Business / Business News

Prinesha Naidoo
2 minute read
22 Feb 2016
1:24 pm

First Tesla Powerwall installed in SA

Prinesha Naidoo

Fully operational system to cost around R200 000.

Getty Images/AFP/File / Bill Pugliano
Elon Musk, co-founder and CEO of Tesla Motors, speaks at the 2015 Automotive News World Congress January 13, 2015 in Detroit, Michigan

Installation of the first Tesla Powerwall in South Africa is underway in Johannesburg, says authorised reseller Dako Power.

The company plans to gather and use data based on the performance of the initial unit to market the rechargeable lithium ion product when it is launched at The Solar Show Africa next month, said Peter Dalglish, managing director of Dako Power.

The Powerwall, created by South African born entrepreneur Elon Musk, has been hailed as the future of energy usage in that it stores energy for load shifting, backup power and household consumption.

The 7 kilowatt hour (kWh) daily cycle Powerwall system available in South Africa, harnesses and stores energy generated from solar panels during the day for use at night and during power outages. According to Tesla, the lithium ion Powerwall, which operates at a 92% efficiency rate, can provide 3.3kW of continuous power, the same as its peak output. It said lights per room in a typical house consume 0.1kWh of energy per hour while a refrigerator consumes 1.6kWh per day.

Dalglish said a fully operational system including 12 solar panels and a 5kwh inverter, which converts direct current from solar panels into alternating current for residential use, taxes and installation would cost in the region of R200 000 depending on the ZAR/USD exchange rate. Rubicon, another local reseller, has priced different Powerwall packages from R116 000 to R272 000 excluding VAT and installation, businesstech reports.

Still, local interest in the product is “phenomenal”. “We’re not punting the Powerwall as a return on investment product…we’re not selling it versus the Eskom grid, we’re selling it when there’s no Eskom grid,” Dalglish said referring to load shedding. He said the company has already received about 100 pre-launch orders.

According to him, the biggest advantage of using the Powerwall compared to other more affordable products are the warranties. The Powerwall guarantee can be extended from 10 to 20 years while the SolarEdge inverter comes with a 25 year extended warranty. Warranties for other products typically range between 5 to 10 years.

Although Tesla has only just started shipping the Powerwall, Musk said a second version of the product “which will see further step changes in capabilities” would be available in July or August this year.

Dalglish said news of the upgrade hasn’t impacted interest in the model. “It comes down to personality types, you get those guys are the trendsetters and want to be the first and then you get the people that choose to hang back and see how the market grows,” he said.