Punxatawny Phil declared we have a few more weeks of winter, so it feels like an appropriate time to consider what happens when we live during a few cloudy months. We have to rely a bit more on the grid as a power source. A typical solar-plus-storage system uses the sun shining on the photovoltaic panels to power the house’s loads and recharge the battery bank. But what if we want battery power that is not generated by the sun’s rays? Instead, we can use a battery bank that gets replenished by the grid power.
There are a number of reasons why someone might install a battery system without any solar at all. A house may have no south or west facing roofs. A condo or apartment may have no roof accessibility for a tenant but that does not mean occupants must forgo backup! Once you install a battery-bank to your home, the bank can power your house loads when you need it then be recharged when the grid comes back on. It is important to know that the battery is only charged from the grid, rather than PV, so once the battery bank is depleted it cannot be recharged until the grid connection returns.
Regardless of why you may not be eligible for solar, you can still add storage. As long as you can access your main service panel, you should be able to find a way to install a battery-based inverter and battery to support your needs. The best way to take advantage of backup power will be to designate a specific set of loads that you want powered during an outage. This is called your “critical loads”. Once you have determined what your critical loads are, you can select an inverter and battery to meet your backup needs. Most of our “solar-plus-storage” brands have “storage only” capabilities so make sure to reach out to your Account Manager to find which solution is right for you.