John & Laurie

“For us, everything started when we put solar in. That was in the spring of 2010. Our neighbors were considering solar, which I had never given any thought to before, so I started investigating it.

Ever since putting the solar panels on the house, we have become super green. Not only do I have solar and battery, I now have a huge vegetable garden and a 5,000 gallon rainwater cistern that I use to water the garden. I’ve become totally green, and it happened after solar - that’s what sparked it. Once I put the solar up, I became a nut about it! I’ve become such an advocate for it. Especially here, in Arizona, where we have all these sunny days. I’m constantly shaking my head, thinking ‘what are we doing, here in this land of sunshine, not taking greater advantage of it?’” 

After nearly a decade of living with solar and continuing to add sustainability and self-sufficiency measures to their home, John and Laurie started exploring battery power:

“My motivation to look into battery wasn’t the economics. I also wasn’t worried about someone hitting a telephone pole and losing power for two hours, but I started thinking about the potential insecurity of our power grid. There’s a tremendous amount of software moving power around in our grids. I imagine it wouldn’t take too much to interfere with one of these systems. That made me a little concerned about the possibility that we could lose power for not just 5 or 6 hours, but for days or weeks.

John loves keeping an eye on his usage with the Tesla app’s built in data monitoring. (Stats shown in image are sampled for demo purpose, not actual.)

John loves keeping an eye on his usage with the Tesla app’s built in data monitoring. (Stats shown in image are sampled for demo purpose, not actual.)

This may be a system that I will never use for that purpose. I may never use my Powerwalls for anything more than the occasional transformer blowout. I may never experience the grid going down for a few weeks; but for me, the peace of mind is worth it.

Yes, batteries might cost you a little bit, but you’re going to have that peace of mind. Yes, you’ve got solar - but if the grid goes down, this is what will keep you running. This is what keeps your ice cream from melting in the freezer.”

TFS installed John and Laurie’s Tesla Powerwalls as an add-on to their existing solar energy system. As an early adopter of a new technology, John was pleasantly surprised by not only the capabilities of the new system, but how seamlessly it functions:

“When we got the Powerwalls hooked up, we wanted to see what the max out load was. We were able to put the entire house on the Powerwalls, except for our old AC in the older wing of the house. Everything else: the dryer, the oven, the pressure cooker making beans. It all runs without maxing out.


My wine chiller is pretty sensitive. When we tested the Powerwalls and shut everything off, there wasn’t even a blink. The clocks don’t even flicker. Boom: it’s instantaneous. You don’t even know you’ve switched over to the Powerwalls without checking the app and seeing ‘oh, I’m using my Powerwalls!

I love to watch my power. I’m constantly watching the Tesla app. I’m a CPA, I’m a numbers guy, so I get a kick out of the data monitoring. 

Tesla is still adding new features. They just added an annual view, so now I can open the app and say ‘oh, ok, that was my usage for yesterday, but now I have this new ability to weigh that against the entire week, month, and full year.’ The first thing I said when I got the app was ‘why isn’t there an annual view?’ And now, there it is!

It’s made me very cognizant of what we are using. I’m not necessarily worried about the financial impact of doing so, but this makes managing my energy usage like a game. It’s fun.”

John's Takeaway:

“I get a great return on investment with the solar panels, and I will install more in a heartbeat when this system is done with. The Powerwall doesn’t necessarily give me that financial return on investment, but it does give me a peace of mind that, to me, is worth just as much. That was my motivator with the Powerwall.”"