Storage helps complete a typical household solar system, which uses solar panels to collect energy from the sun and turn it into electrical energy. An inverter then turns that energy into the right kind of current to power a home.
Many people think that most solar-powered homes are independent of the electrical grid. Actually, the majority work in partnership with the local utility. When solar panels produce more energy than a home needs – as on a bright, sunny day – the excess electricity is fed back to the utility. Moreover, when the panels produce less – like on dark overcast days – a solar home pulls in the electricity it needs from the utility.
This arrangement greatly reduces – or even eliminates – electricity costs for solar homeowners and may allow them to benefit from net metering (where available).1 But it also means solar homes can go dark in blackouts. These power shut offs take place to ensure safety, protecting both the home’s electrical equipment and utility workers from unexpected bursts of electric current.
Storage helps offset a solar home’s reliance on the utility during the regular daily slowdowns in energy production as well as in emergencies like blackouts. If your home’s panels produce more energy than you need on a normal day, the excess energy first charges the solar battery and then when that’s complete, goes to the utility. Later that day, when your panels stop producing energy until morning, you can draw on the stored energy from the battery to help supplement what you need from the utility.