A battery without a renewable source like solar energy may be able to provide your home with enough power for one day, depending on how much you are using during an outage. However, unless you have it connected to solar, you won’t be able to recharge it, much the same way a traditional generator will run out of gas.
Similarly, a solar system without a battery will not be able to provide you with power during an outage, because it would be dangerous for workers repairing the utility power lines to have power from the solar system running through them. However, if you have solar and a battery (or two), and a power outage occurs, the system will automatically become a microgrid, and provide power to your emergency circuit breakers. During a daytime power outage, the battery backup and solar will provide almost unlimited power to the emergency circuit breakers. If the power outage continues into the evening hours, then the battery would provide minimal power to the house. If the outage continues into the next day, then the process would repeat.
Since you cannot charge your battery with electricity from the grid while the power’s out, the electricity being generated from your solar panels is fed directly into your battery until it is fully charged again. This will occur each day, so even if you are experiencing a week-long power outage, you still will have as much energy available as your panels will generate and batteries will store.
Outages can come not just from scheduled maintenance and utility equipment failures, but from earthquakes, cyber attacks and other types of accidents involving transformers or other components.
Here are some reasons to consider a home battery backup:
- Heat would not be tolerated well by the occupants or pets if an outage were to occur during hot months.
- One or more occupants has medicine that must be kept refrigerated.
- One or more occupants has medical equipment that relies on electricity.
- One or more occupants needs access to a charged phone and/or home computer for work or to stay in touch with family and friends.
- One or both want to enjoy the peace-of-mind that comes from knowing there will be minimal interruption in the event of a brownout, blackout or prolonged outage.
If you decide to move forward with a battery to add to an existing system, or you make plans for one at the same time as you’re finalizing your new system, you’ll be asked to identify those items that would need access to electricity should the power go out. You may choose to power your refrigerator, a bathroom and then a couple of bedrooms with window units that could be used if the blackout occurred during the summer. Some homeowners may also have unique needs like a wine cooler.
If you decide you want your whole home functional in the event of a blackout, two or three batteries may be needed in order to store up and generate enough power in the evening, when your solar isn’t producing electricity, depending on the size of your home.
Generally, if you install both solar and a battery during the same year, you will enjoy a 30% federal tax credit. For the battery, there is also an additional rebate from Southern California Edison.
An experienced local installer like Renova can evaluate your home for a solar system and battery and make recommendations for the correct size and capacity. As an Elite SunPower Dealer and a Certified Installer for the Tesla Powerwall 2 and Sonnen batteries, Renova will help ensure you enjoy peace of mind, knowing your family and pets are protected.