With energy costs continuing to rise and extreme weather driving more power outages, it’s no surprise that residential solar arrays are becoming increasingly common. A recent report found that the residential solar market grew by 40% in 2022.
But solar energy must obey one cardinal rule — the sun must be shining. To fully take advantage of clean, affordable, behind-the-meter solar energy, homeowners need energy storage solutions.
Solar installers know that home battery systems are critical to their customers’ success with solar. Yet the concept of energy storage is still relatively new to many homeowners, and they have a lot of questions for installers.
“There are a lot of options for storage nowadays,” says Khaled Elsheref, president of Altair Solar in Irvine, California. He also acknowledges that there’s confusion among residential customers. “Some homeowners think that if they have a solar system, they will automatically have power during an outage,” he continues.
“Understanding what each [system] can or can’t do will help homeowners make the right decision to choose something that will work for their needs.”
Let’s look at how to answer some common questions so that you can facilitate solar adoption and grow your customer base.
#1. Why should I add home battery storage to my solar panel system?
Simply put, a home battery allows homeowners to use power generated by their solar panels whenever they need it, even when the sun isn’t shining. It’s important to explain to homeowners that energy storage optimizes their investment in solar and makes it possible to use clean energy nearly anytime.
“At some point, every solar panel system will need a storage solution to respond to consumption needs,” says David Lopez, National Sales Manager, Solar & Storage, with Panasonic Eco Systems. “On top of regular consumption, there is the issue of power outages,” he continues, “and storage is an important protection that supports comfort at home when the power goes out.”
#2: How can I store energy from my solar panels?
You can explain to customers that solar panel systems use lithium-ion batteries to store energy, just like electric vehicles. These batteries can supply electricity for hours at a time, depending on how many loads are drawing upon the battery.
This technology has matured exponentially over the years, and homeowners can now implement integrated battery and solar systems that they control with an app, such as Panasonic’s EVERVOLT® Home Battery System. This includes the optional EVERVOLT SmartBox that seamlessly switches from the solar panels to the battery’s supply of electricity.
“Most battery systems are user friendly and can be easily programmed by the homeowner using a simple-to-learn-and-use mobile app,” Elsheref says.
#3. How does battery storage help me save money on energy?
As installers know, homeowners can use stored energy when power from the grid is most expensive. States such as California and Michigan have implemented time-of-use pricing, in which electricity costs more at peak demand hours in the late afternoon and early evening, and these policies could expand to other states.
It’s imperative to explain to homeowners that during these time periods, they can switch to their battery and not draw peak-rate electricity from the grid, thus saving money on their energy bills. In certain areas of California, for example, prices nearly double at peak times, so the savings on electricity bills can be significant.
#4: How does a home battery system help when the power goes out?
The extreme heat waves in 2023 showed how the power grid is under increasing pressure, but also demonstrated how important it is to maintain power. Stored energy can provide crucial supplies when the power goes out.
For example, Panasonic’s SmartBox has six smart breakers so homeowners can specify up to six loads or appliances to keep running during an outage. They can prioritize which loads to power even as the battery’s power drains, a capability known as load management.
“Homeowners will get frustrated if they think they can back up their entire house and then during an outage there isn’t enough power for all their loads,” Lopez says. “Work with homeowners to choose the loads that are most critical to them, and they can prolong battery life, maintain the power supplies they need and have a better customer experience.”
The future of home energy storage
From providing power during an outage to saving money on peak pricing, residential energy storage provides key benefits to homeowners. These will only grow in importance. As more people buy electric vehicles, for example, home charging will require consistent supplies of energy at off-peak times, and stored battery energy will be ready to meet that need.
“This is the future of solar,” Lopez says. “With prices coming down, it’s increasingly affordable, and storage is going to make a difference in improving the comfort level in people’s lives.”
By partnering with Panasonic, you can offer your clients home energy solutions backed by their proven history in solar and storage, strong brand and excellent warranties. Learn more about becoming EVERVOLT Storage Authorized.