Battery Backup for Solar Panels its Worth It
Battery backup for solar panels – is it really worth it?
Is a battery backup for solar panels really a necessity. Is it not just a wasteful luxury that you don’t need? Not a difficult question to answer! With severe storms regularly battering the East coast of the United States, the likelihood of power outages is constantly with us.
With the relentless rain causing soggy soft ground conditions, tree roots start losing their grip. So, when wind speeds start building, the chances of a powerful gust bringing a mighty tree down onto the power lines, become more and more likely. The result is the all too familiar: “Oh no! Not another power outage!”
Several days later, the story from the utility company is still the same. “Our line men are out there 24/7 working as fast as possible to restore power to your area.” Meantime you have no hot water, you can’t cook, and the heating/cooling isn’t working. Trying to get things done by candle light is a real headache. Trekking down the road with towels and a bag of clean clothes to have showers at your friends’ home is scant consolation. How come they have power restored and we don’t? No answer from the utility company to that one!
The happy solution
Fortunately, there is a great solution to all this. With a battery backup for solar panels, you have continuous power for your essential needs even during an electric grid failure. So, with an independent solar system battery backup, you can continue to enjoy electricity, even when everything around you goes dark.
What you need to know
Many people have the impression that installing solar panels on your roof means that you automatically continue receiving power when the commercial grid goes down. Unfortunately, this is not usually the case. When the grid is down it requires the utility line workers to get out and get busy repairing the problem. Naturally they cannot work if there is live current anywhere along the system, so even your house solar system needs to shut down while they are working.
Why do my solar panels need to shut down during an outage?
One can understand that the workers need to make sure that the grid is completely off while working. What does this have to do with the panels on the roof of your house? Why are they programmed to automatically shut down electricity production during a power outage?
During normal sunny daylight hours, the solar panels on your roof will continuously be generating current. In practice you won’t need all this current, so your panels will end up producing more electricity than you will use that day. Rather than let that excess power go to waste, your home system automatically feeds that extra unwanted current back into your electricity utility’s grid. Your utility company then ‘banks’ this electricity for you to use at those times when your system is not generating power, such as night time or on very overcast days.
If your solar system were allowed to continue feeding power back into the grid during a power outage, there would still be live current flowing into the grid, and the line workers would be endangered. Your system therefore automatically shuts down power production while they are working and repairing the faults caused by the storm.
Your battery backup for solar panels solves this problem
With an independent solar system battery backup, you can continue to enjoy electricity, even when everything around you goes dark. Even with the grid down, and without your panels producing current, the essential systems in your home will still remain fully powered and operational. So, with a solar power battery backup, you can have your cake and eat it! Not only are you paying far less for your electricity bills, but you can have assured power when the rest of the block is in darkness!
Installing solar backup batteries to an existing system
In the majority of installations, you can add a battery backup later to create a ‘hybrid’ solar energy system. This usually requires some extra components, including a specialized inverter plus the solar battery bank. The type of components necessary depend on the design of your existing system.
Designing a new system with a built-in battery backup
The most cost-effective installation though, is to design the system from the start.
The cost of adding batteries to your solar electric system will vary depending on the power needs you require in the event of an outage. While it is possible to run most of your home needs from a battery backup, most systems are designed to back up just your most important critical loads, such as your fridge/freezer, heating system, water pumps, lighting and security system.
Solar panels with a battery backup offer you peace of mind, knowing that even if the power goes out for days, your most critical needs for power will still be met. You can safely come back from vacation without finding a freezer full of defrosted and ruined food.
Burglars too have a field day (or night) when an outage plunges a neighborhood into darkness leaving vacant home security systems useless, unless they have a power backup system in
Advantages of a Solar Battery backup system over a backup generator.
- Silent operation: while a backup generator is extremely noisy, a battery solar energy storage is completely silent. You won’t have complaining neighbors!
- Backup starts immediately: The moment the grid goes down, your battery power automatically kicks in with no delay. With generators on the other hand, there is always a delayed start-up. This can be a real nuisance where uninterrupted power is a necessity. Medical needs, or uninterrupted internet connections will be affected.
- Compact: While Solar backup batteries require some storage space, this is typically less than that required by a generator. They also do not require the amount of clearance around them that a generator and its fuel supply needs.
- Real peace of mind: when the media start warning about impending storms, you can relax. You know that your battery backup will ensure that you are not left in the dark!