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Powerwall purchase options

TexasEV

Well-Known Member
Jun 5, 2013
7,650
8,914
Austin, TX
I have an existing solar PV and wish to add Powerwall. In a city where both Tesla Energy and 3rd party installers sell Powerwall, does anyone have an opinion on going with one or the other? A related question, how often does Tesla find an usual circumstance that would add cost to their standard installation charge?
 

garrett5688

Member
Oct 7, 2017
646
1,248
DFW
Since you already have PV, you won’t get a discount for combined system install from Tesla. In that case, you’re really just comparing labor costs between Tesla and a 3rd party.

some people have been reporting lead time issues with PW through 3rd parties, as Tesla seems to be prioritizing their own installs.

I think for the most part Tesla’s quoted price has been accurate for people. It can increase if you have specific requests/changes during install, or they discover existing problems with your panel or house... but from what I’ve read, the quotes are upheld.
 

jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Moderator
Nov 28, 2018
12,566
15,029
Riverside Co. CA
These are construction projects on your home. If your setup is going to be very standard, going with tesla direct tends to be cheaper. Using a third party installer that is familiar with the product can sometimes get a more tailored system, if your home needs some specific setup.

Tesla may have more availability unless the third party installer is a very large one with lots of availability. Demand is already high for powerwalls, and is about to get higher when many people from texas start trying to get them.
 

Snowstorm

Active Member
Dec 8, 2016
1,575
1,508
Ontario Canada
I have placed a “reservation” and deposit for 2 power wall for 3 years already and didn’t get any communication from Tesla at all. Located in Ontario Canada.

Though there is local company called empower that claims to have access at pretty high prices, not sure if they are fray market or not.
 

Akikiki

A'-Lo-HA ! y'all
Nov 26, 2012
6,581
4,962
Kaneohe, HI
@TexasEV, These other folks have some good advice. I just want to add, if I were you, I would had a least a couple of panels so you qualify for fed tax credits on the energy side (PWs). If you don't have room, look at replacing a couple with higher performers to get the PV on the invoice. And Tesla might not want to do less than a small system, they call it. Therefore, that might help you decide that you need to go with 3rd party.

I added 12 panels and 2 Powerwalls in Dec. Tesla said PWs were on back order. My 3rd party installed "had them in stock".
 
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TexasEV

Well-Known Member
Jun 5, 2013
7,650
8,914
Austin, TX
@TexasEV, These other folks have some good advice. I just want to add, if I were you, I would had a least a couple of panels so you qualify for fed tax credits on the energy side (PWs)".
I read on the Tesla website and elsewhere that the federal tax credit applies to battery storage added to an existing solar PV system as well as to new systems. Is there some question about this?
 

wjgjr

Active Member
May 11, 2020
1,349
1,067
Silver Spring, MD
@TexasEV, These other folks have some good advice. I just want to add, if I were you, I would had a least a couple of panels so you qualify for fed tax credits on the energy side (PWs). If you don't have room, look at replacing a couple with higher performers to get the PV on the invoice. And Tesla might not want to do less than a small system, they call it. Therefore, that might help you decide that you need to go with 3rd party.

I added 12 panels and 2 Powerwalls in Dec. Tesla said PWs were on back order. My 3rd party installed "had them in stock".
This is not necessary if you are referring to the federal tax credit (I do not know about state ones.) In fact, in the IRS private letter ruling that is generally cited as the basis for battery storage being creditable, the taxpayers were doing exactly what OP is discussing - adding batteries to an existing solar installation in a different tax year. As long as the PWs will be integrated into the existing solar installation such that they exclusively charge from solar, they qualify for the credit.
 

jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Moderator
Nov 28, 2018
12,566
15,029
Riverside Co. CA
I read on the Tesla website and elsewhere that the federal tax credit applies to battery storage added to an existing solar PV system as well as to new systems. Is there some question about this?

As @wjgjr said, adding them to existing solar qualifies for the tax credit, as long as they are charged by the existing solar.
 

Akikiki

A'-Lo-HA ! y'all
Nov 26, 2012
6,581
4,962
Kaneohe, HI
@TexasEV, @jjrandorin, @wjgjr, I have seen this letter before. I decided I was not qualified to understand it and turned if over to the enrolled agents that do my taxes.

Please go to the letter, the last, 5th page and read the last paragraph. In other words, they granted the tax credit to the person that submitted the question/request. But everyone else has to fight their own battle to get. Its risky taking the credit since IRS might disallow for reason in para 5.
 

wjgjr

Active Member
May 11, 2020
1,349
1,067
Silver Spring, MD
@TexasEV, @jjrandorin, @wjgjr, I have seen this letter before. I decided I was not qualified to understand it and turned if over to the enrolled agents that do my taxes.

Please go to the letter, the last, 5th page and read the last paragraph. In other words, they granted the tax credit to the person that submitted the question/request. But everyone else has to fight their own battle to get. Its risky taking the credit since IRS might disallow for reason in para 5.

The last paragraph, which is standard for private letter rulings, indicates that it is not precedent. This is correct (and I tend to note that myself in most cases where it is relevant.) However, here, that does not change anything. Whether the PWs are installed with or without solar, the issue is the same. That is, there is no precedent-establishing rule from the IRS that says "batteries installed at the same time as solar qualify for the credit." And, indeed, most of the letter is discussing whether or not the batteries are creditable. The different year part is, as best I can tell, not really in dispute - this credit can be claimed as many times as you want, as long as what you are installing qualifies. So, whether you install PWs with solar or later, if audited by the IRS, you will be in essentially the same position of justifying the credit for the PWs.

It is absolutely a risk that all of us with PWs are taking, though I consider it an extremely small one, since I feel the analysis laid out in this ruling is sound, and, to my knowledge, since this letter was issued about 2.5 years ago, I am not aware of a taxpayer having any issue claiming the credit for a battery.
 

h2ofun

Active Member
Aug 11, 2020
3,292
748
auburn, ca
The last paragraph, which is standard for private letter rulings, indicates that it is not precedent. This is correct (and I tend to note that myself in most cases where it is relevant.) However, here, that does not change anything. Whether the PWs are installed with or without solar, the issue is the same. That is, there is no precedent-establishing rule from the IRS that says "batteries installed at the same time as solar qualify for the credit." And, indeed, most of the letter is discussing whether or not the batteries are creditable. The different year part is, as best I can tell, not really in dispute - this credit can be claimed as many times as you want, as long as what you are installing qualifies. So, whether you install PWs with solar or later, if audited by the IRS, you will be in essentially the same position of justifying the credit for the PWs.

It is absolutely a risk that all of us with PWs are taking, though I consider it an extremely small one, since I feel the analysis laid out in this ruling is sound, and, to my knowledge, since this letter was issued about 2.5 years ago, I am not aware of a taxpayer having any issue claiming the credit for a battery.
Not sure why some make such a big deal about this. If one does not want to claim something, great, thats them. If someone else wants to claim something, great, thats them. The odds of being audited to start with are low. And if one does, and one gets told they did it wrong, so what, you pay the taxes and maybe a fine. Not the end of the world.
 

wjgjr

Active Member
May 11, 2020
1,349
1,067
Silver Spring, MD
Not sure why some make such a big deal about this. If one does not want to claim something, great, thats them. If someone else wants to claim something, great, thats them. The odds of being audited to start with are low. And if one does, and one gets told they did it wrong, so what, you pay the taxes and maybe a fine. Not the end of the world.
As long as you are acting in good faith, I tend to agree. So, I think in most of the cases being discussed, that would be the worst-case. Ethically, I would be concerned with somebody abusing the credit (like claiming it for a PW they know is only grid charging,) and, though I would concede it probably unlikely for a single PW, criminal penalties are absolutely possible if the IRS decides your return was fraudulent, as opposed to an honest mistake/error on a return submitted in good faith.

In any event, to me the bottom line for OP is that there is really little doubt that PWs purchased later will qualify for the credit, as long as they are integrated into the solar.
 

h2ofun

Active Member
Aug 11, 2020
3,292
748
auburn, ca
As long as you are acting in good faith, I tend to agree. So, I think in most of the cases being discussed, that would be the worst-case. Ethically, I would be concerned with somebody abusing the credit (like claiming it for a PW they know is only grid charging,) and, though I would concede it probably unlikely for a single PW, criminal penalties are absolutely possible if the IRS decides your return was fraudulent, as opposed to an honest mistake/error on a return submitted in good faith.

In any event, to me the bottom line for OP is that there is really little doubt that PWs purchased later will qualify for the credit, as long as they are integrated into the solar.
I agree. There is black, there is white, and they a lot of gray. I am talking about the gray stuff. Everything I have done over the year, I could look anyone in the eyes and say this is what I did, why I did it, and it wrong, so be it. No way would I ever "lie", even though many probably do. I still have to sleep at night.
 

Laketime

Member
Dec 13, 2020
180
123
LI NY
I know it is a private letter ruling but Tesla has a policy in place to only allow solar charging with installs involving walls and solar just so people can claim the credit. If the IRS had beef with that they would have already put a stop to Tesla making the claim...
 
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charlesj

Active Member
Oct 22, 2019
1,416
326
Monterey, CA
I have an existing solar PV and wish to add Powerwall. In a city where both Tesla Energy and 3rd party installers sell Powerwall, does anyone have an opinion on going with one or the other? A related question, how often does Tesla find an usual circumstance that would add cost to their standard installation charge?
I had a PV system since 2012. I was interested in the PW as hooking up generator is a pain for me, etc. Saw a friend's install by 3rd party in 2019, called them and got a quote for 2 PW. Had extensive discussions with the company electrician in charge how he would do the install as I didn't want conduits and gutter boxes all over the place. Quote was about $26-$28k.

Then I went to Tesla and explored. Inexpensive initial refundable down payment and cost cam in at $18,333. Didn't take long to go with Tesla.;) Ordered in Oct 2019 and waited, discussed with their people, etc. One day one of their persons called that he was 30 min out, no previous warning. Lucky I was home. He looked and said it was a simple install, drilled a pilot hole in the main panel through a back was knock out and said that is how it will go through the wall into the garage, right behind the main panel. Kept dragging out into 2020, then the Covid came. Also was relieved that Elon promised to refund the 4% ITC missed out on. Great.

Install day was a smooth operation.

Tesla 2 custom.JPG
Another electrician did have to come back a while later as the current sensor in the subpanel where the solar breaker was was not properly installed, the attached antenna was inside the metal subpanel; hard to send signal out of it. He dropped the antenna into the wall cavity and works like a charm.
 

Laketime

Member
Dec 13, 2020
180
123
LI NY
Wow, that is a very nice install. Did the Tesla install team paint the conduit and decorate your PWs? My PWs install in the garage is kinda ugly and yours is really really nice.
In my install they painted all the exterior conduit and asked if I wanted them to paint the inside- As I wanted to spray it instead of brush it I declined. But they did patch all the walls and paint them. Very impressed.
 

charlesj

Active Member
Oct 22, 2019
1,416
326
Monterey, CA
Wow, that is a very nice install. Did the Tesla install team paint the conduit and decorate your PWs? My PWs install in the garage is kinda ugly and yours is really really nice.
No, I applied a shelf paper to the boxes and segmented the conduit with it as well, all bubbles removed and applied the car door bumper that was hard to find
 

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