What is Solar + Storage?
Solar energy storage for both homes and businesses has become a popular topic in renewable energy recently. While solar power has become a common topic amongst home and business owners, not as many are familiar with energy storage. So we at Greentech Renewables wanted to provide an overview of how solar + storage systems work. While the concept of using solar panels to charge batteries is not new, recent advancements in technology give solar pv system owners many different storage options. Some, that were previously not thought possible! The task of choosing which solar and storage option is right for you or your customers may seem daunting, so it is important to understand what solar pv storage is, and what it can do for you.
A solar pv system with storage added operates in a very similar way to a standard solar array. The panels collect sunlight and convert it into electricity. However, in a system with storage included, that electricity generated on the roof (or in solar fields) passes through a specialized inverter that is able to both charge the battery as well as power the home- all with solar energy. That energy can be used in many different ways. The specialized solar+battery inverters allow system owners to monitor electric production of the solar array, current charge levels of the battery, as well as real-time electric usage of their home/business. Using this information they are also able to program and manage at what points the solar powers the battery and the home. A common application is charging the battery via solar to full capacity in the morning, once charged the solar would power the home, and once the sun sets for the day the battery would then power the home- avoiding as much utility usage as possible and allowing a home to operate almost completely from renewable energy. Another common application is simply charging the battery and letting it remain fully charged in case of a power outage.
The reasons why a property owner may add storage to their PV system are similar to the many reasons why people go solar in the first place, but with even more added benefit. The most obvious reason is for peace of mind during power outages. Without a storage system installed, even homes with solar power will be out of power when the grid is down. If you reside in an area with an unreliable grid, or strong storms are common, solar plus storage can provide you the peace of mind knowing you will always have power when it matters most. In addition to powering your home when the grid is down, some individuals are in a situation that will allow them to make money off of the electricity stored in their battery. In areas where “Time of Use” billing is common (where electric rates change throughout the day), a solar plus storage system owner could charge their battery with solar, and then export unneeded electricity to the grid when the utility electric rate is at its highest. While this would require some planning and understanding of your electric usage and utility bill, a savvy homeowner can make themselves a bit of extra money. Of course, many people simply want to reduce their carbon footprint as much as possible, or move towards a lifestyle that does not rely on grid electricity at all. The truth is, these are just a few of the many reasons to go solar with storage. Naturally different products meet different needs, so contact your local Greentech Renewables rep or favorite installer to find out what options are best for you.
While each storage product may have its own specific requirements, it is most often possible to include storage at any facility where solar PV is currently, or capable of being installed. Solar and storage is not limited to homes, it can be installed in commercial properties, houses of worship, remote facilities such as barns, docks, cell towers, etc. Some individuals may even choose to have a storage system installed in their home without a solar pv system. The specific location of the storage unit from site to site can vary greatly, but it is typically best practice to choose an indoor location with climate control.
In the past solar storage has typically been reserved for off-grid applications on remote properties like cabins, and RVs and Boats. In the past few years many products have been made available to home and business owners that allow them to locally store the energy their solar system produces and use it how they see fit. If you think that solar storage may be a perfect fit for you, it very well could be and is possible today.
The general concept of solar and storage is not very complex, but the various options available and details of each application can vary greatly. Choosing to install storage with a solar pv system can be a difficult decision, so it is best to rely on experts such as your local solar installer or Greentech Renewables, where you can get the most up to date information on the many solar pv storage options available to you today.