We are finding that many customers have gotten excited about battery options that are hitting the market; whether it be from a well know car manufacturer or the guys that make our appliances. Many options have been talked about in the market but not all are hitting the market and ready for real time installation. I attended a training this last week to check in on our friends over at LG Chem and see what they have going on. I thought I would share with you all some information that I think is helpful. Their new battery is out and ready for installation, not just talk. The battery itself can function for self-consumption and for emergency backup, which is great.
What is Self-Consumption?
Self-Consumption is when you consume the energy you produce from solar as well as store it, and use the energy again later. So, if we were to follow a solar system for a day we would see that in the morning the solar would turn on with the sun and start to charge the batteries. Then by early afternoon the batteries would be fully charged. The solar would then feed the house energy. Around 5 or so when everyone is getting home and the sun is starting to go down the house would then turn back to getting energy from the batteries during these peak hours. After the batteries are drained then it would move back to the grid for its energy source in off peak hours. Many of us are not of Time of Use (TOU), however all utilities will be switching to TOU in the next few years.
What is Emergency Back Up?
Emergency backup mode is used when the grid is out (aka a black out) and you still want to be able to run items in your home. The amount of energy you are using will determine how long your battery pack will last. If the sun is out to recharge the battery then the battery will last longer. However, if the sun is not out to give you any power this battery may or may out carry you through the night. I think the best way to illustrate this is by using the illustration of a battery being like a gas tank. If the power goes out and I cannot put more energy or gas into the car the car will only go so far. How I choose to drive the car to get me the furthest distance is the same as how I use the energy stored in the batteries to last the longest amount of time.
The long and the short of it:
We are seeing technology start to reach the point that batteries make sense for the average homeowner. Although we are almost there, now is still the time to go solar. We do not know how long Net Metering programs will last, but we do know that these systems are battery ready and you can see savings today. In the future if a battery is desired you will be ready for go with just a quick battery installation.