Tune Your Tesla Powerwalls to Generate Cash!

a couple months ago I installed two tesla powerwall at my house and originally I just ran them on the self-powered mode the kind where it just basically acts as if you want to be free from the grid entirely and I do love that idea but later as I dug into the data I realized that because my solar PV system the system that generates the power doesn't generate more than I consume and I have to electric vehicles I'm charging at home which just eat up a ton of energy I wasn't getting the best bang for my buck financially but thankfully after some research after digging through some data some changing of my rate plan with my utility I've been able to figure out how to maximize the financial benefit of using it as a power wall at my house and that's what I want to share with you today as we learn how to tune your tesla powerwall let's dive in since the last time I talked about this there have been some developments here in California one of the key things that I mentioned in the last video on whether or not it made sense for you to buy a power wall was whether or not you live somewhere that has regular power outages at the time that seemed somewhat laughable here living in California where the weather is generally fine and don't have many natural disasters or any kind of major problems but since then because of the wildfires and the season that we're in right now here in California the power companies are intentionally cutting power to millions of people in California that is a real problem for people on the lower end of the economic scale where the food goes bad in the fridge and you don't have a lot of money to replace those things or you're sleeping in your car because you need AC or you have some medical condition that you know the machines really need to be up and running I feel like the the reason to buy one or the the incentives are just through the roof now and if this can happen in a hugely wealthy economy like we have here in California it can happen anywhere financially speaking it still doesn't make a whole lot of sense to buy one of these unless you meet one of the kind of key criteria which are that you don't have solar or you don't have net energy metering or the rate at which you're paying is above 14 cents per kilowatt-hour on average and the way that all works out is basically the financial benefit you'll get by using this isn't going to be enough to pay for the actual system within the warranty period now if these things last much longer than the warranty period which I don't really have data on to prove or disprove at this point then yes they make a lot more financial sense but really it I think comes much closer to the whether or not this gives you peace of mind depending on where you're living that is a much bigger factor than you can really put any dollar figure on another thing to consider is that if you have electric vehicles that you're charging at home these power rolls are gonna really do much to help that because the amount of energy stored in them is just tiny compared to what most electric vehicles consume these days so this is where the configuration and tuning really comes into play so let's look now at all the different ways in which you can configure a tesla powerwall first is self powered this is essentially where it stores solar energy not used during the day to power your home at night when there's excess solar power it saves it until it's full and then it starts sending everything else back to the grid Tesla states that this approximately doubles the amount of solar energy that powers your home and is the best way to reduce your carbon footprint and be more energy independent now this definitely bears fruit for for my situation when I first got them it made a whole lot of sense to me and I just really loved that notion of being truly kind of off-grid here in fact in my house I can go flip the switch and turn off the connection to the grid which just is so empowering I don't know why I just love that feeling of it so the next mode is backup only now this is basically where the system just saves 100% of the power for outages now I don't really understand why this exists anymore because there is also a feature built in called storm watch with storm watch or as Elon stated will soon be called disaster watch what it does is it looks for upcoming problems that may require you to run on backup power such as a storm that would knock out power or when a utility decides to shut off power intentionally to your area and what it does is it saves up 100% of that power so you can run as long as possible without having to pull from the grid or anywhere else and then of course if you have solar power and the Sun shines even a little bit that is going to replenish all that energy so depending on your energy consumption needs you could in theory run off-grid like this for a long period of time if not indefinitely and the third mode to consider is time-based control and this is where things get a bit interesting let me pause right here before I dive into this and just say that I would prefer to run in self powered mode in this kind of off-grid but again because our electric vehicles consume so much energy it's really just not possible with our current system and we would have to scale the system up dramatically in order to actually meet those needs in addition to what we have already consuming in our house okay the first way to do time-based control is with cost-saving mode now the goal here as it sounds like is to maximize savings with this the power wall will charge from excess solar during off-peak and shoulder time periods those are the periods right around the peak period and then it will discharge during that peak period and discharge in other periods to make room for solar based on energy forecasts and to be honest I don't really love the way in the app that you select peak and off-peak times because it's just a bit finicky and it doesn't make sense sometimes out you can't scroll all the way to the left or just it would be easier if you could just pick the time so when it starts and when it stops versus using these kind of sliders although this does visually seem to make a lot of sense when you look at it the other mode is balanced mode and this is actually the one that I use the difference with this mode is that it discharges during all periods not just peak periods and the idea is that it is essentially self powered except during off-peak and shoulder where it tries to figure out when is the right time to charge or discharge so enough talk of all that let's look at some data here and see exactly how this has worked out for me today I think it makes sense to start with a single day to understand exactly what's happening and how this system works and then we can kind of aggregate up and roll it up into bigger numbers to see the impact of these configurations so the way I have it set up is that overnight I'm charging my car and pulling a ton of energy from the grid when the car is done charging you can see that it drops to zero or practically zero we wake up around 6:30 and start using some energy but it's all coming from the powerwall at this point around 9:00 a.m.

Our solar panels which face west start to generate some energy this powers the house but it also refills the power walls around 12:30 the power wall is full and the rest of the energy from the solar system powers the house and then is also sent back to the grid at 4:00 p.m. our peak rates kick in and the power wall replaces solar as the source for our home usage we also get home around this time and start to use more energy and the solar energy from now on until the Sun is down is all sent back to the grid building up a ton of credit with the power company the remainder of the night into the next day we run solely off the power wall until midnight then if we were charging our car again once it hits midnight we reach our super off-peak time and this is where it would switch back to the grid and let the car pull from the grid at the lowest possible energy rate that we pay now due to net energy metering this works out tremendously in our favor essentially letting us buy at 9 cents a kilowatt hour and sell back to the grid at around 53 cents per kilowatt hours so this is how we're able to get a huge financial benefit here and just buy low and sell high as it would make sense to do so overall we have started using more energy but at the lower rate and running on solar plus battery when the rates are high and despite my energy usage almost doubling in the last month my per kilowatt hour rate has dropped by more than half and in the end I had a credit this has led my monthly charges to go negative for the first time in the past six months without any added credit or incentive let me just pause on that because to date my solar system has not generated enough energy that it outpaces what I consume especially with the two electric cars however because of some state incentives that have been around five to seven hundred fifty bucks per year for owning an electric vehicle what we've got actually is in negative balance for the year so we've been essentially cash positive on this whole thing however there are non buy possible charges and we're starting to consume more energy and I just don't want to count on that credit being there so with this configuration what we've been able to do is really you know go kind of back into the cash positive side regardless what other incentives or anything may come and again when it comes down to it what I really think the value for these power walls these types of system is is having peace of mind knowing that when it's hot out will have energy for air-conditioning or when we need our refrigerator and run it will run regardless of what the weather conditions are or what our utility company wants to do with our access to electricity and if you are in the position to do so and you have a family and it's not just you living in a condo or something I would highly recommend it for that reason alone so I hope this helps you guys I hope this makes sense please let me know depending on you where you live and what your situation is how this would work out for you it's not very easy to just say this is the 100% right way to do it but I thought sharing what I've learned so far would help you in making that decision and then doing that math for yourself down the road so in any event let me know in the comments and don't forget we free the data your mind will follow I'll see you guys back here in the next one

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