Adding an Energy Storage System to Your Solar Panels
Adding energy storage to solar is one of the best ways to get more power from your panels. Storage provides backup power, reduces grid dependence and can provide financial savings for those on time-of-use rates or demand charges.
It can also bring businesses closer to being self-sufficient and help accelerate the replacement of fossil fuels with clean renewable energy.
The cost of solar energy storage has dropped significantly over the past few years. Solar batteries store electricity through a series of Solar energy storage system chemical reactions that move lithium ions and release electrons in an electrolyte solution within the battery. The result is a battery that can be recharged over time and used to power your home or business.
In addition to lowering the upfront cost of solar, a battery system offers many benefits. For instance, it can protect your pocketbook if your utility raises rates. Additionally, you can leverage your low-cost, stored energy back to the grid at peak times to offset high on-peak electricity rates.
A battery can also offer protection in the event of a grid outage. You can use your stored energy to keep the refrigerator running or the sump pump running, and you can avoid costly utility bills in the process.
You can save even more money on a solar battery by purchasing it along with your solar panels at the same time. Some companies, like Tesla, even offer a combined solar + storage package at a lower price point than buying the components separately. Additionally, purchasing a battery system at the same time allows you to take advantage of federal incentives for solar+storage. This includes the Investment Tax Credit, which knocks 30 percent off your total installation costs.
Solar energy is a renewable, clean and sustainable source of power but it is not always available. Energy storage allows homeowners to take control of their electricity consumption by storing energy that is generated on sunny days for use at night or during cloudy weather. This can reduce your dependence on the grid and help you save on your utility bills.
Energy storage also enables solar owners to avoid high time-of-use charges on their energy usage, which often occur during the afternoons and evenings when peak electricity demand occurs. A solar-plus-storage system can provide enough energy during those periods to reduce or even eliminate your time-of-use charges and allow you to save energy-intensive items like charging your Tesla for the next day when rates are lower.
Storage can also be used to balance electricity loads during times when generation is high and demand low. Without storage, if there is too much generation and not enough load, electricity must be trimmed off the grid by grid operators to prevent over-generation that could lead to power outages on the grid. Storage can fill the gaps during these times by gathering excess renewable energy, charging up the battery, and then dispensing it to the grid or home when demand is high. The ability to do this is what gives storage a “virtual” capacity to generate electricity and makes it so useful when paired with solar.
Reduced Carbon Footprint
Many utility companies still create most of their electricity from dirty fossil fuels. Adding solar energy storage to a grid-tied system cleans up the power. During peak demand times, a battery can store the energy your solar panels generate during the day to use later in the evening when rates are at their highest. This can save you money on your electric bill and reduce your carbon footprint.
A home solar energy system with batteries also provides backup power during outages. It can keep key circuits in your house running, or even completely power them in the event of a grid outage. A battery can also give you access to all the renewable energy your solar panels produce, regardless of whether it’s sunny or not.
Modern home solar systems with batteries usually have an inverter that changes DC current from the solar panels or the batteries into AC power to be used in your home. It can also manage charge and discharge cycles based on real-time needs and availability.
Energy storage is essential to the success of solar. It can smooth electricity prices through arbitrage, manage evening energy ramps, mitigate the risk of curtailment and provide backup power. But we need federal, state and local policies that allow the industry to scale solar + storage quickly and cost-effectively. That’s why SEIA is such a strong advocate for solar-plus-storage solutions, and we’re fighting for an Investment Tax Credit to help get them deployed.
Solar energy systems provide backup power during grid outages, which helps ensure that critical facilities can operate during a disaster. In addition, these systems can be designed to work with a variety of demand response programs and incentives.
A solar energy storage system can be installed inside or outside a building. Typically, systems located inside buildings have more stringent permitting and inspection requirements due to fire safety concerns. However, this can also limit the flexibility of the system, since it may be limited to a single space.
Solar + battery storage provides an added layer of resilience during a power outage by allowing you to use your own energy to keep your lights and appliances on. This is possible because during the day, the solar system will generate Solar energy storage system enough electricity to power your most essential appliances and the excess energy goes into the battery. At night, the battery will draw from this stored energy to continue to power your home’s electrical needs.
Arup is supporting the work of our clients and partners to build solar+storage capacity as a key component of local energy resilience strategies. We offer a range of resources including Solar Market Pathways and our Technical Resilience Navigator to support local government officials, community advocates, project developers, emergency management professionals, and facilities managers as they implement resilient solar. We also host events for municipal leaders and solar project developers to explore opportunities for collaboration in developing a holistic approach to resilience planning and implementation.