Home Improvement

Solar battery storage systems – How to harness the sun?

Solar battery storage refers to rechargeable batteries that store power generated from solar PV systems during the daytime for use at night or during extended cloudy periods. They offer a unique set of advantages over solely relying on the grid when coupled with solar panels on the roof.

While solar panels generate power during the day, a storage battery stores that surplus energy. It allows homeowners to take greater advantage of free solar electricity by saving excess generation when the sun shines and tapping into that saved power as needed. It remains true even when the sun isn’t actively shining, enabling solar users to rely less heavily on the traditional grid and shift more of their energy use to their renewable solar system.

Benefits of adding solar battery storage

There are a few immediate benefits that come with adding solar storage batteries to a home solar energy system:

  • Storing solar power for use at night. Storage allows homeowners to utilize surplus solar power generated during daylight hours after the sun goes down or before it comes up. It maximizes solar system performance.
  • Saving surplus solar power during productive hours for future use. On sunny weekend days, homeowners tend to produce more solar power than they immediately require to power their appliances and devices. Batteries allow for saving these surplus sunny hours for periods when generation is lower but energy needs remain constant.
  • Increased energy independence and reduced reliance on the traditional grid. By storing their solar power for a significant portion of their nighttime and backup needs, homeowners reduce dependence on their utility for electricity.
  • Providing backup power during grid outages. Solar storage systems are designed with advanced inverter technology to provide electricity even when the grid goes down. This offers a backup generator option to prevent outages from disrupting vital appliances and devices.
  • Potential for financial returns from grid services in some areas. In select locations, some homeowners enroll their solar + storage systems in programs where utilities will pay for access to excess power stored in the homeowner’s batteries to help better manage the grid.

Key considerations for solar battery storage systems

  • What are your goals in using solar power? If you hope to move toward 100% solar dependence and remove reliance on grid power entirely, storage increases the percentage of on-site consumption you achieve.
  • Do you experience frequent power outages? Adding solar battery storage capability offers an integrated home backup power solution, allowing key systems to stay operational when the grid goes down.
  • Is your electric utility’s net metering policy favorable? The economics of a storage addition shifts depending on whether your excess power is compensated in a reasonably favorable way. Changes in net metering policies have increased payback timelines for solar + storage in some areas.
  • How much are electric rates and charges in your area? Storage becomes more advantageous if electric rates are high or use charges apply to the total power drawn from the grid. The capacity to store your lower-cost solar generation reduces the impact of these costs over time.

Installing storage unlocks additional financial incentives beyond what is offered for standard solar installations in your location, improving cost efficiency. Always review available federal, state, and local incentives.

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