Solar Battery Storage System: What is It?

For all their benefits, solar panels also raise a few eyebrows among the masses. One of the main concerns about solar panels is that they only supply power intermittently.

To an extent, this concern is valid. After all, PV panels can only generate electricity when the conditions are ideal, when there is ample sunlight (not heat, mind you!) around that is.

Under overcast conditions though, solar panels are largely inefficient, and the less said about their efficiency after sunset, the better.

So, does this mean, one must ditch the idea of going solar once and for all?

Well, not really.

As with any other problem, there’s a way around here too if only one cares to look for it. And in this case, the solution comes in the form of batteries!

Solar + Storage:

These days, you have the option of pairing their solar PV systems with battery storage. What such an integration offers you is an option to store whatever surplus energy their solar system generates for later use i.e., when the conditions aren’t ideal for the panels to produce electricity.

Lead acid and Lithium Ion are the two common battery options available in the market, with the latter being the most capable, albeit expensive, option among the two.

Types of Solar Energy Storage:

Depending on how they are set up, solar battery storage systems can be classified into two types:

Hybrid PV Systems:

To get a clear picture of hybrid solar systems, it’s important to first understand what constitutes grid-tied solar systems.

As the name suggests, grid-tied systems are solar PV systems that have an interconnection with the power grid.

This interconnection happens in such a way that when the solar panels generate excess power, they send the surplus back to the power grid. The users will then get a compensation for the transported power depending on the location they are in and the utility provider they are subscribed to.

Now, add a battery pack to this set up and voila, you get hybrid solar systems!

What makes hybrid solar systems really effective is that these systems can either feed surplus power to the grid or store it in the batteries. This way, at night when the panels stop producing power, the building can draw power either from the power grid or from the batteries.

Hybrid systems are the most commonly used solar systems with storage.

Off-grid PV systems:

Unlike grid-tied or hybrid, off-grid solar systems aren’t connected to the power grid. This means the buildings fitted with off-grid systems rely solely on onsite energy production to meet their energy requirements.

While this set up may provide total energy independence from the power grid, without adequate energy generation and storage capabilities, it is difficult to meet the entire energy requirement of a building.

Off-grid solar systems can be usually found in areas where extending transmission lines is either impossible or too expensive.

Why is Solar Battery Storage Becoming Increasingly Popular?

One reason is the frequent power outages that the country is experiencing.

Lately, the US grid infrastructure is being put under immense stress by the erratic and intense weather patterns brought about by climate change.

It was not so long ago that a sweeping winter storm plunged the state of Texas into what was the worst energy crisis in its history. The 2021 Hurricane Ida, which disrupted the power service for about 1.2 million people across eight states is another major occurrence.

And to make matters worse, vandalism and other forms of attacks on electric grid are being reported. The following data tells a story of its own – According to the Department of Energy reported by Bloomberg, there were 163 direct physical attacks on the U.S. electric grid in the year 2022 – a whopping 77% increase from 2021.

No wonder solar battery storage is finding a lot of takers in recent times.

Another reason is the recent price fall of lithium batteries. They were quite expensive to own not so long ago. But, these days, lithium batteries have become more affordable, thanks to the global price falls. And sure enough, the drop in price is set to drive their sales up in the coming days.

Lastly, the battery technology itself is also advancing nicely. With batteries getting more advanced by the day, they are also fast becoming people’s go-to option over conventional back-up generators.

Advantages of Solar Battery Storage System:

Energy Independence:

By investing in a solar battery storage, property owners can straightaway reduce their dependence on the country’s unstable grid infrastructure. What this gives them is an immunity from frequent power disruptions that have long been affecting millions of homes and business alike.

Reduced Electricity Bills

It goes without saying that solar PV systems help property owners save on their electricity bills. Now, pair it with a battery and the benefits are even better. In areas where the utility companies charge the customers based on the Time of Use (TOU) rates, having a battery storage system in place helps. These storage devices allow you to store the excess energy your panels produce when the sun is at its brightest to be used in the evenings when the TOU rates usually sky rocket.

As an Alternative to Net Metering:

It is no coincidence that there has been a boom in solar installations ever since net metering as an incentive was announced.

Take California, for instance. The state is light years ahead of the rest in the US when it comes to the number of solar installations done. One key driver of this change has been the state’s lucrative net metering plans.

However, the same cannot be said for other states.

Certain regions, with their unfavorable net-metering programs, offer little in the way of encouragement for its residents to transport surplus power back to the grid.

It is in such a scenario that a battery technology can come in handy. With a battery set up firmly in place, you no longer need to rely solely on the region’s ineffective net metering plans. Instead you can save even more by storing the excess energy, which can then be set aside for later use.

Also, with the recently announced net metering 3.0 threatening to cut down net-metering rates significantly, investing in a battery has become all the more important.

Solar Battery Storage Incentives

Okay, let’s address the elephant in the room now.

Batteries don’t come cheap to begin with. They cost a fortune just like solar panels do.

But, it’s not all doom and gloom.

Because just like solar panels, batteries too qualify for a number of financial incentives. And the good news is that there appears to be many for you to leverage.

One such is the Federal Clean Energy Tax Credit. Under this, property owners at tax time stand to receive a staggering 30% of the upfront cost to install batteries.

And as if the federal tax isn’t enough, the state government too has announced a plethora of incentives, some of which are as follows:

➢ California Self-Generation Incentive (SGIP)

➢ Hawaii (Oahu) Battery Bonus Program

➢ Maryland Energy Storage Tax Credit

➢ Massachusetts SMART Program

➢ Oregon Battery Rebates Battery Incentive

That’s not all. In a bid to encourage solar owners to invest in battery storage, many utilities have also pitched in with several incentives.

For someone looking to add a battery pack to their solar facility, all this should be music to ears.

Now, the question goes: Is solar batter storage one of the better investments that you can make?

Well, in a world that is overly reliant on electricity that its ageing power infrastructure cannot consistently deliver, what better way to attain energy resilience than by investing in a solar battery?

At Illumine-i, we offer consultation for the design and integration of battery energy storage systems.

To learn more about this, book a consultation with us now