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Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) Powerwall Creates Noisy Indoor Racket

Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA) Powerwall

Tesla Motors Inc made created big news when it launched the Powerwall last year, but now some of the customers aren’t so happy with Tesla’s home battery system. Some have reported that the battery operates at higher-than-expected operating volumes. One consumer even measured the noise, and says its more than 80 decibels, says a report from Green Tech Media.

Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA) Powerwall

Tesla Powerwall noisy inside

A representative of a rival storage firm said a customer was told that the noise lasts for only the first 24 to 48 hours, but for this customer the noise never stopped. The customer was not ready to speak directly, but he did answer to GTM via emails. The customer told that the noise was continuous and was (audible) in the whole house.

And, when the EV firm sent an engineer to install a software update, “I was told that the power consumption of the ventilation or cooling system was reduced to 15 percent of its original value,” said the customer. “After this update, the noise was not there anymore.” May be lowering the Powerwall’s cooling capacity solved the noise issue, but it might have affected performance as well, the report says.

In another case, one of the other early Powerwalls installed in Germany was sited in a garage instead of the indoors due to a “light noise” from the cooling system. Logan Goldie-Scot, head of energy storage analysis at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said the noise is loud enough to want to “relegate to a garage or outside,” but certainly not in communal areas.

“My neighbor has a water feature, and you can’t hear it over that,” Nick Pfitzner – Australia’s first Powerwall customer – told GTM. He also said that his battery was not “really loud” when installed outdoors. Overheating is probably not a huge problem in Germany, but in Australia, placing Powerwalls outdoors will pose a problem as it is so hot there, said Pfitzner.

Powerwall is “almost silent” claimed Chris Williams, managing director at Natural Solar, which installed Pfitzner’s battery system. The fan turns on to cool the battery temperature, but it operates at less than 50 decibels.

Other issues with the Powerwall

Tesla Motors Inc ’s home battery system is not just being criticized for noise, but rivals are also claiming that installation times are long.

Mathias Bloch, a spokesperson for Sonnen (a Tesla rival), said “Installers who already installed the Powerwall did not believe the installation time of five hours because it is very complex.” Bloch said the installation time is a critical point because it can make the overall system more costly. And, this could impact Tesla by increasing the installed cost of a Powerwall to more than $3,000 – retail price advertised by the manufacturer.

In Germany, the true cost of a Powerwall could be €8,500 to €9,000 ($9,600 to $10,150), including the battery system and a StorEdge inverter interface, sales tax, installation fee, and gateway, estimates Sonnen. The published price for a Powerwall-and-solar package is €17,900 ($20,220) in Austria.

Also, Tesla guarantees a lot less storage than originally advertised for its 7-kilowatt-hour daily cycling battery system, reveals a detailed reading of the Powerwall manufacturer’s warranty. The warranty specifically covers 740 cycles or 85% of 6.4 kilowatt-hours (so 5.4 kilowatt-hours) of capacity for the first two years and then, 4.6 kilowatt-hours for three years or 1,087 cycles. Finally, it covers 3.8 kilowatt-hours for five years or 2,368 cycles.

Based on these numbers, SolarQuotes calculates that each kilowatt-hour delivered from Powerwall could cost around of AUD$0.50 ($0.39), more expensive that other residential storage offerings. And, if cost of an inverter is included, then the upfront bill spikes to AUD$12,000 ($9,265) while the per-kilowatt-hour rises to AUD$0.75 ($0.58).

Bloch says the interest in Tesla Motors Inc Powerwall is high, but if the people experience technical problems with it, then they could get the impression that the energy storage is still not a mature industry.

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Aman is MBA (Finance) with an experience on both marketing and Finance side. He has work as a Risk Analyst for AIR Worldwide, and is currently leading VeRa FinServ, a Financial Research firm. Favorite pastimes include watching science fiction movies, playing PC games and cricket.