Solar + Energy Storage: The Next Big Thing
Posted in General Articles by Solar Energy USA
A solar + energy storage system can be thought of much like using a gas generator as a power supply. Instead of using natural gas or some other liquid as fuel, however, sunlight is the fuel source with a solar energy storage system. Combining the benefits of being on the main utility grid with the confidence of having your own system in place, grid-tied emergency solar power battery backup systems truly provide the best of both worlds.
Benefits Of Energy Storage
One of the best aspects of energy storage is that it can be used as a backup power source anytime a power interruption occurs. Remember when Hurricane Sandy rocked the Northeast? More than 8 million people lost power, and many were left without even a single working light bulb for over 30 days.
By using an energy storage system tied to a solar PV array, or other renewable power supply, one can ensure that power is accessible any time the grid goes down. This is likely one of the reasons the US Department of Defense (DoD) is heavily increasing the use of solar power with energy storage into their operations, including taking a ‘Net Zero’ approach to energy usage.
The value of combining solar with battery storage is also financially appealing for commercial property owners, especially those whose electric utility billing agreements require them to pay expensive demand charges for taking power during time of peak use. Many U.S. electric utilities now offer some type of financial incentives for commercial users to not take power from the electric grid during peak demand.
Additionally, the electric vehicle market will continue to be a driver of battery innovations while simultaneously leading more and more buyers into the market which should have a downward price effect.
Synergy With Solar, Other Renewables
Critics like to point out that with solar and other renewable energy technologies the power generated is intermittent. And because of this intermittency, the power produced by a solar panel or wind turbine cannot be relied upon 100% of the time.
Energy storage is the solution to the intermittency issue. With a solar + battery backup system, energy can be stored for night time use or other times when a renewable resource is not providing enough power.
Solar Manufacturers Moving Into Energy Storage
Enphase Energy, who is our preferred microinverter partner, recently unveiled that they were entering into the storage market by producing a modular plug-and-play storage system much like they’ve done with the solar microinverter.
Enphase co-founder and VP of products and strategic initiatives at Raghu Belur had this to say in a company release: “Storage is going to be a multi-billion dollar market and will be essential in helping solar gain broader acceptance and higher penetration. It provides benefits for the system owner, while also helping with grid stability.”