Energy resilience, which includes the ability for a structure to access power during a blackout, is on a lot of consumers’ minds these days. As our energy infrastructure strains to meet growing demand and suffers from increasingly damaging natural disasters, it makes sense to look for better solutions. For decades, consumers have turned to solar energy to power their homes and buildings, but today’s innovative solar-plus-storage systems offer greater benefits than ever before.
For consumers who want to produce and use solar energy, the biggest value comes with the ability to store that energy, whether for immediate or future use. The solar-plus-storage model allows them to store excess energy in batteries to call upon when needed, rather than selling it back to utility companies. Consumers seeking to “cut the cord” from utility companies often invest in solar-plus-storage technology to significantly reduce energy costs. But that’s not the only benefit that battery storage provides.
Increased Energy Resilience
Concerns about energy resilience run the gamut from simply wanting to maintain the comfort and functionality of your home or other building to needing uninterrupted power flow to maintain medical devices or other life-saving systems. The simplest and most environmentally-friendly way to achieve greater energy resilience is to invest in a solar-plus-storage system including both a solar array and battery storage.
As EnergySage notes, “pairing your solar panel array with battery storage is an effective resiliency measure that can provide you with backup power and off-grid generation when the electrical grid isn’t operational. This type of setup is often called a hybrid solar system as it can both utilize the electric grid and its own microgrid structure with the addition of a solar battery.” A hybrid system, for those who don’t want to cut the cord from their utility company, allows consumers to access the grid or rely on their own solar-plus-storage system when needed.
Storing your excess energy gives you the ability to access backup power in the event of a blackout and keep your building systems operational for a limited amount of time. The size of your battery storage installation will be dependent on the size of the building and its energy needs. Often, smart inverters will allow consumers to prioritize which systems receive power in the event of a prolonged grid blackout.
In addition to providing energy resilience through backup power capabilities, solar-plus-storage systems can help consumers save money by avoiding time-of-use rates. Utility companies across the country are initiating new payment structures that include higher rates for electricity consumed at certain times (often in the late afternoon and evening when demand is highest). Solar adopters who store excess power in batteries can draw on that power during higher time-of-use periods in order to lower their electricity costs.
This process, called peak shaving, stores energy in batteries during lower time-of-use periods and deploys it at times when rates are highest, allowing consumers to avoid higher fees altogether. This can create major savings for commercial facilities and even homes in which there is significant power use during peak times. To better understand this process, take a look at the “duck curve,” a graph of power production over the course of a day that highlights the timing imbalance between peak power usage and solar power production. As more and more utilities embrace time-of-use rates, consumers will find that solar-plus-storage systems are a great way to lower their energy costs.
Is Solar-Plus-Storage Right for You?
If you live in an area of the country that suffers from blackouts or natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, or flooding, a solar-plus-storage system is one of the simplest ways to provide energy resilience. Additionally, if you want to save money through avoiding time-of-use rates, solar arrays paired with battery storage will serve you well.
At Solar Design Studio, we consider each consumer’s needs and priorities to design a system that makes sense for them and provides the greatest possible value. If you’d like to experience the benefits of a solar-plus-storage system, reach out to us today!