Are solar panel batteries necessary when deciding to go solar?
Our team at Sungenia does not believe so, at least not yet.
Although solar panel batteries are a hot topic in the solar and tech industry, some of the information can be misleading to prospective solar customers. There are two main reasons why solar panel batteries are used or relied upon for a residential solar system. The first reason is to have power on-hand as a backup during a blackout or power outage, the second reason is to offset the new time of use rates.
In regards to backing up your system, one of the misleading facts companies selling solar power batteries may try to hook consumers with is that it will give the entire home power during an outage. The reality is, it depends on the size, charge, or power of the battery, and reduction of residential energy use during the outage, or period of use. This does not always work the way the sellers say it will. Providing energy to an entire house for most of the day could take enough solar panel batteries to fill up a room, which would not be cost effective or even make much sense. Today, the only realistic way to help keep power with a backup battery during an outage is to have a sub panel or essential loads panel for a select few “must-have” household items. This secondary panel for these vital household items, such as the refrigerator, would have circuit breakers connected to the solar battery which would provide a small amount of backup power for an extended amount of time in the event of an outage. For some solar battery consumers this is a great solution but it may not be a viable option for others, leading to frustration and no backup, or loss of power shortly after an outage. Unfortunately, many solar battery companies do not provide these secondary panel options nor are they explaining the additional expense that comes along with them.
The second reason solar panel batteries would be deemed helpful on a residential property would be to offset time of use rates during peak energy usage. This process would work by charging the solar battery when power usage is minimal and residents are out of the house during the day. Then drawing on the solar battery to power the household after sunset and throughout the night. These advantages sound great, but make zero financial sense with today’s battery costs. In the best-case scenario, you may recoup your battery investment around year 11 or 12. Regrettably, the battery warranty will expire in 10 years before it’s even paid off.
While solar batteries can technically help in the scenarios listed above they still have a way to go before being a no-brainer option. Most solar industry professionals can agree that, for now, a generator is the better backup power option. Solar batteries are expensive right now and would take over a decade to get back the initial investment. For those who are patient and willing to wait a few more years, solar battery technology will be more advanced, prices will drop, and it will be an optimum time to buy.
Need more information or some honest advice? Contact us! The Sungenia Solar Solutions team loves talking solar.
Sungenia’s mission is to make the solar process as simple and honest as possible, provide the best solution, and to make as many happy friends as we can.