You are on the works setting up your home’s solar PV System, and your solar company has laid it on the table: Would you like a solar battery to go with your system?
Is it time to crunch the numbers or it’s just not worth the additional investment?
To help you with your decision, here’s everything you need to know about going for “solar-plus-storage” systems.
What is a Solar Battery and How Does it Fit into the Solar PV System?
The use of renewable energy using solar power is not only environmentally attractive; it is now becoming a practical and sensible thing to do. There are several reasons why:
- Electrical consumption is at its peak in the daytime and solar power can provide for that need.
- There is now widespread government support for implementing this alternative system and as a result costs are now dropping.
- Other factors are causing further reductions in investing in solar system battery, like higher demand which leads to good competition and innovative products.
And as more and more people are now into the solar power bandwagon, being able to store electricity is becoming increasingly popular as well: having a back-up source for those times that solar system cannot meet the electrical requirement like evenings and cloudy days, and in cases of blackouts when even the grid would be of no use.
How does a Solar PV System work? With solar panels equitably installed in sunlit areas, it generates electricity from the sun’s rays, then sends it over to solar inverters which changes the DC charge to AC for actual home use.
Solar battery now comes into the picture. If you have a solar battery in the system, it can store electricity for later use.
- For those times that your solar is producing more than what you need, it will charge your battery first, only then will it send any excess back to the electricity grid (the solar system is “grid-tied”).
- On the other hand, if your battery is nearly depleted and the solar power from your panels is not enough (like in the night), then the system will get power from the grid. The depleted battery will now be charged as well. This is what’s called “solar-plus-storage” system and in cases stated, the batteries have their own inverter.
- Having said that, solar battery is also a great backup in cases of power outages, a better alternative to using a diesel-powered generator. If your area is prone to blackouts, then opting for solar battery is a great choice.
How Can You Save Money With Solar Battery?
If you are grid-tied, how a solar PV system can save you money on your electrical bill will depend on how your utility provider handle your solar power feed to the grid. Most energy suppliers offer full net metering, meaning they give you credits on your bill for kilowatt-hour of solar energy. According to Neeeco’s Mass Save Energy Assessment, If you’re aiming for this savings, solar battery is not for you since you’d be charging it in the daytime and using the battery charge on your solar downtime; instead of sending any excess to the grid.
However, if you choose to be off-grid or your utility uses time-of-use rates, then solar battery is for you. Additionally, because of increasing efficiencies in the use of solar power where you can get your investment back in lesser time, using free solar energy can save you more in the long run instead of getting the more expensive grid electricity. Previously, cost of additionally investing in battery makes solar power payback period less attractive. However, recent innovations and significant price reductions in solar batteries now pushes the payback period down thus making “solar-plus-storage” worth it.