dissipation during battery use and goes hand in hand with battery chemistry. During times of high and peak power demand, this cooling is essential. While severe heat has a significant negative impact on battery performance and may lead them to fail abruptly, extreme cold can also hinder batteries from operating as intended.
The Powerwall generates a lot of heat when equipped with an NCM battery. A liquid cooling technology that is exclusive to the Powerwall reduces this extra heat. With the help of this mechanism, the Powerwall is able to work efficiently and in a variety of climates. The battery's lifespan is increased by its rapid ability to unload heat.
The Enphase IQ does not require a cooling system because it uses the Lithium-ion battery's LFP variant. In other words, it is passively sufficiently cooled, enabling complete enclosure without the use of fans or other moving elements.
There are benefits and drawbacks to both the Powerwall's liquid cooling method and the Enphase IQ's passive cooling.
The main drawback of installing a cooling system is that it creates a weak point in the battery. The battery would stop operating if the cooling system malfunctioned for any reason until it was fixed (barring thermal runaway).
The benefit of this technology is that it can operate at very low temperatures, though. Temperatures below 5°C make it impossible for lithium-ion batteries to charge properly. The Powerwall can work in subfreezing conditions because of its thermal regulating mechanism, which gets around this difficulty.
The Enphase IQ home batteries and the Powerwall are both AC batteries. To convert between AC and DC, one must utilize a battery inverter. This inverter's main application is solar panels. However, because both units have built-in inverters, they may be utilized as a backup source of energy without solar power.
Compared to the Powerwall's single inverter, the Enphase IQ unit's distinctive architecture has a sizable benefit and a few drawbacks.
Enphase uses a system of twelve micro-inverters to assure that even if one fails, you can still access the battery's energy while only losing a little amount of power (92% of the total power is still available). However, battery operation is affected when the Powerwall inverter fails.
The inability to easily locate an inverter that has stopped working is a drawback of the micro-inverter architecture. Luckily, Enphase is the only company that offers inverters, making it possible for one business to handle the problem.
It is reasonable to ask if it is worthwhile to purchase the Tesla Powerwall given that it is no longer the only option given the increasing market competition. The choice is ultimately up to you and your requirements.
The Tesla Powerwall is still a great investment when only the above considerations are taken into account. The Powerwall is a powerful home battery that stands out despite the competition. Its cost, power, and efficacy can't be matched. Enphase IQ, on the other hand, competes with the Powerwall in other areas including incrementally more storage choices and warranty cycles.
Investing in the Tesla Powerwall is worthwhile if you want to continue with a well-established brand that you can rely on. And it does not seem like a terrible idea to upgrade to a newer product with excellent characteristics if you wish to. You can't go wrong with any of these two home batteries. It all depends on your size, power, and budget requirements.