By Aric Saunders
The end of the 2019 was marked by both holiday cheer and blackouts on both coasts, such as the Public Safety Power Shutdown (PSPS) in California and the late fall Nor’easter across the East Coast. During and as a result of these extended outages, many homeowners have been turning to energy storage as a solution to keep their homes powered.
One of the questions homeowners often ask regarding battery storage is “how long will this system back up our home?”. To determine that, there are a few parameters that must be addressed in order to properly size a system tailored to your needs:
There are some limitations to an energy storage system that should also be considered. A typical energy storage system functions optimally when battery power and capacity are sized to match the home’s load profile. Many homes aren’t optimized for efficiency (e.g. well-insulated; LEDs or CFLs; heat pumps; Tier III appliances; etc.), which must be taken into account when sizing a system. Additionally, the modern home has nearly every outlet occupied with a variety of appliances drawing power.
Sizing a storage system within a predetermined budget becomes more of a challenge when high-powered appliances are needed for an extended period of time (e.g. AC units, pool pumps, etc.). A more budget-friendly approach is to size an energy storage system that will power essential loads only — think internet router, TV, security system, refrigerator, lights. Powering an entire home is possible by stacking additional batteries and inverters, but results in a higher price point. Alternatively, a 10 kWh system without solar can power just the essential loads for about 12-24 hours.
If there is solar already on your home, or you plan to couple solar with batteries, a solar + storage system can provide almost indefinite power. A system designed to do this can be achieved by ensuring your energy consumption is less than your energy production — even in poor weather conditions.
Solar + storage is the clear winner when looking to help bridge the gap between outages, reduce your carbon footprint, and save money on your electrical bill. Even better, some states like California offer incentives and rebates to encourage homeowners to make energy resilience one of their property’s best features. The key is to know which loads are critical and work with a professional to size your system properly to get maximum benefit.
Aric Saunders is the Executive Vice President of Sales for Electriq Power.