With increased interest in residential batteries we’re hearing homeowners bring up selling points delivered by other installers. They’re told that batteries are a must-have, will save them money, and provide their entire house power during an outage. At Palomar Solar and Roofing, we’ll cut right to the facts. Let’s dig into what other installers are saying to determine how accurate they are.
Other Installer: “In a power outage, the battery system kicks in automatically and will run your entire house.”
Yes, definitely the most popular rhetoric to-date. It seems that every windy day in San Diego comes with a warning on the news about rolling blackouts and safety power shutoffs. At first glance the obvious solution might appear that adding a battery system would make your residence invulnerable to any outage.
Furthermore, that idea continues to grow in momentum that you can run all your appliances and air conditioning unit non-stop. Homeowners simply like to believe in the idealistic notion that whole-home backup will allow their lifestyles to continue unabated despite any power outage.
There are fundamental engineering limitations that make it impractical to run an entire house on battery power alone. In fact, most battery systems don’t have the amperage capacity to even start a major appliance such as an air conditioner. The typical battery installation average 20 amps, far short of the 40 amps required by most AC units.
It’s a problem of perception. While installers are promising a method to fully mitigate an outage, the truth is that running the air conditioning or other large appliances will drain the battery incredibly fast. The battery can help keep essential items running during an outage but understand there are limitations.
The number of batteries required to run your whole house would be impractical from a financial standpoint.
Other Installer: “You can optimize time-of-use”
Time-of-Use (TOU) billing is a pricing module implemented by the electric company to charge you more during “peak periods” of electricity consumption, usually between mid-afternoon and evening, when most people are home from work and using energy. During the hot summer months, using energy from your air conditioner during on-peak times may cause to you see your bill double compared to off-peak times.
The narrative from installers is that battery storage allows homeowners to store electricity during lower-rate off-peak hours. Then use your stored power during your utility’s peak hours to avoid peak rates. Voila! The purchase of a battery is completely offset by the time of use savings.
The idea that a homeowner can shift the stored energy during peak hours is actually a true scenario but doesn’t come with the benefits you would like to assume.
Unfortunately, many of systems do not provide compelling economic benefits in the short or long term. Homeowners will realize after their first set of utility bills that the cost of the battery purchase and installation doesn’t nearly compare to the minor reduction of offsetting TOU. You’ll be savings pennies on the dollar.
Furthermore, if the homeowner is relying on using the battery during off-peak hours, this introduces a scenario of limited stored energy during an actual outage.
Other Installer: “There’s a guaranteed rebate when you add a battery”
We hear about this frequently with homeowners as installers have given them the impression the rebate is not only guaranteed but that it will be sent immediately.
As most homeowners know, the Federal Government offers a 26% tax credit (in 2022) for all new solar installations. This applies to your solar panels and battery installation. However, for those homeowners looking to add a battery to their existing system, a separate program is available offering a rebate of 15-20% of the average battery cost. This incentive is known as the CPUC’s Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP).
NOPE, you missed your opportunity! Battery rebates were difficult to qualify previously, but as the state allotment for rebates have been exhausted, there’s simply no more funds available. Don’t purchase a battery system and assume or even hope for a rebate. It’s just not going to happen.
A battery system may still be the appropriate solution for your home.
Now you know the benefit of a battery is 100% peace-of-mind. During a nominal outage, essential functions of a house can continue to run. Your freezer won’t defrost, the refrigerator will continue to keep your food cool, your house will stay lit in the evening, and your means of communication (phone, internet, tv) will remain intact.
Don’t’ expect rebates, or to save money long-term. You’re adding complex equipment to your house that naturally comes at an added expense.
At Palomar Solar and Roofing, it’s always our goal to inform with the latest information regarding any technology. Knowing the current landscape, if you believe a battery system is right for you, then Palomar Solar and Roofing can help. As a Premium Enphase installer, we offer the highest quality Enphase Batteries.