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SolarCity is launching a new Solar+Tesla Powerwall+Nest Smart Thermostat package to manage energy and reduce grid dependence

solarcity powerwall

Solar installer SolarCity announced this week a new package combining solar panels, battery storage, smart electric water heaters and the Nest Learning Thermostat in order to “prevent energy from being exported back to the grid”, says the company in a new press release.

The system, called ‘Smart Energy Home’, will first be offered in Hawaii, where the company had problems with the local electric utilities before.

In the past, SolarCity’s customers in Hawaii have reported difficulties connecting their PV systems to Hawaiian Electric Co.’s grid, which created tensions between the two companies.

Following these issues, when Tesla first announced its ‘Tesla Energy” line of energy storage products, SolarCity announced that it will use them to offer an option for home owners in Hawaii to go completely off-grid starting in 2016.

Although SolarCity doesn’t explicitly says that the new ‘Smart Energy’ system is “off-grid”, and it’s apparently not, the company clearly states that the goal of the new system is to reduce grid dependence by automatically modifying energy usage based on how much solar power is available.

It sounds like a step toward a completely off-grid system.

The company lists the components of the new package on its website:solarcity smart energy

The whole system will work automatically and can be monitored through SolarCity’s app. The smart electric water heater will use the solar energy from the solar PV to heat water during the day and store it for later use in the home. While the Tesla Powerwall will store excess energy from the panels, which the Nest thermostat will be able to manage at night.

Customers can choose to install more than one Tesla Powerwall depending on the size of the residence. SolarCity says it already started taking pre-orders from residential customers in Hawaii for the ‘Smart Energy Home’.

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  1. Walt - 7 years ago

    Que model 3 w/ two way charging aka vehicle to grid(home).

  2. freeform1999 - 7 years ago

    We need a smart frifg too.. well, at least I do. 😛

  3. Juhs - 7 years ago

    Now that battery prices are going to drop significantly (Gigafactory 1,2,3) Solarcity could consider launching a new type of pricing product
    – Utility customers in places like Hawaii pay a fixed sum of electricity around the year from here to the eternity and they have adjusted their budget to meet that (let’s say 130$/month)
    – Easiest way for Solarcity to turn any customer is to their camp is to offer this particular off-the-grid package with exactly the sum they are paying currently.
    – Only the payment time adjusts itself (10-15-20-25 years). For non-wealthy families this would offer an hassle-free path to renewable energy, support the local economy (no fossil fuels burned, local jobs), lock in their electricity rate and preserve the environment without having to worry how to finance it
    – I know the critique can be that the technology involved is expected to decrease rapidly even more in next 15 years, but during this time an average family could have already paid 60-70% of the system without having to wait for a decade or more.

  4. Phil NSW Australia - 7 years ago

    Many of the smarter solar panel power cotrollers used for 100% off grid systems have GPI ( general purpose interface) capability .

    This can be used to control a solid state relay or contactor ( requires an electrician to legally do this) an auxillary power circuit to run your hot water booster element , electric panel heaters , reverse cycle air conditoners etc.

    So this is nothing new really, just a more elegant and integrated solution.

  5. Ulugbek - 7 years ago

    Water heating control is nice, but not at the expense of the PV generated energy. There are sun heat collectors in the market to heat water with superb efficiencies.

  6. quiviran - 7 years ago

    Hey, Nevada, we’re coming for you next! Remember those net-metering installations you reneged on? They’re now going to be “ex-metering.”

    • amp - 7 years ago

      Exactly. As panel and battery costs continue to fall it is only a matter of time before the artificial obstacles to net-metering push people into ‘no-metering’ at all. Meanwhile most, if not all, legacy energy sources should continue to become more expensive except for temporary and unsustainable situations like the current oil oversupply. Somewhere in the not-too-distant future there will be a crossover point and then the growing sales volume of solar/battery systems should accelerate cost reductions further while the falling economies of scale for traditional power will accelerate cost increases as system costs are shared over a declining user base.

      • quiviran - 7 years ago

        Well said. The question for America is, as usual, how long will we handicap our future trying to keep the dinosaurs alive? We can see the future. Time to hitch up our skirts and run toward it.

      • Seth Weintraub - 7 years ago


  7. alexteo - 7 years ago

    this is a great mix of the future. ‘Smart Energy Home’ is the future of the apartments


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