As a general rule, the larger the home, the greater your energy requirements become making the return on investment for installing solar photovoltaic (PV) panels even better than it is for smaller homes.
By installing PV panels, you can reduce your utility bills substantially – even if your family uses air-conditioning nonstop throughout the hottest months of the year. As an added benefit, going solar can also help shrink your carbon footprint, which tends to increase with home size.
But while these environmental and financial savings appear on Day 1, there are hard limits on how much you can cut your utility bills and carbon emissions by installing solar panels.
Solar is a very powerful technology turning sunshine into free electricity for your home. But it can’t automatically reduce your monthly utility bills to $0 for 2 important reasons:
To overcome these challenges, homeowners have historically installed oversized PV systems and interconnected to the utility grid:
The above is a very simple setup that generates measurable savings. But again, reaching $0 in monthly utility bills is unrealistic since you will always be partially dependent on the grid for power.
Worse still, this configuration doesn’t protect you from blackouts – even when the sun is shining. (Such as the planned Northern California PG&E outage in October 2019 or even SCE in Southern California.) That’s because most solar inverters come with a safety feature that turns the entire PV system off during outages. Known as “islanding,” this precaution is designed to prevent utility workers from touching “live” wires when repairing downed power lines. In the absence of islanding technology, solar panels that are still sending electricity into the grid pose a serious risk to utility service teams.
But if you live in a large home, there actually are ways to go solar and:
Using on-site batteries to store daytime solar power is becoming an increasingly popular option for many homeowners – especially those who live in larger residences. And that’s because with enough solar capacity and on-site storage, it’s possible to become a completely autonomous power producer capable of generating all the energy you need:
If you want to explore this approach, there are 2 different options. You can install solar panels coupled with alternating current (AC) battery storage or direct current (DC) storage.
Let’s look at the pros and cons of each strategy.
With this approach, battery storage is an add-on that can be installed at any time after your solar PV panels become operational. AC battery storage is basically an overflow reservoir for all the electricity that your PV panels generate.
If and when a power outage occurs, it only takes a few seconds for your electrical system to switch from the grid to stored solar energy in your on-site AC batteries.
In all other respects, however, you’re an independent power producer who no longer relies on the grid. Your home is a self-sustaining energy building that saves you money and reduces your carbon footprint to zero.
With this approach, all of the energy generated from your PV panels goes into the DC battery first. Any excess solar power is then redirected to your home, the grid or both.
As such, this storage configuration should be completed at the same time as your solar panels. This tends to make DC battery storage cost more money upfront. The upside, however, is that there is essentially zero interruption if and when the grid goes down. You might notice the lights momentarily flicker as your home quickly switches from the grid to your on-site batteries. But that’s about it.
Although DC coupled battery storage solutions are more expensive to set up, they are the best option if 24/7, uninterrupted power is important to you and your family.
At Aeterna Energy, we believe in solar’s potential to deliver huge, long-term savings – which is why we invest so much time and effort into the PV components we install for our residential customers:
When it comes to on-site storage, there are many different design choices to choose from. But we’re partial to Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries from Energport and Sonnen for several reasons:
But simply selecting the right battery technology isn’t enough, which is why we also analyze areas on your property for optimal battery placement. The goal is to install batteries where they’ll be inconspicuous.
That way, you’ll only see the savings.
And of course, you have all of this in writing before we even begin – complete with:
Once you sign off, our team then handles every detail of your installation, from permitting to licensing to the actual installation itself. We can even help you apply for lucrative state and federal renewable energy incentives like:
Many of these subsidies apply to both solar and storage, allowing you to reduce the total cost of your investment substantially. Equally important, nearly all of these subsidies have expiration schedules – during which – the payouts and benefits gradually get scaled back over time.
Going solar also allows you to be part of the green solution. With planned power outages increasing across California due to wildfire dangers, people are looking to stay connected while keeping the environment in mind. And, large homes will need more than one generator to stay running. If you're looking to stay connected AND stay green during power outages, solar with battery storage is your solution.
Large homes cost a fortune to power, heat and cool. And with rising utility rates, these monthly costs will only increase over time.
Imagine you live in a large residence and spend $35,000 annually on electricity. With occasional utility rate hikes, you could easily end up paying close $1 million over the next 20 years for grid power.
Going solar can help reduce much of this spending. And it can also make your home more eco-friendly. But if you want to maximize your savings and reduce both your carbon footprint and bring the utility bills to zero, combining solar power with on-site storage is the single best long-term solution.
Even if you spend $400,000 to outfit your entire home with PV panels and on-site batteries, you’re still saving $600,000+ total over that same 20-year period, and your claiming your independence in an area of potential power grid failures or shutdowns.
Not even Wall Street can deliver returns like that. And it certainly can’t do so 100% risk-free.
To learn how our AC and DC solar batteries systems can help you extract the most value from your PV investment, schedule a free consultation with us today – either by filling out this online form or calling us directly at (805) 823-3232.
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Using on-site batteries to store daytime solar power is becoming an increasingly popular option for many homeowners – especially those who live in larger residences.Keep Reading