There are three main modes you can set your Powerwall to. If you want to save money on your utility bill, you should choose self-powered or advanced (time-based control). If you only want to use the Powerwall to back up your critical circuits, you should choose backup-only. If you want a mix of cost-savings and backup functionality, you can do that by choosing self-powered or advanced mode and setting a reserve for outages. Once you've chosen an option below, click the corresponding link (i.e. Backup-only, Self-Powered, or Advanced (Time-Based Control) for step-by-step instructions on how to set it up).
Backup-Only: Choose this mode if you want maximum protection from outages and you’re not concerned about cost savings. Backup power mode, called Backup-Only in the Tesla app, reserves 100% of your Powerwall energy to provide seamless power to your home in the event of an outage. Powerwall will charge from the grid (if you do not have solar) or from your solar system and only discharge during a grid outage.
Self-Powered: Choose this mode if you want to minimize your carbon footprint OR if you want lower your energy bill and you are NOT on a TOU rate. Only available when paired with solar. Self-Powered mode stores any solar energy not used during the day to power your home at night. Powerwall will charge when excess solar power is produced. This stored energy will then be used when your home needs more power than solar can provide.
Advanced (Time-Based Control): Choose this mode if you want to lower your energy bill and your energy price varies throughout the day (i.e. you are on a TOU rate). If your electricity prices vary during the day, you are likely on a time-of-use plan. Time-of-use plans are utility rate structures where electricity prices vary depending on time of day, the day of the week, and the season.
Time-Based Control (also referred to as Load Shifting) will help you to maximize savings by smartly charging and discharging. Powerwall continuously runs an energy forecast, learning the patterns of your energy use and seasonal solar production.
This energy forecast allows your Powerwall to optimize your energy usage. If the forecast shows that you are likely to use energy at a high-cost time, Powerwall prioritizes charging during low-cost times and discharging during high-cost periods. This smart forecast is why Time-Based Control does not show within the first 24 hours after you download the Tesla app. Time is needed to learn about your energy usage.
This is the option most customers choose to maximize savings on their utility bill. If you do not know which hours are peak or off-peak, contact your utility company (SCE, PG&E, SDG&E, etc.). Some utility companies have multiple rate plans, and their peak/off-peak hours may vary from customer to customer, so it is best to contact them if you are unsure.