If you’ve done the basic research on solar energy and solar installation, you’ve probably seen the pros and cons of solar battery storage mentioned a time or two. You may even already know that battery storage combined with a solar photovoltaic (PV) system has the ability to power a home completely independently from the power grid. But how do you know if it’s right for your home?
A lot of homeowners throughout San Antonio and Austin, TX, as well as Colorado Springs, Aurora, Denver, and Pueblo, CO come to CAM Solar asking if they should install battery storage along with their residential solar systems, so we wanted to go through the advantages and disadvantages of solar energy backup systems so you can determine if your home is a good candidate for battery storage.
AN OVERVIEW OF SOLAR BATTERY STORAGE
Let’s make sure we’ve got the basics down when it comes to battery storage — when you have a trusted solar contractor install solar panels on your roof or property, those panels are connected to an inverter which prepares the raw solar electricity for use in your home. That electricity is either immediately used to power the lights, appliances and devices of your home, or it is sent back to the grid for use in other homes (in exchange for a credit on your electricity bill). Because this system is still tied to the grid, if there is an unexpected outage like a storm or a downed powerline, it will still affect the electricity in your home.
With a battery storage system in place (also known as solar-plus-storage), that excess energy that comes from your inverter is saved for later use overnight, when your solar PV system is not generating electricity. If you have enough panels installed to meet your energy needs, your home can be completely removed from the grid and any unexpected outages.
BATTERY STORAGE BENEFITS
The two biggest benefits of having a off grid solar battery system installed are:
INDEPENDENCE FROM THE GRID
A home with a whole house solar battery backup system will decrease or completely eliminate the need for grid-supplied electricity, which means your home can be better protected or completely isolated from the problems that can arise from grid supplied electricity. When the power goes out in your areas because of a storm, a cold snap, or an accident down the road, your home will be able to keep the lights on and power all of your devices, as usual!
NO MORE ELECTRICITY BILLS
If you’re completely off-grid, you don’t owe the electricity company a bill each month. Even if you are still grid-tied but have solar and a solar battery system, you could offset all your electricity costs. This isolates you from the rises and falls of energy prices, securing your energy costs for decades or more. Plus, you can guarantee that all of the electricity used in your home is coming from a clean, renewable energy source. Imagine the carbon footprint reduction!
THE DISADVANTAGE OF SOLAR BATTERY STORAGE
In order for a solar-plus-storage system to be viable for total energy independence, you will have to have enough year round sunlight on your property to keep the “juice” flowing day and night, as well as ample space on your roof or the grounds of your property to mount the necessary solar panels. Depending on your essential loads and average energy demands, you may need more than one solar battery if you want complete independence. This can come at a much larger sticker price than a more traditional solar PV system, and often scares away homeowners simply wondering how much battery backup for solar panels cost, without doing the extra research on the financial benefits.
SO, SHOULD YOU BUY A SOLAR BATTERY SYSTEM?
Before you pull the trigger on battery storage, we recommend you answer a few questions first:
How many power outages do you experience per year?
Do you have enough unobstructed sunlight on your roof or property?
Will your energy savings over the life of your system offset installation costs?
At CAM Solar, we know that some of these questions are hard to answer without an expert there to help you. We can help you qualify for any available rebates and incentives for your solar installation, show you our previous work in our solar portfolio, and crunch the numbers with you to determine if your home is a good candidate for battery storage.