Power Purchase Agreement

Grid-Tied Solar Power Systems vs. Battery Storage Systems

There has been a rising interest in solar battery storage in recent years. While most homes are still tied to power grids, a solar battery would allow homeowners to move closer to being “off the grid” for good. For most, the allure of complete autonomy when it comes to electricity production and usage is very enticing. One of the biggest perks of having a solar panel system is to provide more self-sufficiency, after all, and a solar storage battery is just another step towards independence from utility companies that continue to hike electricity prices.

That is why we are going to take a look at the benefits and pitfalls of both traditional grid-tied solar power systems and solar power systems backed by battery storage.

How Does a Grid-tied Solar Power System Work?

Having a solar power system for your home gives you much more control over your electricity usage. You are able to harness the power of the sun and convert it into usable energy, majorly cutting back on utility expenses. But will solar panels produce enough power for your home? What about those times when the sun doesn’t shine through the clouds or a stormy day hampers energy production? For most homeowners, the solution is being tied to a power grid. For any energy demands they have that their solar production doesn’t cover, they will start pulling from the power grid instead.

Even though homeowners essentially have to “buy” energy during these times, they often have credits to cover the expenses. This means that during evening hours without sunlight, cloudier days, or other circumstances, homeowners can still ensure their electricity needs are covered — and still benefit from previous over-production of electricity needs. In some states, homeowners can even earn money for any additional electricity their panels have produced that they don’t use from the grid. There is also great assurance knowing that there will always be some source of power to pull from should a home’s solar panels not provide the electricity needed.  

As states continue to adopt models for charging solar panel customers, power companies stand to benefit the most from having customers still tied to the grid. This also means that the threat of facing time-of-use rates and other spikes in utility costs is still very real for homeowners with a grid-tied solar power system.

How Does a Battery Storage Solar Power System Work?

In theory, a solar power system that has a solar storage battery could be completely grid-free. That means homeowners have ultimate control over their electricity needs. They don’t have to worry about using credits to cover additional energy demands during low production hours, time-of-use rates, or other challenges that come with a regular grid-tied system.

Battery technology isn’t new, but using batteries for home solar power storage is still not widespread yet. However, the interest in energy storage is growing greatly. As products continue to be developed, the efficiency and storage capacity of these batteries will continue to improve. However, some home electricity demands would still exceed the storage capacity of a solar battery. If you tried to go completely “off the grid,” you could be left without power once you depleted your backup resource until the sun comes back out.  

Why a Hybrid System Is Gaining Popularity

It is clear that both a grid-tied system and battery-backed system boast plenty of perks – and challenges alike. Instead of weighing the pros and cons to the point of pulling out your hair, consider an alternative solution: a hybrid system.

A hybrid solar power system can include the pros of both sides, while essentially eliminating the cons. A home can have the perks of being tied to the grid for any energy needs they have once they’ve used up their solar panel production and battery storage. Homeowners have the ability to draw electricity from both their local power grid, as well as from their home solar batteries. They can choose to invest in more solar batteries for more independence overtime or simply get one for backup purposes.

Having a hybrid system also gives homeowners more flexibility and control. They may choose to reserve their solar power storage for emergency usage only, after the sun goes down, or as backup in case electricity prices surge during certain hours of the day.

Combining a grid-tied system and battery system allows for a consistent and more controlled flow of energy throughout the day and night for homeowners.

When is a hybrid system the most desirable? For homeowners who live in an area without favorable compensation rates for excess electricity produced by solar panels, having a hybrid system can be crucial. Rather than simply sending excess electricity to the grid at a low rate, a homeowner can save some of that valuable electricity for future use, only sending what they don’t use or store.

How California’s Net Metering Policy Has Changed

Homeowners who live in California may be even more inclined to consider a hybrid solar power system. Net Metering 2.0 (NEM 2.0) is an update to California’s original policy on net metering, now including time-of-use rates, non-bypassable charges, and some additional fees. The estimated additional cost will jump up to around $10/month for an average homeowner. The time-of-use rates will be the biggest adjustment for many homeowners, which will adjust the credit given for solar electricity depending on the time of day it was produced. Typically, any excess electricity that is sent back to the grid during higher demand or peak hours will be given more credit. Overall, the policy is still favorable for homeowners, but having a solar battery to store excess electricity can provide more flexibility to bypass lower time-of-use rates and send by electricity during those peak value hours.

Whether you are considering completely disconnecting from your local power grid with solar storage batteries or just want to create the most efficient home solar power system, talk to Semper Solaris about your battery options today.

 

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