Should I get batteries with my solar?

A very frequently asked question. Almost always the answer is “no”.

Firstly, what are the reasons for wanting batteries? Most commonly they are:

  • Use more of your own solar (for financial benefit)
  • Use more of your own solar (for environmental benefit)
  • Independence from the grid, and electricity retailers
  • Energy storage in case of black out

Batteries don’t really offer good solutions to any of these reasons usually, except for the last in some cases.

1. Use more of your own solar (for financial benefit)
Unfortunately, when you crunch the numbers, getting batteries just doesn’t add up financially. It may at some point in the future for some people, but for now you’re better off just getting solar on its own.

2. Use more of your own solar (for environmental benefit)
This one is unlikely to ever add up, batteries will probably always be worse for the environment than simply putting your excess solar into the grid, and buying energy when you need it. The grid is a very efficient way of distributing energy and meeting supply and demand.

3. Independence from the grid, and electricity retailers
The issue with this one can get a bit technical, but in short you need a huge amount of batteries to be ”off-grid”. There’s a big difference between having a small battery bank in order to use the energy your solar systems produced during the day, at night, and having enough energy storage to last you through 3-4 low sun days in the depths of winter. The cost of going fully off grid is usually astronomical, and requires a lot of changes to how you use power. The only time is makes sense if you don’t have access to a grid.

Also, as per above, I’m not really a believer in this reason. I think we should support the grid, it’s really quite efficient.

4. Energy storage in case of black out
This one is the only one that regularly adds up, but only if you are in an area with a crappy grid, or you are running a business and really can’t afford to be in candle lights or have the fridge off for a couple of hours.

Here’s some further reading which might help clear up some other questions.

Hope that helps.

Cheers
Marty

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If you want to avoid SmartMeters and/or the overcharging of electrical usage by Utility companies by these Smartmeters, then off-grid is a solution to the problem, and batteries are a must. Expect to pay an additional $20k for the battery banks required to run your home. You will need gas furnace for heating though because an electric one will drain your batteries fast. Average house usage is 1500-1800 kWh a month, so size you solar array for such. About 60 panels (depending on watts per panel), inverters that can chain together to you AMP required,etc… In our area most electric bills have gone up by 50%. We have all heard the lame excuses why that occurred. All lies. Your old meter was more accurate then the Smartmeter. Why? because the old meter was tested and pre-set, the Smartmeter can be calibrated on the fly, via the net whenever they want. And it will not be to your benefit, guaranteed.

Iam off grid, and love the challenge.