Case Study:

The Smith’s Solar Energy System and Tesla Powerwall


Shelbyville, TN

Solar Size


Equipment Installed

Solaria solar panels & Tesla Powerwalls

Storage Capability

40.5kWh - backs up one 200amp service panel

“We are so appreciative of this system. It carried us comfortably through the recent grid outages.” – Kathy & Richard Smith

Protection from Power Grid Outages

In February of 2021, Kathy and Richard Smith were prepared when the power grid went down at their home in Shelbyville, Tennessee. In advance of the predicted icy weather, they stocked up on food, firewood, and adjusted the settings on their new 15kW solar energy + Tesla Powerwall system. The solar energy storage system carried the Smith’s comfortably through the grid outage for 50 hours, as shown on their Tesla app.

“We are so appreciative of this system,” Kathy said. “Nearly 24 hours after the storm hit, our battery level was still at 93%,” she reported. “We ran our refrigerator, freezer, lights, wood stove, ceiling fans, internet, and even a little TV,” she said.

LightWave had just commissioned their system in January, so this was the first time the Smiths experienced a prolonged grid outage with solar energy + storage as backup power. Since then, their backup energy system has made getting through other severe weather events much easier.

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Tesla Powerwall Storm Features

The Smith’s Tesla Powerwall has several features that make it the perfect system for reliable backup power. The Powerwall’s Backup Only mode reserves 100% of its energy to use during a grid outage, making the Smith’s power last even longer when they need it the most. In addition, the Tesla Powerwall has Storm Watch mode, which allows communication with the National Weather Service to help detect weather that’s likely to disrupt the grid. If a severe storm is predicted, the batteries automatically charge up from the grid. With both of these unique features, the Smiths are covered in case of a bad storm.

The Smith’s Solar Energy System

The Smith’s solar energy system covers most of their day-to-day electricity usage, and their batteries store any excess solar power. During grid outages, they’re able to monitor their electricity use and ensure their batteries maintain a sufficient charge. Even on normal days, the Smiths enjoy checking the app to see how their system is functioning and how much power they’re using. As a result, their energy habits have changed for the better.

“Before having this system, I would remind Richard to turn off lights,” Kathy said. “Now that he can see exactly how much energy we’re using and where it comes from, he’s much more mindful about it,” she stated.

The Smiths love the fact that their solar energy system is helping reduce their impact on the environment.

“My grandparents made a living with coal, but thankfully, we don’t have to rely on it anymore,” Kathy said. “The idea of switching to solar power became even more important for us when we had grandchildren. They put a different spin on the future, and we wanted to reduce our footprint,” she added.

The Smiths have been so pleased with their solar energy + Tesla Powerwall system, that LightWave installed another solar powered system at their business, Select Trailers, in Shelbyville.

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Interested in a solar-powered home? The LightWave Solar team would love to help supply your home with cleaner electricity and protect you from power outages. Book a solar project consultation today and read more of our case studies to see what we can do for you!

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