Renewable energy has been the talk of the town for the past decade. With global warming and the increasing demand for clean energy, many homeowners are turning their attention towards harnessing the power of the sun.
Solar energy storage systems, or solar batteries, are promising solutions to these challenges. They are designed to store excess solar energy, making it possible to use solar power even when the sun isn’t shining. This article will delve into the specifics of these solar battery systems for homes and families.
What is a Home Solar Battery System?
A home solar battery system is essentially a storage unit for your solar energy.
The battery system works like a bank where you deposit the extra energy your solar panels generate during the day and can withdraw it when needed.
This can be especially beneficial during power outages or at night when your solar panels aren’t producing energy. The battery’s size and capacity will dictate how much energy can be stored and for how long it can power your house.
How Long Can Solar Batteries Power a House?
The length of time a solar battery can power your house greatly depends on your home’s energy usage.
But there are three main factors to look into – the size and capacity of the battery, your home’s energy consumption, and the amount of sun your solar panels receive.
Typically, a home solar battery system can power a house for anywhere between 7-12 hours, with more robust systems potentially providing power for 24 hours or more. However, it’s essential to remember that these solar battery systems are designed to act as a backup power source, not a home’s primary power source.
We recommend homeowners detail their current and future energy usage with proper assessment. This energy audit will help homeowners understand the real needs of their solar and battery systems.
Adding Batteries to a Grid-Tied Solar System
If your home solar system is tied to the electric grid, you can still benefit from adding a solar backup battery system.
Grid-tied solar systems usually feed excess power back into the grid, and the homeowner gets a credit on their electricity bill.
By adding a battery, you can store this excess power and use it when you need it, like during a blackout. This approach can increase your system’s self-consumption and decrease your reliance on the grid. In the long run, you also shorter your payback period with the new net energy metering system.
How Many Battery Backups Do I Need for My House?
Determining how much battery backup you need for your house requires careful consideration of your energy use. As we mentioned above, the amount of battery systems depends on home energy consumption.
Similar to solar panel systems, homeowners should look at their monthly electricity bill to determine their average daily energy consumption, and from there, decide how much backup power they would like to have.
For example, if your house uses 30 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per day and you want a backup for 24 hours, you’ll need a battery with at least a 30 kWh capacity.
Schedule a consultation with a professional solar installer to help determine the right battery size for your home.
Using Solar Panels and Battery Systems to Charge an Electric Vehicle
A growing trend among eco-conscious homeowners is using solar power to charge their electric vehicles (EVs), like a Tesla EV.
Using solar panels and battery systems to power electric vehicles (EVs) can provide substantial cost savings for EV owners.
Unlike traditional energy sources from utilities, solar energy is not subject to price increases since customers own the system, making it a predictably affordable option for powering electric vehicles over the long term.
The cost savings are twofold: users save on their electricity bill and their transportation fuel costs.
Electricity Bill Saving
Solar panels convert sunlight directly into electricity, which is then either used immediately or stored in a battery system for later use. So you use your own energy without pulling power from the grid.
Fuel Cost Saving
With an efficient solar panel system, you could generate enough energy or use the energy that stores in the solar battery to offset the power consumed by charging your EV, thereby eliminating your vehicle’s fuel costs.
For homeowners who already have solar panels, adding a battery storage system can maximize the benefits of the solar power system.
During a sunny day, solar panels can produce more electricity than the home is using. Rather than selling this excess energy back to the grid for a small return of the credit to pay your electric bill, it can be stored in the battery and used to charge the EV later in the day or at night. This self-consumption of solar energy can lead to greater savings on your electricity bill.
The size of both the home solar power and the battery system can design to meet the owner’s energy needs. If you drive extensively, larger solar energy systems may be required. For short-range driving or having access to charging at work may need a smaller system.
This adaptability allows for a custom-fit solution that can offer the most significant cost savings for each unique situation.
As of right now, California offers incentives with the SGIP program and Federal Solar ITC for installing solar panels and battery storage systems, further enhancing the financial benefits. These incentives can help offset the initial setup costs, making the transition to solar power even more affordable.
Option One Solar always recommends customers consider that solar panels and battery storage systems are long-term investments. While the upfront cost may seem significant, the long-term savings on electricity and fuel costs can result in the systems paying for themselves over time.
Charging a Home Solar Battery System
The speed at which a solar battery charges depends on the power rating of your solar panel system and the battery’s capacity.
From the inverter, the energy has two paths. It can either be used immediately to power the home, or it can be directed towards the battery for storage.
The latter happens when the solar panels generate more electricity than the home consumes. This excess energy is directed to a charge controller, which manages the flow of energy to the battery.
The charge controller ensures the battery is charged safely and efficiently, preventing overcharging that could damage the battery.
At maximum capacity, a 5000-watt inverter will typically charge a solar battery in about 2.5 hours. This speed allows for fast energy storage during the day when sunlight is abundant. Once stored in the battery, the energy is available for use at any time.
Smart battery systems, such as Tesla Powerwall 2 and Powerwall Plus, have additional features that optimize charging and discharging based on energy usage patterns, on-demand discharge, and electricity rates. This can lead to even greater energy efficiency and cost savings.
Home solar battery systems offer an effective storage and solar power solution. They offer a way to decrease reliance on the grid, provide backup power during outages, and even power electric vehicles.
By investing in a home solar battery system, you’re not only investing in just a simple energy solution but also a more self-sufficient lifestyle.