Tesla Powerwall Vs Generac PWRCell 2021 Review - Sunbridge Solar (2022)

Tesla Powerwall vs. Generac PWRCell

In this article, we will now compare the stats and performance ratings of two of the most popular batteries for home solar energy backup power systems: the Tesla Powerwall vs Generac PWRCell.

By the time you’re done reading this, you’ll have a better understanding of which battery may fit your needs better. You may also contact us at any time with your questions.

Before we really dive into it, here are two videos both brands have on their YouTube Channels about their product. Feel free to watch that before you read or after as a refresh.

Watch Tesla Powerwall Overview Video

Watch Generac PWRCell Overview Video

Off-Grid Compatibility

While most home battery systems are designed for use with grid-tied solar plus storage systems, they can sometimes be used for off-grid systems. Both systems capture and store electricity for later use whether the utility power is online or offline.

Tesla Powerwall

  • Off-Grid Comparability: Not Intended

The Powerwall is only designed to be used in grid-tied homes as a backup to allow you to use your solar energy at night or to provide coverage during grid outages. It is not intended to be used in modern off-grid home solar installations.

Generac PWRCell

  • Off-Grid Comparability: Not Intended

Similar to the Powerwall, the PWRCell energy storage system is designed only for grid-tied use, as it can only store enough energy for a few hours of power. It is not meant for off-grid use.


Warranties can give you peace of mind, especially when you are making a large investment.

Tesla Powerwall Warranty

  • Off-Grid Comparability: Not Intended

Tesla Powerwall warranty offers a 10-year warranty, with a guaranteed end-of-warranty capacity of 70%. Most homes with Powerwalls will charge and discharge them every day, and as time goes on, rechargeable batteries start to lose some of their ability to hold a charge and recharge fully.

This is not unique to home batteries; consider how the battery life of a cell phone diminishes over the years and how car batteries eventually need to be replaced. That’s why Tesla offers their 70% guarantee, which means that at the end of 10 years, your Powerwall is guaranteed to still have 70% or more of the original capacity.

Generac PWRCell Warranty

Generac PWRCell also offers a 10-year warranty, but they make no guarantees on battery capacity at the end of that time. Rather, they offer a ‘throughput warranty,’ which refers to how much energy in MWh has been cycled through the battery storage system. This warranty option is similar to car warranties, where they offer coverage for 10 years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first. In this case, it’s for 10 years or a set amount of energy throughput based on the size of the battery as follows:

  • PWRCell model 9: 22.6 MWh
  • PWRCell model 12: 30.2 MWh
  • PWRCell model 15: 37.8 MWh
  • PWRCell model 17: 45.3 MWh

This is a slightly less enticing warranty than Tesla’s since you have no guarantee pertaining to your battery’s capacity at the end of 10 years, and in fact, no guarantee that your warranty will even last for 10 years if you reach the throughput amount before 10 years have elapsed.

Physical Size Of The Battery

The physical dimensions of the battery can be an important factor that dictates where your battery can be placed within your home.

Tesla Powerwall Weight and Dimensions

The dimensions of the Powerwall are 45.3 x 29.7 x 6.1 inches and it weighs 276 pounds. It can be mounted on the wall or the floor and is suitable for indoor or outdoor use

Generac PWRCell Weight and Dimensions

The PWRCell system actually has two separate units: the PWRCell inverter and the battery cabinet. The inverter unit is 24.5 x 19.25 x 8 inches and weighs 62.7 pounds, and the battery cabinet is 22 x 10 x 68 inches and weighs between 280 and 445 pounds depending on the model.

Monitoring And Control Apps

Both of these battery systems have easy to install mobile apps that allow you to monitor and control your systems 24/7. This type of control is beneficial for homeowners or businesses who pay more for electricity depending on the time of day.

By being able to control your utility power consumption and reduce energy costs. With it you have the ability to sell your solar power during peak demand times (daytime) and buy your electricity back at a lower cost at night.

Tesla Powerwall App

The Tesla app allows you to control both Tesla cars and Powerwalls from your devices. It lets you monitor how much energy is stored from your solar energy system, how much your home is using, and how much is being exported to the grid. You can also download your solar production and battery usage data to keep records.

Generac PWRCell App

The PWRview app from Generac allows you to monitor your energy production and usage as well, and it provides detailed bill tracking and forecasting. You can also set up daily and monthly goals for your home’s energy consumption.

Product Availability

As of the time of this writing, both systems are still available for purchase.

Tesla Powerwall Availability

You can order the Tesla Powerwall directly from their website, or start by requesting a call to discuss whether it’s a good fit for your system.

Generac PWRCell Availability

Generac offers a free no-obligation solar quote to help you assess which size of PWRCell would be best for your project.

Battery Cost - Does The 26% Federal Solar Tax Credit Apply?

Battery systems are pricey, but luckily there are some incentives that you can take advantage of to help offset the cost.Keep in mind that these costs do not include the solar panels themselves, which can run another $9,000-$15,000, depending on the size of the system.

Our team at Sunbridge Solar can assist you in calculating how many units you will need and give you a more exact estimate based on your project scope.

Read More:

  • Federal Tax Credit for Solar
  • Oregon Solar Incentives
  • Washington State Solar Incentives

Tesla Powerwall Costs

If you buy a Powerwall directly from Tesla’s website, the cost for the unit is $6,500 with the supporting hardware running another $1,100, for a total of $7,600. However, that does not account for the installation costs, permit fees, and other soft costs. A more realistic total for installing a single Powerwall is between $14,500 and $16,000. If you bump up to two units, the average cost goes up to about $26,000.

The Federal Investment Tax Credit can be applied to the purchase of these units, which allows you to deduct 26% of the total cost of installing your solar energy system from your federal tax liability amount.

The deductible amount goes down to 22% in 2021 and there will be no deduction in 2022 and beyond, so act quickly if you’d like to take advantage of this program. If the deductible amount is higher than your federal tax liability for the year, you can rollover the remaining deduction to the following year.

Additionally, Oregon residents may be eligible for an Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) rebate. The rebate will cover between 40-60% of the total cost of installing your solar energy system if you are eligible, with a cap of \$7,500 for solar plus battery backup systems.

Generac PWRCell Costs

The smallest Generac PWRCell model starts at around $10,000, although the system is very scalable and the larger systems will cost significantly more. Again, that is not including the cost of solar panels. For a more exact estimate of what it would cost to back up your solar system, you can contact Generac to request a quote or speak to our team of experts here at Sunbridge Solar.

The Federal ITC and the ODOE battery rebate can also be applied to the PWRCell as well.

Battery Types

There are several different types of batteries that can be used in conjunction with solar energy systems for energy storage.

Tesla Powerwall

The Tesla Powerwall is a rechargeable lithium-ion battery with liquid thermal control. More specifically, it’s a lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC) battery, which is known among batteries as having high energy density and being very safe. Up to ten Powerwalls can be linked together to form a massive battery if needed.

Generac PWRCell Batteries

PWRCell has multiple lithium battery modules in each battery cabinet, depending on the size of the model that you purchase. It is scalable, so you can always add more modules as needed to meet your needs.

Maximum Continuous Power

This metric looks at the maximum amount of power in kilowatts (kW) that can be output at one time. If you think of power as water running through a pipe, the continuous power amount would be dictated by the diameter of the pipe and how much water could be pushed through it at once.

The maximum continuous power rating determines which appliances you can run, since bigger and more robust appliances require more power.

Tesla Powerwall vs Generac PWRCell

The Powerwall has a maximum power rating of 5 kW. The stats for PWRCell vary based on which model you choose, from 3.4 kW to 6.7 kW.

Tesla Powerwall

PWRCell - Small

PWRCell - Large

Usable Capacity

Usable capacity refers to the maximum amount of energy that can be stored in your battery when it’s fully charged. Using our water pipe analogy again, the usable capacity refers to how much water is available to run through the pipe.

Power and capacity go hand in hand because greater power will provide more energy faster, therefore burning through the total capacity more quickly than a system with less power. Capacity dictates how long your appliances can run for.

Tesla Powerwall vs Generac PWRCell Capacity

The usable capacity of a Powerwall is 13.5 kWh. Again, this varies based on the model, from 8.6 kWh to 17.1 kWh of usable capacity.

Tesla Powerwall

PWRCell - Small

PWRCell - Large

The Verdict

We vote the Tesla Powerwall as the winner, with Generac PWRCell as a close second. Both of these battery systems are powerful, scalable, capable of charging electric vehicles, and easy to monitor in real-time. They both come with solid warranties and are in similar price brackets.

We chose the Powerwall because it is more of a complete and robust package backed by a trusted brand. However, it really comes down to personal preference, the size of your solar energy system, and any future plans for scaling up your system as to which battery is the best for your needs.


Which is better generac or solar panels? ›

Despite that, when it comes down to it, the Generac PWRcell is better-suited for an off-grid lifestyle than most other solar batteries. The modular battery can be hooked up with as little as 9 kWh of storage capacity or as much as 36 kWh in two cabinets.

Can you use generac PWRcell without solar panels? ›

Right now, the PWRcell needs a DC power source, so it technically can't be installed without a solar system. Since a Tesla Powerwall is AC coupled, it can certainly be installed with solar or without.

How long does a Generac solar battery last? ›

The power and capacity of the PWRcell are well-touted, and as discussed, most sources confirm it as the most powerful battery of its kind on the market. The warranty of a PWRcell 17 battery is valid for either 10 years or the amount of time it takes to cycle the specified amount of energy through the battery below.

What is the best solar battery? ›

At a glance: power & performance of best batteries
BatteryUsable capacityRoundtrip efficiency
sonnen eco5, 7.5, 10, 12.5, 15, 17.5, 20 kWh81.6%
LG Chem RESU9.3 kWh94.5%
Electriq Power PowerPod 210, 15, 20 kWh96.6%
SunPower SunVault12, 24 kWh> 86%
5 more rows
Apr 7, 2022

What is the best solar powered generator? ›

Top 5 Solar Generators
  • Most Lightweight: Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240.
  • Best Medium Output: Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500.
  • Best Handle: ROCKPALS Portable Power Station.
  • Most Powerful: EF ECOFLOW Portable Power Station.
  • Best Outlet Covers: BLUETTI Portable Power Station.

How many cycles does a powerwall last? ›

While the 10-kilowatt-hour option has been removed, the Powerwall website continues to offer specifications for Tesla's 6.4-kilowatt-hour battery designed for daily cycling applications, such as load shifting. The battery is warrantied for 10 years, or roughly 5,000 cycles, with a 100 percent depth of discharge.

How many solar panels would it take to power a house? ›

How many solar panels does the average house need? With a home of roughly 1500 square feet, it is estimated that 15 to 18 solar panels will be needed.

Does Generac power cell come with solar panels? ›

Does the PWRcell include solar panels? No, Generac does not make or sell solar panels, but we can help you partner with one of our authorized solar panel manufacturers and installers for a turnkey solution.

How much does a PWRcell system cost? ›

Every PWRcell system is backed by a 10-year limited warranty, with prices starting at $9,999. For a limited time, homeowners that purchase PWRcell will receive the PWRview home monitoring app – a $300 value when they schedule a free in-home assessment.

Is it better to have more solar panels or more batteries? ›

The energy produced over the lifetime of typical rooftop solar panels more than makes up for the energy it takes to make, mount and then eventually recycle them. But adding a home battery usually lowers those dividends, according to new research from Stanford University.

What is the life expectancy of a Tesla Powerwall battery? ›

Lifespan and warranty

The Powerwall's lifespan is pretty standard for lithium ion batteries - it will operate at 70% of its original capacity after 10 years. The operating mode you choose will impact how long your Powerwall battery will last.

How long will Generac power Cell last during power outage? ›

With the average home drawing 750 to 1,000 W of power per hour during a blackout, the 10 kWh battery will last 10 to 12 hours and the 13.5 kWh battery will last 13.5 to 16.8 hours.

How many batteries do I need for off-grid solar? ›

If you want to keep the power on when the grid is down, you'll usually just need one solar battery. If you want to go off-grid completely, you'll need far more storage capacity, more along the lines of 8-12 batteries.

How big of a battery bank do I need? ›

To determine the kwh usage of a battery, you simply need to multiply the Amp Hour (Ah) rating by your desired voltage system. To meet the requirements set by the previously mentioned average kWh the best battery bank size would be the 225Ah @ 12 Volt system with 2 batteries.

Can I run a refrigerator on solar power? ›

As a general rule, 100 watt solar panel can run a refrigerator for a short time only and would also need a battery. 100 watts of solar panels can generate on average 400 watt-hours of energy per day. A refrigerator with combined freezer needs 2000 watt-hours/day.

What size solar generator do you need to run a house? ›

As a general rule, the generator should be around 2 times the size of the inverter's continuous output. For example, a 4,000-watt inverter should be paired with an 8,000-watt generator. 8kW would make sense as a minimum generator size to power the loads and have enough power to charge the battery bank as well.

Can a Powerwall run a refrigerator? ›

If you're using only the essentials, like your WiFi, phone, refrigerator, and some lights, you can expect the Powerwall to hold you over for around 24 hours during a blackout.

Are Powerwalls worth it? ›

In my honest opinion, Yes the powerwall is worth it for homeowners who are looking to save even more money on their energy bills. However, you will need to make sure you generate enough energy. With that being said, a Tesla powerwall is one of the best solar batteries you can find on the market today.

Does Powerwall work during power outage? ›

» During an Outage

If you are without grid-power for an extended period of time, your Powerwall can recharge from your solar. However, during severe weather events, there may not be enough sunshine to charge your Powerwall.

Why solar panels are not worth it? ›

Solar panels cannot store electricity, so you will have reduced power output in cloudy weather and zero power output at night. Because of this, most residential solar systems require a solar battery. You will need to consider this additional cost when deciding if solar panels are worth it for you.

How many solar panels do I need for a 2000 sq ft home? ›

So, a 2,000 square foot home would be allowed a solar array of 4,000 watts. Depending on the type of panel that you choose, a system of this size would be anywhere from 12-18 solar panels. Keep in mind, this formula to calculate consumption varies depending on who produces your electricity.

Can you have a whole house generator if you have solar panels? ›

Unfortunately, you cannot run your home with both solar power and generator power at the same time. In other words, the generator and the solar panels cannot operate parallel to one another. Like we said earlier, solar panels send feedback to the grid, creating a dangerous scenario for utility repair workers.

How long can a solar generator power a house? ›

Can a solar generator power a house? A large-size solar generator that has an inverter rating of 2000 watts or above and a battery backup of sizes 2,000Wh to 10,000Wh can power a whole house for 2 to 8 hours. However, the backup time can be increased by reducing the house load.

How much does a solar Generac generator cost? ›

How much does a home generator cost? Generac home backup generators start at $1,949—the most cost effective on the market. Installation costs vary by system size, installation considerations, and local building codes.

How much does a Tesla powerwall cost? ›

Tesla Powerwall Cost

The Tesla Powerwall has a higher price than many other battery systems, but you also get a high storage capacity and power output. The price is calculated based on how many units you order: a single Powerwall sells for $10,500, but two units will cost $17,000 ($8,500 each).

How much does a whole house battery cost? ›

Exact pricing will vary based on which battery model you choose and how many of them you need to power your home. However, it's common for an average-sized home battery backup system to run between $10,000 and $20,000.

Does Generac have a solar generator? ›

The Complete Clean Energy System from Generac

A PWRcell Solar + Battery Storage system has all the power and capacity you need, enough to save money on energy bills and keep the whole home powered when the grid goes down.

Is powerwall worth it if you have net metering? ›

While CA still allows net metering on TOU plans, Powerwalls don't make much sense. If you use solar to charge them they're actually losing you money.

Can I have too many solar panels? ›

It may seem counter-intuitive, but you can have too many solar panels on your roof. With conventional net metering, your utility will not reimburse you at the end of the year if you produce more power than you consume.

Is it worth having battery storage with solar panels? ›

By installing solar panel batteries to your system you can store any surplus energy, and use it when you need it, be paid the same feed-in tariff for your export but spend less on electricity bills for the import. This reason alone can make solar panel batteries worth it.

Will Tesla Powerwall run an air conditioner? ›

This includes 120V loads such as lights, plugs and small appliances as well as 240V heavy loads such as air conditioners, electric cooking ranges, well pumps, EV charging, electric dryers, electric water heaters and pool pumps.

Do you need an inverter with Tesla Powerwall? ›

The Powerwall 2 is an AC battery (AC in and AC out), so in order to function together with a solar array, the Powerwall system requires a separate solar inverter (Refer to the diagram below).

How many solar panels does it take to charge a Tesla Powerwall? ›

Technically, you could charge a Powerwall with 1 solar panel or even install it without a solar system! But, in almost all cases in North Carolina we wouldn't recommend that. The average size solar system we sell with a Powerwall is a 6kw system, or about 20 solar panels.

Do solar panels drain batteries at night? ›

A good solar panel won't drain your battery; even during nighttime. If it happens the main reason is that its blocking or bypass diodes are broken and need replacement. Even then if you have a Solar Charge Controller it'll prevent battery drainage. Usually, most people's solar panels drain during the night.

What happens when power goes out and you have solar panels? ›

If you have solar panels installed on your roof or property they will continue to generate electricity during power outages, as they do every day because the panels still absorb sunlight and solar energy.

Why don t solar panels work during a blackout? ›

When the power goes out from your electric company due to a natural disaster, an overload, or even just routine maintenance, your panels will also stop producing energy. This is for the safety of the utility workers fixing the lines. And yes, this means solar panels alone will not work during a power outage.

How many solar batteries do I need to run a refrigerator? ›

The average refrigerator takes about three or four average solar panels to run. The average refrigerator found in the United States uses approximately 57 kWh per month while the average freezer uses 58 kWh.

How many 12 volt batteries does it take to run a house? ›

A battery bank designed to power an average American household for three days would need to supply 90 kilowatt-hours of energy. The battery from the previous example can supply 2.4 kilowatt-hours, so this system would need 38 batteries.

How many solar panels does it take to run a house off-grid? ›

Most data suggests that a typical American home (2,000 square feet home) consumes approximately 11,000 kilowatt-hours annually. So, when we divide our total consumption by the expected output of one solar panel, we see that roughly thirteen solar panels of this size would be enough to power a home of that size.

Is 5kW solar enough to run a house? ›

A 5kW off-grid solar system is more than enough to fulfil the daily electrical needs of a small to medium size house.

How many batteries do I need for a 5000 watt solar system? ›

You will need at least one 450-500 12V battery or two 210 12V batteries to supply 5000 watts of power for 30-45 minutes.

Is it worth getting a Generac? ›

Whole house generators are expensive, but installing one can be worth it if you work from home, experience frequent or prolonged power outages, store lots of cold food, or live in a climate where heating or cooling is essential. Generators can run for weeks with enough fuel and proper maintenance.

How long will a Generac power cell run a house? ›

9 kW output is enough starting power to backup large loads like air conditioners and well pumps and can run about four large appliances at a time. Since your PWRcell is solar charged, it has the capability to recharge and run your entire home indefinitely, though it is currently only designed for on-grid homes.

Why a portable generator is better than solar? ›

A generator can run appliances directly without needing to charge the battery first. In fact, they are better than solar when you're using them with power-hungry devices, like your air con and coffee machine. Probably the biggest advantage of generators vs solar is that they are not dependent on good weather.

Will a Generac generators work with solar panels? ›

Introducing Generac's PWRcell - a battery storage system that harnesses power from the sun to help reduce your electric bill and provide backup power during utility power outages. PWRcell's revolutionary technology captures and stores electricity - either from solar panels, or the electrical grid.

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