Top 4 Tesla Powerwall Alternatives [2022 Buyers Guide]
In this review, we’ll cover:
- What the Powerwall is
- The best Tesla Powerwall alternatives
- How Tesla Powerwall alternatives compare
- Why energy storage is important
- The different types of solar batteries
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Top 4 Tesla Powerwall Alternatives: Which Home Energy Storage Systems Are Best?
Homeowners are quickly starting to learn the importance of adding solar battery storage to their solar panel systems. If you’re new to the world of solar, here’s our simple explanation:
You can’t get all of the benefits of having a home solar power system without having somewhere to store all the excess solar energy your panels produce. (We’ll explain this in more detail later on.)
While the Tesla Powerwall wasn’t the first battery storage system to hit the market, it’s widely regarded as one of the best — and we’d agree. But that doesn’t mean Tesla is your only option.
In this review, we’ll explore the top Tesla Powerwall alternatives that can provide backup power for your home solar system.
Comparing the Best Tesla Powerwall Alternatives
Below we’ve compared some of the basic specs of the Tesla Powerwall and the best alternatives.
|Tesla Powerwall 2||Enphase Encharge||Generac PWRcell||LG Chem RESU 10H||BYD Battery-Box HV|
|Battery Capacity||13.5 kW||3.4-10.5 kW||9-18 kW||9.3 kW||5.1-12.8 kW|
|Continuous Power Rating||5.8 kW||3.84 kW||3.4-6.7 kW||5 kW||5.1-12.8 kW|
|Depth of Discharge (DoD)||100%||100%||84%||95%||100%|
What Makes the Tesla Powerwall So Great?
Tesla is perhaps best recognized for its electric vehicles, but in the world of renewable energy, it is known to produce some of the most technologically advanced solar products. And in 2015, Tesla came out with the Tesla Powerwall — its holy grail.
We call it that because many homeowners who don’t choose Tesla Solar as their solar installer still decide to install a Tesla Powerwall with their system. And that’s one of the most attractive features of the Powerwall — it’s compatible with many other solar panel brands.
While the original version of Tesla’s Powerwall was discontinued in 2016, it’s been replaced by the more advanced Tesla Powerwall 2 and Powerwall+, which offer more solar storage capacity and the ability to provide electricity to multiple devices at once.
Tesla Powerwall Pros:
- The Powerwall offers a usable capacity of 13.5 kWh, making it one of the most robust solar batteries.
- The Powerwall+ is a full AC lithium-ion battery system, meaning it has a built-in battery inverter/converter and you won’t have to buy a separate gadget for electricity conversion.
- The Powerwall is easily compatible with an existing solar panel installation and other solar panel brands.
- Comes with an industry-standard 10-year warranty
Tesla Powerwall Cons:
- One of the more expensive solar batteries, costing $10,500
- Unlike other systems, the Tesla Powerwall 2 is not modular — there is only one size available.
- The only way to get a larger capacity is to purchase multiple Powerwalls.
Learn more about the Tesla Powerwall 2
Another downside is that while the Powerwall is compatible with other solar products, Tesla Solar won’t install a Powerwall unless you’re also using Tesla solar panels or the Tesla solar roof. So, if you currently have Panasonic solar panels and you want a Tesla Powerwall, you’ll have to find a solar company that carries Tesla products.
The good news is that many solar companies do carry the Tesla Powerwall, but because of its popularity, it’s often out of stock. That may be what led you here to find out about Tesla Powerwall alternatives.
So, let’s get into our top four battery manufacturer options that aren’t Tesla but can still meet your energy needs.
Tesla Powerwall Alternative #1: Enphase Encharge
We refer to the Enphase Encharge as the “most intelligent” solar battery backup system. That’s because the Encharge isn’t just a battery but an all-in-one smart energy hub for your entire home solar system.
While it may not have as much public brand recognition as Tesla, Enphase is a leader in solar manufacturing best known for its microinverters. When the Encharge entered the solar battery market in 2019, it became a popular Tesla Powerwall alternative.
Enphase Encharge Pros:
- Enphase is a modular battery system — sizes are available in increments of 3.5 kW (Encharge 10 is the most common option).
- It’s an easy-to-use smart system that can automatically toggle between solar, grid, battery or generator power depending on the needs of your home.
- One of the most versatile batteries, allowing for direct integration of generators for additional off-grid power
- One of few batteries that can automatically detect a grid power outage and switch your home into off-grid mode (the Tesla Powerwall requires a manual switch).
Enphase Encharge Cons:
- The Encharge 10 typically costs around the same amount as a Tesla Powerwall, despite offering less capacity and a lower power rating.
Tesla Powerwall Alternative #2: Generac PWRcell
If you’re looking for the most powerful home battery, the Generac PWRcell is a stronger option than the Tesla Powerwall.
It’s probably not a surprise that the company long known for making backup power generators has a solar battery option. However, Generac only entered the market when it bought out Pika Energy — a battery storage manufacturer — in 2019.2
Generac PWRcell Pros:
- Offers the highest capacity and power output of any solar storage options on our list
- Features a modular design that allows you to expand your storage capacity if your power needs evolve. Sizes range from 9 kilowatt-hours (kWh) to 18 kWh.
- Smart Management Modules (SMMs) automatically manage power distribution during power blackouts, ensuring critical loads maintain power.
- Meets industry-standard 10-year warranty
Generac PWRcell Cons:
- The PWRcell is hard to add to an existing home solar system, so it’s likely only an option for new solar users.
- One of the more expensive solar batteries, starting at around $9,900 for the 9 kWh (not including installation costs).
- For some of the PWRcell models, Generac mentions a “throughput warranty,” which is based not on the years you’ve had the battery but rather on how much energy has been stored and used during the battery’s lifespan.
Tesla Powerwall Alternative #3: LG Chem RESU-10H
LG is a top-tier electronics company with some of the best quality solar panels. So it’s no surprise that LG’s battery subsidiary, LG Chem, produces one of the most popular solar storage solutions: the RESU-10H battery.
LG Chem RESU-10H Pros:
- It’s sized at 9.8 kWh with 90% usable capacity, making it a real powerhouse.
- The battery cells are layered in a unique pattern that helps prevent failure and maximize long-term reliability.
- It meets the 10-year industry warranty and claims to have a battery lifespan of 4,000 cycles.
LG Chem RESU-10H Cons:
- Only comes in one size, so you would need several to go off-grid
- Expensive, costing between $9,500 and $13,000 (although these numbers include a full system installation)
NOTE: As of February 2022, LG announced it would be discontinuing its production of solar panels. The company did not specify if it would continue to produce the LG Chem RESU battery. Either way, LG Solar products will still be available for installation while supplies last.
Tesla Powerwall Alternative #4: BYD Battery-Box Premium HV
Like the Tesla Powerwall, the BYD Battery-Box entered the market in 2015. It’s made by Chinese solar manufacturer BYD, which stands for “Build Your Dreams.”
BYD has quickly grown to become one of the biggest stationary battery manufacturers in the world, offering a wide range of lithium energy storage systems for residential and commercial solar projects. BYD batteries are known for their high power and compatibility with a wide range of off-grid and hybrid solar inverters.
BYD Battery-Box Premium Pros:
- This modular tower battery comes in various sizes and voltage levels, giving you more options to choose the best battery for your home or business’s energy needs.
- It’s a cobalt-free lithium iron phosphate battery, which performs well at high temperatures and has a longer cycle life than other lithium batteries.
- Battery modules can be stacked to increase total storage capacity.
- The BYD battery comes with a 10-year warranty and claims to be good for around 3,000 total cycles.
- BYD batteries have some of the best continuous power ratings.
- Some of the most affordable batteries on the market, ranging from $2,000 to $9,700 depending on size
BYD Battery-Box Premium Cons:
- The Battery-Box warranty is slightly below industry standards, guaranteeing operation at only 60% capacity after 10 years (or after 30.82 MWh of throughput), which is low compared to other batteries on the market
- BYD’s website is difficult to navigate, so it’s hard to get clear information about this battery
Final Thoughts: Is There a Better Alternative to the Tesla Powerwall?
In our review of the best solar batteries, we did choose the Tesla Powerwall 2 as the “best overall” solar battery. That said, that doesn’t mean the Tesla Powerwall is the best option for you.
The best solar battery for your home will depend on several factors, including your location, your budget, your current energy usage and what features are most important to you. For instance, if you’re looking for the most powerful solar battery, you’re probably going to want to choose the Generac PWRcell over the Tesla Powerwall. If affordability is important to you, you might want to look into a BYD Battery-Box.
If you’re looking to install solar panels or a solar battery, we recommend talking with a certified solar installer first. The professionals will be able to help you figure out which solar battery is right for your home and can give you more accurate solar cost estimates.
What Are the Different Types of Solar Batteries?
We’ve talked about several different types of solar batteries throughout this article. And by “type,” we’re talking about chemical composition.
If you’re talking about solar, you’ll most likely hear about lead-acid and lithium batteries. Although lead-acid batteries have been around the longest, lithium batteries are slowly becoming the more popular choice for home solar systems because they have a longer lifespan and require less maintenance.
Here’s a quick rundown on lithium-ion vs. lead-acid batteries
Advanced lithium-ion technology was first developed for electric vehicle (EV) batteries, but the solar industry quickly realized the potential it held for energy storage systems.
Lithium-ion batteries are appealing due to their density, high depth of discharge (DoD) and long lifespan. All of the best solar batteries on our list use some form of lithium-ion technology.
It’s also worth noting that lithium iron phosphate batteries are a type of lithium-ion technology.
Lead-acid batteries are what you typically think of with the common rechargeable battery — they’ve been in use for hundreds of years now.
However, lead-acid batteries have less to offer than their lithium-ion counterparts due to their low density, shorter lifespan and slow charging. AGM (absorbent glass mat) batteries, sealed lead-acid batteries, flooded lead-acid batteries and deep cycle batteries are all types of lead-acid batteries.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have specific questions that aren’t answered here, reach out to our team of solar experts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Technically yes, but it’s hard to do. Unless you live in the middle of nowhere, chances are your home is grid-tied to your utility company and it can be difficult to break that tie completely. Plus, many of the solar batteries on this list only have enough capacity to store a few hours of electricity, so you’d have to have multiple battery packs to store sufficient power when your solar panels aren’t producing enough.
While going off-grid may not be completely possible for you, pairing your solar panels with an energy storage system is the best way to reduce your electricity bills.
Yes, you could do your own solar installation. But unless you’re a professional, we wouldn’t recommend it. While a DIY solar installation has some notable advantages (like cost savings and design control), it also comes with safety hazards, limited product options and risks from lack of solar expertise. Most homeowners agree that DIY solar system installation just isn’t worth it.