DO I NEED A SOLAR BATTERY?
Solar panels used to be expensive and unattainable- something you only saw in fancy neighborhoods. But in the last 10 years, thanks to advances in solar technology, the cost of solar has fallen by more than half. There has never been a better time to install solar. If you’re one of the millions of homeowners thinking about going solar, you’re probably considering getting a solar battery too, but you may be wondering, “What are the advantages of adding a battery to my solar system?”
HOW SOLAR BATTERIES WORK
To answer this accurately, let’s start by looking at the way solar batteries work. During the day your solar panels produce energy and send it to your main electrical panel, powering your home. If you have any excess energy, it is sent to your battery to be stored. Once your battery is fully charged, any excess energy produced will flow out to your utility company’s power grid (with net metering your power company will give you credit for all energy that flows back onto the grid). After the sun goes down and your solar panels stop producing power, you draw from the stored energy in your battery to power your house. Then, only after you’ve used all the energy from your battery, you draw power from the grid, greatly reducing the amount of power you’re using from your utility company. (Learn more about net metering here.)
The number one reason to purchase a solar system with a battery is if you live in an area in which power outages are common, or in which the utility company practices scheduled blackouts. During times of high energy demand, some regions in California have been practicing rolling blackouts for many years. Unfortunately, planned blackouts may now become much more frequent in California, as regulators have approved the use of intentional power outages by PG&E during times of high fire risk (high winds and hot temperatures). This could mean widespread power outages for whole towns during the hottest part of summer. If you have a battery back-up for your solar panels, then if the grid goes down, your lights won’t even flicker and you can use the energy stored in your battery to power your home until the grid comes back.
CONTROL YOUR COSTS
Electricity rates through PG&E fluctuates throughout the day, but with a battery you’re in control of how much you pay. Our battery technology provides power during peak demand times so that you don’t need to rely on grid electricity when rates are highest. Your battery can charge up during the day while solar energy is plentiful. When solar energy availability winds down, the battery backup can then power your home, or sell electricity back to the grid at higher prices.
Similar to having your own personal stock broker buying low and selling high, you can think of your battery as your personal energy broker. You will be drawing power from the grid when it’s cheapest, and selling back to the grid when the cost of power is the highest. A battery allows you to get maximum credit for the power your solar panels produce regardless of any price changes by your utility company, protecting you against fluctuations in electricity prices, time-of-use rates, and future price hikes. With your battery working seamlessly in the background, you can pull energy when rates are low, and sell back to the utility company when rates are high. Meaning, you can potentially end up with a credit on a month where you’ve actually used more energy from the grid than you’ve sold!
BATTERIES ARE AFFORDABLE!
There’s a common misconception that solar batteries are not affordable. Most of our customers pay $0 down for their solar system with batteries. Then they find that because the savings start right at day 1, the monthly cost of solar plus a battery is less than the monthly cost of electricity from the utility company!
If you’re considering purchasing a battery backed solar system or adding a battery to your existing solar array, speak to a Solar Energy Specialist for your free home assessment.