Going solar had been on the Beverage family's home improvement list for years. After they received initial solar proposals with systems that would only power their house for as long as the sun was up, they determined batteries had to be in their mix. They didn't want their excess solar energy going back to the grid. Rather, they wanted to store that clean and affordable energy for use even after the sun went down.
The Beverage family also wanted a faster payback for their initial investment, which increased their interest in energy storage. Batteries for storing excess solar energy would allow the family to continue using solar energy after the sun goes down, further reducing their reliance on their local utility. This made their initial investment much more practical.
"As we worked the numbers, we learned we could make an up-front investment to begin collecting and storing solar energy with batteries," Bill Beverage said. "By using 'solar' energy at night after the sun goes down, and after amortization of the up-front investment, we realized we would end up using very little power from the grid. We were in!"
For any major construction project, selecting the right partners is a critical step that can have a lasting impact - good or bad. After a lot of exploration that included online research into reputation and credentials for several leading Arizona solar installers, Beverage received a referral from a family friend, and Sun Valley Solar Solutions made the final cut.
"Our friend told us Sun Valley Solar had done right by them, so we decided to give them a call," stated Beverage. "We also called another company recommended by our son just to have at least one data point to compare our quote with. Sun Valley Solar impressed us by being very professional and knowledgable, so we went with them."
Beverage worked with his solar integrator and received a design that projected to offset 85% of his yearly energy usage, resulting in annual savings of over $3,600. With the addition of battery storage, Beverage also enjoyed peace of mind knowing he would be using solar energy well past the setting of the sun. In addition, he also had a viable power backup source in the event of a grid outage.
It's been a few weeks since the Beverage family's new solar energy system went online, and the savings have already been felt. In his first month of operation, Beverage paid just $37.94 to his local utility. That's a savings of nearly $300 in the first month alone.
"Although we activated our system during the time of year when we have the shortest days, with our batteries we continue to use solar power for most of the night," Beverage said. "We only used 163 kWh, net of 221 kWh sold to our utility, of grid power the first full month of using our solar panels. The batteries make the system work to get your payback of the investment as quickly as possible."
With their two Tesla Powerwall batteries, the Beverage family has access to a total of 27 kilowatt hours of stored solar energy that they can access any time of the day - sun up or down. In addition to using solar energy at night, the Beverages can also count on stored energy if and when the grid goes down. In short, they're now owners of their own 24/7 clean power plant.
In its first year of operation, the Beverage's solar energy system will offset the equivalent of more than 48,000 miles drive in the average car, or more than 21,000 pounds of coal burned.* Going solar not only marks this big goal off of the Beverage's list, but also allows them to save some green while helping the planet.
*According to the EPA Green House Gas Equivalencies Calculator.