Residents of California know all about power outages.
In the last 20 years, the state has seen 2,684 of them. Of these, 142 occurred in 2022 alone, accounting for nearly a quarter of all outages across the US.
This, combined with extreme weather events, rising temperatures, and a strained grid, is forcing California residents to consider the benefits of solar power.
Since the 1990s, policies like Net Energy Metering (NEM)—which allows California residents to earn credits for the solar power they send to the grid—have also helped promote this switch. As a result, solar panel installation has been on the rise in the state.
NEM 3.0 is the latest version of the policy, and it further emphasizes the growing importance of a solar battery storage system.
In this article, we outline everything you need to know about this revised policy, how it impacts commercial solar panel installation, and answer questions like how many batteries do you need for a solar system.
The first Net Energy Metering policy was implemented in 1996 to incentivize residents to go solar. It was highly successful, offering a full-retail rate for surplus power.
In 2017, NEM 2.0 was introduced with the concept of “time-of-use” rates. In this system, credits were offered based on the time of day the surplus power was generated and the electricity demand during those periods.
In December 2022, the California Public Utilities Commission introduced the third iteration, NEM 3.0, with one key change: it reduced the value of solar power exported by 75%. This means residents will be paid lower than the retail price for excess solar energy and will have to wait longer to see a return on their investment.
However, it’s still possible to save money with this net billing plan. NEM 3.0 encourages the export of stored energy during specified peak hours. With a battery for solar power and the right solar battery capacity, homeowners can send energy back to the grid during this period to maximize savings and credits.
It is more important than ever for residents to buy solar batteries in California. Next, you need to determine how many batteries are needed to power a house.
While helping California residents store energy for export during peak hours, a battery for solar panels can also power essential appliances during outages. It also lets homeowners use the local grid’s more affordable night-time rates.
To determine what solar battery capacity is suitable for you and how many batteries you need, it’s crucial to assess individual usage patterns. How much energy does your household use in a day? How much do you want to reserve? And how much will you save for export?
Deciding how many batteries are needed to power a house depends on several factors:
The purpose: Do you need a solar battery storage system to store backup power for outages or to gain from the benefits offered by NEM 3.0 by sending energy back to the grid during peak hours?
What it will power: Some households need solar batteries to backup appliances like fridges, while others may need them to power life-saving medical equipment. This factor plays a significant role in determining the solar battery capacity you need and the number and type of batteries required.
How long you need it for: The average solar battery capacity can power a home through single-day outages. However, power outages in California can last several days, so the batteries required should be considered accordingly.
The weather patterns: Are you looking for a solar battery storage system for air conditioning or to generate electric heat? How does the weather impact your solar energy production? These are some critical questions you must answer.
Once all these factors are considered, you can get into the specifics.
Some solar battery storage systems store up to 22 kWh, while others can only store up to 9 kWh. The Tesla Powerwall is great for adding batteries to existing solar systems, while the LG RESU Prime is more affordable and best leveraged for a brand new residential solar panel installation.
So, how many batteries will you need? Let’s look at an example assuming that the average solar battery size is 10 kWh.
To cover energy usage in bad weather conditions or when your solar panels aren’t producing energy, you would need 2 to 3 batteries. Similarly, you would need up to 3 batteries to keep the household running during peak pricing hours.
One battery will likely suffice to power your home through a one-day power outage. But, to completely cut off your reliance on the local grid, you will need around 8 to 12 batteries, depending on the type and solar battery capacity.
On average, 1 kWh of power can operate a 10-watt appliance for 10 hours. This means a battery bank producing 90 kWh of electricity can power a home for three days.
These figures could be revisited and recalculated once you’ve determined your monthly usage and accounted for all the factors mentioned above.
Furthermore, you can use a solar panel cost calculator to determine how much you could end up saving in the long run.
There are many benefits to installing a solar battery storage system in California.
By working with the right solar panel company, homeowners can take great strides in dealing with rising electricity rates, making the most of schemes like NEM 3.0, and accounting for uncertainty caused by power outages.
If you’re looking for a more exact answer to how many batteries do you need for a solar system or for more questions like do solar panels work during a power outage, reach out to AMECO Solar and Roofing. As one of the most trusted solar panel companies in California, we have helped customers with all their needs for over 40 years.