What happens in your home when the power grid goes down? If you have battery storage, you are prepared to handle it without sacrificing your daily conveniences. Think of your home like a computer. Even if your computer isn’t connected to an electrical socket, it will keep running if the battery is charged. Battery storage keeps your home running even when you aren’t “plugged in” to a source of energy.
Batteries differ from generators in that they kick in almost immediately when the power goes off. They are also much quieter than generators, take up less space, and have little environmental effect, unlike generators that burn fossil fuels and create air pollution.
What Are Home Batteries?
Home batteries provide a more sustainable energy storage option for the future. When electricity prices are low, homes can store power in the battery for use when the prices are high. This is an entirely new way to store energy and control how it is used in your home. Paired with solar, batteries are even more powerful.
A backup home battery system is made up of several components:
- Home batteries are made of lead acid, lithium ion, or saltwater and store electricity from a source of power.
- Inverters connect the battery to the main power supply of the home and convert DC power to AC power so it can be used at home
- Performance monitoring systems are used to track the amount of electricity stored over time.
- Additionally, batteries can be paired with solar panels, which convert sunlight into electricity to be stored in the battery. In a combined solar and battery system, the solar panels harness the energy of the sun during the day, which is stored in the batteries to be used at night.
A home battery system allows you to enjoy the modern conveniences and necessities of life within your home, regardless of the constant ebb and flow of electricity.
There are different battery types homeowners can choose from. When looking for the right home battery system for your house, consider the following:
- Capacity – this tells you how big your battery is, and combined with a power rating can also tell you exactly how much power the battery can store.
- Depth of discharge – this determines exactly how much of the capacity can be used discharged at a time.
- Cycle life – as you use your battery each day, the ability to hold a charge also diminishes. You will want a battery that with a guaranteed warranty or lifespan.
- Round trip efficiency - this is a measure of how much energy you can get out of a battery compared to how much energy you put into the battery. Ideally, you should be able to use 100% of the energy that you store in a battery, but there are efficiency losses associated with battery storage, so you can only use a fraction of the energy stored in a battery.
What Are the Benefits of Home Batteries?
Aside from the convenience of a home that runs whether the power is working or not, there are several benefits to equipping your home with a home battery system.
- Cost reductions – energy consumption in the typical US home peaks at night, which causes cost of energy during this time to rise. With a home battery system, you can charge your battery when energy prices on the grid are low and use the stored energy when utility energy prices are high.
- Blackout support – even when the power is out, a home battery backup can keep your most important appliances running for several hours.
- Incentives – as with other green power options, installing a home battery system may allow you to take advantage of incentives offered by the government, putting some of your installation money back in your own pocket.
- Environmental effects – home battery storage is better for the environment than inefficient fossil fuel generators. Home batteries can also enable homeowners to power their house with renewable solar power even when the sun isn’t shining, decreasing your reliance on the local electricity grid and lowering your monthly bills.
What Is the Cost of a Home Battery System?
As with many clean power investments, the true financial benefit of a home battery system will manifest itself down the road. Home batteries can cost anywhere from $3,000-$7,000 and range from $400 per kilowatt hour to $750 per kilowatt hour. Batteries that function completely off the grid when the power is down are more expensive than those that simply provide a backup for nighttime usage.
Who Offers Battery Storage Systems?
Several companies offer quality battery storage systems for homeowners to purchase:
- Tesla Powerwall: Available for purchase on the company’s website, the Powerwall boasts liquid thermal control, can be mounted on a wall, and consists of a rechargeable lithium ion battery.
- Enphase AC Battery: The Enphase AC battery is safety certified, offers 96% round trip efficiency, and uses lithium iron phosphate technology.
- Sonnen sonnenBatterie: Guaranteed for 10 years or 10,000 life cycles with a maximum efficiency of 93%, the Sonnen battery system also has backup power capability.
- LG Resu: With a specialized battery management system, the LG battery is extremely safe, temperature-controlled, and can be used for homes, buildings, and factories