Do you have a back-up energy plan for when the power goes out? You may have asked yourself that question even before you made the move to solar panels. If you’ve already made the switch to solar, hopefully, your local solar installation company explained options for back-up power should the power go out. And, if you’re still thinking of making the move to solar, it’s a great time to consider your back-up options.
Some people don’t realize that when the power grid goes down, so does the electricity to solar-powered homes. Solar grid-tied homes that are linked with an electric provider are designed not to run during an outage. It’s a safety feature that keeps your system from sending back extra energy produced from your solar array. That wouldn’t be good for the grid if the electricity was being sent over potentially damaged power lines. It also safeguards technicians who may be repairing those lines from that electricity.
Even if this safety feature wasn’t in place, there would still be times when the sun goes down where you’d need electricity you wouldn’t be receiving through your solar power. But there are a few options, to keep you powered up even through long-haul power outages.
Generators for Solar Homes
The cheapest and least green solution of course is to keep an old-fashioned back-up generator on hand. This has seen many households through power outages for many years. They cost between $1000 to $2000 generally for gasoline/propane models while natural gas generators can be more expensive.
There are some downsides to these generators though. For one thing, gasoline/propane generators are very loud. They also require you to store the fuel for their use which can be a safety hazard. And they also are big polluters. If you’ve ever been near a generator, you know they smell terrible. Generators are good in a pinch if you already have one. But if you’re investing in clean, more efficient energy options, these aren’t even in the running.
Battery Back-Up Power
A better option is to invest in a solar battery backup which can be a seamless part of your solar system installation. One important part of a battery bank system is that it allows you to store your surplus electricity which you can then use at night, during cloudy days, or in the event of power outages. Battery technology has advanced dramatically in the last few years, which means you’ll get more battery storage power at lower price points than in the past.
It’s important to understand the variety of systems on the market before making an investment in a solar battery backup. Because your solar panel system makes direct current (DC) electricity and homes use alternating current (AC), some energy is lost in the conversion. Adding in the additional necessary conversion with a battery system makes the unit lose some additional efficiency. That’s why it’s important to discuss your solar back-up needs. Our team at Steel City Solar can assess what unit might be best for you based on your current system and budget.
New Energy Hub Provides a Range of Power Solutions
An Energy Hub is a unique innovative technology that provides multiple services to your home. Not only does it provide a back-up battery system, but the Energy Hub also provides EV charging for an electric car. Because Energy Hub is a DC-coupled system, it doesn’t require as many conversion steps, so you’ll get a more efficient unit, with less waste. The Energy Hub generates and stores more energy than the AC-coupled back-ups previously mentioned. The energy that’s typically lost in an AC-coupled system can be instead saved and used by your home as needed.
Touted as the “next-generation back-up solution,” the Energy Hub essentially provides a three-prong technology of solar, EV, and battery solutions. It also comes with some high-tech bells and whistles, like generator compatibility, mobile monitoring, and the option to add in smart energy improvements. These include Smart Energy Hot Water, Smart Switches, and Relays.
Battery Back-Up Financing
To make the investment in your home’s peace of mind, many options exist. If you’re a current Steel City Solar customer, you have the option to refinance your existing solar package to include a back-up battery or Energy Hub. But this type of upgrade isn’t limited to just Steel City Solar customers. New customers can finance this upgrade with us too. And if you still have not made the switch to solar and are considering it, talk to us about including a battery back-up or Energy Hub into your installation package. With this new technology, you can rest assured you’ll have power even when there’s an outage.