Solar Battery Systems: Energy Storage Explained

Are you worried about being left in the dark with no electricity during an outage?


Home and business owners who make their own energy from the sun and store it in a solar battery, do not have to rely solely on an increasingly unstable conventional grid. With a solar battery system, you can store solar energy for use at night, during an outage, or to avoid peak demand charges. This means, when the grid power goes out, your lights and refrigerator can stay on and you will still be able to charge your cell phone or laptop. Depending upon the size of the solar battery storage system, your settings, and several other factors, you may be able to store enough electricity to power your entire home or business for a limited period of time.


How a Home Solar Battery Works with a PV System


When the sun rises, solar begins powering the home. When additional power is required within the home, the home can then pull from the utility grid. The battery system charges by solar during the day, when solar panels are producing more electricity than the home is consuming. The solar battery system then stores that energy until the home needs it, such as when solar is no longer producing at night, or when the utility grid is offline during a power outage.


The backup battery system can detect an outage, disconnect from the grid, and automatically restore power to your home in a fraction of a second. You will not even notice that the power went out, your lights and appliances will continue to run without interruption. If you have solar and a solar battery backup, then solar energy will continue to power your home and recharge the battery. Without a solar battery, solar will shut down during an outage. If more solar energy is being produced than can be used or stored during an outage, the battery system can turn off the solar system and turn it back on when the energy can be used again.

Most systems also have a gateway, which functions as the brains of the system. You do not have to worry about fumbling around your garage in the dark during a power outage to switch to battery power, the gateway will take care of that for you. The solar battery storage system feeds a critical load electrical panel, which contains the circuits you want to power during an outage.


If the power goes out, will my energy storage system power my entire home/business?


No, solar battery systems will not power your entire home or business for an unlimited amount of time. Very similar to a backup generator that runs on gas, you determine how many appliances you’ll want to power in your home. We will help you determine which circuits in your home or business should be powered. These will likely include a furnace, refrigerator, lighting, and some kitchen circuits – enough so that you could comfortably live in your home during an extended electric grid outage after a major storm. The battery storage can recharge from the solar system during an outage and we will help size the two to best meet your needs.

Reduce Loads


Lowering energy use during an outage will extend the amount of time your battery will be able to provide power. The best way to do this is to limit the use of non-essential or energy-intensive appliances like air conditioners, electric heaters, and pool pumps.



Long Island Residential Customers


One benefit of battery systems is to release energy generated by solar panels or (purchased from the grid at off-peak times) - then released during peak energy hours. On Long Island, our residential rate code 180 and similar rate codes are billed at the same cost/kWh regardless of the time of day. This means we pay the same cost for power no matter what time we are purchasing it. A touted benefit of battery systems is to release power from the battery when energy costs are high and charge when they are low. Most residential customers will not see this benefit on Long Island.


Incentives


Battery systems can qualify for the Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) when it is installed on an existing or new solar system and is charged 100% with solar energy. It does not qualify when it is installed without solar or if solar is installed after. The ITC can take 26% off the cost of a solar battery system! You should always consult with your tax professional about your situation.


Energy storage can also earn you payments from your electric utility, LIPA, when the demand on the grid is the greatest. These high demand times are known as peak demand times. LIPA’s DLM program will pay you to reduce your electric demand during these peak demand times, which occur a few times a year. Rather than curtailing or lowering your energy use during peak demand times, the energy storage system can allow your home or business to continue operating as usual without any impact.


When pairing solar and storage, Long Island residents can access an installation incentive for the energy storage component of the system and participate in the Long Island Power Authority’s (LIPA) Dynamic Load Management (DLM) program. To receive the energy storage installation incentive, you must work with a participating NY-Sun contractor to install a new system. Your participating contractor will apply for the energy storage incentive on your behalf. Our customers receive up to $6,250 from this program!

Interested in solar battery storage for your home or business? Contact our professionals to get started!


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97 North Sea Road Suite 3, Southampton, NY 11968