Written by Madeline Acri
My name is Madeline and I am the Energy Storage Manager at Soligent. My mission is to educate and empower homeowners, installers, and the Soligent team to be the most informed about residential solar plus storage systems. In reflecting upon the past year and thinking ahead to the near-approaching 2021, there is a lot we have accomplished in the solar plus storage world. I am humbled and proud to see the storage category gain traction and recognition amongst installers and homeowners. I am grateful to see batteries becoming a larger part of the conversation in solar.
It seems like now more than ever there is a trend toward the tiny house, glamour RV camping, and custom designed homes with the footprint of a cargo van. These trends are often accompanied by the buzzwords “going off the grid”. The concept of living off-grid is not new, but as solar comes paired with energy storage in more frequency, it is important to distinguish “battery backup” from complete “grid-independence”.
When blackouts occur, whether it is due to a planned public safety power shutoff or unexpectedly during a storm, having batteries to provide backup power for your house can be beneficial. However, installing batteries for emergencies is different than completely going off grid. Most houses that are completely off-grid are designed with some criteria that would not often be considered for newly built, grid-tied homes. Off-grid houses are designed with efficiency in mind every step of the way; implementing a small footprint to optimize space, installing a heat pump HVAC and heat pump water heater, incorporating intensive roof and wall insulation are just a few considerations of off-grid living. Since there is no grid activity at all, each appliance should be hand selected with efficiency in mind to ensure the available power to your home, via solar, battery, or generator, can power your usage needs. The good news is if you live in a more traditionally-built home, batteries are still willing and able to work for you!
When considering storage for a grid-tied home, adding battery backup can have a simpler approach. For an everyday homeowner discussing batteries, the first question to ask would be “what loads are essential to you”. After identifying a handful of must-have household loads, a modest energy storage system can be designed to accommodate them. With the assistance of system sizing tools, designing storage systems has become easier and more accurate than ever.