The Solar industry is a community that is grounded on disruptive technology; the technology that acts as a game changer for day-to-day life for the general population. As solar panels have become more mainstream, the next ‘big idea’ is that of energy storage – most famously, the Tesla Powerwall.
Let’s talk and break down this innovation.
First, what is solar storage? Or, what is a residential use battery?
Simply put, a residential energy storage battery system is a system where households can save energy generated from solar panels to use at times when electricity prices are high or when there is a power outage. In some cases, the residential battery allows a homeowner to be completely independent of the grid (Although, that is not the case in CA where it is illegal to not be connected to energy grid, find out why here). Tied in with each energy storage battery system is an inverter that provides automatic backup power to backed-up power loads if there are problems with the grid. With a storage system, most households allow for electricity bill savings because they charge during off-peak times when the electricity rate is low, and they discharge when rates are high. Additionally, these battery packs store energy generated from PV panels, allowing for self-consumption. The battery itself provides backup power during black-out or unstable power fluctuation times. Additionally, residential customers may be able to take advantage of the California Self-Generation Incentive Program that allow for behind-the-meter energy storage systems up to 10kW.
In other words, a battery allows you to store the energy your panels make. Instead of the excess energy being fed back into the grid, the energy is stored in your battery until you need to use the energy. Realistically, for a home to be completely free of the utility grid, one would need at least 3 battery storage packs. However, even just one battery will help offset energy usages and allow for your home to be maintained by your own energy production for a period.
Second, what is so special about the Tesla Powerwall?
Historically, Tesla has been at the leading edge of re-inventing and re-purposing power. For example, electric cars have been around for 100 years, but it was not until Tesla took it and re-purposed and re-branded the technology did electric cars move from “weird” to “wanted” and at the cutting edge of technology. The Powerwall is doing for power storage just as the Tesla electric car did for the electric car industry – making it cool, sexy and highly desirable. The high cost makes it even more desirable because it is perceived as out of reach for mainstream customers. However, what is perhaps the most important aspect of the rebranding is that now people are excited about electric cars and residential power storage in their homes. That alone is important because it highlights that we now have access to solar energy storage at home.
Third: Is Tesla Powerwall the only option?
The Tesla Powerwall is one of many solar storage solutions that are on the market. LG Chem is another leading battery manufacturer that provides homeowners with leading technology and consistent, reliable battery storage. Panasonic, GE and Samsung are all recognized brands of the dozens that currently manufacture solar storage solutions for homeowners.
At Del Sol Energy, we want to confirm that battery packs are ideal for pairing with solar PV systems. The battery pack allows homeowners to be one step closer of becoming fully independent of their utility. A solar storage solution allows you to maintain a sustained power supply during the day or night or during power disruptions. Additionally, we do not believe there is one ideal solution. There are dozens of great battery options available to consumers. Why? Because different panels demand different battery solutions. The Tesla Powerwall is a great option for some panels, but just is not compatible with all PV panels. One battery option that has withstood the test of residential battery options is the LG lithium ion RESU battery. The RESU can be used to maximize consuption of solar energy in a home and functions as a source of back-up power in the event that the grid goes down. The LG battery currently for sale in the U.S. is the RESU10H, which has usable capacity of 9.3 kWh. Additionally, LG batteries have a safety track that has been unbeatable across battery manufacturers worldwide, offering a peace of mind that has no dollar value. Like most batteries, the LG RESU works with new solar installations or retrofit to fit past installations. Just like our solar arrays are designed by a professional, the best matched battery system will also be introduced to you from one of our solar professionals to ensure that both the system you need and the storage you desire are factored into the systems we design and install for you.