What is Solar-Plus-Storage?

Solar-plus-storage refers to a complete system of devices that generate, store, and control the usage of power generated by the light of the sun through the photovoltaic effect.

Key Takeaways:

  • Solar-plus-storage systems are more efficient and can capture much larger savings than a photovoltaic system alone.
  • Solar-plus-storage refers to a much more holistic power system than a solar panel alone.
  • There are several financial benefits to installing a solar-plus-storage system.

Understanding Solar-Plus-Storage

Solar-plus, or solar-plus-storage, refers to a holistic energy system that looks at both the generation of power as well as the storage and distribution of power to optimize overall system usage. In a typical solar-plus-storage system, power would be generated by a photovoltaic system and then stored in a battery bank where a controller would then determine when electricity needs to be released into the system to power home appliances.

By itself, a solar power system is a great benefit to homes and businesses, reducing the cost of power or eliminating the need for a connection to the electrical grid entirely. But without a battery storage system, much of that power is lost during the day when it is generated, and would not be available during the night or during storms when the sun may not be shining. Adding a battery storage system allows the home of business to still have power at all times.

This combination of solar panels plus battery storage unlocks a variety of economic, resiliency and sustainability benefits that go beyond the financial benefits of solar panels alone.

How Solar-Plus-Storage Saves Money

The first and most obvious way that photovoltaic systems save money are in reducing the amount of power drawn from the power grid. For many homes or businesses, this can amount to $100’s of dollars each month and is often the number one reason that many people choose to install photovoltaic systems.

Solar-plus-storage systems have the possibility to save even more money by balancing the demand for power across all home or business systems and optimizing usage. When solar power generation is paired with other technologies such as controllable water heaters, air-conditioning, storage batteries, and electric vehicles, the entire system can be programmed to maximize the usage of electricity to earlier in the day when the most power is being generated and reduce the need for grid or battery supplied power at night.

In addition, many power utility companies charge a premium for energy consumed during peak hours when the grid is under the highest load. When a home or business is able to utilize a solar-plus-storage system and reduce the dependency on grid-supplied power during peak demand hours they can often see significant savings on their utility bills.

Lastly, many utility companies participate in a program called ‘Demand Response’, in which they will pay customers that are willing to reduce their electricity usage during peak times. When a home or business has a battery that they can operate from during these hours, they may be able to qualify for incentive payments from their local utility.

Related Terms

Battery – A battery is a storage device for electrical energy, typically in a chemical solution, that can be used as a source of power. Modern batteries often use two terminals, also known as electrodes, that are immersed in a chemical solution and draw electrical charge from one to the other to gather electrons which can be used for power.

Storage Battery – A particular kind of battery that it used to store energy generated from another source. Often used in conjunction with a solar electricity generation system to power appliances when the sun is not shining.

Inverter – An inverter, or power inverter, is a device which converts direct current energy to alternating current energy so that it can be used by typical household appliances.