Homebuilder offers Tesla Powerwall for true net zero living
Photo via Tesla.
One barrier to having a truly net-zero home has been storing energy produced by solar panels. Traditional net-zero homes share their power with the grid, and the utility company purchases any excess beyond what the home requires.
Now homebuilders are taking the next step to include energy storage -- batteries -- into their solar home packages.
Raleigh, N.C.-based Homes by Dickerson is offering the Tesla Powerwall as an option in homes at the Wendell Falls development, Builder magazine reported.
With the Tesla Powerwall, homeowners can store excess energy produced by solar panels and tap into it on demand or during grid outages.
The builder works with Morrisville, N.C.-based Southern Energy Management, a renewable energy provider, to install solar panels and the Powerwall.
The Powerwall system will provide 7kWh or 10 kWh of storage, and will allow users to store the energy they produce with a solar array or other home power generation system. A larger 100kWh battery is aimed at commercial users. The batteries will allow homes and businesses to use more renewable energy, avoid peak demand charges, and maintain operation in when the power goes out. Larger battery systems will be marketed to utilities.
A home battery system can help utilities reduce peak load demand, like on a hot summer day when every home and business runs the air conditioner at full blast. Some utilities charge more for power during those peak demand periods, and also must build generating the capacity to handle the load. Electricity is generated on demand, and not stored. A battery system would allow a utility to store energy and use it when needed, lessening the need for additional generating capacity and reducing fossil fuel consumption during peak demand periods.
Save money when the sun doesn't shine
By using stored energy day or night, the Powerwall roughly doubles the amount of solar energy that directly powers the home, according to Tesla. For homeowners on a time-of-use (TOU) rate plan, the battery saves money by charging and discharging according to peak times and prices. The Powerwall can also provide backup power during outages by automatically disconnecting from the grid and restoring power to a home for seven days or more.
The homes in Wendell Falls are built to reduce the energy demand, with an average score of 62 on the HERS Index, according to the developers. Dickerson’s homes in the development Energy Star certified and are certified Bronze by the National Green Building Standard, with features like low-flow fixtures and faucets, tankless gas heaters, and radiant barrier roof sheathing.
Invest in peace of mind
The solar panel and Powerwall combo are an option for homeowners who want to reach net-zero energy.
According to SEM, the average cost for a solar array on these homes, which range from 2,000 to 3,674 square feet, is $20,000 to $25,000, and federal tax credits allow homeowners to deduct 30 percent of that cost. The Powerwall and installation costs an additional $10,000 and is also eligible for the 30 percent tax credit.
While the price tag may seem steep, for some buyers the peace of mind that comes with have a battery back up for the home is worth it, similar to investing in a generator.
Read more about home solar power.