One of the biggest advantages of solar energy in many people’s minds is energy independence. Besides saving money, they imagine generating their own energy on site insulates them from blackouts and other problems with the grid.
Nice thought. Too bad it’s wrong.
Wrong, that is, if you have a grid-tied solar panel system without battery backup.
While there are many advantages to grid-tied solar, having electricity when the grid is down isn’t one of them. In fact, when the grid is down, a grid-tied system must disconnect for safety reasons. This leaves you in the same boat as all your neighbors — out of power until the grid comes back on.
Solar battery backup: the best of both worlds
The solution, of course, is to add battery backup to your grid-tied solar power system. That way, you can still sell excess power back to the grid and tap into it for backup power as needed; while enjoying the security of knowing you’ll have power even when the grid goes down.
Here are four things you should be aware of about battery backup:
- Yes, you CAN retrofit an existing solar PV system with a battery bank. We do it by installing an auxiliary system called an A/C coupling. This equipment will convert your grid-tied system to a battery-based system when connection to the grid is lost.
- Before allowing any battery backup system to be installed on your property, be sure the equipment being installed is manufactured specifically for that purpose. Dedicated equipment will adhere to UL1741/IEEE1547 safety standards. This is important to be sure that your system properly disconnects from the grid when using battery backup. (Your line workers will thank you!)
- If you have not yet installed your solar PV system and are interested in battery backup, you should know that you will save by installing a hybrid grid-battery system from the get-go, rather than adding the batteries later. However, if you already have a PV system in place, or if you need to budget your system in increments, adding them later is still an excellent plan for home energy security.
- Battery prices vary, so be aware that lower prices aren’t always the best value. High-quality batteries require less maintenance and last longer, which will save you time and money in the long run.
Interested in battery backup for your solar power system?
We are now installing solar battery backup upgrades as well as new grid/battery hybrid systems throughout Northern Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Maryland. To find out more about how this technology would fit into your lifestyle, contact us using the right-hand form or give us a call at (410) 560-9032 for a free solar estimate.