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More About Solar Batteries

by | Sep 15, 2020 | Parts of a Solar PV System, Solar Batteries

While we believe that switching to solar power is a very smart decision and a great investment, we also know that as a homeowner, it’s a very important decision for you to make. Rightfully so, you’ve most likely been doing a lot of research online, working to understand how solar PV systems work, comparing the different brands, whether to get monocrystalline panels or polycrystalline panels and so on – hence you’re reading this blog about solar batteries! 

In our previous blog we spoke about how solar batteries work with your solar PV system to a) store electricity for use when your solar PV system is not producing power (such as during the evening or at night) and, b) store electricity for use when there is a power failure or power outage, keeping your home supplied with electricity. 

In this article, we wanted to provide a little deeper insight as to how solar batteries work so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not solar batteries are right for your home.

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How Do Solar Batteries Work?

Solar batteries store electricity produced by your solar PV system for later use. In some cases, a solar battery may have its own electrical inverter, similar to the one your solar PV system has, allowing it to directly convert energy for use by your home. The bigger your battery’s capacity, the more solar energy it can hold for later use.

If you install a solar battery as part of your solar PV system, electricity produced by your solar panels will be sent to and stored by your solar battery instead of being sent back to the local grid. Later on, when your solar panels are not producing electricity, for example during the night, your solar battery provides power for your home. To learn more about how this works, read our previous article that explains net metering in a snapshot.

Do not worry, if your solar PV system does not have a battery, you will still have power at night.

Solar batteries also provide electrical reliability. Having stored electricity produced by your solar panels for later use, should the local grid go out or experience a blackout or power outage, your solar batteries will provide your home with electricity, safeguarding your home against the outage.

Fun fact: small scale energy storage can be used to protect your home against a power outage even if you do not have a solar PV system. The same technology used in solar battery systems can be used to draw power from the grid and store it in a battery for use should your local grid experience temporary failure, keeping your home supplied with electricity during a blackout or power outage.

So the big question: Should I install solar batteries for my home?

As per our original article on solar batteries, the answer is it depends. A solar battery or solar batteries may be beneficial for your home if your home is in an area that experiences blackouts and power outages more often than usual or where electrical reliability is a concern. 

Battery backups are also important if you want to keep your home cooled during a power outage. During hurricane season, a power outage can sometimes last for hours and even days. Solar batteries will help protect you and keep your home functioning during these times. 

For example, one of our clients collected fine art and wanted a large battery system in place to ensure that in the case of a power failure, her air conditioning was kept on to ensure the art was preserved. 

Whether or not solar batteries are right for your home also depends on how your utility manages the excess power that your solar power system produces. Some utilities offer full net metering, while some only allow you to credit a certain percentage. 

There are also several situations where a solar battery can improve the economics of your solar PV system. 

As it does add an additional cost, at Ensolar, we help review all factors and take into account your specific needs and will design a solar PV system that is right for your home. Where solar battery backups are needed, we will discuss these options with you and take the various factors into account, helping you get the best solar PV system for your home.