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Solar panels battery backup

Solar panels produce energy, but when the electricity is not used it needs to be stored for later use. Batteries can be used as a backup for times when the panels do not produce electricity

The home is the center of family life but many people don’t realize the options they have to control how it is powered. And many forget to take the necessary steps to ensure that the home itself is prepared for a crisis. Below is information on how home solar batteries (often called solar generators) can provide peace of mind by ensuring power will be there when you need it.

Residential solar batteries and how they work

Solar batteries are quickly emerging as one of the best options for both residential emergency backup and greater control over residential power.

What is a residential solar battery?

A residential solar battery is exactly what the name says—a battery for your home that stores power from your solar power system. Solar batteries are often called solar generators because they store excess power from your solar panels and then supply it when you need it.

How does a residential solar battery work?


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1. The System Produces Energy.  When the sun shines, your solar energy system produces clean, renewable energy that you use to power your home.

2. The battery stores excess energy.  When your solar energy system produces more clean energy than your home needs, the excess energy goes into your residential solar battery.

3. The house consumes the stored energy.  If your solar energy system doesn’t produce enough clean energy to power your home, you can use the energy stored in your battery to power your home. How much energy does a residential solar battery store?

The most common residential batteries have capacities of around 10kWh, so (depending on your specific configurations) this allows you to store enough energy to power up to four circuits in your home, the most common being your fridge, stove, bathroom and heater. For larger homes, or if you want to power more than four circuits, it is possible to add a storage battery.

The time it takes for all four circuits to consume all the power in your residential solar battery varies based on the type and age of the battery, and the size of the appliances you are powering. Most solar batteries should keep your essentials running for at least a few hours, but your battery may hold enough charge to keep your essentials running for several days at a time.

This is because your panels continue to charge your battery during the day so they may be producing enough power each day that your battery never fully dies at night. Then the battery will start to recharge as soon as sunlight hits the panels the next morning.

Are solar batteries reliable during a crisis?

Yes absolutely. As mentioned above, there are different configurations available, and each crisis is different. But power backup during emergencies is one of the biggest benefits of having a solar battery. Hear Willard Macdonald’s story about how a solar battery helped his family when the Kincaid Wildfire in California threatened his home in 2019.


Are there other benefits of solar batteries aside from emergency backup power?

Yes. A big part of the reason solar batteries are becoming more popular is that they allow homeowners more control over their home energy usage. This means they have the opportunity to save money and rely less on utility power, which often comes from less environmentally benign sources. 1


How “Hours of Use” rates influence energy costs

Most homeowners use more energy in the morning before leaving for work, and then again in the evenings when they return home. These spikes in demand put stress on utilities trying to supply just the right amount of electricity at all times. To deal with this, some utilities have introduced Hours of Use (TOU) pricing to try to reduce demand. If your utility is one of several that have introduced a TOU rate structure, then you will likely be paying more for energy when you need it most.

Solar energy production during the day Solar

Solar energy production typically peaks during peak sunlight hours in the middle of the day, when most people aren’t home. Some public companies offer credits for excess solar energy production, but some public networks cannot handle the influx of solar energy that occurs in the middle of the day. In other words, solar production and demand from residential owners are not always compatible in time.

Solar battery storage, part of an integrated solar power system

A home solar battery allows you to store cheap solar energy produced during the day, to be used when you need it most—when the sun goes down and rates go up.

Are there solar batteries where I live?

Geography is an important consideration for those interested in solar generators because local laws and public companies can have a lot of influence on what types of products and solutions you might want, and even what is available.

Variety of Solar Batteries

There is a wide variety of solar batteries on the market, and they can differ drastically in quality. But in general, the biggest difference between these products is size (both in terms of storage capacity and physical dimensions).

– Portable Solar Batteries: Portable  products are becoming more and more popular because they can be purchased online and delivered to virtually anywhere. The obvious downside is that they probably have much less storage capacity than your typical residential solar battery and won’t integrate into a solar power system to instantly power your home when a blackout occurs. But if you’re looking for mobility or powering smaller items, then portable solar batteries are a good option.

– Medium-sized residential batteries:  The most common type of residential solar batteries provide around 10 kWH of storage and are available in most markets where residential solar is a good option. These batteries, like the LG Chem RESU10H, for example, are “stackable”—meaning more than one can be installed and integrated with your solar panel system. See below for more information on midsize options in your area.

– Superior Residential Batteries:  Although less common, there are residential solar batteries available that provide much more storage capacity than midsize, portable batteries. These options, like Sonnen’s Ecolink, have capacities as high as 20kWh and typically come with apps and other technical features. See below for more information on superior options in your area.

Residential Solar Battery Solutions

Vivint Solar currently installs residential solar batteries in California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Utah.

– Backup Power for California:  Wildfires, high winds and droughts threaten aging grid infrastructure and leave California homeowners susceptible to being without power for days or weeks at a time. We offer LG Chem (and Sonnen Batterie, in some areas) to homeowners seeking greater energy independence and peace of mind. California TOU Peak Leveling: Californians are used to paying excessive TOU fees, but they shouldn’t. We offer integrated solar plus battery power systems that store excess power during the day and make it available when you need it most so you can minimize the impact of high TOU rates.

– Self-consumption for Hawaii:  With solar panels in more than 20% of houses in Hawaii, surplus solar energy from houses could even damage the public electricity grid. We offer residential homeowners in Hawaii a self-produced, self-consumption energy ecosystem that can help homes economically while alleviating pressure on the public power grid.

– Backup Power for Massachusetts:  Unpredictable power outages are a frustrating reality for many Massachusetts residents. We partner with the National Grid Connected Solutions program to provide homeowners with a reliable source of backup power at a fraction of the cost.

– Backup Power for Utah:  Earthquakes and winter storms present natural challenges to power providers across the state. We give Utah homeowners the chance to add an LG Chem battery to their solar power systems so that backup power is automatically supplied within a fraction of a second to restore power to their home.


What residential solar battery options are available?

Vivint Solar offers homeowners the flexibility to get the best home battery products and solutions for their situation, below is a summary of financing options along with where they are available. two

Electric Power Purchase Agreement (PPA 3 ): Available in California

  1. Get solar plus battery without paying anything up front.
  2. We take care of system design, permitting, paperwork and installation at no additional cost to you.
  3. You only pay for the electrical energy that your panels produce. Your energy production rate is fixed for the first 12 months and will never increase by more than 2.9% per year.
  4. We will provide system maintenance and performance monitoring at no additional cost to you.

Leasing: Available in California, Hawaii, and Massachusetts

  1. Get solar plus battery, paying nothing up front.
  2. We take care of system design, permitting, paperwork and installation at no additional cost to you.
  3. Get a fixed monthly payment for the first 12 months. Your payment will never increase more than 2.9% per year.
  4. Receive an energy production guarantee and you’ll never overpay for solar. If your panels don’t produce the amount we estimate, we’ll send you a check for the difference.
  5. We will provide system maintenance and performance monitoring at no additional cost to you.

Loan: Available in California, Hawaii, and Utah

  1. Get solar plus battery, paying nothing up front.
  2. We take care of system design, permitting, paperwork and installation at no additional cost to you.
  3. Enjoy a convenient monthly payment and a fixed interest rate.
  4. Take advantage of tax incentives for solar panels and solar storage. 4

Cash Purchase: Available in California, Hawaii, and Utah

  1. Get solar plus battery, paying nothing up front.
  2. We take care of system design, permitting, paperwork and installation at no additional cost to you.
  3. No monthly payment associated with your solar energy system.
  4. Take advantage of tax incentives for solar panels and solar storage. 4

What other types of backup power options are there?

The convenience of solar batteries, coupled with the fact that they allow homeowners to use clean backup power, makes them a really popular option. But there are other options.

  • Gas-fired generators
  • fuel cells
  • Wind power

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