A solar plus storage system is a renewable energy solution that enables you to store energy from your residential solar (PV) system. When the energy consumption of your home is less than the power supplied from your PV panels, the excess power can be stored in a battery system for use when the sun is not shining.
You do not rely on the utility company to provide you power on most days therefore you are not subject to power outages from weather events as well as other disasters. Traditionally, this was accomplished through installing a back-up generator that was powered by gasoline, natural gas, or lp gas which are not as environmentally friendly.
With solar plus storage, you are no longer subject to "time-of-use" pricing by the utility company which is where they raise the cost of the electricity based on the usage at a given time of day. In a traditional solar PV system, the grid is used as a backup and the excess power your system produces is sold to the power company but the power is usually sold to the utility at the lowest rate. With the traditional system, you would end up paying for power at peak times such as evenings and selling power at off times with the rate much lower. This is eliminated with the addition of battery storage.
The main disadvantage is the cost as the batteries alone can cost between ten and twenty thousand dollars depending on the size of the system. This is about twice the cost of a traditional residential PV system.
Another disadvantage is that there are risks associated with having any kind of battery storage system in your home. For example some batteries can experience a condition known as thermal runaway which can lead to battery fires.
The short answer is yes. The addition of storage to your existing system will require the addition or replacement of your existing inverter as well as the installation of the batteries.
You also may need to add more solar panels to your array in order to have the production capacity to charge the batteries adequately.
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The Lynx home batteries use lithium iron phosphate which is the most environmentally friendly and temperature stable battery composition technology. The brand offers a variety of products but not a simple compact system and the warranty on the products is complicated.
The LUNA systems feature advanced AI arc fault detection for enhanced battery safety but there are security concerns with their technology and the Chinese government. The systems have limited country distribution and are not available in the USA.
The ESS HOME 8 systems have a 7.5kw continuous power rating and up to four can be connected together giving a total power of up to 30kw. The systems are designed to connect with their full line of smart home appliances through their ThinQ app which can allow you to fine tune your power consumption as well as your power storage. They feature a very good ten year warranty but can only be purchased through their dealer/installer network.
This brand offers SMART HYBRID SYSTEMS that are specifically designed for the Australian market. They are very quiet and up to eight batteries can be connected together. They are only available through dealers in Australia but are backed by a very good guarantee.
The SUNVAULT systems are sold through their authorized dealers and are backed by a very good guarantee. The systems are not as compact as others as they have two boxes (a hub & a storage) instead of being an all in one installation.
This brand features the POWERWALL with a constant power rating of 5kw and the ability to connect up to ten units together for a total of 50kw. The units can be floor or wall mounted either inside or outside the home. They use lithium ion batteries and can be ordered online directly from the manufacturer.