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Considering Battery Storage?

Battery backups are seemingly growing more popular in demand in recent years, but why? Today we will dive deeper into why this might be and how you may benefit from one.

 

A battery backup solution will give you peace of mind knowing when the power goes out, your most critical items will not be powerless.  While a battery backup system is an additional upfront cost to your solar energy system, you can save money in the long run. This is because your home will pull power from the battery backup before it pulls power from the grid. The solar panels then will recharge the battery backup when the sun comes back up. Here is what you need to know when thinking about adding a battery backup to your system.

How Does Battery Storage Work? 

The energy from the solar panels is sent to the inverter where the direct current (DC) is converted to alternating current (AC). The energy produced is first used in the home, the excess energy not used in the home is then sent to charge the battery backup. If your system is still overproducing and the battery is full, that excess energy is sent back to the grid and in some states you get credited per kWh (net metering).

At night or when you are not producing you can use the energy stored in the battery or have your electricity set up to pull from the grid. Pulling from the grid will allow the battery to stay fully charged for emergencies only. This also means you will be able to use the credits you have built up from net metering.

In an event of an outage all grid-tied solar systems are automatically turned off. This is done to protect utility workers that may be working on the power lines. However, if it is still sunny during the power outage the solar panels will continue to feed energy into the battery backup. If the panels are not producing any energy the house will solely be pulling energy from the battery. The battery is only able to power a select number of appliances (up to 50A) such as: fridge/freezer, lighting, WIFI, sump pump, etc. 

Benefits of Battery Storage?

The major benefit of a battery backup up is to have an independent source of power during an outage. Batteries will allow you to replace a conventional gas generator which is not only extremely loud but also releases pollutants back into the environment. A battery backup is a simple, quiet, maintenance free source of energy. However, just like smaller gas generators you will only be able to supply power to items up to 50 Amps. You will not be able to power major appliances like an air conditioner, electric stove or 240-volt EV charger. 

 

The second benefit to a battery backup system is the savings you get in the long term. If you configure your system to draw power from the battery when you are underproducing you are not relying on the grid. Over time those little savings add up to huge savings in the long run.

A battery backup will add anywhere from $9,000- $12,000 to your solar energy system purchase. Most batteries are mounted outside near your inverter and power meter. If possible, and requested by the homeowner a battery can be mounted inside the home in the basement. This does require a bit more labor and equipment that will increase the cost. 

 

If you are adding a battery backup to an existing system it is a pretty straightforward installation. However, you will need to switch out your inverter to one that is compatible with a battery backup system. The installation time and the labor costs to add a battery backup to an existing system are generally nominal and prove to be worth the investment. A good idea to future proof your home is to install a “battery ready” inverter when you install solar. If a battery is not right for you at the time of purchase, this readies you to simply add batteries in the future.

 

Comparing a battery backup system to a generator really puts into perspective how much time and money you can save. Generators are expensive, low end models can start at $2,000 and top of the line models can push well over $8,000. On top of that there is maintenance costs and the cost of fuel to run them. With a battery backup there is just the upfront cost, no maintenance, no fuel and no hassle.

How Much Does it Cost to Add Battery Storage?

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The Steps to Going Solar

Consultation

25%

Project Status

During this meeting, we will share details about your system. We will also answer any questions you may have about your project and solar energy. 

Design

50%

Project Status

Our site surveyor will visit to take precise measurements to share with our design team to complete your system design.

Permitting

75%

Project Status

We have established relationships with most communities. During permitting we will prepare the packet to submit and gain approval. 

Installation

100%

Project Status

Once permitting is approved, we will get your installation scheduled. Most installations are 1-3 days, and we will show you around the system once finished. 

Previous Articles

Consumption to Overproduction


In this short video, view a meter going from consumption (counterclockwise) to overproduction (clockwise).




How Solar Energy Works


If you are thinking of installing solar panels for your home, take a look at the graphics below to gain an understanding of how solar works. 1. Solar panels convert sunlight to direct current (DC). 2. The inverter converts DC electricity to alternating current (AC), which is usable power. 3. The electricity produced from your solar array is used directly for your home or business. 4. Any electricity produced that is not used (overproduction) is sent to the grid and credited to you (net-metering).




Illinois Adjustable Block Program


The Illinois Power Agency has released details about the Illinois Adjustable Block Program. In efforts to explain the program, we have provided the details below. WHAT IS THE ADJUSTABLE BLOCK PROGRAM? The Adjustable Block Program (“ABP”) is an Illinois state-administered incentive program for new solar photovoltaic systems. It provides payments in exchange for 15 years of Renewable Energy Credits (“RECs”) generated by new residential and small to medium-sized commercial solar photovoltaic (“PV”) systems. These payments, made by Illinois utilities, vary depending on the size of the system and location. The ABP provides various protections for solar consumers. WHAT ARE RENEWABLE ENERGY CREDITS AND WHY ARE THEY VALUABLE? Renewable Energy Credits are created when solar panels generate electricity, but they are not the electricity itself. Instead, they represent the environmental value of the electricity generated from solar panels. RECs start by belonging to the owner of the PV system, and the owner of the PV system has the right to sell or transfer the RECs to someone else. Whoever owns the RECs has the legal right to say they used that solar power. This right is important to utilities that are required to supply a certain amount of their power from renewable energy, including from solar panels. These credits may also be valuable to businesses that want to be able to say that they use solar power. Credits may only be used by one entity. A typical home PV system might generate 50-200 RECs over 15 years. If you participate in the program, you will be transferring the RECs generated from your PV system to a utility. You will not be able to claim that you’re using renewable electricity, but you will be contributing to the development of renewable solar power. For more information on RECs, see this short video from the Center for Resource Solutions at https://vimeo.com/113250210. DO YOU HAVE TO ALLOW YOUR RECS TO BE SOLD IN ORDER TO GO SOLAR? Although you have the right to keep your RECs or to sell them to someone besides the Illinois utilities, participating in the ABP and allowing your RECs to be sold to the utilities is your best financial option. Selling your RECs through this program will make it much more likely that your PV system will save you money. WHAT INFORMATION WILL YOU RECEIVE BEFORE YOU SIGN A CONTRACT? Before you sign a contract for a solar purchase, lease, or other installation of a PV system selling its RECs into the ABP, your contractor is required to provide you with a standard disclosure form provided by the Adjustable Block Program. This form includes contact information for everyone who has a part in your solar contract, information about the timing and steps of the installation and application process, and an estimate of how much money you will save. Review this form carefully. WHEN DECIDING TO INSTALL SOLAR AT YOUR HOME OR BUSINESS, WHAT ARE YOUR FINANCING AND OWNERSHIP OPTIONS? You can get a PV system at your home or business by buying the system, leasing it, or signing a Power Purchase Agreement (“PPA”). If you lease or sign a PPA, you don’t own the system, but you get many of the benefits. For more information on these options, see https://www.cesa.org/resource-library/resource/a-homeowners-guide-to-solar-financing-leases-loans-and-ppas. Here are some things to think about when signing a PV purchase contract, lease contract, or PPA: If you’re buying the system, how much will you have to pay to have it installed? Will you take out a loan to pay for the system? What are the terms of the loan and how do those loan payments compare to reductions in your monthly electric bill? If you’re leasing the system, how much is your monthly lease payment? How does that payment compare to reductions in your monthly electric bill? Do you have to pay any money down at the start? If you’re signing a PPA, how much is the per kilowatt hour (kWh) price you will pay for the energy produced by the panels? Do you have to pay any money down at the start Does your lease contract or PPA include an escalation clause, which increases the amount of the payments over time? If so, by how much does the payment increase? IF YOU GET SOLAR PANELS, ARE YOU GUARANTEED TO SAVE MONEY? WHAT FACTORS AFFECT WHETHER YOU SAVE MONEY? You are not guaranteed to save money. The questions listed below will affect whether you save money, and if so, how much. Some of these questions you can answer for yourself, and others can be answered by your installer or Approved Vendor. What per kilowatt-hour (kWh) rate are you paying for electricity without solar? The higher per kWh rate you are paying for electricity before you go solar, the more money you can potentially save. The per kWh rate you pay may vary depending on whether you buy electricity from your utility or have chosen to buy electricity from an Alternative Retail Electric Supplier. Is your roof good for solar? is it recently installed and in good condition? Is it south-facing? Does it get full sun? A PV system should be installed where it gets a lot of direct sunlight – ideally, on a completely unshaded south-facing roof (or other surface). If your system is partially or entirely shaded, or it doesn’t face south, it will generate less electricity and be less valuable. Your installer is required to perform a shading study of the site, and you should ask to see this study. Have your roof professionally evaluated to make sure the roof can support the weight of the panels and that it won’t need to be replaced during the life of the PV system. How much electricity will the system generate? Is this the right amount, given how much electricity you use?If your system produces more electricity than you use over the course of an annual period, you may not receive credit for all the electricity it generates. How much money will you receive for your RECs? The Approved Vendor will receive a certain amount of money from the utilities for the RECs and will pass some or all of the money along to you. Can you take advantage of the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC)? You may qualify for a federal tax credit. Consult your tax adviser. Will the retail price of electricity increase or decrease in coming years? By how much? The more the retail price of electricity increases, the more money you can save with solar. If the retail price of electricity decreases, generating your own electricity through solar panels may offer reduced savings or may not save you money at all. How long do you expect to stay in your home? Especially if you lease or sign a PPA rather than buy your PV system, you may be required to take down the panels or buy out the lease if you move. This can reduce or eliminate savings from the system. Read your contract carefully to find out what happens if you move. HOW MIGHT A PV SYSTEM AFFECT MY PROPERTY TAX ASSESSMENT? Under the Illinois Property Tax Code, if you purchase and install a rooftop PV system on your home or commercial building, your property tax assessment may increase. If you do not own the PV installation, it should not affect your property tax assessment. You should talk to your local county or other taxing authority for more information. WHAT IS NET METERING AND HOW DO I ENROLL? Net metering is the measuring and crediting system by which you are compensated for the electricity your PV system produces. If you buy your electricity directly from the utility, you will need to contact the utility to enroll in net metering. If you choose to buy your electricity from a retail electric supplier, you will need to contact it. If, at any point, you change your electricity supplier, you will need to re-enroll in net metering. CONSUMER RIGHTS For your PV system to participate in the ABP, an Approved Vendor will apply to the Illinois Power Agency to be part of the program. (The Approved Vendor will be identified on the disclosure form you receive before you sign your contract and may or may not be your installer.) If the application is approved, the Approved Vendor will receive payments from the utilities for the RECs generated by your system. You have a right, upon request, to information about this process, including the application status and how much the utilities are paying for the RECs from your system. Some of that information will also be included in the disclosure form. The Approved Vendor must be responsive to any issues related to ensuring that your PV system is generating electricity and RECs. CHICAGO 800-386-5438 TTY: 800-964-3013 SPRINGFIELD 800-243-0618 TTY: 877-844-5461 CARBONDALE 800-243-0607 TTY: 877-675-9339




SolarEdge Energy Hub


Where the StorEdge allowed property owners to designate 50A, the EnergyHub can tackle a more robust backup option (up to 200 A). To read more about the announcement from SolarEdge, visit Solar Power World Magazine or view the EnergyHub datasheet. Check back here to see more details as to the release date.




Solar Benefits


Now more than ever, property owners converting to solar energy are seeing savings, a quick return on their investment, reduction of their carbon footprint, and energy independence. For an average system with the many incentives - customers see deep savings on the installation of their solar energy system. Below we detail a few of the benefits, detail the incentives, and provide an example of an average system.

Benefits of Solar Energy

Monthly Bill Savings

Our Solar Consultants dive into your utility bill and design systems to offset the cost of your utility bill. On average GRNE customers are seeing 70 - 95% off of their monthly bills.

Return on Investment

Between the offset of your utility bill, federal, state, and utility-based incentives customers are seeing deep savings within the first year.

Lower Your Carbon Footprint

Each system installed makes a big impact on the environment and lessens your carbon footprint.

Available Solar Inventives

Federal Tax Credit (ITC)

Established in 2005, the Federal Tax Credit or ITC allows you to deduct 26% of the cost of your solar energy system. The ITC reduces each year until it phases out completely in 2023.

Utility Based Incentives (Per Utility)

Utilities around the Midwest provide additional incentives for solar and storage systems. Be sure to ask your GRNE Sales Consultant about which additional incentives are available in your state and city.

Net Metering (IL and IN)

When your system produces more than what your home uses, the overproduction will be sent back to the utility grid to be used elsewhere. The amount sent back to the grid will be credited to your monthly bill at wholesale cost.




Blog 1: The Winters Effect on Solar Panels


Solar Panels Performance in the Winter The winter months may be discouraging to homeowners looking to get into solar. This blog will touch on everything you will need to know if you are considering solar in places with harsh winters. The first thing to keep in mind is the shorter days during these months. The winter will generally make up a small fraction of your annual production and this is factored into a system’s production estimate when it is initially being designed. This means you do not have to worry if production is lower than the summer, this was all calculated for. Winter months will bring colder temperatures which is actually beneficial for solar panels. This is a surprise to many people, but cooler temperatures allow the panels to work closer to their peak performance making them slightly more efficient. This is because the panels are least likely to reach their peak temperature, allowing the electron reaction to happen quicker. How Does Snow Affect Solar Panels? Snow can be another big concern to many people looking at solar systems. However, snow is generally not a huge problem for the panels. The panels themselves generate a small amount of heat and will also absorb the sun's heat, even through snow. This means light snow will simply melt right off the panel. A heavy snowfall that sticks to the panels will eventually slide off due to the angle at which the panels are mounted at. When this happens it also will take off any dust or debris that has collected. Snowstorms can also be beneficial, when the panels are cleared off, the sun's rays will reflect off the snow and back up towards the solar panels. This happens because of the albedo effect and allows the solar panels to generate even more electricity. Do You Need to Clear Snow Off Panels? We do not recommend that homeowners clear snow off the modules for a few reasons. You can easily damage and scratch the modules if you are not being careful. Any damage caused to the panels from trying to clear them off is NOT covered under the warranty. In most cases, it is not worth the time and/or the risk you are putting yourself in for a few extra kilowatts. Whether you decide to clear off the panels or not, NEVER get on the roof to do so, this can be extremely dangerous. Another thing to keep in mind is the panels will still generate a small amount of energy if they are still covered in snow. This is because small amounts of light are still able to penetrate through the snow.





GRNE Solar Locations

Illinois Sales Office

230 N Hicks Pl

Palatine, IL 

312-859-3417

Indiana Office

7718 N. Michigan Rd.

Indianapolis, IN

317-662-0013‬

Iowa Office

5281 Oak Crest Hill Rd. SE, Unit 7

Hills, IA

712-579-0467

Illinois Warehouse
1215 Howard St
Elk Grove Village, IL


 

Nebraska Office

2004 SW 5th St., Unit A

Lincoln, NE 

402-525-3351

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