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Home Batteries: This Changes Everything


Michael Chagala
Solar and Energy Storage Marketing

There’s only a few times in a person’s life when something integral to their everyday world gets turned completely upside down.  A disruption to a routine long since accepted as the norm.  A spectacular solution to a problem they didn’t know they had.

You have long since submitted to your electricity bill.  It’s egregious and continues to rise.  You grumble a bit as you write the check each month, but quickly move on to problems you can control.

You have been powerless until now.  But this changes everything.

Solar + energy storage, also known as a home battery, is the paradigm shift in electricity you never saw coming.  It means total control.  It solves a problem everybody has been ignoring.  It would be like waking up tomorrow and gasoline was free, or fresh drinking water bubbled up from the ground in the back yard.  Sure, solar panels are a smart purchase, but are only a half-measure to what is truly possible.

Energy storage holds onto your electricity and gives you maximum control over how it is used.  People have grown accustomed to the fact electricity is fleeting – the very instant it is created, it is gone.  This means the electricity generated by your solar panels is either put to work running your pool pump, or gets sent back to the grid where you once again have no control.  It also means you are 100% dependent on your utility, even if you have solar.

Energy storage empowers homeowners to manage electricity in a way never before possible.

  • Self-consumption: Want to run your house on solar power both day and night?  Home batteries can do that.  Instead of exporting your excess electricity to the grid, store it in your battery and use it at night.  Whatever you don’t consume gets sent to the utility for further savings.  And you remain connected to the grid in case you need a little extra juice.
  • Backup power: If the grid goes down, so does the safety and comfort of your family.  Think your solar panels will keep you powered?  Think again. Most solar systems turn off when the grid goes down.  But energy storage leverages the power of your solar system giving you anywhere from several hours, to several days of backup power.
  • Time-of-Use: If you went solar after mid-2016, or plan to go solar in the future, you are in for a big surprise.  SDG&E has changed the rules.  Soon, they will give solar homeowners less credit for the surplus electricity they put back on the grid during the day.  With energy storage, you control the time of day to export your power, protecting your solar investment.  More on this later.
  • Off the grid: Rural or just want true energy independence?  Say goodbye to your utility forever with an off-grid system.  Generate and store electricity completely shielded from the outside world.  Building a home?  An off-grid system might be cheaper than connecting to the utility.

This is why you will buy a battery.

Did you go solar after mid-2016, or haven’t gone solar yet?  You are about to be rocked by a massive change to how you pay for electricity: the new rate structure called Time-of-Use.  It means electricity will cost more depending on the time of day it’s used.  And if you currently have solar, the electricity you export to the grid during daytime will be worth dramatically less that it was before.  In short, you’ll pay more for electricity in the late afternoon and night, and get paid less for the solar you generate during the day – a double whammy.  Homeowners and their families will find themselves having to make lifestyle changes in order to avoid expensive bills, such as a prohibition on running appliances after 4pm.

The future of energy storage.

Some people will choose to buy batteries simply to lower their electricity bills, but that’s just the beginning.  Energy storage fundamentally changes the very nature in which homes and businesses manage electricity.  The days of buying overpriced electricity from sources dependent on non-renewable fossil fuels will end abruptly in just a few short years.  You look around and see solar panels on nearly every roof – the same will soon be true of home batteries.  Millions of people generating, storing, and using their own clean, renewable energy either zeroing out their electricity bill or certainly paying less than they are now.     

Baker has been monitoring the emerging energy storage industry for quite some time.  As we watched home batteries begin to come on the market, our challenge was clear.  Choose the right companies with which to partner and create a portfolio of the most technically advanced and proven storage solutions on the market.  After more than a year vetting and installing numerous home battery options, it became very apparent there is no single energy storage product right for everyone. Therefore, identifying an intelligent and robust set of battery solutions capable of meeting any homeowner’s unique requirements was critical.  We believe our partnerships with four of the world’s leading home battery companies has allowed us to accomplish this goal better than any other local solar provider.      

To answer your final question: no, it’s not expensive if you act fast.  While the Federal ITC tax credit and California’s SGIP incentive are available, a home battery is within your budget.  Adding a battery to your home can cost less than a daily latte.

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