Solar batteries aren’t a requirement for a grid-tied PV system, as the utility company provides electricity when the sun isn’t shining.
Even so, installing a battery bank can be a wise investment for homeowners stuck with unfavorable electric utility rate policies. If yours includes any of these impractical pricing structures, you can increase your cost savings by adding solar batteries to turn your grid-tied photovoltaic array into a hybrid solar power system.
No. 1: Your Utility Company Has Time-Of-Use Rates
Many utility companies have adopted time-of-use (TOU) rates. Under this rate structure, the amount you pay for electricity changes depending upon the time of day.
When demand on the grid is high — typically in the late afternoon and evening — the utility company charges you more per watt used. Electricity costs less at night and earlier in the day, outside of these peak hours.
Solar batteries can help grid-tied PV system owners avoid paying these high rates, as stored electricity can be used during times of peak demand.
No. 2: Your Utility Company Has Demand Charges
Some utility companies have demand charges for residential solar customers. This fee is based on the highest average amount of electricity used during any 15-minute period of the current month.
Demand charges are intended to ensure that the electric grid has sufficient generation and transmission capacity to meet demand during the peak hours.
Grid-tied PV system owners who see these fees on their utility bills may want to consider solar batteries. A battery bank with demand response will kick in and supply electricity when increasing energy usage is detected. With no spikes in utility grid usage, demand charges usually go down.
No. 3: Your State Doesn’t Offer Retail Rate Net Metering
Net metering policies vary widely across the country. In some states, homeowners get paid the full retail rate for solar electricity sent to the utility grid. In many other states, homeowners get a reduced wholesale rate — or nothing at all.
In areas where grid-tied PV system owners are not paid the retail rate for excess solar electricity, adding a battery bank can make good financial sense. Solar batteries will store your extra electricity for later use, maximizing the value of the energy your solar array creates.
No. 4: You Need a Reliable Source of Backup Power
Power outages are on the rise across the country. And during blackouts, homes with grid-tied solar power are left without electricity — even if the sun is shining.
PV systems that are connected to the utility grid automatically shut off in an outage. If they didn’t, solar electricity running through the power lines could seriously injure or kill workers making repairs.
If you want a reliable source of backup power, solar batteries may be the perfect answer. With battery storage, you’ll still have electricity when the grid goes down.
Would you like to learn more about your battery storage options? Intermountain Wind & Solar, the region’s leading photovoltaic provider, offers complimentary consultations to homeowners in Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and Wyoming. Contact us today to discuss adding solar batteries to your grid-tied solar PV system.