Some utilities, like Rocky Mountain Power in Utah, recently announced that they won’t be raising rates for 3 years. This sounds great, but often there is a small caveat, for example noting that only applies to their base rate. That means other rates are still fair game, such as peak rate pricing, typically charged during the times of day when you need or want power the most. Many states and power companies already have different day-part pricing models in place depending on demand.
So how does a battery fit into this picture and help you rack up the savings?
First let’s talk about how integrating a battery changes your system set up slightly. Without a battery, the solar panel system is connected directly to the grid and if you have a battery, that battery sits between your connection from solar panels to the grid. Without the battery, when your solar panels are under-producing your usage, you begin to get power from the grid and pay their rates or use your credits. When you have a battery, you have more control about when to use your credits and when to use your battery. Additionally, if the grid goes down completely, for example during a storm, homeowners who have a battery will be able to both generate solar power and access the battery for reserve power.
With today’s technology, battery components can be programmed as to when to store and when to use. That means when the peak rates kick into effect, which for most places is around the hours of 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., when people are home from work. These are the times we tend to do laundry, cook dinner and want our home to be either a little warmer or cooler depending on the season. These also happen to be the hours when energy production from your solar panels is decreasing because of daylight hours.
Customers who have both solar and a battery can program the battery to store during the mid-morning/ early-afternoon hours when sunlight is at its peak, and you are generating more than you are consuming.
The unit can then switch over to battery usage when those peak prices kick in. Your system can still use the energy being generated from the solar panels and use the battery as a supplement until the sun is completely down for the evening. You have now optimized the system to utilize the free energy generated during day and offset the highest cost usage periods set by the utility company.
When looking for a battery and solar combination, look for the advanced technology and work with your provider to ensure the battery size meets the load requirements of your household. Durability is also a factor, especially if you are going to be cycling the battery everyday. Look for one that warranties 10,000 cycles or more so you are covered for at least 25 years.
Evelar Solar has recently partnered with sonnenBatterie, offering the best technology in both solar panel systems and battery back-up. Contact one of our certified energy advisors to learn more about right-sizing a system for your home. www.evelar.com 801.203-0303
Jennifer Hurst is the marketing director for Evelar Solar and passionate about the benefits of renewable energy.