Adding Battery to Existing Solar
Many homeowners will purchase battery backup during the solar installation period. It saves time to have it installed in your home around the same time as the solar panels themselves. However, sometimes a homeowner isn’t interested in battery backup at the time that they decide to go solar.
Not every homeowner will purchase solar and battery backup simultaneously. Adding solar panels to your home takes time and money. Solar is a high-ticket item and one that shouldn’t be purchased on a whim. Because of this, many homeowners decide not to pull the trigger on battery backup until later.
What happens when a homeowner decides to purchase battery backup after their solar panels have been installed?
Reasons To Add Battery Backup to Your Home
Firstly, let’s cover why a solar homeowner may choose to add battery backup to their home later on. In particular, we want to focus on batteries that can provide long-term power to a home. Some of Go Solar Group’s battery backup levels are fit for emergency use or for portable power. However, they will not support an entire home’s energy use.
Not every homeowner is going to purchase battery backup simultaneously with their solar installation. Battery backup can represent a significant increase to the cost of going solar — even though it will also provide significant savings down the road.
However, even if some homeowners don’t want to purchase battery backup alongside their solar panels, they may choose to buy them later. Here are some reasons why.
Battery Backup for Bad Net Metering Policies
One of the biggest reasons that many homeowners choose to purchase battery backup is because the net metering policies in their area aren’t very good.
Net metering, to put it simply, is when you send excess solar energy produced by your panels to your energy utility, who gives you credits on your power bill in return. You can then use these credits for the electricity you use when your solar panels aren’t producing power. Net metering is one of the chief ways that solar homeowners save money. If you play your cards right, you can completely eliminate your power bill.
Using Battery Backup To Get the Most Out Of Net Metering
Not every location has a good net metering policy. Some utilities offer very small credits, which then don’t cover your electricity use during the night or during bad weather. In some places, you can go solar but still have a power bill.
If you’re in an area with poor net metering policies, battery backup can go a long way towards mitigating potential costs. When you sell your electricity back to the utility, you’re only getting a small compensation. When you store it in your batteries, however, you’re essentially getting the full retail value of that power. Because you get that power for free later, it’s as if you got paid the full retail amount and then drew on that energy from the grid.
Using battery backup for most, or all, of your power at night can end up saving you a lot of money over the years. Because energy prices continually rise, getting your electricity for free from your solar panels can end up being a lot of money.
Using Battery Backup for Energy Independence
The other main reason that people purchase battery backup is that they want to separate themselves from the grid. This is known as off-grid solar. Some want energy independence for its own sake — often those who do so are those who are focused on preparing for disasters. People who do so often stock up on food, water, and other such necessities.
Others may choose to get solar batteries because they are connected to an unreliable electrical grid. A grid that has many blackouts or other forms of failure may drive many to seek alternative forms of energy. In this case, a whole-home battery backup can bring total control over your energy.
Why You Should Stick With Your Solar Company for Battery Backup
Now that we’ve gone into why you should get battery backup, let’s cover the how. Installing a full battery backup system for your home can be surprisingly complicated. It needs to be hooked directly to your solar panels, which takes electrical expertise.
Your Solar Company Already Knows You
One of the main reasons to stick with your current solar company for battery backup is because they know you already. Because they installed your solar panels themselves, they’ll have familiarity and experience with your home’s electrical system. Using a separate company can cause problems, as they may miss important things about your solar installation.
Your Solar Company’s Products Will All Work Together
Not every piece of solar hardware is compatible. Some brands will only work with their own equipment. Some brands might work with other brands, but they won’t be at their best. Each solar company should have vetted their equipment previously, so they will know what works best with what. Using the same solar company that did your solar panel system to install battery backup will ensure that your battery ends up working well with your panels.
Making sure the equipment all works together doesn’t just ensure a quality system for your home, it also can prevent potential hazards. Solar panels, as a rule, are very safe. There are not many fires or other forms of property damage that come out of solar panels, but there have been some isolated examples.
For example, a practice known as cross-mating is where PV connectors from two different brands are hooked to each other. Using mismatched connectors can lower the integrity of the connection, leading to electrical fires.
Many Solar Companies Won’t Install Batteries in Other Systems
The final reason is that many solar companies will just refuse to work on systems that aren’t their own. As mentioned above, installing a battery can be complicated as it is. Working on an unfamiliar system can exacerbate that difficulty.
Installing batteries can be expensive for the solar company. For many solar companies, installing only a battery backup system can take more time and effort than it’s worth monetarily. It isn’t worth it for these companies to install batteries in your home if you already have a solar panel system since they won’t be able to get that purchase from you.
A solar company that you have already worked with, however, has a vested interest in you. They’ve already put in the time and effort and received your money in turn. They’ll want to keep you happy and your solar installation in top condition. They will gladly install a battery backup system for your home.