What is Off-Grid Power?
When you hear the term, “off-grid”, what comes to mind? Perhaps a cabin in the woods, far away from civilization? For some of us, the idea is incredibly appealing, but for others, a grocery store within 10 miles is more appealing. Before you pack up the family and head out west, consider that “off-grid” power is also available in your current home through many different options.
A battery backup system is a great option for both grid-tied, and off-grid options. Many customers choose to have a hybrid system, which is a solar array with a battery backup system that are both grid-tied and off-grid.
How do energy storage systems work?
The solar array on your roof, or in your yard, is more often than not tied into the grid, this is especially important if you are involved in net metering with your utility provider. The power produced by your solar array may be more than your home uses in a given day, this power is then sent back out to the grid and the homeowner receives a bill credit. The credit varies by utility provider, on and off peak times, and current rates.
The inclusion of a battery backup system means that power you produce, but do not use, can be stored and used during lower production times, such as in the evening hours, or on overcast days. The battery backup can also provide power to your home during a power outage.
What types of battery systems are available?
Battery systems can be used in conjunction with solar modules to run completely “off-grid.” This means that the power you generate from your solar array, is used to power the home, and is also stored in battery bank. This option works best for smaller homes, which use less energy. A generator can also supplement the stored power in the battery system to assist with powering appliances.
A grid tied system uses energy from solar, as well as energy supplied from the utility company, to power the home and store power in the battery bank. In the event of a power outage, the battery system will power the critical loads in your home (refrigerator, well pump, etc).
Hybrid systems are grid-tied, and allow the homeowner to choose when to draw power from the grid. The battery bank does not need grid power to run, it will primarily use solar power and stored power to run the home. This can be especially useful for both power outages, and higher priced utility hours (on peak). The homeowner may choose to draw power from the grid at night, when electricity is lower priced, to recharge the battery system if needed.
What are the benefits?
There are many benefits to installing an energy storage system for your home. Having the battery system allows you to store your own surplus energy to be used when needed. It also allows you to take advantage of off-peak utility pricing. The surplus power you store can be used during higher energy demand periods, such as the summer months. Battery systems make it possible for the homeowner to pull from the grid less often during on peak times, thus, saving you even more.
Depending on the size of the battery bank you choose, and the items you choose to power during an outage, a battery system can also provide a few hours, to a few days of power.
Want more information?
Now that we’ve established going “off-grid” does not mean leaving your family and friends and shutting down all social media accounts (unless you want to, no judgment here), feel free to give us a call or email and we will be happy to provide more information on how you can take advantage of an energy storage system in your home.
We serve clients across Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Bloomington, Minnetonka, Woodbury, Maple Grove, Lakeville, Chaska, Edina, Eagan, Stillwater, Forest Lake, Duluth, Elk River, Waconia, Hastings, Orono, Wayzata, Apple Valley, Burnsville, Mound, Plymouth, Roseville, Mendota Heights, West St.Paul, Cottage Grove, Inver Grove Heights, St Louis Park, and Richfield, Minnesota.