Lithium-ion Home Energy Storage Battery
Everything You Need to Know About Solar
Solar energy is a great way to supply your home with clean, renewable energy while saving money on your electricity bill. When installing solar on your home, you utilize the solar energy produced during the day, and any excess gets sent back to the grid. By combining solar with an at-home storage option, you’re able to store any excess energy produced by your solar panels during the day and save that to be used when the sun isn’t shining. Solar + storage options have many advantages and are a great compliment to your home’s solar system.
An Introduction to Solar Energy
In short, solar energy is produced by the process of converting sunlight into electricity. But how exactly do solar panels work? Solar panels work by converting sunlight, which arrives at the solar panel as photons into direct current electricity. An inverter connected to the solar panels is then utilized to convert the direct current electricity into alternative current, which is the type of electricity used in homes that we use to turn on the lights and power appliances.
Unless your home is off-grid, meaning that your home is not connected to the grid, your solar system will be grid-tied. This means that during the day, while your solar panels are producing electricity, the electricity is first sent to your home and utilized within your home to run appliances and keep the lights on. Any excess electricity that is not utilized within your home is sent to the grid since solar panels themselves do not store unused electricity.
An Introduction to Net Metering
Depending on the state and the local utility, some states allow for net metering, where the local utility agrees to pay homeowners for the electricity they send back to the grid from their solar panels. For most utilities, these payments are added to the homeowner’s electricity bill in the form of a bill credit. A homeowner receives a credit for the energy they send to the grid during the day, and those credits are applied to the homeowner’s utility bill for the electricity used at night when the solar panels are not producing electricity. Net metering policies can vary greatly from state to state, where some credits are a 1:1 ratio per credit while others are less.
Some states do not have net metering laws, where any solar energy not used during the day is sent back to the grid and the homeowner does not receive a payment or credit for that electricity. If your state does not have net metering laws or if you’d like your solar system to be more resilient, solar + storage is a great option to consider!
What is Solar + Storage?
Solar + storage is an option that allows you to store the electricity that your solar panels produce in batteries. Since solar panels produce electricity but do not store the electricity, the batteries allow the solar energy that you produce to be stored in your home, rather than having it sent to the grid.
How Solar + Storage Works
In a home solar system that does not have a solar + storage option, the excess energy that is created by your solar panels, but not used at that moment, is sent back to the grid. Solar panels produce the electricity and send that to your home and then any unused electricity is sent back to the grid.
When installing solar panels and batteries, the electricity that your solar system creates first gets sent to your home. Any unused electricity is then sent to the battery storage system that is located in your home, which will be stored and used when your solar panels are not producing electricity.
Advantages of Solar Energy Storage
Now that we know how solar + storage works, what are the advantages of solar battery storage? There are many advantages, including:
1. Resiliency from Power Outages
In a solar system without storage, your solar system is grid-tied, which allows your solar system to send any excess energy back to the grid and receive a credit for this through net metering. Since the system is grid-tied, in the event of a utility-wide power outage, your solar system will turn off automatically and stop producing electricity. When you have solar storage capability you are able to pull electricity from your batteries while the grid is down, which can be helpful for regular power outages as well as outages in the event of an emergency.
2. Great for States Without Net Metering
Solar storage is a great option for states that don’t have a net metering policy in place. For any electricity that is not used in your home, that electricity gets sent to your home battery system, rather than going to the grid and not receiving credit for that electricity. This can make installing solar more economical because the homeowner is able to utilize their solar energy throughout the day, not just during the time that it is being produced. This leads us to our next advantage…
3. Utilizing Solar Energy at Night
By having a storage option, homeowners are able to utilize the electricity their solar panels produce during the day to power their homes and appliances at night. This allows homeowners to utilize their solar energy at any time they’d like, not just when the sun is shining.
4. Potential for an Off-Grid System
Having solar batteries does not mean you are required to be off-grid. If you have solar + storage, you’re able to pull from your batteries at night when your solar system is not producing electricity. If your batteries run out of power, your house is still tied to the grid and will receive power from the grid.
There is also an option with solar + storage to have an off-grid system, where your solar panels and batteries provide 100% of the energy you need and you are not tied to the grid. Essentially, your energy consumption is through a closed system, where the energy you produce is only being used in your home. An off-grid solar system will require a significantly larger battery capacity than an on-grid solar system that has a battery backup. This is because the batteries in an off-grid system will have to be large enough to comfortably manage all of the electricity load for a home to account for the days that have peak electricity usage.
Installing Solar Storage
Many installers will have an option to include solar batteries when installing solar panels. However, if you already have solar installed on your home, you can add a storage option to your solar setup after your solar panels have been installed. If you’re planning on installing a storage option after you’ve installed solar and your electricity usage has increased, either from using more electricity or purchasing an electric vehicle, you can also add more panels to your existing solar system. With the addition of batteries, homeowners can add more panels to ensure that the solar system is able to cover their complete energy load year-round.
Solar Storage Sizing and Pricing
When working with your solar + storage battery provider, they will be able to provide you suggestions on the number of solar batteries that will be suitable for your system by taking into account your current energy usage, the size of your solar system, and the ways that you would like to utilize the batteries. For the average house and energy usage, homeowners would need to install two to three batteries to have their energy load covered when the solar panels are not producing energy. For homeowners who are only looking for a backup energy storage solution during power outages, one battery would likely be sufficient.