04 Sep 2017

Tesla Powerwall has helped Mrs Holst to bring her powerhouse back to its previous usage

Here, Mrs Holst talks to i-build about the restoration of her home, an old powerhouse dating back to the 1900s, and explains why she opted for a rechargeable lithium-ion battery to power her restoration.

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"My husband and I live in the old powerhouse; a country house dating back to the 1900s. We have a long history with the house having bought it more than 30 years ago and lovingly restored it. It used to be the turbine and battery house for the estate during the early 1900s, generating electricity using coal and gas supplied from Exmouth dock by day, storing it in batteries for use at night. It was revolutionary at the time.

“Now, I feel that the house and its power story has really come full circle. We had our solar panels installed last January by a local company called Callidus, but we couldn’t benefit from solar energy at night or when the sun went behind the clouds. At night, we were still drawing energy from the grid which seemed to be a waste as we had already sent power back into the grid in the day. There had to be a more efficient way to use the energy I make at home – in fact, the answer was 100 years ago on this very site – a battery. They have changed a little in the last century, of course.

“The building that was built to accommodate the batteries back then is long gone, as it was too far gone to renovate. But for twice the storage than a whole building of batteries supplied back then, Tesla’s Powerwall is mounted to an outside wall and measures around a metre high.

“The real appeal was to use the free energy we make at a time when we need it. Storing our solar energy in a Powerwall seemed the obvious way to go. In the eight weeks since installation, our home’s energy has totally changed. It’s summer and we are now running 96% of our energy from solar. I think I am addicted to the app. When I wake up, I have a look to see how much energy we used the previous night. It’s great to see the amount of power stored in real-time. I’ve been playing with it to see how fast the battery is draining – how much energy we are using basically – hoping to stop me using any appliances or lights unnecessarily. In this way, it’s helping me use less energy too so the obsession is a good thing!

“Although, to be honest, the monitoring is just a bit of fun as the main reason I like the Powerwall is that it all runs automatically. I don’t have to do anything. It’s managing it all; storing what I don’t need during the day so I can use the stored solar power day and night; no maintenance or work required at all. “I love the fact that we have restored the powerhouse to a modern symbol of what it used to be. Powerwall and solar allows us to generate our own electricity and recreate history, today.”

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