By Jeremy Niles, marketing manager at Pika Energy. Originally posted on Pika Energyâ€™s blog.
Imagine this: You are a homeowner who spent $20,000 on a grid-tied solar energy system five years ago. Since then, your solar array has worked flawlessly, producing power during the day to offset your energy consumption in the evenings.
Your utility just announced that it is introducing a time-of-use rate schedule, where the energy you produce during the day is worth roughly half what the energy you use in the evening costs. You realize that by selling energy back to the grid during those peak rate periods, you can access a better rate of return on your system than originally forecasted by your installer.
Furthermore, a battery would be a silent and maintenance-free alternative to the backup generator you may have been considering. The only issue is, you donâ€™t have a battery-ready inverter so your options are limited. Any â€śAC-coupledâ€ť battery option will be inefficient, and most of the available options are underpowered and slow to back up loads, making them ineffective backup solutions.
Now your neighbor is considering adding solar to their home. What is your advice? Tell them to buy a battery-ready solar inverter.
Not long ago, choosing the make and model of a solar panel was the most important decision that affected the performance of a home solar system. That is no longer the case. Not only are solar modules more powerful, efficient, and cost-effective than ever before, making the choice less impactful, but the ways that we derive value from our solar systems are changing rapidly.
The decision is now about far more than just solar modules; itâ€™s about the entire system and how it integrates solar and storage with the grid and your home.
Many utilities are introducing programs that erode or destroy the value of traditional net-metered solar energy, while others are introducing incentives that increase the value of â€śsmartâ€ť solar.
In either case, a smart battery-ready inverter is an adaptable system that will maintain or even improve the value of your solar system over its operational lifetimeâ€”even if you donâ€™t decide to add a battery right away. Enter the age of smart solar+storage systems like the Pika Energy Island.
Extreme weather and shifting utility price structures are changing our needs as electricity consumers. Utilities are increasing energy prices and introducing rate structures (known as time-of-use or TOU) that adjust your rate by the hour. Some are even prohibiting the connection of residential solar systems to the grid or refusing to pay for excess solar energy that is sent to the grid. Even if you haveÂ energy securityÂ today, you may not tomorrow.
A residential solar system is typically warrantied for 10, 20 or even 25 years with an expected functional lifetime that goes far beyond that time period. The odds that your utility will change its rate structure or solar feed-in policy, or that you will experience power outages due to extreme weather, are increasing all the time.
With that in mind, itâ€™s important for solar buyers to understand that a standard grid-tied system does not provide power when utility power is out and cannot adjust to new utility billing structures. Installing a battery-ready solar inverter is the best way for solar buyers to insulate themselves from future risk and prepare for the addition of an energy storage system when they need one.