Customers who are turning to solar power often need advice from a professional in order to navigate the complex electrical issues involved with choosing and installing a system. As you are probably already aware, those who want to store energy will need a battery system. But, choosing the ideal energy storage system is sometimes challenging due to the many variables involved, which is where you come in.
When advising your customers on choosing a solar energy battery storage system, you’ll want to let them know that the major factors for them to consider when choosing a system include:
- The amount of electricity the home or facility is using
- The degree of energy independence that the energy system owner desires
- Renewable energy generating capacity
- Electricity usage pattern
- Orientation of the solar panels
Many of these factors are easily determined, such as the amount and pattern of electricity use. But, determining how much energy independence is required is often a major factor in choosing a system. Here are the options and information you can share with them.
Choosing a Solar Energy Battery Storage System, According to the Desired Level of Energy independence
There are really two considerations that come into play with energy independence: how much independence the customer wants and how much it is going to cost. The range is from 100 percent off-grid, which is the most expensive, to a simple energy backup for emergencies.
Let’s look at the different potential scenarios or battery storage systems.
- 100% energy independence (completely off-grid): Complete independence requires a large investment in terms of generation and battery storage. In addition, this system may require other power sources such as a fossil fuel (gasoline/diesel) or a wind generator.
- High energy independence: Storing a lot of energy requires a solar system with enough batteries to last several weeks, such as through the winter. Solar systems are sized to enable the owner to have surplus energy to store during summer and to be self-sufficient through winter without relying too much on the grid. The customer will still rely on the grid for backup, in case there are days of bad weather that impact solar generation.
- Summertime independence: These systems are good for second homes in cool summer and cold winter areas. The customer installs just enough solar panels and storage capacity to get through a normal summer day but will have to draw power from the grid during the winter.
- Peak time independence: This means choosing a battery size that should be large enough to store and supply power during peak times only, when the rates on grid electricity may be high.
- Reduce reliance on the grid during peak times: Some customers cannot afford to install enough storage to cover all peak time usage. In this case, some will install a battery system that has only enough capacity to enable them to at least reduce their grid power usage during peak times.
- Emergency power backup: Emergency power backup requires smaller energy storage, enough to cover a short power outage. Some customers use this together with fuel generators, and battery storage is only required for the short duration from the time grid power goes out, to when alternative/backup power becomes available. The cost outlay for this simple system is the lowest.
Even though a solar energy system is a great investment that reduces electricity bills, customers should understand that it is not possible to completely get off of ‘the grid’ without investing in a large storage system. However, their adding modest battery storage to a grid connected solar system is a good way of increasing independence from the grid without spending too much.
Customers with solar systems are increasingly adding battery storage to reduce their electricity costs or become independent from the grid. With better technology and prices heading lower every day, battery storage is becoming an appealing component to many solar power system owners.
The more familiar you are with the options currently available for battery storage of solar energy, the more you can help your customers when it comes to choosing a solar energy battery storage system.
And, our Energy Solutions team can offer you the following services:
- An energy audit of your facility.
- Lighting control design and training.
- Payback analyses, as well as monthly savings.
- Product vetting to ensure the most efficient and cost-effective solutions are employed.
- And more!
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