Solar battery storage that allows you to go off the grid is available but is rarely cost-effective. Learn more about what to expect.
The Future is Powered by Solar Panels
Once you have solar panels installed on your home, and see your meter run backward, it’s a beautiful thing.
If you’re like me, you start to think about going off the grid completely. The thought of going off the grid is so attractive, there’s even a television show, cleverly called “Building Off the Grid” that chronicles the adventures of people who do just that.
Of course, when I think of going off the grid with my solar panel installation, I’m not thinking about living in a remote area with no power. I’m thinking of ways to be energy independent in my comfortable home in my neighborhood. And of not having to suffer through the loss of power after the next major storm or winter power outage.
Utilizing Batteries to Store Solar Energy
All this ruminating led me to wonder exactly what going off the grid really means. It’s easy to think that installing solar panels will instantly take your house off the grid. However, solar panel systems by themselves can’t deliver all the solar power your home needs at all hours of the day. After all, your solar panels can’t work at night. However, this doesn’t mean your system can’t generate enough power. Most likely, it does. Just not all the time.
Now that solar panel technology is so advanced and much more efficient than it used to be, the issue with going off the grid isn’t energy generation but rather energy storage. That’s why most people with solar power take advantage of net metering programs in their area. When you generate more energy than you use, you can feed that excess energy back into the grid and get credit for it on your power bill. You then can use those credits during the times when your solar panels are not producing energy.
According to POWERHOME Solar, one of the fastest-growing solar companies in the U.S., most people choose to switch to solar power so that they can reduce their reliance on the power company and insulate themselves from spiking energy costs. However, going off the grid is possible if you add a sizable battery storage option to your solar system.
The thing is, buying multiple batteries for your system is rarely cost-effective. If you live in an area where you can stay connected to your utility and take advantage of net metering, that is probably your best bet.
Power Outage Solutions
But what about power outages, right? If you’ve ever lived through a major storm or winter power outage, you know what it’s like to go without power for sometimes days on end. For these instances, there is a solution. POWERHOME suggests a battery option that can power three critical loads for up to a 24-hour period. You won’t be able to power your HVAC system, but you can keep your refrigerator going, charge your electronics, and run a space heater. Or alternatively, you can choose to power your microwave or other outlets in the kitchen and make coffee.
When you need it, switching to your battery backup system is easy. In fact, you don’t have to do anything. Once the system detects an outage, your power sources automatically transfer to use the energy stored in your battery. Though limited in scope, a battery can save you the cost of replacing the food in your refrigerator and make life a little more comfortable during an outage. And most battery solutions are expandable, so that in the future, you can add more storage capacity to it or use the battery in capacities beyond outages.