There are several important themes that today’s homeowners might be considering when it comes to their solar panels and solar power generation, and one of these in many cases is storage. There’s more to solar power than simply producing the required energy, and one of the biggest pieces of the puzzle involves how this energy is stored for future use.
At Intermountain Wind & Solar, we’re here to offer a wide range of commercial and residential solar power services, including the installation and use of the Tesla Powerwall battery backup – a modular system that provides fantastic storage capacity plus a 10-year warranty and tax benefits that often help offset the up-front costs involved. Why does solar storage matter, how are batteries like the Powerwall used to maintain it, and what are some of the top reasons to strongly consider not only solar panel installation, but also proper solar battery and storage themes as well? Here’s a primer.
If you’re new to the solar world, you may be wondering why solar power storage matters to begin with. Most assume the solar panel system operates independently of your local power grid, and therefore that there will be no issues if the grid has an outage – unfortunately, however, this is not actually the case. In reality, for various safety reasons, it’s required that solar panels also turn off when the grid goes down in your area.
This, in turn, means that even solar panel owners need a backup system; this is where battery storage comes into place. Through the use of batteries like the Powerwall, which store power during periods of lower need and allow for higher usage during peak times or even an outage, you will know that your home is always powered no matter what. In fact, the Powerwall and many other batteries are designed specifically to disconnect from the local power grid in case of a power outage, allowing the system to continue working.
Generally speaking, the way batteries provide this service to clients is by establishing what’s known as a microgrid. This refers to a closed system that mimics the power created by the utility grid – the microgrid doesn’t run as your primary source of power, but rather in the background.
And if an outage is detected, the microgrid kicks into action almost immediately; there may be a short, few-millisecond delay where you see lights briefly flicker, but that’s it. In many cases, non-essential appliances will be pre-programmed to turn off during these sorts of events, leaving only essential appliances like fridges, pumps and lighting active. With a quality battery like the Powerwall, your home can survive anywhere from a few hours to even several days without grid power, a huge benefit for both safety and practicality in case of any kind of disaster.
In addition, there are direct benefits to the grid itself, both from solar power alone and from the use of battery storage within this realm. The creation of any solar power immediately eases the burden on the grid by shifting some of its power demands away, and solar storage only increases these benefits, often in exponential ways. In many states, there are agreements known as “net metering” that allow for excess power created by solar users to actually be recycled back into the public supply, which even further benefits the local area and its sustainability. This sort of thing will only become more common over the next decade or so.
Related in some ways to the above is the presence of various incentives to several different entities within the solar world, all with the goal of making this technology more accessible and widely-used. For instance, as we noted above, the use of battery backup for solar power often involves specific federal tax incentives that can be obtained, ways of offsetting costs and making the entire setup more sensible for you.
These aren’t even the full extent of the incentives sometimes offered, either. Take a state like California, for instance, which offers daily incentives for solar and storage homeowners to use battery power between 4 and 9 pm, or peak utility pricing hours. Again, these sorts of incentive programs are only going in one direction: More and more are being created with each passing year, meaning the benefits of utilizing solar power and solar storage only grow.
Another major reason battery storage for solar power has become such a major piece of the puzzle is the way its costs have decreased over the years. A decade or two ago, obtaining a battery backup for your solar power system might have been prohibitively expensive, to the point where many average homeowners simply couldn’t consider it.
Today, the cost of this equipment is far lower. You’ll pay more for custom installation, frankly, but even these costs – as we’ve gone over above – are often offset through various tax incentives and other programs.
Finally, another area that’s grown in huge ways over the last couple decades is compatibility. This is a realm that began as a struggle for the solar world: With so many different entities creating their own proprietary products, compatibility between systems – or even previous iterations of the same system – was often a problem. And while there are still further developments to be made here, modern technology allows for far more integration of solar panel systems, not just with previous versions or their battery backups, but also with other parts of your home.
For more on the value of a battery backup and storage for your solar power, or to learn about any of our solar services, speak to the staff at Intermountain Wind & Solar today.
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