Should You Choose a Battery or the Grid as the Energy Storage Solution for Your Solar Panels

Posted on: 29 May 2017


When you buy solar panels, you need a place to store the energy you collect when the sun is shining, so that you have some energy to use when the sun's not shining. The two main options are a battery or the grid. Here are five signs using the grid is right for you:

1. You Live on the Grid

For this option to work, you need to live somewhere with a power grid. If you live out in the middle of nowhere, and there isn't a grid to connect to, you may need to rely on batteries for your solar panels.

If you are in a situation where the grid is expanding, you may be forced to pay high fees to connect. These fees can often make the cost of buying a battery cheaper than connecting to the grid.

2. You Want to Save Money

As long as your home is already on the grid, you typically save money by not using batteries. Batteries cost money up front. In contrast, if you use the grid, you only have to buy the solar panels and any connecting wires, breakers, and control panels that your system needs.

In addition, you don't have to worry about replacing the batteries when they get old. That helps keep maintenance costs down. Finally, some power companies will actually pay you money if you generate extra power and sell it back to the utility company.

3. You Want an Easier Installation Process

Because there are fewer components, it's easier to set up solar panels that connect to the grid than it is to set up solar panels that have a battery. If you have a metal roof, you can basically clip your solar panels in place and then do the wiring. With a clay shingle roof, there are a few more steps involved, but it's still easier without the battery.

4. You Want a Power Backup

If you disconnect from the grid and rely completely on solar, you only have access to the energy that's in your battery. If it's cloudy for several days, you risk running out of power. In the other case, the grid acts as your backup, supplying you with power when you need it.

5. You Don't Mind Losing Power in an Outage

However, although the grid serves as a backup, it's also essential to your system. If the grid goes out, you will also not have power in your home. If you want power in spite of an outage, you need a battery for your solar panels.