Solar + Energy Storage
Maximizing the sun's energy - for today or tomorrow!
Storing Solar Energy
Solar panels produce energy all day whether you need it or not – and it’s often more than you need. The only option for excess power has been to send it into the energy grid in exchange for credits. A new solution involves familiar technology: batteries. Technological advances in battery energy storage have made it an affordable option. By storing solar energy, you have more control over how and when you use it, with greater benefits than a solar PV system alone.
Benefits of Storing Solar Energy
- Access stored power during a power outage
- Even greater savings by participating in special energy conservation programs
- Enhanced federal and state incentives for using both technologies
How it Works
Any solar PV installation is connected to the energy grid to supply power to you when there’s little or no sunlight, and take in excess power you generate. The batteries are housed indoors or outdoors in a box the size of a small cabinet. Most systems use lithium-ion batteries – like in a cell phone or electric vehicle. Your solar contractor will determine the best location for your solar panels and batteries and the appropriate size of the entire system.
- Your Panels: Solar panels produce energy that powers your home, charges the batteries or feeds into the energy grid.
- Your Batteries: The energy you store provides power during an outage to run essential needs like some lights, heat and kitchen appliances. Once the batteries are fully charged, excess power automatically feeds into the energy grid.
- Your Choices: Adding storage to a solar PV system creates new opportunities to participate in special programs that enable you to generate even more savings. Some systems will automatically ensure you receive the maximize benefit from the power you generate.
Netting the benefits
For a solar installation, we will change the electric meter to a “net meter.” This meter measures electricity flowing in two directions to determine your “net” usage, which is the difference between the amount of power you supply into the energy grid and the amount you get from it. The reading on a net meter runs backwards when you are supplying energy into the grid. If there’s a billing period during which you supplied more power than you used, you’ll earn credits that will reduce future bills. A net meter cannot measure the total amount of energy produced by your system. Speak with your solar contractor about obtaining that information.
New York State’s Solar Plus Energy Storage incentive is available for the energy storage component of the system and reduces your upfront cost. You must have a participating NY-Sun contractor install the system. You may also qualify for federal and state tax credits on both the solar panels and storage. Your solar contractor can provide all of the details and submit the required documentation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Please see the following frequently asked questions.
Why does my system need to be connected to the energy grid?
Even with battery storage, a solar PV system cannot provide all of the energy you need. The energy grid supplies power at night or on cloudy days and takes in excess power when your batteries are fully charged. Excess power is converted to energy credits that help reduce bills that include the cost of energy from the grid.
Will I still get an electric bill?
Yes, but they should be significantly lower. Because you’re still connected to the energy grid, there’s a daily service charge and there will always be times when you are drawing power from the grid, like at night.
When is the stored energy used?
The batteries can provide limited power during a power outage, eliminating the need for a noisy, fuel-burning standby generator. But it also gives you the opportunity to participate in special voluntary programs that can save you even more money than with a solar PV system alone.
Will I have power during an outage on the grid?
Only with a system that includes energy storage. A solar PV system alone shuts down during an outage to prevent power from flowing into the energy grid, which could endanger repair crews. When you add energy storage, the system will provide limited power around the clock to run essential circuits in your home, like for some lights, heat and kitchen appliances. There’s no need for a standby generator. Your contractor will help you determine your energy needs during an outage.
Can I go completely “off the grid”?
While it’s technically possible, it’s rarely cost effective. Supplying and storing 100% of a home’s energy needs 24/7 would require a significant expense for the additional solar panels and larger batteries.
Do I have to include energy storage in my system?
No. Solar power alone is a great way to save money and protect our environment. Adding energy storage delivers even greater benefits.