Renewable energy has evolved and expanded over the last two decades. It is now a force in both the environment and the economy, but such gains have not been without growing pains.
If you’ve made an investment in solar panels for your own home, you’re already ahead of the power curve. Despite significant growth, the solar energy market is now faced with a new set of challenges. Most notably, solar-only installations have seen a decline in ROI as utility companies shift their peak rate schedules to later in the day when solar generation is tapering off. The result? Higher electric bills.
The good news is that a simple solution exists. With cutting-edge technology, solar and energy storage (batteries) can be combined with intelligent controls to provide reliable, affordable, and optimized power in your home. If you have not yet added batteries to your solar system, your panels may be absorbing excess energy which is being wasted. When solar panels generate more electricity than is consumed, a home battery storage system can store the surplus energy for later use when utility rates are high or during a power outage.
Incentives for Battery Storage Systems
Government incentives for solar-plus-storage installations can lower system costs by roughly 30%, especially if a homeowner is eligible for a federal investment tax credit.
In addition to government incentives, combining solar and storage can help you take advantage of market incentives. Some power companies have time-of-use (TOU) rate plans which are based on how much energy you use and when you use it. Utility companies charge higher rates during times when demand is highest. It’s likely that the power costs on your utility bill are a product of your time of use (TOU). For those who fall into this category, using stored energy during peak energy price periods can be financially rewarding.
Backup Power for Critical Loads
In states such as Texas and Florida, major hurricanes and storms have accelerated residential battery adoption. The same is true of wildfire-prone areas in California. When the grid goes down, having a backup battery can save your life. States like California have implemented local incentives to save lives and possibly homes. For example, in California an incentive program known as the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) offers homeowners up to $26,000 in savings when you install a home battery backup system.
If you’ve decided to add batteries to your solar system, the challenge is how to operate these assets in the most cost-effective way for your objectives. While much value can be derived from merely charging storage from excess solar and then discharging during peak utility hours, even this simple algorithm raises more questions:
- How much storage should be installed?
- Would it be beneficial to install more solar now that the excess power that is generated can be used?
- Would it be valuable to sometimes charge the battery overnight during off-peak hours?
- How can one ensure enough available capacity to provide backup during a power outage?
Advanced Energy Storage Technologies
CleanSpark is an energy technology company that can help provide answers to these questions. We recently rolled out our smart power system, mVoult, which seamlessly blends a variety of energy resources, including solar, battery, and utility power, for a reliable and cost-effective energy plan.
The system includes a smart controller for energy management and is fully configurable according to your needs. Homeowners can start small and expand the system without significant design changes as their goals or requirements grow. mVoult integrates with all major solar manufacturers and includes a mobile app that tracks the homeowner’s power supply and cost savings.
The Future of Energy Management
Today’s batteries are both flexible and adaptive, generating an improved return on investment for homeowners. Distributed energy resources such as solar and storage offer the additional benefits of a cleaner environment and security against an aging utility grid. Technologies like these will continue to play an important role in the future of energy management.