When a solar-powered home is connected to the city grid, you have a nice safety net for nighttime and cloudy days. The power grid is always there, ready to supply you with power when your solar panels can’t. So, why would you choose to add a battery and turn your grid-tied system into a hybrid system? What role does a battery play in such a system? Keep reading to find out.
Greater Energy Independence
The first role that a battery bank could play for your system is to give you greater independence from the grid. Many people opt for solar in the first place so that they can rely less on city-supplied power. However, there will always be significant dependence on the grid if you don’t have any backup power supply. In fact, you’ll still depend on the grid every single night and during many days throughout the year when the weather is cloudy.
Adding a battery bank can greatly diminish your grid dependence. Excess energy created during the day will be stored in your batteries, which you can then tap into each night to keep things running. You might still occasionally need the grid, depending on the size of your battery bank, but it will happen a lot less often—and that means even lower electricity bills.
Speaking of lower electricity bills, there’s another role that your battery bank can plan that will reduce those bills even more. It’s called beak shaving, and most systems can be programmed to do it automatically. As you likely know, utility companies charge more for power during certain times of the day. Your inverter can be programmed to only use grid power when electricity is at its cheapest, so you pay less per watt.
For example, your system could use active solar energy when the sun is shining and pull low-cost electricity from the grid to charge your batteries during the day. Then in the evening, when the sun is down, and utility costs jump up, your batteries are fully charged to get you through those peak usage hours. When prices drop again, your system will switch back to the grid.
Power in a Blackout
If you have a grid-tied system, your system goes down during a blackout, even if it happens during the day. This is to protect utility workers repairing the damaged electricity lines. But if you have a Generac battery connected to your system, your system can function separately from the grid, allowing you to keep power running when the rest of your neighborhood is shut down.