Power Outages & Blackouts: How Solar + Storage Can Help | Solar.com

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Power Outages & Blackouts: How Solar + Storage Can Help

Over the last year, the US has seen an unprecedented number of power outages that left millions without power and helpless to extreme weather conditions. Regardless of where the blame falls, solar + battery storage is the best option for homeowners who do not want to fall victim to blackouts. 

The Problem

Extreme weather conditions, worsened by climate change, lead to spikes in energy consumption. In other cases, extreme weather conditions render certain power generation sources unavailable or with a drastically reduced output. 

The electrical grid isn’t built to sustain such significant surges in consumption, especially with limited power generation sources, so grid workers must enforce rolling blackouts to prevent long term damage or a complete system failure. Solutions to stabilize the grid are controversial and take significant time and monetary investment. 

Most recently, Texans have suffered through multiple days without power due to freezing weather conditions that have reduced power availability from core sources. 

Social Media Post from Texans

Social media post from Texas resident

Similarly in Oregon, a large snow and ice storm toppled trees, taking hundreds of power lines down and leaving customers without power for over a week. 

California’s high temperatures have consistently resulted in more power consumption than what the grid can support, forcing residents to work through rolling blackouts. 

How Solar + Storage Can Help

When residential solar panels are coupled with batteries for energy storage, homeowners can keep their homes powered in a blackout. 

If a home has solar panels installed without a battery backup, the solar system is turned off during a blackout in order to prevent possible injuries to grid workers. However, if the home has a battery installed, the solar system can continue to charge the battery while that battery is sending power to the home. 

Different batteries have different storage capacities and power capabilities. A homeowner’s battery choice will depend on exactly what circuits should be backed up, the duration for which the homeowner wants that backup power to last, and the typical energy consumption of the user.

Solar + Storage Case Study

Joe is a homeowner living near Dallas, TX. The average utility bill for his single-family home is about $170/month. He’s never looked into going solar, but wants to make sure that if a blackout happens again that his home still has some power. 

Joe’s roof has nice sun exposure, so he gets a quote from Solar.com’s network of installers. He learns that an 8kW system should generate enough power to cover his energy consumption, and save him roughly $57,000 over 25-years. 

He could choose to pay the net system price of $19,640 upfront, and recoup his investment via electric bill savings in less than 10-years. Instead, Joe wants to finance his system with $0 down so his Energy Advisor helps him find the right solar loan. His monthly loan payments are $136/month – less than he was already paying for electricity. All this while adding value to his home and protecting himself against annual rate increases from the utility provider. 

After discussing the project with his Solar.com Energy Advisor, Joe decides to add the LG-Chem RESU10H 9.3 to his system. He could pay $11,660 cash, but instead adds the battery to his loan for $68/month. The battery should keep him powered for roughly 16 hours in a blackout. He can’t back up his HVAC, but he can plug in space heaters, keep his fridge running and keep some lights on. The battery will also help save him a few hundred dollars a year since he can pull power from the battery in the evening, rather than pulling energy from the grid. This allows him to avoid the higher electricity rates that most utilities charge during “peak” evening usage hours. 

*pricing and savings vary based on project and installer

How to Find Your Solar + Storage Solution 

Solar.com features a best-in-class solar calculator so you can easily start by viewing estimated savings and the payback period for your home solar project. You’ll then be connected with an Energy Advisor who will work with you to choose the best solar installer and narrow down the right solar + storage solution for your needs. The Solar.com team tracks your project from start to finish, so you can breathe easy and trust that your project is in good hands. 

Solar.com doesn’t only make going solar easy, it also saves you money! The Department of Energy found that using Solar.com saves the average buyer $2,800 on their home solar project when compared to working directly through installers.

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