Is Battery Backup Right for My Home?
Alex "Solar Girl" Steele
Cutting edge energy storage is hitting the market hard this year, meaning cutting the utility company out of your life has never been easier! In September, Solar Wolf Energy unveiled the exciting announcement that we were making Generac PWRcell Home Energy Storage Batteries available to our customers. These batteries boast some of the industry’s most advanced energy storage technology, in a safe, efficient, aesthetically pleasing package. Adding solar battery storage to your existing residential PV system is a great way to reinforce your home’s energy supply. But how do you know if it’s right for your home?
If you’re already enjoying the economic and environmental benefits of solar, you’re a step ahead of your neighbors. Having solar is great, but you might have noticed that your energy needs have increased dramatically since your family started working and studying from home this year. You probably also know that if the grid goes down, having a system on your roof doesn’t exempt you from losing power! If your household is using more electricity than your panels can produce since the pandemic hit, or you live in an area where winter storms and high winds send your neighborhood into the dark frequently, you’ve probably found yourself wishing you could save the energy your panels produce for a rainy day. Unfortunately, the presence of solar panels alone can’t keep your lights on if the grid is down… But there is a simple way to utilize your existing system to protect your home against unexpected outages!
By adding a battery storage solution to your PV system, a portion of the energy your system produces charges up the battery during the day, instead of 100% of the energy you don’t use going back to the grid via net metering. At night, during peak demand hours, energy is drawn from your battery to be used in the home. Or, in the event of an outage, you have backup power to keep your priority appliances running!
Home Energy Storage seems like a no-brainer for any solar homeowner, but there are some key factors to consider when shopping for a battery. Consider your existing relationship with your utility company, for example. If you currently participate in net metering, that means you’re receiving credit from the utility for every kilowatt hour of electricity you produce that is sent back to the grid. Normally, when your panels aren’t producing enough electricity to run your home, you would exchange your net metering credits for energy from the grid. Adding a battery to your system essentially replaces net metering, because you no longer need to rely on the grid for power during peak hours. This can be positive for some homeowners, because you can distance yourself and decrease your reliance on the utility. However, if you’re relying on net metering for the financial benefits it offers, be aware that adding a battery may reduce the amount of net metering credits you amass, so it may not save you more money.
If your utility doesn’t offer net metering, you might find that adding energy storage to your home makes a lot of financial sense. Most areas that do not offer net metering credits for solar producers only give lackluster credits to customers who send a lot of energy back to the grid. So, you can probably benefit more from your own battery than you would from solar energy credits if you’re in a situation like this.
If you live in an area where the utility strives to deter overconsumption of energy by implementing demand charges, you’re charged more when you use the most energy; or when the whole community is drawing more from the grid. Homeowners in these areas benefit greatly from installing a battery, because it gives them the opportunity to utilize excess energy they produce during low-demand hours later in the day instead of being stuck with demand charges when they need that energy the most!
Other utility companies charge based on a time-of-use standard, which means your energy rate changes throughout the day. When the electric demand is high, like late in the afternoon or evening when most families are home and using their appliances, consumers pay more for it. If your utility uses this system, a battery may be a great choice for you, because it will allow you to use energy from your batteries when energy from the grid is the most expensive.
So, is a Generac PWRcell Home Energy Storage battery the right selection for your home PV system? To find out, take a look at your utility bill. Determine how your electric company charges you for consumption, and how you are credited for the solar energy you send back to the grid. After that, call up Solar Wolf Energy for a no obligation consultation to determine how a solar battery can help optimize your consumption!