Solar Batteries 101: Are They a Smart Buy?

Jake Hartman
By Jake Hartman | February 17th, 2019 12:41am
Jake is passionate about solar and creating a world powered by the sun. He founded AskSolar in 2017 to help guide homeowners in making the switch to a clean energy solution.

Solar panels are a great way to minimize your environmental impact while maximizing your energy savings. But, what about solar batteries? Do you need to store some of that extra solar energy, or should you feed it back into the grid?

Well, it depends. Solar batteries are a fantastic investment for some, while others may find that the price tag doesn't make sense for their solar setup. For savvy shoppers, tax credits and energy consumption reductions may make solar batteries a smart financial investment. There are plenty of benefits that came along with solar batteries — and they aren't just for powering Tesla cars.

Before you make the jump into solar batteries, you're going to want to know how well they work in emergencies, how much money they can save you, whether or not you can get a tax credit, and if a solar battery makes sense with your current solar setup.

What Are Solar Batteries?

Solar batteries are batteries that you use to store the energy that's created from your solar panels. This means that anyone who is thinking about going solar should be focusing on solar panels far before solar batteries. If you have a solar setup (panels, controller, etc.), you can feed some of the extra energy that you're producing during down hours (early morning, noon, etc.) into a solar battery that will store that energy.

There are quite a few benefits that solar batteries provide those with solar setups, including:

  1. Emergency Backup: Solar batteries can be used during times when your solar system is either down or not producing energy due to storms, overcast, or fog. So, even if your solar panels aren't gathering all of the energy you need, you can still power the critical stuff by relying on the energy that you've stored up in your solar battery.
  2. Peak Hour Coverage: Solar batteries are also great for those that tend to use the majority of their energy during peak hours. By saving up energy in your solar batteries, you can use them during peak energy consumption hours that your panels may not be able to handle. Since your panels are feeding energy into the batteries all day (or until charged,) you can control when and where you use your energy.
  3. Electric Car Top-Off: Of course, you can always use solar batteries to charge your electric car.

How Effective Are Solar Batteries During a Blackout?

It depends on the battery. If we look at the most expensive models (like the Tesla PowerWall), you can get up to a day of energy if you restrict some of your energy usage (mainly AC.) However, the bulk of batteries on the market will typically last anywhere from 4 - 24 hours. This number is going to depend on a ton of different factors including:

  • Whether or not you have LED lights
  • The size of your home
  • Your daily activities
  • Whether or not you're planning on doing housecleaning (vacuuming, etc.)
  • How much television you watch
  • Whether you're heating or cooling your home
  • and thousands of other everyday energy consumption decisions.

Remember, you should be trying to conserve as much energy as possible during blackouts. It's safe to say that solar batteries can help protect your home in the case of an outage. But, remember, solar batteries should never be your primary source of power – leave that to the panels.

Can You Get a Government Rebate on Solar Batteries?

Of course! The Solar Investment Tax Credit (SIC) will reimburse you 30% of your solar system costs via a tax credit. Now, it's important to understand that this credit isn't guaranteed in 2019, and the solar incentives could change next year. But, as of now, you can save 30% on your solar battery costs in the form of a tax credit.

This credit is only residential, and, like all tax laws, there are some complexities involved. We aren't tax experts, so we always recommend that you consult your tax advisor before you make a significant solar investment.

For more information on solar panels and battery storage for your home, enter your zip code below and generate your Free Solar Report with AskSolar

Conclusion

Solar batteries are an excellent investment for those who want to be prepared for possible blackouts as well as those who use the bulk of their solar energy during the daytime. Remember, solar batteries can make a great addition to your solar system, but they aren't solar panel replacements. They store the energy that your solar panels create. If you're looking to invest in a solar system, make sure that you consult your tax advisor first. There are solar credits that can save you a ton of money.

If you're interested in getting started in solar energy, but you have some questions first, contact us. We're available to answer any questions that you have.

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