Energy storage has become a major topic of discussion. In 2017, California residential homes discharged 6,544 Kilowatts of energy storage power. Non-residential deployed 45.1 Megawatts. According to GTM Research, the U.S. energy storage market is expected to grow 15x between 2017-2023, with potential to cross the 1 Gigawatt threshold by next year. Now in 2018, affordable storage with solar has potential to provide continuous renewable energy. Energy independence means properties no longer have to rely on their utility company. Energy smart properties will not only consume power generated onsite, but also save it as well. We are now in an era of becoming our own self-sustaining energy provider.
Storage Makes Sense
The technology for renewable energy advanced with a whole new level of innovation. Batteries now have a sleek design with ability to collect and discharge more electricity. Storage units can also be controlled and automated through a mobile app. A couple years back, having a battery wasn’t financially feasible. But neither were a utility’s high rates for delivering power. Today’s battery storage can detect when to store electricity for future emergencies and when to release that energy during off peak utility rates.
Battery storage is designed to delivery power when solar is not actively producing electricity, such as evening hours. In the scenario of a blackout, the battery can detect grid failure which will active itself to function as its own independent micro-grid. In such a scenario, the battery will only discharge power to critical loads such as a refrigerator, water heater, and computer as the solar system continuously feeds power to the battery.
Battery storage may also collect energy from grid to recharge itself, but only during the off peak hours of the day or night when solar can’t generate power. Although solar PV has the ability to provide electricity independent from the utility grid, it’s not able to continue to produce power if the grid was to go down due to a black out. And because solar only powers during the day with the sun out, come evening time there’s no solar production. That when Net Energy Metering bring benefits by providing the home with electricity that the solar system may have produced in excess during the day. This is a great system because energy that’s sent back to the grid is credited for future use when solar in not active, until the grid may suddenly go down.
Adding battery storage to a solar home will ensure that the PV system will still function normally during blackout events. And when the grid is up and running again, the solar will continue to feed any excess energy to the battery storage then to the grid for NEM credits. By taking careful consideration of the “critical loads” (only the most crucial appliances and areas of the home that consume energy), the right battery size can be determined to compliment the solar system.
It’s important for homes to weigh in their primary purpose for battery storage. It may not be necessary for every solar home. Adding battery storage can be a lifestyle choice for those that rarely experience rolling blackouts and faulty energy grids in their neighborhood just having piece of mind being completely off-grid energy independent. For the home that considers protection in emergency situations or for health related requirements, battery storage is a safe solution that will provide resilient long lasting power whenever the grid goes down.