People are all about preservation. We have refrigerators and freezers so we can store food for later, we photograph moments we never want to forget so the memories will last forever and we even pour an unquantifiable amount of dollars into making our lives longer. We want things to last and to last us for as long as possible. That’s why batteries—although they may be a significant investment—are becoming more and more popular with homeowners installing solar panels on their homes.
Usually, any excess power that your solar system produces is sent to the grid and depending on what state you live in, your utility provider will give you some kind of compensation; otherwise known as a net metering program. But when you install a battery, instead of sending that excess electricity to the grid, you store it for your home. That way, you get to use that stored energy when your panel output is too low to meet your needs.
Solar plus storage makes your home energy independent, drastically reducing your reliance on your utility company. This is especially advantageous if your home is a victim of frequent blackouts. With solar plus storage, even when your neighbors don’t have power, you will. Typically, in efforts to prevent feedback to the grid, solar panels cease production when the power goes out. But when storage is added to your solar system it enables your solar panels to keep powering your home and charging your battery even during a power outage.
Storing energy from your solar panels keeps the energy powering your home clean. When you opt to draw power from the grid, that energy is more often than not produced from fossil fuels. Installing a battery can help maintain your home’s small carbon footprint. Additionally, batteries cut down on noise pollution because unlike traditional gas generators, they don’t make any noise. Gas generators also pollute the air, while solar panels do not.
Most people go solar for the tremendous amount of savings on electric bills. Having a battery installed can increase those savings even more depending on the type of net metering your utility company offers. Net metering allows you to offset some of your future energy costs when you send your solar panels’ excess electricity yield to the grid and your utility provider gives you credit on your electric bill.
On the whole, batteries are a great option for those who live in areas that experience frequent power outages, those whose utility provider doesn’t offer full-retail net metering and those who want to maximize the amount of renewable energy that their home uses.