Why install a solar battery?

Batteries allow you to store solar energy and reduce your dependence on the grid. In turn, you use more solar power and fewer fossil fuels!

How do solar batteries work?

Most solar panel systems are connected to the grid and still rely on grid energy when they are producing below capacity. Solar energy production is often the highest in the afternoon, and at this time energy demand is typically low. With a battery, you can store extra electricity during the afternoon, so the energy does not go to waste. Then, the electricity can be used at night when there is a higher demand.

So, batteries allow you to use more solar energy overall, and can help make your home more energy independent. This makes them more environmentally friendly, since they use less energy from fossil fuels. Also, if you do not have a net metering policy, batteries will also save you money on your electric bill.

The Cost of Solar Batteries

One of the main barriers to getting a storage system along with a solar panel system is the cost. Many popular brands of solar batteries can cost close to $10,000 to buy and install. However, the federal tax credit applies to battery installations, which deducts a portion of the price. This tax credit deducts 26% of the cost of a battery system from your taxes. For more information on commercial tax credits, visit this page from Energy Sage.

Although battery systems are expensive, both the cost of lithium batteries and general solar battery storage has declined substantially over the last few years. Lithium batteries are the most common choice for solar energy storage. As seen in the graph below, they have decreased in price by 97% in the last three decades.

For example, in 2010 a typical battery pack would have cost at least $1100 per kilowatt hour. However, in 2020 an this price had dropped to $137 per kilowatt hour. Additionally, Bloomberg predicts that the cost of solar batteries will fall to $58/kWh by 2030.

Due to the decreasing cost of both solar panels and storage, in many states solar and storage is less expensive than utility energy. This is shown on the left map below. According to analysis from the ISLR, both Massachusetts and Rhode Island are states where it is much cheaper to produce and store your own solar energy than be supplied from the grid!

So, even though battery storage systems may have a high upfront cost, the ability to produce and store your own energy has substantial benefits. Solar + storage is the way of the future. According to the ISLR’s predictions, below is how many states it is expected that solar + storage will be cheaper in by 2022. It is almost all of them!

Collective Battery Storage

Collective battery storage is rising in popularity and may be a more efficient solution to meet our country’s energy needs. It can be a more efficient way to store solar energy than traditional individual home storage. This is because energy needs vary from household to household.

For example, a house with young children might use a lot of energy in the morning and afternoon when the children are active around the house. On the other hand, a house without children might use minimal energy during the day while residents are at work, then more energy when they are home at night. With individual battery storage, the peaks and valleys of energy usage can be extreme. This requires a higher batter capacity, and more energy taken from the grid.

However, with collective battery storage, all of these peaks and valleys are combined and the result is a more “smooth” energy curve. This means that on average, times of high demand and low demand are less extreme. So, with collective battery storage, total battery capacity needed to power an area would be less than the total battery capacity needed to power each home with an individual battery. Similarly, the total amount of energy taken from the grid would be smaller with collective storage.

The Future of Battery Storage

The next big step in renewable energy undoubtedly involves energy storage. Collective battery storage and buying a battery along with your solar panel system both seem to be the way of the future. If you are interested in learning more about how a solar battery could benefit you, give us a call or reach out to us through our contact page.