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Taking Control of Your Solar Power With Battery Storage

By January 9, 2019 March 29th, 2019 No Comments

The market for home battery storage is booming. Residential storage installations have been growing at a quarterly rate of 61% since the start of 2017 according to Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables, and a survey by EnergySage indicates that nearly three quarters of home solar shoppers are considering adding batteries too.

What’s behind this boom? Adding batteries to your home energy system allows you to tap into the power produced by your solar panels when you want (or need) to, instead of whenever the sun shines. This translates into two major types of potential benefits: enhanced emergency preparedness and increased economic benefits from solar power.

Being Prepared for an Emergency

The most obvious – and potentially incredibly valuable – use of a home battery system is a source of backup power in case of a grid outage. With the combination of solar panels and a battery, you have all you need to both generate and store your own power right at home, providing peace of mind and eliminating the need to get fuel for a diesel powered generator.

The typical household solar-plus-storage system is unlikely to be large enough to meet the entirety of household consumption on a normal day – although that may be changing, as a growing number of homes are so energy efficient that their solar panels are enough to meet 100% of their energy needs! Regardless, the ability to keep essential appliances like your refrigerator and communications gear powered can make a huge difference during a blackout.

It’s important to note that not all battery installations have this ability to disconnect from the grid and continue supplying power during an outage, called “islanding.” However, Mosaic exclusively provides financing for systems that provide this backup power capability, giving you the peace of mind that your solar power will be available no matter what’s going on with the grid. You can read more about battery financing available through our platform here.

Maximizing Your Solar Savings With Batteries

Batteries can also deliver financial benefits every single day by letting you use and sell your solar power in ways that could increase your savings. The pathway to these savings varies by state and sometimes by utility territory:

  • Get the Full Retail Value of Your Solar: Utilities in some states, including Hawaii, now offer less than full retail rates for new home solar customers selling electricity back to the grid. In these cases, batteries allow you to directly use your own solar generation whenever you need it instead of being forced to sell it back to the grid for a lower price.

  • Avoid Using Grid Power at Expensive Times: Under time-of-use (TOU) pricing in California and other states, electricity prices are higher during the afternoon and early evening and lower overnight. Batteries let you use your solar power in a way that maximizes your savings, drawing on stored electricity during peak hours and drawing from the grid during off-peak hours.

  • Avoid Paying Additional Utility Fees: Some utilities require homeowners to pay fees, known as “demand charges,” based on their period of highest power usage or for their consumption during pre-defined peak periods. Battery systems can help avoid these charges by “smoothing” consumption to below the demand charge threshold.

The economics of storage are highly dependent on state regulations as well as your electricity usage patterns, but solar installers that offer battery systems should be able to help you understand the potential bottom line benefits for your specific situations.

Battery Incentives + Financing to Fit Your Budget

Home battery systems won’t necessarily make sense for everyone. But if you live in an area where you’re concerned about power outages, or one that has rate structures that reward solar + storage combinations (particularly California and Hawaii), it’s probably a good idea to ask your solar installer if batteries are right for you.

In some cases, you might even be able to take advantage of government incentives to further improve the economics of your battery investment. For example, certain types of solar and battery installations can claim the 30% federal solar tax credit, and California offers its own rebate incentives for batteries.

Best of all, Mosaic can connect you with zero money-down loan financing for solar + batteries  – and now energy-efficient home improvements, too! Our simple online financing platform has made us a leader in solar loans, and you can learn more about all our product offerings for homeowners here.

PS: If you’re a contractor, click here to learn how to partner with Mosaic and grow your business with simple, affordable financing for solar energy, batteries, and home improvements.