This is a loaded question, but here is an overview. It really depends on
- your power usage profile during the day,
- whether you want to feed back into the grid for credits with your utility (net metering) and
- If you want backup power in case of power outages.
If you work away from home, or aren’t usually home around lunch time, then your profile might looks something like this…
This has changed for a lot of people during the pandemic, but it’s still very true for most. It’s typical that you use quite a bit of power in the mornings, cooking breakfast, watching TV, etc. That increased usage is called a peak. The next peak typically occurs in the evening, after work. As you might have imagined, that’s exactly wrong for solar, since you’ll be producing most of your solar power in 4 -5 hours around lunch time, not around 6 p.m.
Batteries can be very useful, if you want to “trickle charge” your home for when your panels stop producing. This is called Consumption Optimization.
Net metering can be great – if your utility offers it. With the CraftStrom system, we typically avoid this, as it involves paper work, such as an Interconnection Agreement. You can find a sample application here. Using our system, which can include our Smart Battery, you can avoid net metering completely. Either by charging the batteries for later, or by simply turning off solar inverters, if you produce more than you consume in electricity, which is measured and reported by our Power Meter. Of course, if you do want to apply for an Interconnection Agreement, then there’s nothing standing in your way!
For many, power outages are a common issue (hi from Texas). Every grid-tied solar system is required to shut down, as soon as the utility grid is shut down. In case of battery systems installed by a professional, you can switch to battery power for your house. Such systems, however, are costly. CraftStrom batteries are tied to your home grid using any standard power outlet and do feed into your home when needed most, but they also comply with the regulations for auto-shut-down in case of grid failure. To then use the batteries as backup power, simply use the offgrid inverter and plug appliances directly into it. Simply put, CraftStrom batteries are a hybrid solution, and can be used grid-tied to supply your home directly, or off-grid, either during a power failure or when outdoors.