Pika Energy VS Tesla Powerwall 2
Updated: Dec 4, 2019
Today I’ll be comparing the Pika Energy Harbor Smart Battery system to the Tesla Powerwall 2. Last time we compared a battery storage system to the Tesla Powerwall 2 we received a ton of feedback, and we’ve taken that into account in this video. So lets dive in…
To start, I want talk in-depth about who Pika Energy is, how their system works, what they offer, and of course their warranty. I’ll compare it to Tesla’s Powerwall 2 at the end with a breakdown.
Pika Energy is a Maine-based manufacturer of clean energy products, that includes solar inverters and power optimizers. Most recently, the company has partnered with Panasonic to combine their power electronics with Panasonic lithium-ion battery technology. The result is the Harbor Smart Battery, a solar-ready battery that pairs Panasonics lithium-ion batteries with a Pika Energy Island inverter for on-grid and off-grid home energy storage.
The Harbor Smart Battery system pairs with a solar system to store energy at home, manage your energy costs, and provide backup power during a grid outage. It can be installed as part of a new solar system, or added to an existing solar system that uses a Pika Island inverter.
Their Harbor battery offers 10.6 to 15.9 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy storage for your home. The inverter that is used in the system can manage up to 60 kWh of storage, so you can install multiple batteries to increase your home storage capacity.
The Harbor Smart Battery is a smart choice to pair with a solar system, especially if you want backup power for your home, your utility has reduced or offers no net metering, time-of-use rates, or has significant demand charges. Having a solar storage solution installed like the Harbor battery allows you to maintain a sustained clean power supply during the day and night.
As with other energy storage products, the Harbor battery is sized for day-to-day use at your home, and is usually installed alongside a solar system. When your solar panels produce more electricity than you can use in your home, the excess is stored in the battery packs instead of being sent back into the electrical grid. Later, when your panels aren’t producing enough electricity, you can use the electricity stored in your Pike Energy home battery instead of having to buy it from your utility supplier.
Normally, this process happen over the course of a day: when the sun is high in the sky and your solar panels are producing more electricity than you can use, the surplus energy is stored in your Harbor Smart Battery. As the sun goes down and your solar panel production decreases, you draw on the electricity that you stored during the sunniest part of the day.
Pike Energy’s Harbor Smart Battery is much different that other home batteries. Pike Energy’s flagship product is the Pika Island inverter, which is designed to seamlessly integrate solar modules and energy storage. The product was envisioned to create a more flexible inverter solution, and is ideal for both on-site consumption of stored solar energy and grid services like demand response.
Pika’s battery solution was designed with two major markets in mind. The first is locations with time-of-use (TOU) electricity rates, such as California, where electricity cost more during the hours of the day when demand is highest. The second is “zero export” markets, such as Hawaii, where solar system owners can’t export their excess solar energy to the grid. The battery has built-in operating modes that are designed to optimize energy use for each of these scenarios.
An important thing to note about Pika Energy and the Harbor Smart Battery system is the warranty.
The pika Energy Harbor Smart Battery comes with a 10-year warranty. If the battery packs malfunction during that time, the product is eligible for replacement under Panasonic’s battery warranty.
The Pika Island inverter also comes with a 10-year warranty, which is extendable to 20-years. Additionally, if you install a full Pika Energy solar plus storage system with their PV Like solar optimizers they are covered by a 25-year warranty.
Panasonic’s lithium-ion battery technology is similar to other rechargeable batteries both large and small: as time goes on, the battery losses some of its ability to hold a charge. It’s best to think of how the battery life of a brand-new smartphone compares to one that is a few years old. As you continually charge and drain your phone’s battery, it starts to lose some of its ability to hold a charge.
The life of your Pika Energy Harbor Smart Battery will deteriorate in the same way. That isn’t an indicator of a product flaw - all batteries lose some of their ability to hold a charge over time, whether it’s an electric vehicle battery, a home energy battery, or a rechargeable AA battery.
Unlike some home battery manufacturers, Panasonic doesn’t yet offer a warranty for battery capacity over time in the United States. For example, LG states that its RESU battery will retain at least 60 percent of its storage capacity at the 10-year mark. That being said, Panasonic does warranty the total output of the Harbor Smart Battery at 45.36 mega-watt hours (MWh), which is according to Panasonic and Pika Energy, is a better measurement for battery warranties.
Now, one important question that was asked countless times when we compared the sonnenBatterie to the Tesla Powerwall was how much does it cost? And to be fair, it varies.
The installed cost for the Pika Energy Harbor Smart Battery depends on the specifics of your home, as well as location, tacts, and available incentives. Installed costs typically range from $12,000 to $18,000, which is in line with the Tesla Powerwall. However, it is important to recognize that every home energy storage system is different. The best way to get a sense of what storage will cost for you is to talk with one of our solar plus storage specialists.
Unlike many other options on the market, such as the Tesla Powerwall 2, the Harbor system doesn’t require additional hardware to be installed. According to Pika Energy, everything is integrated and designed. To return the best performance outcome in terms of usable energy capacity, efficiency, and instantaneous power. They’ve taken what I like to a call an Apple approach, by controlling the hardware and software.
If you want to install the Harbor battery as power of a solar plus storage system, battery costs are just one part of the equation. An average 5 kilowatt (kW) solar system installed costs around $15,000 depending on the type of equipment you choose.
Solar battery economics depend on a few different factors. Whether or not Pika Energy’s solution makes sense for you is determined by the way that your electric utility structures its rates, the size of your solar system, how much you value backup power, and your reasons for installing a solar battery. All of which we help you understand if you’re consider a solar plus storage system.
Lastly, I want to compare the Pike Energy Harbor Smart Battery system to a Tesla Powerwall 2. I’ve created 10 points for comparison to allow for easy understanding of the advantages and disadvantages between the two products, I also included information on the sonnenBatterie, just to mix things up.
Harbor Smart Battery: 10-years / 45.36 MWh
sonnenBatterie: 10-years / 10,000 cycles
Powerwall 2: 10-years / “unlimited cycles”
Usable Capacity for 1 Battery:
Harbor Smart Battery: 10.6 kWh or 15.9 kWh
sonnenBatterie: 4 kWh to 16 kWh
Powerwall 2: 14 kWh
Harbor Smart Battery: Yes, (Backup, Self-Consumption)
sonnenBatterie: Yes, (Backup, Self-Consumption)
Powerwall 2: Yes, (Backup, Self-Consumption)
Maximum Continuous Power:
Harbor Smart Battery: 6.7 kW
sonnenBatterie: 4kW or 8kW
Powerwall 2: 5 kW
Harbor Smart Battery: Lithium-Ion
sonnenBatterie: Lithium-Ion Phosphate (LiFePO4)
Powerwall 2: Lithium-Ion
Harbor Smart Battery: Yes, Island Inverter
sonnenBatterie: Yes, Outback Inverter
Powerwall 2: No, SolarEdge or SMA America
Harbor Smart Battery: Today
Powerwall 2: Backordered, (3 months to a year)
Cost with Battery and Installation:
Harbor Smart Battery: $12,000 to $18,000
sonnenBatterie: $12,000 to $28,000
Powerwall 2: ≈ $12,000 to $14,000
Federal Tax Credit Eligibility:
Harbor Smart Battery: Yes, 30%
sonnenBatterie: Yes, 30%
Powerwall 2: Yes, 30%
California SGIP Rebate Eligibility:
Harbor Smart Battery: Yes, ≈ $7,950
sonnenBatterie: Yes, ≈ $8,000
Powerwall 2: Unknown
Well those are the 10 points worth comparing, and in my personal and professional opinion the sonnenBatterie and the Pika Energy Harbor Smart Battery have some big advantages over the Tesla Powerwall 2.
Yes, the Tesla Powerwall 2 is the cheapest out of the three, but but that doesn’t necessarily make it the best option. There’s a large misconception that the Powerwall 2 uses the same battery technology as its cars, but that’s just not the case. I wish I could elaborate more, but it’s hard to get a straight answer from Tesla, let alone get my hands on specifications about the Powerwall 2.
Depending on your budget and what you’re looking to achieve with a solar plus storage system, I feel the sonnenBatterie or the Pika Energy Harbor Smart Battery will meet or exceed your expectations.
That’s it for this week’s video, thanks for watching, and learning about the advantages of Pika Energy over the Tesla Powerwall 2.