For the past 15 years I’ve been skeptical about the market for grid-tied home solar systems equipped with battery backup capabilities. 15+ years ago I regularly installed solar-inverter systems with lead acid batteries. Unfortunately, these systems required much more maintenance and support than ordinary rooftop solar systems. In most cases an inexpensive gas-powered generator was sufficient for the occasional once-every-10-year power failure.
But three developments have converted me to a fan of solar combined with battery storage:
1. Over the past twelve months I’ve had three extended power outages in my suburban Silicon Valley neighborhood. Our utility is doing a lousy job of upgrading the local electric grid to keep up with the needs of electric vehicles, additional air conditioning and more electric appliances. My family is not happy with the inconvenience and expense of dealing with a lack of heat and hot water, as well as spoiled food in our freezer and fridge.
2. California (and some other states) are now offering rebates to offset the costs of a home battery storage system coupled with solar power. The rebate in California is currently $4,000 – which covers about half the cost of a typical battery storage system.
3. Finally – and most importantly – there are now complete systems designed for solar contractors that are efficient, reliable (10 year warranties) and relatively inexpensive to own and operate.
The best way for our team to understand the features, benefits, costs and reliability of commercially available battery storage systems is to install these systems in our testing lab. That way we can provide useful real-world experiences to installers, homeowners and manufacturers as these behind-the-meter battery storage systems become more popular. Please Listen Up to this week’s Energy Show on Renewable Energy World as we review the StorEdge solar + battery system from SolarEdge.