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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.
There are plenty of things to consider when installing a solar system & battery.
If you’re planning to install a battery storage system and want to power your home with solar, there are a few things you’ll need to think about. The first is whether you’ll be installing a new solar system and solar battery storage at the same time or whether you’ll be adding a solar battery to an existing system.
New solar power systems are generally installed with DC-coupled batteries. That means the DC electricity produced by your panels feeds into your home and directly charges the battery. The current then goes through an inverter, which converts the DC electricity to AC electricity—the type of power that homes use. This system offers the most efficient way to charge the batteries. But it involves running high-voltage DC into your home, which requires specialized electrical work and can be dangerous if done incorrectly.
Solar panels can be connected to your battery via microinverters instead of a traditional inverter. This means that the panels are not hooked up directly to the batteries and produce AC. Batteries, however, operate on DC power. So you can instead opt for AC-coupled batteries and install a solar array that uses microinverters behind each panel to convert their output into AC on your roof (which means no high-voltage current enters your home). To charge a battery, integrated microinverters in the battery itself then reconvert the electricity to DC, which gets converted back to AC when the battery sends power to your home.”
If you already have a solar array and want to install a battery, the big news is that you can now do so. We’re also offering several options for financing your solar-plus-storage installation, so it’s easier than ever to add this technology to your project.
The solution lies in hybrid inverters, which offer two critical abilities. First, they take input as either AC or DC, then use software to determine where it’s needed and make any necessary conversions. Hybrid inverters are of value for retrofitting battery systems since they can work with batteries of several different brands. In contrast, some battery makers restrict their hybrid inverters to working only with their batteries.
What does this cost, and do I really need Solar & Batteries?
Installing battery storage can be expensive. However, you should know that the cost of batteries has long been on a downward trend, which is expected to continue. For example, EnergySage’s data shows that in the last quarter of 2031, the median cost per kilowatt-hour of battery storage was almost $1,300. Of course, that means that half of the batteries on the company’s list cost less than that per kilowatt-hour (and half cost more). Batteries from the “big seven” (again, that’s Enphase, Tesla, LG, Panasonic, SunPower and Generac) cost nearly two times as much as their lesser-known competitors. Glyde’s Solar Specialists will help you determine the best system/battery combo for your home and budget. Contact us today!
If you’re concerned about power outages and want to be prepared, solar equipment can help. As with most things related to living off-grid, many variables influence the cost of this kind of system–and require careful consideration before making a purchase. Solar panels are one of the most popular ways to power an off-grid home or cabin. But they’re not cheap and can be a little overwhelming to install. We have industry-leading solar specialists to help determine your perfect system. Here are some of the other options and whether or not you should consider them for your home.
Portable methods—even the rechargeable ones that are safe to use indoors—aren’t as convenient as plugging things into a wall outlet. Also, there aren’t ways to get household circuits working during an outage. In a blackout, your home is disconnected from the grid, and your battery goes to work. You then run your home’s circuits on the battery that recharges with your solar panels. If you want to be as prepared as possible, consider getting solar panels and a solar battery charger. This is the most efficient way to power your devices and keep your home running, but it also requires many more purchases and installation than a fossil fuel generator. This extra investment is worth it for some people, but it may not be for others.
Panels aren’t just an investment—they can save you money. You’re right if you think solar panels probably need a lot of maintenance and don’t make it easy to fit into your budget. However, you can get solar power without spending anything upfront by signing up for a payment plan. This option lets you pay for your solar electricity in small chunks over time rather than one large payment at the beginning.
Solar Panels are the cleanest and most reliable means of generating electricity from the sun. It is widely accepted that the batteries can last for 24 hours during a power outage, but claims vary widely. The New York Times asked several experts about this topic and found that conservative estimates say less than 24 hours on a single battery. Still, the main consensus is that the average home uses 29.3 kWh daily. “I don’t have to tell you that this cannot run your whole house for a day,” said EnergySage’s Aggarwal. Batteries are generally stackable, so you can string multiple batteries together to increase your storage. But, of course, doing so is not cheap. For many people, stacking is not practical—or even financially possible.
When the grid goes down, you can rely on a solar array to keep the lights on—and keep your fridge cold. Our backup power systems can provide power to your home during a blackout or natural disaster and recharge your battery. And when the sun goes up, our solar panels will recharge that battery—continuously regenerating its power supply. If you tried to do the same thing using fossil fuels, you might run into complications like supply and consistency of power.
It all depends on what you’re looking to do. You can expect your battery to power longer if you want to keep the fridge running and a few lights on. If you want to run more appliances, that time is reduced. It’s essential to consider which devices you want to run and for how long during any potential outage when choosing your system.
Suppose you want to run a couple of lights, a radio, and a laptop computer and recharge your cell phone occasionally for emergencies. You could get away with as little as 2 kilowatts of solar panels—but it could take a long time to recharge the battery. More likely, you’ll need 5 or 6 kilowatts. If that’s all you have and need, then every day or two, you have to go outside, turn stuff off, or reduce your usage so that the battery has plenty of opportunities to recharge thoroughly before it needs to be used again. The bottom line is that even with a relatively limited solar system, you’ll be able to increase the time you can maintain power during an outage.
Why Solar Panels & Batteries Make such a Difference
Solar battery storage is a way for homeowners to limit their utility bills by practicing something called “peak shaving.” At times of peak demand (usually later in the afternoon and into the evening), when some utilities raise their rates, battery owners switch over to the battery for their power supply, or if their city participates in net metering, they’ll even send power back onto the grid and earn some money in rebates.
This is the idea behind virtual power plants. Many solar panels on homes and businesses are scattered around, but for most of the day, much of the energy they produce goes to waste. Virtual power plants will help solve this problem by charging up homeowners’ batteries during the day and then drawing on them during evening spikes. The owners will enter legal agreements with utilities, granting them the right to do this and likely earning a fee for letting their batteries be used.
“The swarm control of batteries, to respond, to breathe in and out to a grid operator’s dispatch, to provide generation that replaces a peaker plant’s dirty generation, to make the grid run more efficiently, to decongest the grid and create deferrals on the cost of grid infrastructure, to stabilize the grid and to provide, to be frank with you, a much cheaper solution to the grid on frequency response and voltage regulation, literally to take solar from being a nuisance to being an asset that adds value, and, to capstone, it, even to be able to swarm-charge from the grid, so if there are tons of wind farms in Texas producing gigantic amounts of power at 3 a.m., to swarm-charge 50,000 batteries and soak that up—this is what we’re really for. This is the use of the battery.” – Blake Richetta, CEO of Sonnen Inc.