Once you’ve made up your mind to go green, switching to solar power is quite simple. You say “Yes!” to choosing solar power, and we’ll do the rest. - Heard this many times right? - In its simplest form, this is true, yet there is a little more to it. Let's look a little deeper.
How does Solar Power work?
Solar panels are made of photovoltaic cells that convert sunlight to direct current electricity (DC electricity). Electrical Wires flow the (DC) power, through a path they provide, into your home or building. As long as rays are hitting your roof, rain or shine, your panels are converting solar radiation into DC electricity. But in order to get the kind of power needed to turn the lights on in your living room, you need an inverter.
Solar work is simpler than you think.
What does the inverter do?
The inverter is a device that takes the DC electricity produced by your solar panels and turns it into alternating current electricity (AC electricity). It is installed on an exterior wall of your house or in the garage.
What exactly is this Smart Meter?
Your smart meter monitors your system production and sends the information to us* and the utility through a wireless signal. Since it tracks your energy production 24/7, it will automatically alert us* if it detects problems or irregularities. Solar electricity from your inverter flows to the electrical panel, and then into your home where it powers your lights and appliances. Or, if you generate more solar energy than you use, it flows into the utility grid and you get the solar credits.
* (monitoring can have multiple settings for alarms and regular monitoring access)
Earning any credits with your Net Meter.
Speaking of solar credits, the net meter measures the amount of electricity you draw from the grid, and how much excess solar electricity you push into it. So when you produce more electricity than you use, you get credit from the utility company. Sounds pretty sweet, right?
Take a look at this video from the Dept. of Energy that helps to put it all together, Thanks for visiting and we hope to hear from you soon. Please share, and let others know of our services or better yet give us a call for a QUOTE.
The Great Battery Hype
So, are batteries really worth all the hype or is it just another way to sell more useless stuff...
Ever since Tesla’s Powerwall was released, America has had many major politically-charged leaders and moneyed lined companies tell them about the advantages of adding batteries to their renewable energy solutions as the best way to store their hard generated power and help save future generations even more. Still many say they are not worth the additional costs associated with including them. So are they worth it or are they all HYPE?
Basically, the purpose of battery storage is simple. A battery storage system keeps a supply of energy from a solar PV system or another source, maybe even from the grid, and later it can be used locally or put back onto the grid sold at a higher rate to produce a profit. In short, it should all flow very simple and seems to be a great concept if there is an extra surplus of energy or its cheaper power during times of the day when power can be gathered fast and sold when it is higher.
The extra expenses for adding batteries will vary based on your needs and the initial setup. There are variant ways to add batteries to any Renewable Energy Power Sourced System, too many to detail here. Just keep in mind that the costs associated with a battery system will be determined by the initial setup and the ease of adding more batteries to the setup later on. Keeping all things at a basic level, adding a backup/storage system is merely adding batteries for storage in the means to control the flow of current going in/out of the batteries (Charge Controller) to the system that you have in place. Problem is that not all systems talk to each very well. Therefore, many companies will say that you will need to do this at the same time the original PV system si installed or at least put in the proper INVERTER and CONTROLLER that will allow you to ADD your batteries later. This may be true, depending on your situation and should be advised on a case by case basis. Free to call if you have any questions regarding your current setup or need guidance.
Quick Battery System Knowledge Base
What are the differences between Energy BACKUP & STORAGE, MONITORING, and MANAGEMENT?
Pure and simple – Energy Storage by definition is the capture of energy produced at one time for use at a later time in a device which is generally called an accumulator or a battery
Using Energy Storage - Backup Power allows a way to continue functioning with lights, refrigerators and other major appliances, fans, and formalities used during a power outage. Usually, these backup systems are connected power sources like solar panels and auto-generators to keep the batteries charged during any emergencies or to function on and off the grid as needed.
Data gathered that shows how much power is a solar system generates qualifies as an Energy Monitoring System. However, we are discussing batteries at this time so of course, this is about the amount of energy that is being stored correctly. So yes, that as well. However, a good Energy Monitoring system should also provide users with information about their consumption patterns as well as show them how much power their system generates regularly as well. Furthermore, it is a good practice to monitor how much of your own power is consumed versus the power consumed from the grid, and how much of your power is actually sold to the grid at all. Keeping track of this data will help you know how to best program and use the system to best maximize your savings potential or to just get out what you have already paid for.
Keeping all your components of your system communicating and running at optimized levels, rather mechanical or software-based, manually or otherwise is what a Home Energy Management System is designed to do. These systems are created from the ground up with each part thoughtfully placed for that the environment they will function in.
Don't every battery system do these functions?
Not to beat a dead horse, but the answer is the same NO. Although it not that easy to tell by the marketing technics used currently? The real question is WHY IS THAT?
By now the answer is clear, not all systems do all of these things. However, most “Sales” pitches make it hard to know which system is best for you, and what you are paying for. Therefore, the cost of ownership is often misguided and badly judged. In most cases, if it walks like a Duck, and quacks like a Duck, it most likely is not a Swan. Meaning, if you are looking for a system to store extra power, and have management capabilities, but the rep only mentions the word Backup over and over again. Well, he may not know that he is selling you something that is not the same thing himself. Often times, customers know what they want but not what that really costs. So companies are good at training their reps to keep the pitch (and the customer) in a fine-lined box so they can control the outcome. There are, however, companies that can build custom systems within the same budgets just by listening to the clients and educating them to the best choices within their financing range. Of course, ITIS is one such company (HINT HINT).
One main reason batteries systems are set up differently when it comes to renewable energy sources, is due to the way energy is stored and released from batteries in regards to the way energy is generated from the various sources of energy that we can choose from. Energy doesn't want to just stay in one place that easily, it tends to seep out over time. Knowing this, we can use that to our advantage for certain scenarios or be aware of it in others. Therefore, we can't treat batteries with a 1-size fits all approach that floods the market place consistently. Knowing that discharging happens is a vital part of choosing if a battery solution if right for your situation at all.
What exactly is “Discharging”, and how does that affect my system?
Depth of discharge (DoD) is a vital key component in determining batteries for any solar energy storage system as it is the term that describes the rate in which a battery empties in relationship to its full capacity in a percentage. Simply put, if you have a battery bank of 100 kilowatt-hours (kWh), at 70% DoD that battery bank has 30kWh of charge left.
Now you may still ask why is this knowledge important, and does it answer if batteries are still just a HYPE?
In all fairness, batteries are a great addition for anyone that wants to have them for their system. The costs have come down enough for anyone to consider them for sure. Still, no matter what they will add more than a little to the overall cost of your system in most cases. However, if you live in an area that is prone to power failures, or wildfires there is no real teacher like an actual emergency. Needing to have that power, and not having it has no real cost associated with it at that point. If you need it, you need it. Being properly prepared and never needed it is what insurances and physical preparedness are all about. In that case, no this is not about HYPE at all. If you are doing this to save thousands immediately right now and you want to add a fully automated battery backup system, then this is not the best decision for you but you will LOVE it. Either way, what do have to lose. If you are looking for immediate savings on a budget, and you know that you are not staying in your home more than the next 5 years than a battery system is not the right decision for you.
We believe in fair honest evaluation for each client, and if a solution is not the best for you we will let you, and then we will give you options that better fit your needs with reasons why.
Give us a call, and let us go over a few options to see if a solar PV system with or without a battery backup system makes sense for your situation. Thank you for your time and for viewing our page.
(illustration of a solar PV system with battery backup may have monitoring)
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