Why Would You Want a Battery That Doesn’t Get You Off-Grid?
August 15, 2022
Most people think having a solar panel system (including a battery) will make you completely independent of the grid. But having a battery and hybrid solar panels connected to the grid is actually the most beneficial option for those going solar.
Here, we’ll look at the difference between off-grid and hybrid solar panels, why it’s beneficial to invest in a battery, and the top reasons to have a grid-tied hybrid setup combined with home solar backup power.
Difference Between Off-Grid and Hybrid Solar Panels?
Off-grid solar panel systems enable you to be completely self-reliant in terms of power generation. You’re wholly responsible for your energy needs and unreliant on your local utility company with off-grid solar panels.
You can certainly combine your off-grid panels with a battery, generator or even a Tesla Powerwall to store energy for use on a rainy day. But if there are multiple rainy or cloudy days in a row, your panels likely aren’t producing enough energy to power your home. And as a result, you won’t have any stored backup energy to lean on.
You can use backup power solutions such as batteries with hybrid solar panels, too. But let’s say you’re dealing with those back-to-back cloudy days again. Hybrid panels allow you to still source energy from the grid if you need to.
Consider this setup another form of insurance in terms of power sourcing. You have your panel system and your battery — and then when necessary, smart or preferred, you have energy from the grid.
[Related: Do Solar Panels Work on Cloudy Days?]
Why Are Solar Batteries Beneficial?
Well, batteries are beneficial when your panels can’t produce enough energy to power your home and general lifestyle needs.
But not all batteries are created equal. Ideally, you want a battery that can sufficiently store energy to meet your energy demands, as well as stay reliable if your local grid goes down from an outage.
While some newer-model generators can charge on solar power, batteries are reliant solely on electricity, which makes them ideal for solar panel owners. You can even recharge batteries during grid outages — both with off-grid and hybrid solar panels.
Overall, batteries are the smarter investment. Lithium ion batteries are typically the most ideal because they have a long life span, maximize your power usage and help offset your energy costs. They have a higher initial cost than a generator, but they rarely need maintenance or repair work.
Top Reasons to Have a Battery for Your Grid-Tied Solar Panels
Here are three top reasons to have a battery connected to grid-tied (hybrid) solar panel systems:
- Net metering
- Offset Power Costs
Solar Battery Allows Time-of-Use
Grid-tied solar panel systems allow you to choose whether you want to source power from your panels, battery or the grid — all while allowing it to work to your financial benefit.
For example, it’s smart to source power from your panels during the day when the sun is out and at its brightest. But when the sun is down, you can source energy at night from your battery or the grid.
Or if energy rates are particularly high, you can source energy from your battery instead of the grid. Having the option to source energy from your battery rather than the grid gives you greater freedom and financial benefits.
Solar Battery Provides Net Metering
Although you can connect batteries to both off-grid and hybrid solar panel systems, net metering is applicable only to hybrid systems. Off-grid solar panels are completely independent from the grid, so it’s impossible to earn energy credits through a local net metering program.
For example, if you live in a region that gets lots of sunlight, your panels will probably produce much more energy than your home requires. You can still store some of the excess in your solar battery, of course. But sending any (or all) of that remaining excess energy to the grid allows you to earn credits.
Essentially, you’re actively putting money in your pocket.
So if days or weeks pass where your panels aren’t producing enough and you don’t want to use all your stored power, you can source energy from the grid at a discounted rate using your solar credits.
Solar Better Offset Power Costs
Some of the more innovative hybrid solar panel systems, such as SunPower, offer the option of connecting your system to the grid when energy rates are low. You can program the system to do this automatically when energy rates hit a certain point. Alternatively, you can do it yourself when you want to take advantage of those low costs.
This helps offset your overall power costs if you routinely connect to the grid. You can take advantage of your system and local energy rates to get the best deal for yourself, which ultimately gives you more energy independence.
[Related: Guide to Federal Solar Panel Incentives]
Contact Freedom Solar for Hybrid Solar Panels and Batteries
Call (800) 504-2337 or complete our inquiry form if you’re ready to get started!
Featured image via Unsplash