Energy storage is becoming a more common feature on residential solar installations so homeowners can tap into the power they’ve generated when they need it — not just when the sun is up. Rex Liu, VP of product management at Generac, a manufacturer of batteries for renewable energy applications, is here to share how solar installers can approach pitching and sizing storage for residential PV projects.
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How much is the residential battery storage market growing, and why?
It’s actually growing pretty substantially. And there’s a couple of reasons for that. First and foremost, we see that a lot more consumers are really embracing the benefits of installing solar on their home. So, when it really comes down to that, a lot of that is driven by reducing cost of their energy bills, and also, their desire to make positive changes for the environment. But obviously, the growing solar industry isn’t the main driver for the battery storage growth. We are seeing that it is being installed at a much larger attach rate than what we’ve historically seen. In fact, based on a recent survey by WoodMac and SEIA, the storage attach rate was about 11% in 2022, and that’s expected to grow to over 18% this year. And a lot of that is being driven by some policy changes, as well as a lot of utility rate structures that are coming. But really, it’s not just the cost savings that are driving the growth. As you’ve probably noticed, there’s a lot more electricity shortages being publicized, and obviously more frequent weather events as well. And it’s driving another reason for growth, which Generac is very familiar with, and that, of course, is resilience.
Battery storage tends to be an expensive addition to solar on a home. How should installers explain the value of that investment to homeowners?
The additional complexity of the installation and the additional cost is offset by a couple of things. One is the immediate advantage of having that resilience. But there’s also longer-term savings at play. So, we’ve seen many states, or many utilities, change their net metering policies, as well as their utility rate structures. And having a storage system attached to the solar installation, lets a user optimize how and when they’re using their energy. So, with a battery and solar solution, they can really look at when the highest value of time it is to use energy from the grid, vs. storing it in the battery and then using that energy at a later time when using it from the grid would be more expensive.
How can homeowners get the most out of their battery storage system?
For the most efficient use of their battery, homeowners should really take a look at some load management options as well. What that does is it optimizes the energy that a homeowner uses by prioritizing specific loads. That prevents them from straining the battery equipment as well as the power grid, and it minimizes costs, because the upfront installation costs can be mitigated by having some of that load management. No matter what that what solution a homeowner chooses, though, installers really need to set realistic expectations with them. Something we’ve seen in the industry is people thinking that they can charge their EV in an outage without any impact. But charging an EV, for example, will consume much of the capacity, if not all the capacity of your battery very quickly. So, they need to consider what loads they want to prioritize during an outage, and then change their behavior accordingly. They can still live close to a normal life, but they have to be realistic in the amount of power and energy they have at their disposal during an outage situation.
This podcast is sponsored by Generac