Powerwall is configured to meet your home’s specific energy needs. Use the Tesla app to monitor and manage your solar system’s performance with features and control modes such as Backup Reserve, Self-Powered, Time-Based Control and Advanced Settings.
After installation, Tesla solar systems with at least one Powerwall+ will be configured to Self-Consumption Only mode, producing only enough energy needed to power your home and charge your Powerwall. When temperatures are below freezing, Preconditioning is enabled, heating your Powerwall to improve operation and charging performance.
Learn more about the following modes for your Powerwall:
With Backup Reserve, your Powerwall provides you with energy security during a grid outage. Set your preferred reserve percentage by adjusting the slider at the top of the ‘Settings’ screen:
- If you prefer to reserve more energy for use during a grid outage, or if your area is more prone to outages, you can set a higher reserve percentage.
- If you prefer to optimize your Powerwall's performance in Self-Powered or Time-Based Control mode, you can set a lower reserve percentage.
During an outage, your stored backup reserve becomes available, and Powerwall will discharge below your reserve percentage if required. When the outage is resolved, your Powerwall will prioritize charging above your reserve percentage before resuming normal operation. You may use Powerwall as a backup-only appliance by selecting Self-Powered mode with a Backup Reserve of 100%.
Note: Setting a backup reserve of 100% negatively impacts your economics and increases your reliance on the grid.
Low Backup Reserve
If you set your reserve percentage below 20%, a ‘Low Backup Reserve’ indicator will be displayed, and your Powerwall may not have enough stored energy to provide backup support during an extended grid outage.
If a grid outage occurs while your Powerwall’s stored energy is below 5%, you will immediately lose power to your home, and Powerwall will save this energy and wait to recharge itself via solar the next morning. In the morning, your Powerwall will periodically provide power to your home until there is enough solar power available to both power your home and recharge itself. To learn more about this behavior, visit Best Practices During Power Outages.
Note: Consider your personal economic needs and energy security outlook when setting Backup Reserve. Setting a higher reserve percentage saves more energy for protection during an outage, while setting a lower reserve percentage allows optimized performance when in Self-Powered or Time-Based Control mode.
When Self-Powered mode is selected, your Powerwall stores solar energy not used during the day to power your home at night. Your Powerwall will charge when excess solar power is produced, and this stored energy will be used when your home requires more power than your solar system can provide.
When you produce enough solar power to offset your home’s current consumption and Powerwall is fully charged, any excess solar power will export to the grid. Similarly, when you consume more power than what’s available from your solar system and stored in Powerwall, you will import power from the grid.
Self-Powered mode approximately doubles the amount of solar energy that powers your home by storing it for use at night. This is the most effective way to reduce your carbon footprint and gain energy independence. Learn more about energy data and impact cards in the Tesla app.
How to Set Up Self-Powered
Step 1: From the home screen, open the ‘Settings’ menu.
Step 2: Open the 'Powerwall' menu.
Step 3: Under ‘Operational Mode,’ select ‘Self-Powered.'
Step 4: Set your preferred Backup Reserve by adjusting the slider at the top of the screen.
Time-Based Control (also referred to as load shifting) helps you maximize savings through smart charging and discharging of your Powerwall. If your electricity prices vary during the day, you are likely on a time-of-use plan, and Time-Based Control would present the best economic value for your system. Time-of-use plans are utility rate structures where electricity prices may vary depending on the time of day, the day itself or the season.
Utilities usually break time-of-use plans into three periods:
- Peak: High energy demand hours with most expensive prices
- Off-Peak: Low energy demand hours with least expensive prices
- Partial Peak or Shoulder: All other times
How to Set Up Time-Based Control
Before setting up Time-Based Control mode, obtain your specific time-of-use plan, which is typically found on your electric utility website. Once you have set your preferred rate plan, you can always change it through the following steps:
Step 1: From the home screen, open the ‘Settings’ menu.
Step 2: Open the 'Powerwall' menu.
Step 3: Under ‘Operational Mode,’ select ‘Time-Based Control.’
Step 4: Set your preferred rate plan by tapping the ‘Utility Rate Plan' card.
Step 5: Set your preferred Backup Reserve by adjusting the slider at the top of the screen.
Some utilities allow Powerwall to send energy back to the grid and claim credits during peak times. When Powerwall is able to send energy to the grid, the following energy export options will be available in the Tesla app, with the default setting of ‘Solar.’
When set to ‘Solar,’ Powerwall will only discharge energy to match your home loads during high-cost time periods, forcing all solar production to export. Use this option if you wish to earn credits when energy is expensive, but also keep energy stored in Powerwall to reduce your reliance on the grid.
When set to ‘Everything,’ Powerwall will discharge as much as possible when the cost of energy is expensive, sending solar and Powerwall energy to the grid and discharging all the way to your set Backup Reserve. Use this option if you want to maximize savings.
Powerwall has two Advanced Settings that impact how the system exports and imports energy to and from the grid. These settings may have other effects with your utility company. If these are not clear, confirm with your installer before adjusting Advanced Settings in the Tesla app.
Permission to Export
If you have at least one Powerwall+ with an integrated solar inverter, Powerwall can control how much solar is exported to the grid. When Powerwall is not able to export to the grid, you will see a ‘Grid Exporting Restricted’ message. When Powerwall is eligible to export to the grid, the Permission to Export feature will be available in the Tesla app, with the default setting of ‘No.’
When set to ‘No,’ Powerwall will charge to prevent solar from exporting. When Powerwall is fully charged, solar output will be reduced to match your home loads, preventing export. This will reduce overall solar generation and reduce your reliance on the grid. Generally, Permission to Export is granted by your local utility. You will also see a banner on the energy graphs screen to explain the system behavior.
When set to ‘Yes,’ Powerwall will not adjust charging or solar production to prevent export. Before setting Permission to Export to ‘Yes,’ consider if all approvals have been issued by your utility, often called Permission to Operate (PTO). If Tesla was your installer, this will automatically be updated to ‘Yes’ when PTO is granted. It can also be enabled manually, including when your system is installed by a Certified Installer.
Powerwall can charge from the grid under certain conditions. The ability to charge from the grid is set by your local utility company or installer. When Powerwall is not able to charge from the grid, you will see a ‘Grid Charging Restricted’ message – this is most common when the utility prevents charging, or when the system is owned by a third party, such as through a lease. When Powerwall can charge from the grid, the following options will be available in the Tesla app, with the default setting of ‘No.’
When set to ‘No,’ Powerwall will not charge from the grid. This will increase your Self-Powered performance and reduce your reliance on the grid. In the US this setting is intended to comply with the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) guidance from the Internal Revenue Service of charging your Powerwall 100% from solar.
When set to ‘Yes,’ Powerwall will charge from the grid if there is insufficient solar available to maintain the Backup Reserve or if there is a financial benefit when in Time-Based Control mode. Consider your energy goals and consult your tax advisor regarding any tax-related impacts before enabling Grid Charging.
For Tesla solar systems with at least one Powerwall+:
After your system is installed, it is intelligently configured to Self-Consumption Only mode, producing only enough energy required to power your home and charge your Powerwall. In this mode, no energy flows to the grid until your utility grants your system Permission to Operate (PTO). After receiving PTO, your system is automatically configured to begin full production and allows energy to flow to the grid.
When temperatures are low, all batteries have a reduced ability to charge. To help Powerwall counteract this, Powerwall uses Preconditioning. When temperatures are below freezing, Preconditioning turns on and heats your Powerwall to improve operation and charging performance. To heat itself, Powerwall draws a small amount of energy, which then allows high-power charging.
During a cold night, your Powerwall automatically preheats before sunrise so that maximum solar energy can be captured during the day. Preconditioning, in combination with Tesla’s unique liquid thermal management system, allows your Powerwall to operate at lower temperatures than any other home battery.
- You cannot customize this mode because Powerwall can best detect its internal temperature and knows when to enable Preconditioning.
- During Preconditioning, the Power Flow screen may show energy flowing to your Powerwall from solar or the grid. This is normal behavior, and the energy is only being used to heat, not to charge.
- During winter months, a small amount of your Powerwall capacity is reserved to improve performance in cold weather. This may change your visible total capacity in the Tesla app. Rest assured, your total capacity has not changed — this small reserve is just set aside to improve performance.
- Powerwall: 22.9+
- Tesla app: 4.7+