How do Amber for Batteries' control features work?


With Amber for Batteries, your battery will be automated using our SmartShift™ automation technology. However, you will also have the option to manually control your battery if you choose, using the Amber app. 

These manual controls can be run for an extended period of your choosing, or for a pre-selected time period e.g. 30 mins, 60 mins, 90 mins. 

Note to Tesla Powerwalls with Amber: Ensure your battery is in the ‘Self Powered’ operational mode in your Tesla app. If this mode is not selected, this can conflict with Amber’s ability to optimise your battery and your capacity to use manual battery controls in the Amber app.

Your manual control options include: 

Dispatch battery:

  • By opting to dispatch your battery, you are directing your battery to discharge energy. The goal of this is to export energy to the grid. Energy discharged from your battery will first be consumed by appliances in your home, with the remainder exported to the grid. Energy exported to the grid will be sold at the current market price

Example use case: You’ve seen a price spike in the app and you want to sell your power to make an extra buck. Hit dispatch and watch your earnings tick up! 

Charge battery: 

  • By opting to charge your battery, you can top up your battery’s reserve levels from the grid at times when you need some extra power. 

Example use case: You’re having some friends over for a Sunday lunch in the winter time. You want them to feel warm and cosy, so you decide to keep some extra power in your battery for use to keep the electric heater going when they arrive. 

Preserve battery: 

  • Hit Preserve Battery to ensure that your battery’s stored energy doesn’t dip below the current level for a certain period of time. Preserve Battery essentially cuts off your battery from your home and solar system, ensuring all excess solar gets sent to the grid, and you use grid energy for any home energy usage during that period. 

Example use case: Perhaps you’ve seen some bad weather on the horizon, and you’re nervous there could be a blackout, so you want to maintain your battery’s current level of charge. Alternatively, it’s early morning and you want to send your excess solar generation to the grid and get a higher FiT, rather than later when they may drop as the amount of solar in the grid rises. 

Another use case is for those with EVs, who can use Preserve Charge to avoid their EV draining their battery when it charges. Preserve Charge allows you to stop the energy in your battery getting transferred to their EV during charging, so you can instead choose to charge your EV from the grid when it’s green and cheap. 

Consume battery: 

  • Consume Battery stops SmartShift™ from charging your battery from the grid or discharging it to the grid. In other words, it makes your battery operate in self-consumption mode - its standard mode of operating. If your household energy consumption is greater than your solar generation, you’ll consume energy from the battery. If your solar generation is more than your energy consumption, your solar will get stored in your battery.

Example use case: Select Consume Battery if you don't want to charge from the grid, or discharge to the grid, but you still want to use your battery. 

Note: After you deploy any of these control features, your battery will revert back to its daily automation plan. However, the plan will now dynamically adjust to take into account the impact of your intervention, ensuring that the new state of your battery is taken into account as it looks for the best way to minimise your energy costs for the rest of the day. 

See a forecast of your impact right away

When using any of these controls, you will see a forecast of the impact that your intended action is likely to have - in terms of the cost or earnings. 

You’ll also have the power to cancel the action at any time after you hit go, and at the end, you can see a summary of the impact. 

And you’ve got the power to toggle Amber for Batteries automation on and off at will via your SmartShift settings. And at any time you can choose to simply sit back and let Amber for Batteries do its thing, driven by Amber’s SmartShift™ automation tech.

Note: Control actions need five mins to come into effect as the battery plan is updated. In the near future, control actions will be executed immediately. 

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  • How exactly do you control Tesla Powerwall batteries? May you please clarify it, including technical details?

    1. At no point in time you have asked me to login into my Tesla account - thus you don't have access to Tesla's API which can control my battery or my Tesla Gateway.
    2. When I hit "Dispatch Battery Energy" I have noticed that battery started to discharge but only at the rate of current home consumption - around 1kW while solar went to the grid. Battery itself is capable of 5kW discharge rate and thus I expected to dispatch all my solar + 5kW when "Dispatch Battery Energy" is used.
    3. When I tried "Dispatch Battery Energy" overnight (ie when solar was at zero) and home was battery powered at 0.7kW just nothing happened. It just continued to discharge at the same rate for duration of "Dispatch Battery Energy" and zero kW went to the gird.

    As Amber never took control of my battery I hardly see how you can run Amber for Batteries with Tesla Powerwall and it looks like that Tesla still controlling it. Something missing in my setup? Something should be done on Amber side?

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  • Hi Vladimir,

    On point 1: We have a special arrangement with Telsa, so we don't need your API key to talk to your battery.

    For points 2 and 3 - I'll contact you via email. There are a number of reasons why the Tesla battery would refuse a discharge command, but we need to look at those intervals specifically.

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  • Hi Myles,

    Thank you for your response.

    On point 1: then you should be able to correlate certain account with Tesla to figure out which battery you should control? But here the issue: our Tesla account in my wife's name (ie different name, different email) and as we live in new development Tesla refused to accept our address as non-existent and uses address of neighbouring property which does not match with actual address we use with Amber. So the issue is that NO information Amber has about us correlates with information Tesla has about us. As you don't ask for API key there just no way for you to identify which battery you should control. Thus even with a special arrangement (which is nice by any means) Amber would have hard time to control our battery.

    On other hand Amber app shows battery level (few percentage points off though) which indicates that Amber indeed speaks to a correct battery and also shows correct power flows which are available only from Tesla Gateway. It indicates that Amber indeed found our account with Tesla - just wondering how did you do it? Magic in a human form? :)

    It would be nice if you would unveil this part of the behind-the-scenes process for everyone to know.

    Points 2 and 3 concerning my specific situation and I agree that it should be done privately via email. Not much public benefit here.

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  • We ask for your Tesla Powerwall serial number when you sign up - we send it to Tesla and they send us back an id that we use to talk to the device.

    Regarding your two sites: we can take that to email too. I’ll email in the morning

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  • Hi Myles,

    Thank you for your response here and by email. Your suggestion did work and now my battery follows Amber commands.

    For everyones benefit I'd like to post here: Tesla battery refuses to be controlled by Amber if it is in Time-Based Control mode. It should be switched to Self-Powered for Amber for Batteries to work.

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  • How long does this process take?

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  • We have a planned outage tomorrow from 8AM - 5PM, we don't have a timer to charge the battery from 12AM - 6AM. It would be nice if we had this feature.

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