In the wake of increasingly intense weather and the power grid going offline for days in some areas, traditional backup systems powered by fossil fuels have become increasingly unreliable. Solar Panels can be the answer! Disaster preparedness has never been more practical or affordable with residential solar power and battery storage.
For homeowners, battery backups can charge from rooftop solar panels and promise independence from the grid in the event of a natural disaster. Batteries provide a reliable, rechargeable, instantaneous source of electricity to keep essential devices and appliances running until the grid comes back online. For utilities, such installations promise a more stable and lower-carbon electrical grid in the near future. So why would you consider it?
Who Should Consider Solar + Battery Backup Combos?
The best backup power systems are customized to the needs of each household or business. With so many variables involved (including your specific energy needs and budget), we can’t make general recommendations about batteries, storage capacity, or solar production capacity. However, we can help you find solar solutions that fit your home or business needs.
Our goal is to help you find answers to three specific questions:
What should you ask yourself about installing a solar battery backup in your home?
What should you ask potential installers when you meet with them?
How does a Battery Backup benefit your home and the power grid as a whole?
As a consumer, it’s not easy to navigate all the issues at stake. So we put together this guide to help you understand how solar battery storage works and how it might fit into your life.
What does it mean to have a Battery Backup with your system?
Lithium-ion batteries are making all kinds of electrical products cleaner and more sustainable. They’re so versatile that they’ll play a role in any energy-related application—from powering an electric car via solar panels on your garage roof to storing extra electricity from your rooftop solar system, feeding it into your home during peak times when it’s worth less, but you still need it or tapping into that power during grid outages.
Most solar panel systems today are designed to meet the needs of the home they are installed on. A typical system depends on panels on the roof facing south-southeast. As long as your roof faces in roughly this direction (given the correct tilt), you’ll start generating power. Getting a few bids from different companies will give you an idea of how the various manufacturers compare in terms of price, efficiency, and customer service. Still, in most cases, that comparison should be pretty reliable. Seven manufacturers account for most installations across the country: Enphase, Tesla, LG, Panasonic, SunPower, NeoVolta, and Generac. As you continue in your research, you’ll likely hear these names brought up.
Solar panels, including solar batteries, are essential for most solar power systems. How do they work? In the simplest terms: They capture sunlight during the day and store it in the battery as chemical energy. Then, this stored energy is released at night or during a power outage to power your appliances and fixtures.
No one-size-fits-all. Solar batteries have many differences, from their chemistry to their amperage capacity. Well, that’s good news for you because every home has an electricity storage solution. And if you have questions about which battery is right for you, our solar specialists are here to help!
Solar panels convert sunlight directly into electricity. This unit is typically mounted on a rooftop and connected to the existing utility grid system. The amount of power a battery can store, measured in kilowatt-hours, will be a critical factor in your calculations. If your area rarely experiences extended blackouts, a smaller and less expensive battery may suit your needs. A larger battery may be required if your area’s blackouts last a long time. And if you have critical equipment in your home that absolutely cannot be allowed to lose power, your needs may be higher. These are all things to think about — and solar professionals should listen to your needs and ask questions that help refine your thinking and design.
To get an accurate estimate of how much solar power you need, consider that battery storage is essential. Most home batteries can be charged during the daytime and then used to run your appliances at night or store excess power for use when needed. In the areas where solar power makes the most economic sense, that is, locations where sunshine is plentiful and hot summer days are standard, a household can generally rely on sunshine to provide some portion of its annual electricity needs. This means that to make a meaningful contribution toward reducing carbon emissions over the long term, it’s essential for solar power battery systems to be relatively large enough to store energy when it’s abundant and release it when it isn’t. This is especially important as more and more power companies move towards a peak pricing model for their power.
Peak pricing is a form of congestion pricing where customers pay an additional fee during periods of high demand. Peak pricing is most frequently implemented by utility companies, which charge higher rates during times of the year when demand is the highest.
You can mostly avoid peak pricing by storing the energy your solar system produces during the day in a solar battery system. This allows you to build up a stockpile of energy so that when peak pricing takes place, you can use the energy you gathered while it was less expensive to negate most or all the peak pricing costs.