Solar-powered battery back-up systems for grid power outages are a great alternative to fossil fuel generators.
By Scott Hollis
It’s the middle of winter, and a typical Northwest windstorm blows through your town, bringing down trees and your neighborhood’s power with it. If you’re prepared, you have installed a battery backup system that automatically takes over to run important electrical loads in your house. Today, your best choice of power source is not a fossil-fuel generator—it’s a lithium ion battery powered by the sun!
Battery back-up solar PV systems work like regular generator systems, except they also have the added benefit of powering your house with clean, renewable energy in the daytime. The excess solar power is either stored in a battery or directly on the grid, spinning your utility meter backwards. Then, when the utility grid fails, your solar PV system gives you energy independence from both batteries and the sun. This is because the solar inverter (the hardware that converts solar panel’s DC power output to AC so your home can use it) automatically switches to just solar and battery power to run important loads such as the refrigerator, TV, internet, lights, and power outlets, day or night. By powering only selected devices, you can stretch out the number of days your battery will be able to power everything.
Adding a battery to a new or existing solar PV system is a great alternative to buying a fossil fuel generator. Batteries are silent and clean, while generators are noisy, emit fumes and run on petroleum. A generator also does not allow existing solar customers to use their idle solar panels during a power outage.
Artisan Electric offers 10 kWh LG Chem RESU 10H lithium ion batteries paired with industry-leading SolarEdge StorEdge inverters as an ideal backup option for our residential solar customers. The Chem RESU 10H is about the size of a wall radiator (29”x36”x8”) and can be installed just about anywhere indoors. LG is an industry leader in home electronics and has beaten other competitors such as Tesla to the market with a more powerful, cheaper, smaller battery. LG has also paired with SolarEdge, which now has over 40% of the US inverter market share and is growing exponentially.
Even when the weather’s cloudy, a 10-kWh battery can power your critical circuits for an extended period of time if you are mindful. When the sun is out, your solar panels will take over and power your house while charging up the battery, extending the amount of time you have power in an outage. LG also claims that their production process makes their lithium ion batteries the safest on the market, and carries a 10-year warranty good for practically unlimited charges.
The inverter that makes all this happen is the SolarEdge StorEdge, which manages energy coming from the solar panels and battery storage, and sends it to your home and utility grid as needed. Unlike older, more complicated low-voltage battery storage systems, the StorEdge is simple to install with or without batteries and does not require large, costly DC battery cables and short PV strings.
Managing all of this system is SolarEdge’s cloud-based monitoring platform, which allows you to track home energy consumption, solar production and cumulative energy records. It’s all displayed on an intuitive, easy-to-understand digital dashboard that’s accessible from any home or mobile phone or computer.
Thanks to giant leaps in energy storage technology (due in no small part to the rise of electric cars and personal electronic devices), lithium ion battery back-up solar systems are safe, renewable and environmentally responsible. They can be effectively designed into your solar electric system without any drawbacks. Next time the lights go out, you can breathe easy knowing that your back-up source of energy is powered by the sun and not fossil fuels.
Benefits of a Solar-powered Battery Back-up System
- The battery system is eligible for the 30% federal tax incentive.
- Lithium ion batteries are safe, reliable and do not require maintenance.
- The solar inverter charges the battery with clean, free solar power before, during and after power outages.
- A cloud-based energy monitoring platform allows you to track your home’s energy usage and solar production using an intuitive app that can be used on any personal electronic device or home computer.
How Long Will My Battery System Last?
People often wonder how long their battery back-up system will give them power when the electric grid goes down. The answer to this question will be different for every home depending on what will be powered and how long those devices will be used.
Part of Artisan Electric’s design process includes working with you to decide what devices you will need to back up when the power goes out. By powering only those devices that are necessary, you can extend the useful life of your battery system to supply power for a longer amount of time.
Give Artisan Electric a call to see if a solar-powered battery-backup system is right for you!