Just under three years ago, Elon Musk announced Tesla's Powerwall: a battery that can absorb energy from solar panels or the built-in grid, and is capable of storing 10 kWh of electricity (According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, that's about one-third of what the average American household consumes daily). The only real issue with the Tesla Powerwall is the price tag, which starts at about $3,000.
Due to the price, some DIY enthusiasts decided to investigate other ways to accomplish the task at a reduced cost. They have been utilizing recycled batteries to create a "Powerwall" of their own, at a way cheaper expense. Some of these creative hobbyists have built even more capable solutions than Teslas. One member even claimed his creation can store as much as 28kWh, which is nearly three times the Tesla Powerwall. And for statistic's sake, that would amount to powering an entire average American household for one day.
Motherboard says they talked to a YouTube who built a battery with a 100 kWh capacity:
I also spoke to Daniel Römer, another YouTuber, who built one of the biggest DIY powerwalls I could find. His battery has over 22,500 cells, which he says can store more than 100 kWh—10 times as much energy as Tesla's original Powerwall. The Swedish maker also uses it to harness energy from solar panels: "My system is built to be able to run my whole house 10 out of 12 months," he told me in an email.
You can check out his 100+ kWh battery here:
How do they find the batteries?
Most of these DIY projects rely on recycled batteries and target laptop manufacturers (products by Dell, HP, Lenovo, and more). It's very common for people to dispose of old laptop batteries by throwing them away, even though there are tutorials online showing how to put them to good use. According to the CEO of Call2Recycle approximately "95 percent of consumer batteries sold in the US are not recycled and are ultimately thrown away".
Hobbyists will drive hundreds of miles and spend hours trying to locate old recyclable batteries to work with their projects.
How does it work?
Building a powerwall requires a ton of batteries (depending on how large you want the capacity to be). After finding a battery, it needs to be tested to ensure it's both safe, and also to determine how much capacity the battery has and that it's functional. Once you have enough batteries, it's time to arrange them into packs and mount them to wherever you want the powerwall to be (many users advise you install outside of the home, to avoid any potential fire hazards).
What do you think? Pretty awesome right? Let us know in the comments below!