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A local solar company recently became the first in Canada to install Tesla’s new residential backup power system, Powerwall 2, on July 21, 2017. Greenside Electric is the certified Tesla installer for the greater Muskoka area and works with Toronto-based MPOWER Energy Solutions, a Tesla-authorized reseller.
“They approached us last year in regards to the Tesla Powerwall because we are in the solar business and the Powerwall has an attachment to solar, if you want to have it,” says Greenside’s owner Don Taylor.
Powerwall 2 is a home battery that can act as backup power in the event of a power failure while helping to reduce electricity costs for homeowners.
As a standalone unit, it stores power from the grid. Homeowners can use it to power essential items during peak times when premium rates are charged to help reduce costs, and then recharge the battery at night when electricity costs are lower. During a power outage, it provides backup power that otherwise might come from a fossil fuel-powered generator. “If you put it in without a solar backup, it will give you 12-24 hours of backup power for essential items,” says Taylor.
When attached to solar panels, the Powerwall becomes storage for any excess solar power that is produced for use overnight. It can also be used in a Net Metering system, in which solar energy is sent into the electrical distribution system and the homeowner receives a credit on their monthly bill. “It’s a way of substantially reducing your hydro bill. If you can put up to a 10kW solar system on your property, you can save $200 to $300 a month on your hydro bill if you have a large bill,” says Taylor.
Tesla’s Powerwall can even be managed from an app on your smartphone, notes Taylor. “If bad weather is coming, you can tell it to reserve your power instead of using it. It’s a smart piece of equipment.”
An off-grid version of Powerwall will be available in the fall.
Tesla’s widely publicized solar roof shingles will enter the Canadian market in the spring of 2018, notes Taylor, and will also be available through MPOWER and Greenside Electric. “There is lots of interest in the shingles, because you’ll end up with a roof that will last the lifetime of your house with solar on it.” The solar shingles will reportedly be comparable in price to other premium roof coverings like slate or tile.
Taylor maintains that for those who have space, a ground-based solar panel system is a better option for Muskoka because the racking system allows the panels to be adjusted four times per year to where the sun is on the horizon. Their steep angle in winter means that they shed snow accumulation naturally. But in more heavily treed areas where space or shade don’t allow for a solar rack, solar roof shingles may be a better option provided the trees don’t overhang the roof.
Regardless of the system that captures the energy, Taylor believes that battery power is going to be the way of the future. “It’s going to help to manage the grid, once we get into bigger storage – Giga storage they call it – so they can store the power for future use. But that’s down the road.”
See a timelapse of the Tesla Powerwall install in the video below: