Cardiff installer claims to install UK’s first Tesla Powerwall

A solar installer in Cardiff has installed what it claims to be the first Tesla Powerwall in the UK market.

The Powerwall, developed by Elon Musk’s lithium-ion battery giant Tesla, has been aimed at catering for the nascent domestic battery storage market and is intended to be paired with a rooftop solar installation.

So far Tesla has made initial market launches in the US and last month the first in Australia was installed in Queensland, however the installation in Cardiff, which was completed yesterday afternoon, is alleged to be the first in the UK.

Swansea-based Solar Plants collaborated with inverter manufacturer SolarEdge to conduct the install, pairing it with a 4kW east/west split array which was installed on Cardiff resident Mark Kerr’s home last year.

Kerr’s 7kWh Powerwall and its usage will be monitored to compile a case study on the benefits of energy storage.

The installation was originally fitted with a SolarEdge inverter and power optimisers, and Solar Plants said yesterday’s installation was “completely trouble free”. The system took most of the day to fit, and Solar Plants had it charging by 4pm.

Solar Plants was selected after SolarEdge proposed to Tesla that the installer would be an ideal candidate. Tesla then conducted what’s been described as a “rigorous selection process”, which it uses to vet installers wishing to become accredited by the manufacturer.

“We had to complete and sign a comprehensive agreement with Tesla and all installers must attend a StorEdge training course to ensure they are fully trained in fitting the Powerwall. As installers we are very pleased that these safeguards are put in to place to maintain Powerwall and StorEdge's reputation,” a spokeswoman for Solar Plants said.

Solar Plants currently has around 400 customers who have expressed an interest in obtaining a Powerwall, all of which are currently on a waiting list. They are to be contacted next week to discuss the package and pricing in more detail, however the installer notes that limited stock in the UK will mean that systems are distributed entirely on a first come, first serve basis.

The company expects to install its next batch of Powerwalls either later this month or early next.

Earlier this week Musk teased that a new version of the Powerwall would be available by the summer with “moderate upgrades” on the current version, but offered no additional information as to what would be upgraded, stating that he wanted to avoid “silly news headlines”.

Tesla said in a statement issued to sister publication Energy Storage News: “There is a common misconception that energy storage is coming in the future, but that’s not true. Economically viable, proven residential, commercial and utility scale energy storage is here today.”

Meanwhile SolarEdge earlier this week reported a surge in interest in its StorEdge product, released to the UK market at the start of the year, due to the level of interest in the Powerwall. SolarEdge founder Lior Handelsman said: “We see strong interest in the StorEdge Solution and expect to sell thousands of units during the rampup period in the first half of calendar 2016 split between the US, Europe, and Australia.”