Solar + Battery = Energy Savings

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Whether you’ve already gone solar or just started shopping, you may have heard about home battery storage. Adding battery storage is still fairly new, but the technology is rapidly advancing and will only become more integral to the solar experience. Expect to see more in the future as customers share how they’re saving on their energy bills and taking advantage of current incentives.

Adding a battery to your solar system can be a benefit, especially if you:

  • experience occasional-to-frequent power outages,

  • have important home essentials that needs power on all the time,

  • want to reduce your dependence on your utility and energy costs, or

  • want the benefit of keeping the lights on when solar-only homes must shut down for grid-safety.

How does adding a battery help reduce your energy bill?

During the day, the battery holds the excess solar energy your system produces. Since the peak time for collecting solar energy occur during the daylight hours when most people are at work or away from home, the battery lets you use that energy later during typically costlier rates on “time of use” (TOU) schedules. By using the stored solar energy during the higher rate times, people using solar with storage save on their energy bills. This process is sometimes referred to as “TOU rate arbitrage”.

Power outage? No problem.

In a power outage, a properly-sized battery added to your solar system allows for reasonable usage such as electronics, lights, refrigerator, and can keep your water running if you have a well. It’s important to realize that battery systems are intended to supplement, powering just the essentials in a household or a business during an outage. However, large appliances that draw a lot of current, such as air conditioners and washer/dryers, won’t effectively be powered by a battery backup.

Do battery backups qualify for tax incentives and other programs?

Savvy solar shoppers know there are tax incentives currently in place for going solar. Batteries *on their own* don’t qualify for the best known incentive, the Investment Tax Credit (ITC). If a battery backup system is installed with a solar system and used to store renewable energy, a portion of its cost may qualify for the ITC. Through December 31, 2019, the ITC gives you a tax credit of 30% of the cost for residential solar systems. Other programs, such as California’s Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) may help offset some of your backup battery costs. Check with your financial adviser to find out how the ITC applies to you.

If you still have questions about battery backup and storage, let us know! We’d be happy to We’ll review your unique energy usage and storage needs, and make our best recommendations to you.