Do You Need Batteries For Solar Panels? Where Do They Go?
A question that is commonly asked in conjunction with going solar is, ”Where do the batteries go?”
It may come as a surprise to find that most solar power systems do not come with a backup battery bank. 99% of the home solar panel installations Alba Energy has designed and completed do not have any energy storage. The main reason is that a battery for your home is not entirely cost-effective (yet) and could add as much as 50% in cost to a residential solar energy system.
The Power Grid Is A ‘Virtual Battery’ For Backup Electricity
The solution for cost-effective solar power systems lies in a compromise between your solar investment and a remaining tether to your local electrical grid. This tether will ensure that you won’t need to worry about not generating enough power, as it is the backup source for power in the event that your solar panels do not produce all of your electricity needs.
Solar power systems constantly adjust voltage and current in order to keep the panels operating at the most efficient levels – dependent on the varying sunlight conditions. By utilizing the grid, you gain the advantage of offsetting the lack of power acquired from your solar power system on days where it cannot generate enough energy.
Net Metering Is Your Solar Battery
Essentially, being grid-connected means you are making your own clean energy at home while simultaneously “selling” your excess electricity to the grid. The term for this is known as “net-metering” – the homeowner receives full retail offset or a credit on your power bill for all the energy your system pushes back into the grid.
When To Add Batteries To A Solar Panel Installation
Solar panel installers will recommend adding a backup battery only if there is concern for long lasting utility outages, or if your location is in a remote area. If you happen live in an area where hurricanes, earthquakes, or other nature-related issues are of concern, backup batteries are definitely a helpful addition to your solar power system.
Backup batteries are typically stored in the basement or garage, and battery size depends on how many circuits you want connected to a secure power line. Many people will find that they don’t need backup power for their entire home, but rather a few areas of vital importance, such as kitchen appliances, lights and computers.
The Bottom Line – Can You Use Solar Panels Without Batteries? Yes!
Along with the ability to generate your own (clean) solar power, there are many advantages of going solar. Once the initial investment is paid off, solar becomes a valuable asset for your home, and in the long run, solar power is economical, cheaper than continuing to “rent” electricity from the local utility. This cost is quickly offset by the savings on energy bills, and many homeowners feel great about making a positive impact on the environment by relying on the sun for free & unlimited solar power.
Solar can even increase the value of your home. You benefit from sharing energy from the grid, and a federal tax credits can offset up to 30% of your investment. Not only are you saving loads of money in the long run, but solar energy systems are safe for you and the environment, and act as durable and reliable sources of energy.