Batteries bring the promise of solar full circle by storing the excess power your panels generate during the day for use at night or during times of crisis. But batteries are not the only solution for expanding the capabilities of your solar energy system. Smart devices like demand managers can help manage your major power loads and stagger their consumption so that it aligns more efficiently with panel output. Let’s look at both models.
Battery systems for your home fall into three basic categories: emergency backup, peak demand shaving, and off-grid systems. The first two categories require dramatically less capacity and generally cost much less than a full off grid system, which must cover 100% of your power requirements throughout the day and the night.
Power outages occur more frequently as the energy grid continues to age. If you already have solar, you’re way more prepared than the average homeowner. Batteries allow you to expand your energy security around the clock.
For much less money than a full off-grid system, a battery backup system will run your most critical appliances – or a designated safe room – during grid failure.
Batteries are charged by solar panels during the day for use again the following night, repeating until grid power is restored.
Arizona utilities are moving swiftly toward demand-based rate plans that assess additional fees for the highest single hour (APS) or half hour (SRP) of energy consumed during the billing cycle. Batteries can help you avoid these fees by allowing you to pull short-term demand spikes from a battery rather than the grid.
We refer to this process as peak shaving. These types of systems are highly customized and unique to each user.
A full off-grid system needs to provide 100% of your power at any time of the day. Because power consumption is a factor of behavior, your personal lifestyle choices and behaviors can have a dramatic impact on the size and price of a full off-grid solution. In other words, if you want to continue using any appliance you want at any time of day without concern, that’s going to require a much larger and more complex solution.
Full off-grid systems generally include batteries, generators, sophisticated inverters, as well as smart home automation systems that help you better track and control your overall consumption. The size and price of a full off-grid system will vary dramatically depending on the efficiency of the home and appliances, as well as the energy consumption habits of the people who live there. If you’re curious what it would take to go off grid, contact us directly for a free evaluation.
When activated, the demand manager stabilizes your home’s overall energy consumption by carefully staggering a pre-selected list of large electric loads during peak hours.
In a sense, demand managers use time as their battery – staggering electrical consumption so that it doesn’t create costly demand spikes that occur when numerous, high-energy electric appliances cycle on at the same time in your daily energy curve. This method is particularly effective with demand-based rate plans such as the SRP E27 plan.