Even though home energy storage is a relatively new technology to that market, it continues to garner interest. Over the past few years, new and exciting opportunities within the home energy industry have popped up, and as a result, it’s tough to know exactly what options you have.
Of course, everyone knows about Tesla, and the lesser-known Sonnen, but did you know there are many other companies in the home energy storage industry? The companies make it so that as a homeowner, you have the ability to store additional solar energy as opposed to returning it to the grid. As a result, if the power goes out, you can keep your home running smoothly.
First, we’ll take a quick look at Tesla, and just exactly what it is that they offer. Then we’ll explore some of the other options on the market today. Let’s get started and take a look at some of the top Tesla Powerwall alternatives.
Contents (Jump to)
- 1 Tesla Powerwall
- 2 Sonnen Eco
- 3 LG Chem RESU
- 4 Pika Energy Harbor Smart Battery
- 5 ElectrIQ Power IQ System
- 6 Comparison Chart
- 7 Wrap-Up
Tesla’s Powerwall is thought of as the industry leader in energy storage for several reasons. Primarily because it was the first battery to bring energy storage to the forefront for many who own their own homes. Tesla first announced its Powerwall energy storage option in 2015, then came out with an improved “Powerwall 2.0” in 2016.
The Powerwall uses nearly the same chemistry as Tesla uses in its vehicle batteries, and is comprised of a Lithium-Ion battery. It would be used ideally with a solar panel array, but also has the ability to be used for backup power when needed.
One of Tesla’s Powerwalls has the ability to store up to 13.5 kWh, which is enough to power most of your home for nearly a full day. From a cost perspective, the Powerwall and installation are going to run you in the neighborhood of $7,000.
If you decide to go with a Powerwall, you’ll get a 10-year warranty, which assumes daily usage of the unit. Unfortunately, unlike some of the other energy storage manufacturers, we’ll review, Tesla does not provide coverage for the battery’s performance or loss of storage capacity.
Next, to Tesla, Sonnen might be the most well-known name in the energy storage industry. Sonnen announced its Eco in 2016, which would serve as a battery designed specifically for home use. The Eco is a wholly integrated energy storage system which comes with smart energy software and an inverter.
Homeowners that want to install a smart energy storage system will want to use a battery like the Eco. It stores extra solar power and allows you to use it later in the day. Using the excess energy means you’re going to increase your energy savings on a regular basis.
Sonnen describes the lithium-ion-phosphate as a self-contained battery solution. It provides multiple grid options, which include managing electricity rates and self-consumption. The Eco also includes backup power capabilities if needed.
Sonnen’s Eco battery comes in multiple ranges, starting at 4 kWh (kilowatt-hours) to 16 kWh. You can expect to pay between $9,950 for the 4 kWh battery, up to $22,800 for the 16 kWh option. These prices do not include the cost of installation.
How does it work?
The Sonnen Eco is the perfect partner for solar panel systems. Purchasing and installing a smart energy power system like the Eco lets you keep a standard power supply whenever you need it. Small enough to fit in your home for day-to-day use, the Eco stores extra the extra energy that your solar panels collect.
Instead of being sent back to the grid, which happens with typical electrical systems, extra stored electricity is stored in the Eco and kept for use at a later time. Then, when you’re not getting enough energy from your solar panels, you can use the electricity gathered earlier to power your home.
The Eco is a great option to take control of how your electricity is managed, which in turn allows you to have a direct say in the amount of your electricity bill. It doesn’t, however, mean you are completely disconnected from the grid.
Most of the smart home storage batteries on the market today, including Sonnen’s Eco, only have the capacity to store a couple of hours worth of juice. Keep in mind that larger Eco batteries can work as a temporary backup if there is a power outage and you need to rely on your Eco for electricity.
Warranty and battery info
An Eco with 4 kWh can probably power a typical home for a few hours on one charge. With most homes, your home battery charges and drains every day. Sonnen’s Eco includes an unlimited warranty, good for ten years, which works under the assumption that your battery is charging and draining daily.
Additionally, Sonnen says its Eco will keep at least seventy percent of its total capacity as long as the warranty lasts. As time goes on, it can be expected that smart home storage batteries will begin to lose some of their storage capabilities, much in the same way that smartphone batteries start to lose the ability to hold a charge after a few years.
This is typical battery behavior whether you’re dealing with a smartphone, a car battery, or a smart home storage battery. All batteries begin to deteriorate and show signs of wear over time. Thus the reason Sonnen offers a warranty on its smart home energy storage battery.
LG Chem RESU
When you hear the name LG, you think of a leader in home electronics and appliances, not a key player in the smart home energy sector. With its Chem RESU, LG has entered into the home energy storage market, so let’s take a look at how it stacks up against others in the same area.
LG’s Chem RESU consists of a lithium-ion battery, and like other smart energy storage solutions, can be paired up with a solar panel solution. According to LG, its RESU can double as both a system to maximize solar consumption and a way to store backup power if the electricity goes out.
Keep in mind that while the RESU has backup capabilities, it’s not explicitly designed for full-time use off the grid. You can find the RESU in a range of sizes, starting at 3.3 kWh up to 9.8 kWh.
How does it work?
Like other smart home energy systems, the LG RESU works excellent with solar panel systems. Implementing a solar energy solution like the RESU provides you the ability to maintain a consistent source of solar power during the night or day.
Just like other home energy storage systems, LG’s Chem RESU is designed for day-to-day use in residential homes. If your house gets a lot of sun, the excess energy collected is stored in your RESU instead of going back to the electric grip. Then, if your panels aren’t creating enough energy, or there’s a power outage, you have a way to access power.
Typically you will see this process occur throughout the day. Your solar panels gather more electricity than you are using, so the extra is stored in your RESU. When the sun goes down, your panels aren’t producing as much energy, so you use the surplus to draw the electricity you need. The RESU and other batteries like it help you balance your electricity usage over the day.
As mentioned, installing a smart energy storage system is a great way to take charge of your electric bill. Unfortunately, you are not entirely disconnected from the grid. One LG RESU will give you power for a few hours if you need a backup plan, but it’s not going to provide enough electricity to cover you for days at a time, especially if you have inclement or cloudy weather.
Warranty and battery info
LG’s RESU comes with a 3 kWh option, which will help you power your residence for a few hours if needed. As with other smart energy storage options, the RESU will charge and drain throughout the day. The battery has a 10-year warranty that assumes normal behavior, but if the RESU loses more than forty percent of its charging capacity, LG will replace it under the warranty.
The RESU has a lithium-ion battery that is like the battery you’ll find in your smartphone. Eventually, the ability for the device to hold a charge is going to deteriorate. Your LG RESU smart home energy battery behaves in much the same way.
As mentioned previously, this isn’t a flaw in the battery; it’s just the way lithium-ion batteries behave. LG understands this and will replace the battery as long as it has retained at least sixty percent of its total capacity. Tesla and Sonnen don’t offer anything near as customer friendly.
Is the LG RESU right for you?
Even though smart home solar technology is relatively new for homeowners, there are significant benefits to investing in it. For instance, if your electricity company uses time-of-use rates, then you could see substantial savings by installing a solar battery system.
If you are interested in the LG Chem RESU, you can get it through a partnership the company has with Sunrun. Chances are good that you’ll need to work with a certified installer, so be sure to consider those costs when you purchase your smart home energy battery.
Pika Energy Harbor Smart Battery
Based in Main, Pika Energy is a company that focuses on clean energy products. They produce power optimizers and solar inverters and most recently have partnered with Panasonic to manufacture the Harbor Smart Battery. This solar powered battery is lithium-ion and works well for on-grid and off-grid smart home energy storage purposes.
The question is, how well does the Smart Harbor Battery stack up against some of the other home energy options on this list? Let’s take a look at what the Pika Energy Harbor Smart Battery has to offer.
If you’re looking for a smart battery solution that works well with a solar panel system, then look no further. The Harbor Smart Battery will help you manage and control your energy costs while providing backup power when you need it most. It can be integrated with your current solar panel system by using a Pika Energy inverter, or installed with a brand new system.
The Harbor Smart Battery provides between 10.6 and 15.9 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of home energy storage. You also have the option to install additional batteries to increase your storage capacity, since Pika Energy provides an inverter that can handle up to sixty kWh of storage.
How does it work?
The Harbor Smart Battery is an excellent choice if you’re considering pairing it alongside a solar panel system. If you want backup power for your home, it makes sense to install a smart home energy solution like the Harbor Smart Battery. It provides the ability to maintain clean power in your home whenever you need it.
Just like the other smart home energy solutions on this list, Harbor Smart’s solution is designed for day-to-day use within your home. It’s typically installed with your solar panel system, and stores the excess energy it gathers for future use, rather than sending it back to the grid. When the sun goes down, and your panels aren’t collecting enough electricity, you can access the stored energy to power your home.
Pike Energy’s inverter is explicitly designed to integrate with solar energy storage systems. Ideally, the inverter would create a flexible solar energy solution, which would be perfect for both consumption of energy, and storing the power within the residence.
Making the decision to pair a Panasonic battery with a Pika Island inverter resulted in a smart home energy storage product that will provide the majority of homes the option to install a solar storage system. The thinking behind the partnership was to provide the ability to cover all your electricity needs while having the necessary power to cover you in the event of an outage.
Unfortunately, even with an ideal system like Pika Island’s Harbor Smart Battery, you’re still going to rely on the electric company at some point. Fortunately, the Harbor Smart Battery is designed to work both on the grid and off the grid, as needed. Bear in mind that a single Harbor Smart Battery will not be able to power your home indefinitely.
Warranty and battery info
You’ll get a ten-year warranty if you decide to purchase a Pika Energy Harbor Smart Battery. If, during those ten years the battery malfunctions, you can reach out to Pika Energy to have them replace the system.
The Pika Island inverter also includes a decade-long warranty, which you can extend for ten more years. If you go the complete package route and install a Pika Energy Harbor Smart home energy storage system, the company will cover everything with a 25-year warranty.
Similar to other home energy storage products, Panasonic uses lithium-ion batteries. Over time these batteries between to lose their ability to hold a charge. Other smart home energy storage systems are the same, as has been discussed previously in this article.
Panasonic doesn’t offer a warranty on the battery itself, but Harbor Smart Battery may eventually decide to cover it in future warranty offerings.
One unique feature of the Harbor Smart Battery system does offer is the ability to install it without additional hardware being required. Pika Energy says that the system is self-contained and designed to provide the best possible performance and outcome when speaking in terms of usable energy storage and power.
Is the Harbor Smart system right for you?
You’ll want to weigh several factors before moving forward with a smart home energy storage solution. For instance, how does your electricity company charge its customers, how large is your solar panel system, and how much backup power do you need? These are all factors to consider prior to purchasing an energy storing system.
If you do want to move forward with a Harbor Smart Battery system, you’ll want to reach out to a certified installer to complete the installation for you. Adding an energy storage system to your home can be complicated, and it’s essential that someone who has electrical certifications and expertise be the person to handle it.
ElectrIQ Power IQ System
ElectrIQ Power is based out of Palo Alto, California where it engineers and designs its energy storage systems. The IQ system is the flagship solution provided by ElectrIQ, and it includes an energy meter, a battery, and a hybrid solar/battery inverter. It also comes with a home energy management system which allows you to control how the energy in your residence is used.
Let’s take a look at how ElectrIQ’s IQ home energy system looks against other solutions.
You’ll discover that the IQ system is a complete home energy storage solution. It houses energy, provides cost-reduction, and offers a backup power option which you can access from anywhere. Like some of the other systems on this list, it can either be integrated with your existing system or installed as part of a brand new one.
ElectrIQ’s system provides 10kWh of stackable storage. This means that you can install additional batteries in the same location if you want to increase your storage capacity.
How does it work?
Solar panel systems are ideal for your IQ system. If your electric company offers no net metering, demand charges, or time-of-use rates, this is especially true. Installing a solar home energy system like the IQ system let you maintain a clean power energy supply no matter what time of day you need it.
As with all the other systems on this list, the IQ system is designed to fit in your home and is perfect to integrate with your solar panel solution. If your solar panel system produces more energy than you are currently using in your home, the excess energy is kept in the battery pack.
When evening comes, and your solar panels are no longer able to keep up with the energy demand, your excess electricity is used to you don’t have to get it from the electric company. This way, the IQ system is helping you manage and balance your electricity usage and production throughout the course of the day.
If you purchase an ElectrIQ system, you’re getting an all-inclusive system that offers both an inverter and energy storage needed to integrate it with your current solar solution. The IQ system aims to be the preeminent smart home energy storage system.
For you as a homeowner, this means that you’ll have smart analytics that will adjust your energy consumption on the fly (if needed). The IQ system updates and improves itself automatically, giving you the ability to manage your usage better. Additionally, the system integrates very well with smart devices like Nest or Ecobee thermostats, so you can do a better job of managing the electricity within your home.
Installing a system that converts and stores your solar energy is a great way to manage and control your electricity consumption and lower your energy bill, but you’ll still be somewhat reliant on the grid. The ElectrIQ system can help you store energy for a few hours, but if you need power longer than that, you’ll probably have to return to the grid to get it.
Warranty and battery info
ElectrIQ’s 10 kWh system can help you power most of the appliances in your home for a few hours if needed. As with the other batteries on this list, the IQ system batteries will drain and charge through the day. This is expected behavior every day unless you only want to use the system for backup power.
The IQ system includes a ten-year warranty, which assumes your battery is behaving as it should. If, during the time your system is under warranty the battery begins to malfunction, ElectrIQ will replace it for you.
Just like the other lithium-ion batteries on this list, ElectrIQ’s system batteries may begin to deteriorate and quit holding a charge as well as it should over the course of its lifetime. This is similar to the way other lithium-ion batteries behave, so it’s not unexpected and is entirely normal. As you continually drain and charge your battery, eventually it will stop holding a charge as it should.
However, part of the IQ system software is designed to ensure that the battery is running optimally specifically. The thinking behind this is to have the battery operating as well as possible so that its ability to store energy doesn’t diminish too quickly.
Installed ElectrIQ systems typically run in the neighborhood of $15,000 to $18,000 depending on what you need for your home. Keep in mind though that every smart home energy system is different, and that you’ll want to speak to an installer or a professional about what fits best with yours.
Ultimately it’s up to you to decide whether or not installing a smart home energy storage system is the right move for you. The initial investment can be daunting, but the benefits of having your own energy system can be rewarding. Before you decide to install, determine how your electric company bills its customers, and the size of system you will need. You’ll also want to assess how much backup power you want, while also considering any other reasons you have for installing a solar powered system.
If you do decide to move forward with installing a smart home energy storage system, remember to reach out to a professional, certified installer. The IQ system is an electrical system and should be handled by qualified installers who have a knowledge of how solar-plus-storage systems should be installed.
Based on the reviews above, it’s easy to see just how similar these systems are to one another. Below is a short table that shows the differences in available capacities, how much the system costs, and what type of warranty you can expect from each manufacturer.
|Capacity||13.5 kWh||Starts at 4kWh||3.3-9.8 kWh||10.6-15.9 kWh||10 kWh|
|Cost (pre-installation)||$5,900||$9,950 (4kWh model)||$6,000-$7,000||$12,000-$18,000||$15,000-$18,000|
|Warranty||10 years||10 years @ 70% capacity||10 years @ 60% capacity||10 years||10 years @ 60% capacity|
As you can see, there are plenty of choices available on the market today if you’re looking for an alternative to Tesla’s Powerwall. While most of these systems include many of the same functionalities and perform similarly to one another, there are differences in the storage capacities, costs, and warranties that you will want to consider.
If you’re interested in installing a smart home energy storage system, be sure to reach out to a professional prior to installing. The last thing you want to do is hurt yourself, or do irreparable damage to your home.
There are plenty of benefits to having your own smart home energy storage system, and managing your electricity usage is just one of them. Remember to compare all your options before making a decision. Hopefully, this article helped give you a jump start on finding the right system for your home.
Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn’t have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!