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Solar power systems are fantastic, it’s just a fact – but what can take solar power systems to the next level? The combination of a solar power system matched with a battery (like the Tesla Powerwall) is the ideal solar power system set up. Since solar power is mostly produced during the middle of the day, and with most households requiring a large portion of power to be consumed after 5 pm, it makes perfect sense to have a device that can store power, then release it when it’s needed. If battery storage isn’t a viable option, then residents of a home with solar power will need to do some crafty thinking should they want to increase their solar self-consumption habits (to feel the benefits and see the savings a solar power system).
Batteries still have a hefty price tag, but many owners of batteries aren’t buying them for the economic benefits they provide. So why are they purchasing them? And what are the other benefits of solar battery technology luring thousands of New Zealanders in each year?
The benefits of batteries and solar power aren’t the same for everyone, as we explain in further detail below:
- Consume solar power, don’t send it to the grid!
- Energy security - Power during blackouts
- Carbon footprint - Using 100% renewable energy
- Reduce or eliminate electricity bills
1. Consume solar power, don’t send it to the grid!
Power retailers around New Zealand (still) don’t offer full credit for exporting clean, green solar power to the grid. The current rates per kilowatt-hour vary between 8 cents and 14 cents. Since the average price of grid electricity is 30 cents per kWh, savvy solar power users are saving money by not purchasing electricity from the grid and making good use of self-generated solar electricity. And this is where batteries can assist solar users; by storing solar electricity to use when it’s needed.
In a normal solar/battery configuration, solar electricity from the panels will be sent to devices currently requiring power in the building, with any excess electricity being stored in the batteries. Only once the batteries have met capacity will the solar electricity being sent to the grid.
2. Energy security - Power during blackouts
Here in New Zealand, we have a heavy reliance on grid electricity for powering homes. For some, blackouts are a novelty - lighting candles around the home and gazing at the fireplace. For others, it’s a nightmare - a cold house, and appliances that are relied on are no longer available.
A battery system can offer some relief from blackouts. Protection from blackouts doesn’t require a large battery system (like when living off-grid), simply a battery big enough to power some lights, a fridge, kettle and to charge a phone or laptop etc.
Battery systems like the Tesla Powerwall 2 (and other brands) gives customers the freedom to set batteries at a minimum discharge level, allowing for small reserves after the nightly discharge (think enough power to keep humming through a short blackout).
3. Carbon footprint - Using 100% renewable energy
It might be surprising to learn that 20% of New Zealand’s electricity is generated by fossil fuels. More often than not, fossil fuel energy generators create electricity at peak energy demand times (5pm through to 7pm, for instance). It is during these peak demand times that battery stored solar power is often used, and therefore offsets carbon emissions.
4. Reduce or eliminate electricity bills
Solar panels and batteries can reduce power bills, and yes, even eliminate them completely. And while solar panels can’t do this alone, able and smart solar power consumers can still keep those bills at a minimum. Putting a solar power self-consumption strategy in place is a great way to mitigate grid usage. An obvious but solid strategy is to use power as it’s being generated (during peak hours of the day). But again, a battery eliminates any need to be thrifty with electricity.
A solar panel array and batteries need to be individually and correctly sized in order to eliminate unwanted power bills. Solar power specialists will look at a customer’s current power bills and information around household energy usage, then they’ll determine the sizes and options available with the customer.
And the proof is in the pudding, one of our customers from the Waikato, Chris (who went through My Solar Quotes to find his installer) purchased a 14kW Tesla Powerwall and told us “With the battery installed we have had no electricity bills, for 3 months now”.
Curious about the benefits of solar power and batteries? My Solar Quotes can help! You will receive 3, free, no-obligation quotes from reliable & professional solar panel and battery installers in your individual location. Click here.
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