Solar panel systems have become one of the fastest-growing sources of energy in the United States. There were 1 million solar installations in the US in 2016 and there were over 1.9 million in 2019.  Four million installations are predicted by 2023.

Solar power has led to the increase in another alternative energy technology called solar batteries.  Solar batteries store electric energy for the purpose of using that energy at a later time. Companies like Tesla, LG and Sonnen have developed batteries that can be installed with solar panels to create home “solar-plus-storage” systems.

How Solar Batteries Work 

When you install a solar battery as part of your solar energy system, you can store excess solar electricity at your home instead of sending it back to the grid. If your solar panels are producing more electricity than you need, the excess energy charges the battery. Later, when your solar panels aren’t producing electricity, you can use the energy you stored earlier in your battery for night use. The system will only send electricity back to the grid when your battery is fully charged.  And the system will only draw electricity from the grid when your battery is used up.

Therefore, houses with solar-plus-storage can store excess solar power at their home for later use when the sun is not shining. And since solar batteries store energy at your home, they also offer short-term backup power in the event that there’s a power outage.

Why Install a Solar Battery versus a Backup Generator 

A solar battery provides peace of mind during a power outage.  Specific rooms and appliances can be hooked up to this backup power source. And when the sun is back out, the solar panels will recharge the battery.  This allows your backup power to continue. The energy generated by your solar panels can be stored in batteries for later use. In addition, the solar batteries:

  • Smooth out solar panel fluctuations caused by changing weather and time of day.
  • Reduce demand charges on your home’s electricity bills.
  • Provide clean energy to the grid when it is more valuable.
  • Make your home’s power supply more resilient.

Backup generators also provide backup power during an outage.  However, generators require natural gas, propane or gasoline to provide power.  They are not an environmental alternative energy source. Also, traditional backup generators do not have the potential to save homeowner’s money.

Does Installing a Solar Battery Save you Money?

Assess whether you can save money before investing in a solar battery.  The savings opportunity depends on whether your electric company compensates you for solar power. Most electric companies offer full net metering. This means that you receive a credit on your electric bill for every kilowatt-hour of electricity your solar panels produce. With full net metering, you will not see direct savings on your electricity bill if you install a solar battery.

However, there are many situations where a solar battery can have a positive economic impact. If your utility company supports time-of-use rates or demand charges, or does not offer net metering, solar batteries may help you save money. Across the United States, power companies are beginning to introduce innovative homeowner rate structures. These rate structures include time-of-use rates, demand charges, and real-time-pricing.  They incent homeowners to consume energy during times when the cost of generating electricity is cheap, And they don’t incent energy consumption when the cost of generating electricity is high. Incentives may exist if your home is using the energy stored from a solar battery during a high peak energy time, such as dinnertime.

What Types of Solar Batteries are Offered Today

Traditionally, solar  batteries were lead-acid battery banks hooked up to off-grid solar battery chargers and battery inverters. The new solar battery technology is Lithium-ion solar batteries.  Lithium-Ion batteries can be discharged to almost 100% of their total storage capacity.  They also have greater energy density per square foot and per pound of weight.

Surf Clean Energy offers three different solar batteries:

  1. Tesla Powerwall 
  2. LG Bright Box
  3. Sonnen

To learn more about these solar battery options and whether a solar battery is right for your home, schedule a consult with Surf Clean Energy today. 

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