DIY Powerwall Hobbyists Are Building Their Own Home Battery Systems

A growing cadre of do-it-yourself enthusiasts is turning its attention to residential energy storage.

For these aficionados, Tesla’s $3,000 Powerwall fails to impress. Instead, they’re building their own DIY versions — for a fraction of the cost.

Jehu Garcia, Peter Matthews and Daniel Römer are leaders in a movement that uses social media to show how you can build home battery packs from laptop batteries.

Garcia, whose YouTube channel has almost 113,000 subscribers, is working on an industrial-scale DIY battery system with 1 megawatt-hour of storage capacity. His video announcementof the project has been viewed more than 91,000 times.

Garcia first shared how to build a homemade version of Tesla’s Powerwall in 2016. Although he never completed the project, he inspired other YouTubers to follow suit.

One was Australian Peter Matthews, who runs a forum called DIY Powerwalls. In August, he showed off a 40-kilowatt-hour homemade battery storage system, assembled from 4,480 18650-sized lithium-ion cells, to the 23,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel.

Elsewhere on the internet, Daniel Römer, who runs a website called DIY Tech & Repairs that has more than 5,000 YouTube followers, offers lessons on how to arrange the 18650 model cells into packs that can be used for home storage.

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Until Garcia makes good on his plans for a 1 megawatt-hour battery system, Römer appears to hold the honor of having created the world’s largest self-made energy storage system, with more than 100 kilowatt-hours of capacity.

Other YouTube battery guides include Mike’s DIY Tesla Powerwall, where viewers get to see the savings from an amateur solar-plus-storage setup, and AveRage Joe, run by Joe Williams, which showcases attempts to get a 10-kilowatt system to run for 24 hours.

YouTube is just one of several channels where battery-building aficionados congregate. A DIY Powerwalls Facebook page, also run by Matthews, counts more than 7,100 members.

The cost of building your own version of the Powerwall naturally depends on a range of variables, from the parts used to the storage capacity. In a video posted in 2015 and viewed more than a million times, Garcia claimed he could build a DIY Powerwall for $300.

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