Solar + storage
Solar and battery storage: An ideal pair
Batteries allow you to store electricity and use it later. Combined with solar, batteries can charge during the day when the sun is shining. They can power your electric needs when the sun sets. They also ensure you have electricity when the grid goes down.
New tax credit makes batteries more affordable
In 2022, Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). This bill provides a 30% tax credit for the purchase of batteries. This credit is available until 2032. It steps down to 26% in 2033 and then 22% in 2034. Battery storage systems with at least 3 kilowatt-hours of capacity qualify for the credit.
If you want to learn more about storing energy at your home, read this guide.
This guide explains:
- how battery backup works,
- what batteries cost, and
- if adding battery storage is right for you.
(Prefer to watch a video? Check out our battery storage educational webinar.)
Why pair solar and battery storage?
There are several benefits to pairing solar systems with batteries.
Back-up power when electric service stops
Pairing solar with storage means you can keep the lights on if your utility service goes down. Most rooftop solar systems are connected to the electric grid. This means that when the power goes down your solar system automatically shuts off.
It does so as a safety measure. If your system is generating electricity and sending it out along electrical lines, it may harm the repair crews working to restore electric service.
Battery storage does come at a cost. Adding battery storage to your solar array can increase costs so much that the savings you see on utility bills are minimal. However, if you live in an area with poor electric reliability, you may find the trade-off worth it. Battery storage will keep critical loads, like refrigerators and medical equipment, working when utility power goes out.
Manage energy use and save money
Some utilities have started varying the cost of electricity based on the time of day. They’ve done so to encourage their customers to use less electricity when demand is high. In this way, batteries can improve solar’s economics. You can store the solar electricity you’ve generated and use it when electricity prices climb.
Solar systems with battery backup can provide individuals and communities with much needed resiliency in the face of natural disasters. These systems provide power when the electric grid goes down. This can protect vulnerable communities from a disaster’s most immediate and devastating effects. Solar-powered battery systems have an advantage over gas-powered generators. They provide fuel on site. Fuel may be hard to get if roads are impassable.
Learn more about adding batteries to your home
Battery storage costs have fallen significantly in the past decade. As costs fall, new products enter the market. We expect to see more homeowners adopt battery storage in the coming years. That’s why we have developed a first-of-its kind Battery Storage Guide for Homeowners.
The guide answers your questions about:
- battery technology,
- battery economics,
- installation procedures, and
- retrofitting an existing solar array with battery storage.
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- We’ve put together a comprehensive guide for homeowners who are interested in battery storage. Click here to download it.
- We’ve held multiple webinars like this storage webinar we from 2019 and this one we did in partnership with Generation 180. Our most recent webinar was recorded in June of 2020.
- We’ve conducted an in-depth analysis of the current “state of the art” of solar + storage. We wanted to see if solar + storage is a viable way to protect vulnerable communities from the impacts of climate change. The research used the Hampton Roads, Virginia region as a test case. We modeled the financial feasibility of these projects. We then identified ways to scale up their deployment. Download the full report on solar + storage for resiliency.
- Our Maryland Storage Co-op Pilot in 2017 was our first co-op that focused on adding battery storage to existing solar systems.
Solar + storage resources
- Consumer-friendly battery storage educational webinar
- Solar Plus Storage: A Resiliency and Climate Mitigation Strategy for Vulnerable Communities – This Solar United Neighbors report analyzes whether solar + storage is a viable way to protect vulnerable communities from the impacts of climate change.
- Understanding Solar+Storage: Answers to Commonly Asked Questions about Solar PV & Battery Storage: A great guide by Clean Energy Group for folks considering solar & storage; it answers questions from: what types of batteries are available? to how can I pay for a solar+storage system?
- Solar Plus: A holistic approach to distributed solar PV – The National Renewable Energy Laboratory offers an overview of distributed solar + storage resources.
- The economics of grid defection – Rocky Mountain Institute reports on solar + storage grid defection.
- Reverse Power Flow: How Solar+Batteries Shift Electric Grid Decision Making from Utilities to Consumers – An Institute for Self Reliance report with recommendations for changing utility oversight and modifying electricity markets to transition from the dying utility distribution monopoly to a vibrant, democratic energy system where customers have the opportunity to choose distributed energy options that benefit themselves and the greater grid.
- Powering your home during an outage: Fossil fuel backup vs solar + batteries
We’ve compiled additional information about solar + storage in some states. Are you looking for information that isn’t covered here? Contact us.