Be ready for power outages with renewable technology
Be ready for power outages with renewable technology
Wildfires in California, blizzards in the heartland, and hurricanes along the coast. Unexpected weather increases the risk that power grids will fail. And going without power for an extended time can be an inconvenience — or a life-threatening hazard — depending on your individual circumstances.
For homeowners, it’s important to stay connected during power outages, and with more people working, schooling, and operating businesses from home, they need reliable access to electricity. There are several strategies for getting ahead of potential blackouts, from making sure your generators are up to date to supplementing your grid power with a battery storage system. By investing in these solutions early, you can be ready the next time inclement weather rolls your way.
Supplement your gas-powered backup generators with battery storage
In many parts of the country, a standard generator is part of a homeowner’s survival kit. A standard generator may be powered by gas, natural gas, diesel, or propane. However, as interest in battery storage soars, many are wondering whether this type of system can integrate with an existing gas- or propane-powered generator.
Investing in battery storage doesn't necessarily mean replacing your existing generator. In fact, battery storage solutions can augment a generator — so you're focusing on extending your capacity, rather than completely eliminating your current solution.
Solutions such as the Panasonic EvervoltTM line of battery storage systems, can be paired to the grid to store power in advance of a storm or other event. If you decide later that you'd like to supplement your energy setup with solar panels for greater resiliency and independence, that's also possible.
Homeowners may also be wondering if solar plus battery systems are more cost-efficient or more reliable compared to generators. Standard gas-powered generators retail for between $3,000 and $5,000, while the cost of installing a solar plus storage solution may reach six times that amount.
However, there are several other factors to take into consideration that can help put the total cost of ownership into context:
- Fuel: The first and most important issue is that standard generators require fuel, which is an ongoing expense. And both delivery and fluctuating fuel prices make it difficult to predict the costs over time.
- Percentage of total energy costs: Solar plus storage can lower your overall energy costs, or even help you make a small profit through reselling the excess energy your system produces.
- Servicing: Generators are also likely to require ongoing servicing, while repairs to your solar and battery system are rare, and likely covered under a warranty.
- Long-term value: As the interest for energy independence continues to rise, houses with energy storage systems will remain in demand. One study found that solar systems increase home value by an average of 4.1% — or a potential return of $14,350 on a $350,000 home.
- Tax benefits: Homeowners planning to install a solar panel system on their roof can take advantage of a 26% federal tax credit, helping them recoup money on their investment. This tax benefit also extends to batter storage devices charged exclusively by these solar panels — even if the storage is placed in service in a following tax year to when the solar panels were installed.
Homeowners interested in the most economic approach to a backup energy solution should run the numbers. Over the long term, especially when factoring in your environmental impact, solar plus storage solutions can be a smarter option.
Use mobile apps to optimize energy use
A properly integrated system can automate switching to your battery storage system when the unexpected happens, and give you better control over how you consume energy in your home. Having reliable access to this information can help you prepare for outages.
Some energy storage solutions include intelligent hardware and software that help you monitor real-time energy usage right from your phone. For EverVoltTM total home energy systems, homeowners have direct insight into not only their backup power and energy use from solar panels or the grid, but also local time-of-use rates, providing a complete picture of their energy availability and consumption.
Having this information ahead of a serious weather event can help you prepare for potential utility company shut-offs and even switch into a backup power mode at the tap of a screen, ensuring you have 100% battery charge at all times.
Choose battery storage customized to your needs
The LA Times notes that solar panels and battery storage solutions combined are playing a major role in helping California meet its power needs and help avoid rolling blackouts next summer. Homeowners can add battery storage to their existing solar systems or to supplement other power sources — or install a complete solar plus storage solution — to stay powered up during power outages.
It’s important to understand how to choose a solar system that can meet your needs. (Your local solar installer can provide expert assistance with this). Solar panels themselves won’t keep you powered if the grid goes down. Solar panels use photovoltaic (PV) cells to generate energy whenever the sun shines. However, solar PV systems have inverters that shut off your solar system for safety reasons if the power grid goes down — which means that solar power generated during a grid outage may go unused.
The good news is, with the addition of a home battery setup you can turn your solar panel system into a full-fledged backup energy system.
Panasonic's EverVolt battery system gives homeowners complete energy storage capabilities. Once you’ve determined how much energy your home uses, EverVolt gives you the flexibility to take a modular approach to storage by adding the number of batteries it will take to meet your needs in terms of energy consumption and outage time. A certified installer can help walk you through the system requirements that best fit your home.