Imagine this, on a stormy night, you’re home watching TV, with your washing machine running. And all of a sudden the power goes out. Now imagine the same condition, only this time you have a rooftop solar energy system with battery storage. When the power is down in your neighborhood, you’d be blissfully unaware. Wonderful, isn’t it?
A common myth about solar power is that you can rely on it only when the sun is shining. You do need sunshine to generate solar electricity, but what about the times when the sun isn’t shining, like when it rains or night time?
Most people count on electricity from the power grid to supplement their solar-generated power. But residential solar energy systems paired with battery storage—generally called solar-plus-storage systems—provide power regardless of the weather or the time of day without having to rely on backup power from the grid.
Here are the benefits of a solar-plus-storage system:
- Around-the-clock power. If you use the utility billing mechanism known as time-of-use, and don’t have a solar energy system, your electricity in the evening is possibly more expensive because of the higher demand on the system. But, with battery storage, you can use electricity generated during the day later on, instead of relying on the utility for power. This is also helpful if where you live is with frequent power outages.
- Money-saving. If your utility raises electricity rates, you can avoid that with a battery. During the day time. the solar panels supply power to the house loads while also charging the battery. During the night, you get to enjoy the green, clean, FREE solar energy stored in the lifepo4 battery. So your electricity rates stay low. In some cases, you can even sell the energy you’re storing back to the grid and make some money with it.
- Better monitoring. A solar + storage system can help you to better track the energy your system is generating through monitoring capabilities. These systems allow you to track the energy your home is producing and using in real time.
- More energy self-sufficiency. A solar + storage system takes you closer to “off the grid” status. Battery storage means in most days of the year, you don’t have to rely on your grid to send electricity to your home. And you can always keep some battery capacity in reserve, so that if the power goes out in your neighborhood, your house will still be shinning with the warm lights.
You may be sold on the merits but curious about the costs. A solar-plus-storage system costs about $25,000–$35,000, depending on the size of the battery and other factors. It is easier and cheaper to install the panels and battery at the same time. But if you’ve already installed solar panels and want to add storage, you can: The battery will cost anywhere from $12,000 to $22,000. Ask your solar installer if they can add a battery to your system. If you purchase a battery on its own or a solar-plus-storage system, you will be eligible for federal tax credits. Some states provide additional solar battery incentives.
To learn more about resources available to consumers, including guidance on demystifying the solar installation process, check out the Homeowner’s Guide to Going Solar.