Solar batteries were once beyond the financial reach of the average American homeowner. But thanks to increased capacities and falling prices, solar storage solutions are increasingly becoming standard with modern home solar systems. This shift is creating innovative ways for solar customers to grow their savings. This is especially true when using Ensemble™ energy management technology – a powerful platform that can intelligently regulate (and maximize) your solar savings, in addition to providing backup power when the utility grid is down.
It is important to understand the impact that global warming and the country’s changing electricity systems are having on residential solar power customers to better appreciate this trend.
1. The demise of net energy metering
Net energy metering (NEM) is a state-level incentive that lets you feed excess solar electricity into the grid – in exchange for credits. This subsidy essentially turns the entire utility network into virtual storage for your solar power. Applying for your own state’s NEM program has traditionally been the simplest way to shorten the payback period of your solar investment.
But like all incentives, net energy metering was never meant to last forever. And in fact, many states have already begun phasing out their programs – with latecomers receiving the fewest (if any) benefits. For a growing number of homeowners, solar storage solutions now represent the best (and only) method for accelerating their PV installations’ payback periods.
2. Blackouts and grid unreliability
California typically receives the most attention when it comes to blackouts– especially during wildfire season. But power outages exist nationwide. And their numbers are on the rise. In 2019, 36.7 million people were affected by 3693 blackouts. The blackouts lasted for an average of 81 minutes.
Climate change, supply chain disruptions, and quarantines will only make this trend more pronounced. But adding solar backup battery provides users with greater energy security. You enjoy 24/7 access to electricity day or night – even if the rest of the grid goes down.
3. Evolving utility rate structures
Utility companies have long used time-of-use (ToU) pricing and demand charges for many of their largest corporate and industrial customers. But these rate schemes are increasingly being applied to residential users as well:
- Under ToU pricing, utility rates fluctuate throughout the day – with peak demand representing the highest prices. Historically, this has been during daytime hours (when most businesses are in full swing). But solar power’s growing popularity has pushed peak demand farther into the evening. Battery storage solutions allow you to power your home with stored solar energy – rather than paying peak prices for expensive grid electricity.
- Under demand charge pricing, your utility rate is based on the total amount of electricity consumed during your busiest hour over the previous month. Solar backup battery allows you to “flatten the curve” so that your grid electricity consumption remains relatively even. And this helps you qualify for a lower base rate across the board.
However, none of the above benefits are necessarily automatic. After all, solar batteries and PV panels have no way of knowing when grid prices are at their highest or how much electricity you’re sending into the grid under net energy metering. As a homeowner, you must actively monitor these changes and intervene in order to time your savings.
But with Ensemble technology, it’s possible to remove these limitations and put your solar savings 100% on autopilot.
How Ensemble technology can help maximize your solar savings
Ensemble technology works by intelligently managing the balance of your entire PV system by automatically using whatever electricity source is cheapest at that moment in time:
- When grid prices are high, it draws energy from your panels and/or solar batteries.
- When utility rates are low, this technology uses grid electricity to power your home and/or top of your solar battery storage.
Ensemble technology even knows to charge your batteries the moment it detects any natural disasters or major storms on the horizon. And it does all this automatically – requiring zero-intervention. You can also monitor your PV system’s performance in real-time – complete with profiles, settings, and options that you control through the dedicated Enlighten™ mobile app. To learn how Ensemble™ energy management technology can help grow your own savings, schedule a free consultation with our residential solar experts today.