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Solar Battery – Tesla Powerwall, Enphase Encharge
The market for home energy storage options like the Tesla Powerwall has taken off in recent years, and costs are falling quickly. Many homeowners and businesses are thinking about adding a battery backup to their solar panel system.
The benefits of a home battery can be big, especially if you have solar: you can use more solar energy onsite, or save it to use as backup power in the event that the grid goes down. If you have time-of-use (TOU) rates for your electricity or pay monthly demand charges, you can even save money by using power from your battery when rates are high.
How difficult is it to add a backup battery to your solar panel system?
The level of difficulty associated with adding a battery depends on whether your solar panel system was designed with the intention of adding energy storage later on.
If you have a “storage ready” solar system, you already have an inverter that can easily integrate a battery into your solar panel system. In this situation, a battery is relatively simple to install, and the installation process won’t require much additional equipment.
If your solar panel system was not originally designed with the ability to add storage later, the installation will be slightly more complicated. In this scenario, you have two options: an “AC coupled” solution, or an inverter replacement.
AC coupled solution
If you choose an alternating current (AC) coupled solution, your battery is installed with a separate inverter that is integrated into your home’s energy system.
If you install an AC coupled solution, you can keep your solar system’s existing inverter, which can save money up front. You can also be more flexible in terms of the size of your battery, relative to your solar panel system. However, choosing an AC coupled solution does result in some efficiency loss over time.
Most buildings use AC power, but your solar panel system produces electricity in direct current (DC) power. When your solar system’s inverter converts the DC power to useful AC power, there is a small amount of electricity that is lost in the conversion process. If you install an AC coupled battery backup system, there are additional conversion steps. As a result, AC coupled systems are less efficient than systems with a single inverter.
Some batteries, like the Tesla Powerwall 2, come with a built-in inverter that can be installed alongside your existing solar inverter. They also fall into the category of an AC coupled solution.
Inverter replacement/DC coupled solution
The alternative to an AC coupled solution is to replace your existing solar inverter with one that works with your battery. String inverters need to be replaced every 10 years or so, so if you have a solar panel system that’s at least five years old, you may want to think about swapping your existing inverter for an all-in-one option like the Pika Energy Islanding inverter.
The primary benefit of a DC coupled solution is that your system will be more efficient – that is, it will lose less of the energy your solar panels produce during the conversion process. However, this option will be more expensive up front. Replacing your inverter to accommodate a battery can result in additional costs associated with system redesign and rewiring.
What solar batteries are compatible with your panels?
While there are some exceptions to the rule, most solar batteries designed for small-scale use are compatible with existing solar panel systems. The battery that you choose for your home or business depends on your reason for installing an energy storage system.
Most batteries cannot take your home fully off the grid to the point where you sever your connection with your utility – they simply don’t offer enough storage to power your home for days on end in the event of an extended bout of cloudy, rainy, or snowy weather. If you want to go off grid with solar, you’ll need much more storage capacity than a Tesla Powerwall or similar solar battery can provide.
If your utility has TOU rates or demand charges, and your goal is to reduce grid electricity consumption when rates are high, you can choose a battery like the Enphase storage system.
Every energy storage project is different. If you are interested in adding a backup battery to your existing solar panel system, make sure to share the specifics of your system, your electricity use, and your storage objectives with your installer to determine what kind of system is the best fit for your home.
How much does the installation labor cost for a backup battery?
Adding a battery to your solar panel system is a relatively simple process in terms of installation. You can think of installing a battery as more of an electrical project, rather a roofing project.
When your solar panel system was installed, the company brought in an installation crew to work on your roof. By comparison, batteries are installed on the ground, usually in a garage or similar structure. Fewer people are required to complete the installation, and the logistics of the project are simpler (your installer won’t have to climb up on the roof!). Both of these factors reduce installation costs.
Assuming that your solar panel system is in good working order and there are no major upgrades to be made, the labor cost to add a battery shouldn’t be more than a thousand dollars (this depends on the hourly cost of an electrician in your area). If you are also replacing your inverter as part of the installation, the job will take longer and cost more.
Who should you contact if your installer doesn’t install storage?
Energy storage is growing in popularity, but it still isn’t as common today as solar. Many, but not all, solar installers will install batteries. If you contact your installer and are told that they don’t offer energy storage, you have a few options:
- Ask your installer for a recommendation. Chances are good that you aren’t the first customer who has asked your installer about storage. They are the first place you should go to find out about other companies that offer storage options in your area.
- Seek referrals from friends, family, or neighbors. Referrals are one of the most common ways that property owners find an installer for a solar panel system. If you know anybody else who has installed solar (or even better, has installed a battery), ask them for their recommendation. Even if your installer doesn’t offer energy storage, somebody else’s installer will!
- Find an installer through battery manufacturers’ networks. If you know what type of solar battery you want, you can often go directly to the manufacturer and ask them to help you find an installer. Most battery manufacturers for home storage systems have their own network of installers that are trained to work with their equipment.
Solar Battery – Tesla Powerwall, Enphase Battery, LG Chem
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Battery Back-up Systems
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What incentives are available for installing solar batteries?
30% Solar Tax Credit
The Solar Investment Tax Credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in federal income tax for anyone who purchases solar panels for their home or business. The amount credited is equal to 30% of the purchase price of your solar system thru the end of 2033.
The ITC is a program meant to promote solar power and reduce the use of fossil fuels. It allows solar customers to get a dollar for dollar reduction of their taxes in the amount of 30% of the total cost of their solar installation. For example, if you purchase a $20,000 solar system, the government will pay for $6,000 of it by reducing what you owe in taxes. Might seem too good to be true, but it’s been in use for many years and nearly everyone qualifies. You just need enough tax liability to qualify, and you can either pay for your system with cash or finance it with our amazing 0.99% APR loan packages.
SGIP (Self-Generation Incentive Program)
The Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) is a California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) program that offers rebates for installing energy storage technology in your home. These storage technologies include battery storage systems that can function in the event of a power outage.
Most residential customers are eligible for a General Market SGIP rebate of
approximately $250/kilowatt-hour, which means
the rebate covers approximately 25 percent of the
cost of an average energy storage system.
30% Solar Tax Credit
You can get 30% off your solar system, your battery backup system, any electrical work needed to install the system and roof replacement costs when you do the work at the same time as your solar installation.
SGIP (Self-Generation Incentive Program)
The SGIP offers $250 for every kW of solar battery storage. This is typically enough to pay for roughly 25% of the cost of a typical energy storage system. Combined with the FITC, that’s over 50% savings on solar batteries!
The Best Solar Battery Backup Systems
SOLAR BATTERY STORAGE
50%+ OFF ENERGY STORAGE!
While having solar panels is a great way to break fear from the grip of utility companies – including the rising cost of electricity – solar battery storage takes it to the next level by filling in the gaps. When your solar panels aren’t producing energy, such as during the night or cloudy days, having a storage of solar energy means you can draw upon that first before having to draw from the grid.
In the long run, solar storage batteries help:
- Maximize your solar investment
- Make your entire home solar system much more self-sufficient
- Provide an added layer of back up in power outages
- With Time-of-Use rates continue to spike, especially for peak use hours likr the evening when you are home from work, having more control over your energy expenses is crucial.
- You can give yourself more flexibility and less dependence on the grid and local utility companies that are only concerned with making an extra buck.
If you are are interested in learning more about installing a solar battery to improve your energy storage and return on solar, reach out to SolarGuru Energy now. We can explain how SolarGuru Energy is designed to optimize your investment in a solar panel system, as well as your financial return.
SGIP (Self-Generation Incentive Program)
The Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) is a California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) program that offers rebates for installing energy storage technology in your home. These storage technologies include battery storage systems that can function in the event of a power outage
Am I eligible for SGIP rebates?
Any residential customer of Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), Southern California Gas Company
(SoCalGas), or San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) is eligible for a General Market SGIP rebate of approximately $250/kilowatt-hour, which means the rebate covers approximately 25 percent of the cost of an average energy storage system. In addition to this General Market rebate, there are
two additional categories of higher SGIP rebates for residential customers: Equity and Equity Resiliency
What are the benefits of energy storage for your home?
• If you already have solar panels on your roof, you can store excess solar energy and use it when the sun is not out.
• Even if you do not have solar panels, this technology allows you to store energy from the electric grid and utilize that power in the event
of a power outage. Depending on the battery and how much you are using it, this could last several hours, or longer.
• Battery storage can be an important component of a more robust emergency preparedness plan in the event of a power outage.
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