Home Solar: The Benefits Of A Solar Battery System
Power outages are becoming an increasingly common occurrence in modern American society. Millions of homeowners lose power each year, with a 64% rise in power outages since the early 2000s. That’s where a home solar system with solar battery backup comes into play.
Solar offers a variety of benefits to residential homeowners. For the millions of homeowners that have already gone solar, the benefits are obvious. You can save money on your electricity bills, reduce your reliance on the grid, and achieve energy security when pairing solar with batteries.
However, finding the right energy solution for your home can be a daunting task. What panel is best? What inverter makes the most sense? Do I go for AC or DC batteries? Warranties? Battery location?
EnergyPal helps homeowners cut through the noise and figure it out.
With a solar battery, the transition from grid to battery backup power is seamless and reassuring. There is nothing quite like the feeling of being the only house on the block with the lights on after the grid goes down—although the more altruistic among us would prefer that all our neighbors had the same luxury.
There are three main reasons homeowners get a solar battery system:
. Peace of mind by having backup power
. Additional savings through energy rate arbitrage
. Additional incentives from battery-specific funding programs
Let’s dive into each.
Peace of Mind
Unexpected power outages can range from a mild nuisance to an absolute disaster for a homeowner. Recently, we saw how unprepared homes in Texas were when there were cold snaps and widespread outages. Homes without backup solar or solar battery power fell into disarray with pipes freezing and millions of dollars of damages.
For homeowners in California who regularly face power shut-offs due to wind conditions posing a fire risk to the state, there is a frequent frustration with spoiled food and interrupted workdays.
Having a reliable backup option could make a huge difference to a homeowner. As home solar systems are really just about producing cheaper electricity, the conversation is much more analytical and economic in nature. The decision to get a battery is more emotional. Who can put a price on the peace of mind of having 24/7 reliable power for a home?
Time of Use Rate Arbitrage
Many utility companies, especially on the West Coast, offer time-of-use rate plans. These rate plans charge people more during “peak” times and less during “off-peak times”. A homeowner with a home solar battery system would be able to charge up their batteries during low-rate times and discharge their batteries’ power into their homes during peak times. This process can be controlled through software automatically and enables the homeowner to reduce their grid energy usage at peak times.
As a rule of thumb, the bigger the difference in off-peak and on-peak rates, the larger the arbitrage opportunity. There are considerations to be made as the process of storing power in the battery and discharging power from the battery results in some losses. Increased savings from a battery really only works when there is a decent difference between the on-peak and off-peak rates. This can make sense for homeowners who purchase energy from Southern California Edison and enroll in their TOU-D-PRIME rate plan, which has a 24¢/kWh off-peak rate and a 62¢/kWh on-peak rate – a significant range!
Homeowners aren’t the only group who benefit from having a battery connected to their solar system, as utilities can also benefit. As home solar systems become more popular, an issue known as the “Duck Curve” arises. The Duck Curve refers to the shape of the graph depicting the difference between the demand for electricity and the available solar power on a typical sunny day. The name “duck curve” comes from the resemblance of the curve to a duck’s profile.
The duck curve highlights the challenge of integrating solar power into the grid, as it shows that the power grid must be able to quickly respond to the fluctuations in solar energy production. When solar power is at its peak, the grid must be able to quickly absorb the excess energy, and when the sun sets, the grid must be able to quickly ramp up energy production from other sources to meet demand.
To address this challenge, there are various solutions such as battery storage, demand response programs, and more flexible grid management strategies. These solutions can help to smooth out the fluctuations in solar power production and help to integrate solar power more effectively into the grid.
As a homeowner, having a solar panel and battery system can provide peace of mind during unexpected power outages, reduce your reliance on the grid, and potentially save you money on your energy bills. It’s important to consider the various factors that go into selecting the right system for your home, including panel type, inverter, battery type and location, and warranties.
Understanding Your Home Solar Battery System
For safety reasons, solar panels alone cannot function during a power outage in the absence of a storage location for excess energy. Pairing solar panels with a battery allows you to recharge with sunlight and keep your appliances running even when the grid goes down. Batteries are designed to integrate with solar panels and can store energy generated during the day for use at night or during unexpected outages and grid shut-offs.
It is important to note that most battery systems do not back up the entirety of a home’s electrical needs. Specific high-power items such as clothes dryers, ovens, or air conditioning are often excluded. The home battery system is intended to cover critical loads, such as lights, refrigerators, and devices like computers and phones.
Homeowners often ask, “How long will I run on battery power?” or “How long will the battery last?”
The answer is, “The battery system could run your house indefinitely as long as you do not try to run too many things simultaneously!”
Overall, solar systems offer an excellent solution for homeowners who want to save money on their electricity bills, reduce their reliance on the grid, and achieve energy security by pairing solar with batteries.
While finding the right energy solution for your home can be overwhelming, EnergyPal helps homeowners navigate the process and make informed decisions. With a solar battery system, homeowners can experience peace of mind, additional savings, and take advantage of incentives from battery-specific funding programs.