What do batteries do for me?
Batteries, [called Storage] for your home, store energy just like they do for your car, flashlight, or cell phone. When you need power, you draw the electricity out of your battery before you buy it from the utility.
Do they provide power when the grid is down?
Some systems don’t provide emergency power when the grid is down. Others do provide power during those times. At Ron Dorris Electric & Solar, we provide both types of systems. Once we know what you want to achieve with your battery system, we can offer suggestions for a system that will best meet your needs.
Will batteries save me money on my electric bill?
They can. Utilities have many different rate structures and they are constantly changing to favor the utility. When you have a solar system, it generates electricity that your home uses when the system is producing electricity. Should your system be producing more than you can use at the exact time, the excess electricity is exported (sold) to the utility. This is called running the meter backwards. Then, when your system isn’t producing, say during the night, you buy back your electricity from the utility. In essence, you are using the grid as your own personal battery. Up until recently, a solar customer would buy and sell electricity with the utility at the exact same cost per kWh (kilowatt hour). Now, the utility sells your electricity back to you at a higher rate than you sold it to them.
To be clear, there is no buy or sell. This is just a way to explain it. Said another way, in the past, when you over-produced power, say 250 kWh and exported it onto the grid, you would get a full 250 kWh’s back, at no charge. Due to rate increases, now you don’t get the full 250 kWh’s back. You get less and PG&E gets to sell the remainder of the electricity you gave them at 100% profit.
Batteries help eliminate this “donation” of your electricity to the utility. Instead of exporting your excess electricity to the grid you can now store it in your own personal bank. Then, when the sun goes down, you can withdraw your own electricity and use it. The next day, the batteries charge up again and you repeat the process.
Are there any other ways batteries will save me money?
Maybe. Utilities sometimes charge for electricity under a rate code of TOU. TOU stands for Time Of Use. This means that during each day they can charge different amounts for the exact same electricity you get from them. In order to discourage electricity use during times of high or peak demand, the utility gets to charge a much higher rate for the electricity. With the battery systems we at Ron Dorris Electric & Solar provide, there is included sophisticated control systems which allow for you to use your stored energy from the batteries during those peak demand times. Some of these high demand times are not when the sun is down. The software we employ knows what Rate Code you are paying. It knows when these high price times are each and every day. When electricity is needed in your home during those peak times the system will first use all it can from your solar system. Then, if that isn’t enough, it will next use the electricity from your batteries. The idea is to always use your electricity first and the utility as a last resort.
Won’t a solar system provide power when the grid is down?
Most often, no. “Off grid” systems historically have been super expensive and almost a full time job to maintain. This has changed with the billions and billions of dollars invested into this industry nowadays.
Some of the systems we provide have a software component that will take into account:
A. The rate code you pay to the utility
B. How much and when your solar system is producing
C. How much electricity you are using and, if there is excess, deposits it into your batteries instead of exporting it onto the grid
D. Release it for your use when it best serves you
The cliché is true. You get the most “bang for your buck”.
What if the sun doesn’t shine for days and days?
We have systems that factor in your solar system, your batteries, and, if you want, a generator. You can be in the middle of your town and essentially be off the grid if you like.
Well, it is. However, we can take all the complications away with our knowledge, our continuing investment in education, along with the selection of equipment and software that make it very, very easy for you to simply live your life, save you & your family lots of money you’d be paying to the utility, AND have power when the grid goes down. When the grid is down, you’ll even have power during the night when the solar system isn’t producing!