Powerwall progress

I’d like to update you on our Powerwall experiment, and there’s a special reason I’m doing so at this moment.

EDITED TO ADD: update at the end of this post.

We’ve had the giant battery attached to our house since early May (posts here), and for a while progress was uneven.  Sometimes it worked, fueling selected devices during short outages and tests.  Other times it failed, either when needed (when the power went out) or on its own.

inverter interior

The guts of the inverter, which basically connects the house grid (off screen, on right) to the Powerwall (off to the left).

Ever since my glum May 29th post a team has been working energetically to get the Powerwall working.  People from Peck Electric (installation), Green Mountain Power (power grid, cat-herding), Tesla, (the battery), Solar Edge (the inverter), and some outside consultants (different issues) worked with us in person, on the phone, and via email.  They tried simulated outages, rewriting the firmware, redoing the fuse box, analyzing connected items, and easily a dozen more approaches I couldn’t follow.

What I was able to do was keep an eye on the setup when none of the specialists were on site, monitoring the cryptic system display board and watching for status changes.  I also fired up a Powerwall thread on the Tesla discussion forum, but it seems to have vanished.

So why am I writing about this now?

Because our town just got run over by a serious thunderstorm.

Ripton storm July 23 2016_Wunderground

Our town is Ripton, in the upper middle of this map.  The green and orange blobs have moved east after whomping us.

Storms knocked out power all over this part of the state:

power outages July 23 2016 5 pm

Ripton is east of Middlebury, just about the top of that “Green Mountain National Forest” label.

And yet I’m typing this, because the Powerwall worked.  Every device connected to it is thriving: water pump, refrigerator, several lights, both routers, and more.

How long will it last?  We don’t know, but we will find out.

As I write this the device has been working for about 90 minutes without interruption.

More later.

EDITED TO ADD: Green Mountain Power restored service around 8 am today.  The Powerwall ran throughout, meaning roughly sixteen (16) hours.  Which is impressive.

PS: Bonus pick of one determined electrician and the guts of the inverter plus another box: inverter and others being worked on


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4 Responses to Powerwall progress

  1. Lanny Arvan says:

    This is the issue, even if it doesn’t seem like that now. Optimism on this would be a big deal, as the implications broadly would be huge. Pessimism would also be a big deal as it would be quite unclear what should be next.

  2. Phillip Long says:

    This great news Bryan! Let us know how long the system supplied your needs.

    • 16 hours this time.
      Bear in mind that that doesn’t mean all household needs were supplied. We picked out a subset of devices. Currently that’s all electronics (routers, Xbox, monitor, etc.), refrigerator, water pump, water heater ignition (heater itself is gas), furnace (which we never use).

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