How Do Solar Batteries Work and Why Do I Need One?

A Fortress Power solar battery

Solar batteries can make the difference between having and not having power during the harsh weather.

In recent years, climate change has led to an increase in weather-related disasters. Millions of people across the globe have been affected by extreme weather conditions such as heat waves, heavy downpours, severe floods and droughts, increased wildfire activity and rising sea levels.

These extreme weather events often result in power outages, leading homeowners to find ways to protect against blackouts, such as solar or photovoltaic (PV) systems.

If you are among these homeowners, there are a few factors to consider before you install a PV system:

1. Utility rules

Utility rules mandate that solar arrays must automatically shut down during a power outage. PV systems have detectors that sense whether power is coming across the grid. When grid power goes down, the PV system shuts off as well to protect utility workers.

Loss of power during a blackout can be avoided by adding a solar battery to your PV system. When the grid is down, the PV + solar battery storage system is activated, essentially becoming an off-grid system that produces electricity during an outage. During the day, the solar energy will power the electrical load of the home and store excess power in the battery for the evening. With a grid-tied solar system backed up by a solar battery bank, you will have the certainty that the grid provides even during an outage.

2. Financial Benefits

There are several financial benefits to adding solar battery storage to your PV system. Depending on where you reside, you may be subject to time-of-use rates. Time-of-use is a rate structure in which electricity costs vary according to the time of day, season, and day type (weekday or weekend).

Rates are higher during the peak demand hours and lower during off-peak demand hours. A solar battery can be used to reduce electricity costs by charging the battery during off-peak times and using the battery storage to power the electrical load of the home during peak hours.

Net-metering is a utility billing structure available in most states that offers credit to customers who are making excess electricity with their PV systems.

If you live in a state where net-metering is allowed and are not subject to time-of-use rates, your battery storage will allow you to sell the excess power back to the grid after the battery is fully charged. Lower your costs further by selling excess energy to the grid and by utilizing the battery during peak hours.

Go green with Fortress Power

Battery storage works with or without solar panels. If the battery is connected to a PV system, however, you may be eligible for a 30% investment tax credit (ITC) and the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) depreciation deduction. The 30% investment credit will be reduced to 22% in 2020 and drop to 10% in 2022. You can find more information on tax credits here.

In order to keep the planet livable for future generations, we have to decrease carbon emissions to limit the temperature increase. Renewable forms of energy, like solar power, will help us achieve this goal. Let’s go green!

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