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How do solar battery storage systems work?

Vermonters are no strangers to extreme weather conditions, which can often result in loss of power for hours or even days. If you live in an area particularly susceptible to power outages, you might want to consider adding a backup energy source to your home.  


We offer two battery options, the Tesla Powerwall and the LG Home Energy Storage System 8, which both store energy produced by solar panels and use it in the case of an outage. With a battery, homeowners might not even know the neighborhood has lost power. 


Below we answer some of the most frequently asked questions our Solar Advisors receive from customers interested in installing batteries and/or incorporating them with their solar systems.  


How does a battery interact with solar panels?


When solar panels produce more energy than is needed to power a home or business, the extra energy can be sent to a battery to be stored for future use. During a power outage, solar panels will stop producing electricity to prevent harming the utility workers as they fix the grid. If solar panels stop working, a battery will automatically turn on and start powering appliances with the energy it has stored.


How long will a battery last during an outage? 


The LG Home Energy Storage System 8 can hold up to 15.8 kWh of usable energy and the Tesla Powerwall can hold up to 13.5 kWh. The amount of time a battery can provide energy will depend on what is drawing an electrical load. The first level of back up we recommend would be a small battery back-up system to cover your critical electrical loads such as basic lighting, refrigerators, internet, well pump, furnace/boiler, or other basic commodities that might be needed during a power outage. If you want to back up even more electric items, you can always add more batteries to your system.


Where should batteries be kept? 


Batteries should be kept in a place that doesn’t get wet often and doesn’t get below freezing. When batteries are placed in cold weather or submerged in water, they are less productive. We suggest our customers keep their batteries in a utility closet, pantry or basement.

If you want to fit your battery in a smaller space, the Tesla Powerwall is a great option since it is compact and can be easily stacked with other batteries.

Are batteries safe to keep in your home or business? 


One concern often voiced about batteries is the safety of the products, as it is highly unlikely but possible for a battery to overheat or experience what is called thermal runaway. Both the Tesla Powerwall and the LG Home Energy Storage System 8 have the necessary safety features to prevent thermal runaway and are safe to have in your home or business if they’re properly installed. It’s important to work with an installation crew that has experience with installing the products and knows the appropriate safety protocols.


Do batteries emit harmful electric magnetic forces? 


Batteries emit about the same amount of electric magnet forces as a WIFI router, which many of us have in our homes already. We recommend keeping a battery in a place where you don’t spend a lot of time and therefore won’t be frequently exposed to any magnetic forces. Overall, there is little to no risk that we know of from being near a battery.


How do you know how much energy is in a battery? 


Both the Tesla Powerwall and the LG Home Energy Storage System 8 can be easily managed from mobile apps. On the app, users can see how much energy their solar array is producing and how much of it is being used to power their appliances. They can also set their batteries to operate for a certain time and pause its usage when needed.


To conclude, batteries are a great solution for anyone who wants to prevent losing power or wants to have energy stored for when their solar panels are not producing. A battery gives home and business owners even more control over their electricity usage and further decreases dependence on the grid. If you’re interested in getting a battery system installed or have more questions, set up a free site-visit with a Solar Advisor!


Are you a GMP customer and interested in leasing Tesla Powerwalls through their Energy Storage Solution (ESS) program? Head over to our contact form to set up a battery site visit and learn more.

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