You heard about it already – Texas and other parts of the Midwest went through an iced-over hell, with brutal storms and temperatures dropping well below zero. Many power grids were not prepared for this unprecedented weather, and residents went without power and heat for hours and even days. Increased weather extremes like this are predicted to continue(add winter storm Xylia), and get worse, as the effects of climate change become harder to ignore.
There’s been plenty of heated debate surrounding what happened in Texas, but everyone’s end goal is to keep the power on. The truth is that there isn’t one energy source to blame, and there’s no single energy source that will prevent these issues in the future. But there are solutions to the power puzzle. We can lighten the demand we place on regional power grids with solutions like battery storage. Doing so improves power reliability, and gives the individual homeowner more security, control, and financial benefit.
Improving Power Reliability During Outages
The main reason for the power grid overload that Texans saw is that the grid was unable to meet the unprecedented energy demand. Conventional power stations are centralized and transmit electric energy over long distances, but more and more homeowners are generating their own energy with residential solar, which provides them and the grid with options to improve power reliability.
Solar panels withstand extreme cold weather, but panels connected to conventional grids (the same grid relying on large-scale power stations) will still shut down in the event of blackouts or power outages. That’s where battery storage comes into play. Homeowners who generate their own energy can benefit from energy storage. Charging batteries with the excess energy produced allows you to store the energy and maximizes your ability to use clean solar power throughout the day, at night, and during power outages and blackouts.
Energy storage also puts less strain on the power grid, which helps everyone. Solar storage systems can also work as Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) and connect with other DERs in localized microgrids, which can help local communities gain resiliency in the face of larger power grid failures.
Benefits of Coupling NEM with Solar Storage
Homeowners with solar generating capacity may see higher return on their investment by adding on energy storage, which allows them to take control over their power to a greater degree than they could with solar panels alone.
In most states, including California, homeowners take advantage of Net Energy Metering (NEM) if they are generating their own electricity. If you already have solar panels, you’re probably well aware of the way credits with NEM lower your utility costs. In certain cases, when NEM is paired with solar storage, homeowners are able to see even greater credit, as the battery is able to store energy in the day when price rates are low and discharge back to the grid when energy price rates are higher.
To get the most out of a battery storage system, you should take a close look at your energy usage, solar generating capability, and your home’s energy load profile. Talk to a professional to make sure you’re doing the math right. Solar battery technology is continuing to develop, and there are a few things to consider if you would like to add storage to your solar system, like the battery’s capacity and power ratings, its depth of discharge (DoD), the round-trip efficiency, battery life and warranty, and the bankability of the manufacturer. Many well-known companies are coming out with storage solutions, but both functionality and cost range wildly.
Who Should You Talk To?
It’s clear that solar storage is a key piece in the power puzzle, with the potential to improve power security, lighten the power grid’s load, and provide homeowners with more control and financial benefit. But it is possible that you could benefit more from solar panels alone, without storage. It’s important to talk to the right experts so a pushy sales rep doesn’t try and talk you into something you don’t actually need.
We encourage you to do your own research, and when you’re ready, we can help point you in the right direction. At Energy Service Partners (ESP), we pride ourselves on the relationships we develop between sales staff, solar engineering experts, financial lenders, and contractors. We make it our end goal to keep homeowners satisfied with their solar systems and the financial and environmental benefits those systems afford. Learn more about solar storage or about becoming an authorized dealer with ESP today!