First Stormwatch Experience

First Stormwatch Experience

Last week the Tesla mobile app displayed a notification that our PW array had switched into Stormwatch mode. First time I've seen this after about 6 months of operation.

Very cool to see this feature in action, but the heavy wind and thunderstorms had already started BEFORE Stormwatch was activated. Seems like the system should have activated in advance before the storm actually arrived as there were numerous lines of strong storms blowing through the area that evening.

Is this considered normal operation or should I report it to Powerwall support?

trixiew | June 24, 2020

I was curious how that feature would work. I would have assumed that if a powerful storm were predicted say 24 ours in advance the Gateway would fill the battery to 100% in anticipation of grid power loss.

Jones | June 24, 2020

My experience in NorCal (SF area) is activation for fires and planned outages. In each case of a rational advance notice, the StormWatch feature kicked in well in advance of the actual outage with sufficient time to bring both batteries to full charge and maintain them at 100%.

Patrick | June 25, 2020

Thanks for the info. Will report it to Tesla. | June 25, 2020

Interested in how Tesla responds. Also, how does Tesla determine when to enact Stormwatch? Does it use the Weather Channel. MyRadar, or something else.

rlwrw | June 25, 2020

I believe Tesla is still on a learning curve with this feature.
I've had a Storm Watch two times where weather never showed up, and once when it was raining hard and lightning, Storm Watch was never activated.

rlwrw | June 25, 2020

Additionally, when we were predicted to have high winds, and did, Storm Watch was activated.

trixiew | June 25, 2020

I’m going to guess that here in No Cal, the planned fire outage “storm watch” activation came via PGE, not Tesla. Wondering if the power companies have app access or a path to Tesla to give the info.

Patrick | June 26, 2020

Contacted Tesla support to report/discuss this topic.

They stated that a) there are multiple sources of input to their storm watch algorithms including the national weather service, and b) much like their EV software the PW system learns over time and adapts/adjusts to improve its performance accordingly, including Stormwarch functions. The rep documented my experience and suggestions for more advance activation during lines of strong thunderstorms that regularly move through the southeastern US.

I guess we’ll just watch and see what happens...

gregbrew | June 27, 2020

Now, if we can just get Tesla to grid charge my Powerwalls to 100% when there's an earthquake over magnitude 5.0 within 200 miles of my house. The odds of a major quake goes up dramatically in the 72 hours after a moderate one.

Call it "QuakeWatch". | June 28, 2020

@greg - Clever!

At least in the summer, I'm making more money selling to the grid than using electricity. About $150/month I didn't expect. I can be off the grid for months, as the solar fully charges the PowerWalls and I rarely discharge below 50% before they charge up again from solar. That includes charging my EV every day.

Now the winter will be a different story, as I'm sure there will be cloudy/rainy days with little solar production.

gregbrew | June 28, 2020

Be careful how much you depend on that dollar figure. SCE CARRIES excess production for the year (until true-up) as a dollar figure based on average *retail* electricity prices. I was looking at a $700 check in 2016 (before I moved in), according to the carried figure on my bills.

I got a check for $140 at true-up.

SCE actually PAYS for excess production at the average *wholesale* rate (which is roughly one-fifth of the retail rate).

rfactor | June 28, 2020

Storm Watch has predicted five of my only single legitimate storms. I had to turn it off manually to use the Power wall at least twice. It would be nice if only they changed the slider from OFF/ON and made it OFF/StormWatch/ON so Mr. Customer could make his own decisions. Great feature but....


trixiew | June 29, 2020

@Georgebrew-PGE does the same here in No Cal. Also, they will continue to hold it for another year if the amount owed to me is under a certain amount, don’t remember how much. I try and be happy knowing I’m generating clean energy for others.

Got my Powerwall installed about 2 weeks ago. Got up the other morning, all was well, then the internet went out. We have a local provider who has been having intermittent issues with his tower. Went out for a run, found out the power was out. Didn’t even occur to me because the house was normal.

Thank you Tesla.

rlwrw | June 29, 2020

I currently have Storm Watch activated because there is a forest fire on Mt. Charleston, and NV Energy has cut power to the mountain areas.
Even though I am in Las Vegas proper, Storm Watch is apparently activated for the entire area.

gregbrew | June 29, 2020

Yup. When the grid goes down, the Internet often goes out too. If the cell network goes out after a couple of hours as well (it's usually battery backed-up by the provider), you'll get no data from the Tesla servers, and have no info about your system's performance when you need it the most.

This is why it's critically important to know how to access your TEG directly through its built-in WAP. I highly recommend that everyone with Powerwalls figure out how to talk to the TEG directly *before* a grid emergency. Instructions for how to do it is on the Tesla site. You'll need some information that's on the inside door of the TEG in order to log in, and you need to be relatively close to the TEG to hit its radio as well.

Tesla-David | June 30, 2020

Storm Watch activated in January twice during windstorm in Edmonds, WA and worked well and as advertised ahead of the storm to charge up our two PW2's. Very pleased with how well it worked.