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Understanding the powerwall settings

Merrill

Merrill
Jan 23, 2013
3,913
1,384
Sonoma, California
Going to have Powerwalls installed and have been reading this forum about various settings available. Wondering what the best resource to learn how to use the app and all the settings available, from what I have read on this forum it sounds complicated.
 
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getakey

Active Member
Jan 28, 2020
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Actually the app settings are pretty simple.
There is a Reserve setting that you put which does not allow PW SOC to go below
  1. Backup only - this wil ensure SOC gets to 100% and stays there as long as this setting is on
  2. Self-powered - this uses PW to power as much of your house as it can until Reserve is hit
  3. Advanced time based control
    • Balanced - I'm not as familiar with this setting
    • Cost saving - cost saving will only use PW during Peak times and charge during Off peak or Shoulder
I set my reserve at 35% (3 PWs). I'm usually in Cost Saving, but change to Backup only if storm is coming so I don't get down to reserve without beinng able to charge due to cloud cover
 
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SMAlset

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2017
9,092
9,840
SF Bay Area
Congrats on getting backup. Takes a lot of the worry out of the PSPS events and other storm etc related outages.

We only have had our system since end of October and still experimenting and getting use to it, but the app is pretty visual in what is being produced and used/stored where. I'm not aware of any real manuals for any of this. I think once you get your PTO you'll get a better feel for setting it for what your goal is and what your needs are. We'll check our weather app, Dark Skies, and see what the cloud cover will be for the day and plan for when and how long to charge our car/s -- preferring not to send any extra solar to the grid but using ourself. Seeing what the cloud cover for the next day is as equally relevant if you want to be fully charged again the next day at some point while still keeping a reserve overnight into the next day.
 

getakey

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Jan 28, 2020
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In the app, there are "learn more" descriptions for each of the settings. There is a side by side comparison of Balanced versus Cost Savings. Also, you can adjust the Peak/Off Peak times dependiing on your rate plan
 

MorrisonHiker

S 100D 2021.4.18.2
Mar 8, 2015
9,837
9,209
Colorado
Actually the app settings are pretty simple.
There is a Reserve setting that you put which does not allow PW SOC to go below
  1. Backup only - this wil ensure SOC gets to 100% and stays there as long as this setting is on
  2. Self-powered - this uses PW to power as much of your house as it can until Reserve is hit
  3. Advanced time based control
    • Balanced - I'm not as familiar with this setting
    • Cost saving - cost saving will only use PW during Peak times and charge during Off peak or Shoulder
I set my reserve at 35% (3 PWs). I'm usually in Cost Saving, but change to Backup only if storm is coming so I don't get down to reserve without beinng able to charge due to cloud cover
We used the Balanced mode of Advanced time based control since there is not "scheduled" version of self-powered. By using this mode, we can power the house with Powerwalls as much as possible but we can schedule it to stop and switch over to the grid at certain times. For example, ours is programmed to stop using Powerwalls at 3 am. This allows solar and Powerwalls to power the house for over 22 hours a day but also allows us to charge a car or two from the grid. Typically, if the Powerwalls have been used and the SoC is close to the reserve, the Powerwalls will remain off from 3 am until up 9am. If the Powerwalls still have a high SoC, they will kick in earlier and help charge another car while solar kicks in.

A true "scheduled" self-powered would probably have exact start times but the Balanced mode is pretty close to what we'd like. This mode allows us to avoid ToU peak (and part-peak) grid usage. I think over 99% of our grid usage is from the cheapest off-peak period.

Screenshot_20201117-150053_Tesla.jpg
Screenshot_20201117-150107_Tesla.jpg
 
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jacobp

Member
Aug 30, 2013
344
44
Potomac, Maryland, United States
Great question. I'm not sure if the OP has this situation, but I am a bit confused on how to set up the PWs where there is TOU controls. In my utility, I get charged 8 cents or so for peak, 5.2 cents for off peak, and 5.7 cents for shoulder. I've read some people suggest treating the shoulder time as off peak, instead of setting up the app to recognize all three different TOU settings. Your thoughts?
 

MorrisonHiker

S 100D 2021.4.18.2
Mar 8, 2015
9,837
9,209
Colorado
Great question. I'm not sure if the OP has this situation, but I am a bit confused on how to set up the PWs where there is TOU controls. In my utility, I get charged 8 cents or so for peak, 5.2 cents for off peak, and 5.7 cents for shoulder. I've read some people suggest treating the shoulder time as off peak, instead of setting up the app to recognize all three different TOU settings. Your thoughts?
It's really easy to set up the ToU schedule in the app, assuming there is only one peak period. We set the peak period to exactly match the actual period. This ensures Powerwalls well let the house and all possible production is expired to the grid. We set the part-peak/shoulder period to be longer than the actual period since we want to be self-powered as much as possible, export as much as possible and minimize our grid usage.
 

getakey

Active Member
Jan 28, 2020
1,321
429
95762
It's really easy to set up the ToU schedule in the app, assuming there is only one peak period. We set the peak period to exactly match the actual period. This ensures Powerwalls well let the house and all possible production is expired to the grid. We set the part-peak/shoulder period to be longer than the actual period since we want to be self-powered as much as possible, export as much as possible and minimize our grid usage.

We all have different priorotes. I do exactly opposite of you for Partial Peak. I eliminate Partial and make it all Off Peak. I don't want my PWs discharging during Partial. Would rather reserve for unexpected outage as the cost savings is minimal during that time. I'm ok pulling from the grid.
 

jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Nov 28, 2018
9,589
10,820
Riverside Co. CA
Great question. I'm not sure if the OP has this situation, but I am a bit confused on how to set up the PWs where there is TOU controls. In my utility, I get charged 8 cents or so for peak, 5.2 cents for off peak, and 5.7 cents for shoulder. I've read some people suggest treating the shoulder time as off peak, instead of setting up the app to recognize all three different TOU settings. Your thoughts?

I know this is off topic, but I cant help but look at your electricity rates and marvel at how "reasonable" they are. "very very cheap" electricity from a utlity in CA is like 12-15 cents, or, double+ of yours. "peak" out here is usually somewhere between high 30 cents, to low 50 cents.

Kinda why tesla cant even keep up with demand from just CA.
 

getakey

Active Member
Jan 28, 2020
1,321
429
95762
I know this is off topic, but I cant help but look at your electricity rates and marvel at how "reasonable" they are. "very very cheap" electricity from a utlity in CA is like 12-15 cents, or, double+ of yours. "peak" out here is usually somewhere between high 30 cents, to low 50 cents.

Kinda why tesla cant even keep up with demand from just CA.

Agree, how do you even ROI solar at those rates
 

AD3T

Member
Sep 30, 2020
16
10
Las Vegas, NV
I'm in Vegas & on "EV Rider" TOU net-metering (80%) plan. We're currently in the "Winter" rates, which means electricity is extremely cheap for me too, right now it ranges from $0.05 to $0.07 per kWh -- pretty darn cheap!!

During this time of year, I have the PWs set to "Self-Powered" with my goal basically being to try to avoid the [cheap] on-peak costs but, and more importantly to me, to also leave the PW at ~50-70% SoC for the vast majority of the time during the winter -- to reduce degradation & prolong their life, especially since risk of outage here (along with avg. duration of outage) is generally quite minimal.

I basically don't want to put extra strain & wear on the PWs by having them sitting at-or-near 100% SoC for any amount of time, if I can avoid it -- after solar production peaks for the day, I basically want them to discharge right away, if they've managed to get to >=95% or so.

In the "Summer", it's a totally different story however -- my electricity rates range from ~$0.06/kWh non-peak, all the way up to $0.46/kWh on-peak (June 1 thru Sept. 30, M-F, 1PM to 7PM)!!

I've got to do a bit more testing, but I'll most likely use the "Advanced" control during the summer with the goal being to fill my PWs early, then export as much as I can while it's still light out, and then let the PWs take over for the last few hours of the on-peak -- likely with a good bit lower "reserve" SoC set, but still hopefully keeping at around 30% if I'm able to do so.

What makes the most sense for you will vary based on rates, risk of power outages & likely duration, and risk-tolerance for power outages, etc. If you're in NorCal, for instance, then I'd expect that (especially during fire season), you'd probably be willing to pay a bit more/give up some of the immediate financial benefits in exchange for lowering your outage risk/keeping reserve higher.

This all will of course vary based on many factors though -- your motivations & risk tolerance, your rate plan & time of year, number of PWs & total storage capacity, production capacity, local weather consistency, etc...
 
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