First Tesla Powerwall battery installed in the UK
Image: Gareth Phillips for The Guardian
A Welsh terraced home has become the first in the UK to be fitted with a Tesla Powerwall home battery.
Released last year, the home storage system is produced by PayPal billionaire Elon Musk’s electric car company Tesla Motors.
The first 7kWh Powerwall units were installed in the US last December, but this is the first time one has been installed in the UK.
Financially viable onsite storage has been referred to as the “missing piece” in the renewable jigsaw. The units store energy collected from solar panels, meaning that more energy can be utilised on site rather than sold to the grid, although this is still a possibility.
With last year’s reduction in Feed-in Tariffs for exporting energy to the grid the cost-benefit equation of installing photovoltaics is only likely to work if all the energy generated is used on site.
Although in the US the first 10 pilot users were charged around £4,300 for the Powerwall, in Wales electrician Mark Kerr received his for free. His unit was installed by Welsh renewables installer Solar Plants as a trial before the battery is offered to its customers.
Oliver Farr, managing director of Solar Plants, expects the battery units to be in high demand when they go on sale. He told The Guardian, that the company had emailed 3,000 customers about the device, and of the 1,500 who opened the email, 600 said they wanted one.
Kerr was suitably impressed with his new bit of kit. In an interview with The Guardian he said: “This is the future, definitely. For me this is the logical next step. We have the solar panels but we need a way to make best use of the power they produce. Me and my family are all out in the day, and we are not making use of the enormous amount of clean energy that our solar panels produce. The battery will allow us to store the energy we don’t use in the day to use when we need it in the evenings.
“It’s a gorgeous-looking piece of technology, its design is very sleek and minimalistic and something you can hang on the wall like a piece of art, definitely nothing like some of the other clunky looking batteries,” he added.