How to Get Off-Grid with a Home Battery

by Anna Gretz
November 2, 2017
Off-The-Grid

There is nothing quite like the freedom and independence of living off-grid.

Off-grid living is becoming more and more sought after, especially now, as the shocking vulnerabilities of the power grid have come into light.

Living off-grid means creating and storing all of the energy you and your household could ever need, right under your roof. Living off-grid means knowing exactly where your power is coming from, and knowing that it will be there when you need it the most. Living off-grid means taking advantage of everything energy storage has to offer.

People think that owning rooftop solar is the key to cutting ties to the power grid, but it’s not the whole story. Think about it: when are your solar panels generating the most power? When the sun is high in the sky… and you are likely out of the house. The arc of solar power generation is a steady, predictable rise and fall that corresponds to the rising and setting of the sun. The power usage in your home, however, follows a very different trajectory, with a small bump during the morning rush, and a predominant peak during the evening hours… when the sun is going down. Needless to say, they don’t match. Because of this, households with rooftop solar alone end up feeding most of the power they generate back into the power grid, keeping you dependent on your utility company to meet your evening power demand.

It doesn’t have to be this way. With energy storage, you can actually obtain total energy independence. Instead of giving the electricity generated by your solar panels back to the grid, keep it. Store it in a home battery, and discharge it whenever your solar panel generation tapers off. This is what it means to have true energy security and independence. Home batteries are the only way to go off-grid without making huge sacrifices in your lifestyle.

Is off-grid living the best option for your household? Maybe, but maybe not. Carefully evaluate the next three points to see if going off-the grid is a good choice for you.

  1. Households who opt to disconnect from the power grid place a high value on independence. For some people, it’s incredibly freeing to know that their home is entirely energy self-sufficient. There is a certain status given to homes who live off the grid, and an entire community focused on reaching the independence and freedom that comes with completely cutting ties from the utility companies. We get it. The grid is an aging, unreliable network of vulnerable stations and wires, and many people don’t want to put their household’s livelihood on the line. If this is you, you may want to consider installing a home battery, and getting off the grid.

  2. Living with solar + energy storage makes it possible to power your home on 100% clean energy. Even though many utilities are moving towards incorporating green renewable energy into their generation options (especially in California), they’re not there yet. Electrical utilities still use dirty, fossil fuel technology to meet the demand of their customers. Even households who have rooftop solar installed have to tap into the grid to make up for the energy they can’t generate in the evening hours. But you don’t have to. The only way to truly use 100% clean energy in your home is to generate and use your own clean energy. With solar panels and a home battery, this is exactly what you’re doing.

  3. Utility grid customers in remote areas have to pay the price for electricity connection. Residents of city centers don’t have any trouble getting their home connected to the utility grid, but for those out in rural areas, grid connection can be a royal pain… and royally expensive. Instead of dishing out extra cash to hook up to the unreliable electricity available from the grid, these homes can turn that cash into a solar + home battery system instead. Though energy storage has some amazing benefits, it isn’t a purely economical choice for everyone… yet. Rural homes are the exception to this, as the cost of grid electricity is much higher in some of these areas. It’s worth checking out your options before deciding on a power source.

These are the three strongest arguments for going completely off-grid, but there are many other advantages for installing energy storage in your home, and achieving grid independence without completely cutting ties.

What is Grid Independence?

Grid independence is a great alternative for customers who may not have the resources nor the reasons to go off-grid completely, but still want to enjoy the many advantages of having a home battery system installed under their roof. Even if you maintain a loose connection to the power grid, owning rooftop solar and a home battery, or even just a battery alone, can really boost your energy security, and put some extra cash in your pocket. Here’s how:

With a home battery, you can activate your own self-sufficient energy island whenever the power grid fails. Power outages happen… all the time. Short outages can be a pain, but longer periods without power can have some serious consequences, like lost groceries, lost work hours, or the loss of operational medical equipment. With a home battery, you can virtually never lose power again. Every time the grid fails, you can abandon it and turn on your own backup energy source. Basically, you’re going off grid until the utility is fixed, and reconnecting when it’s back up and running. You have the best of both worlds… and you always have power.

Home batteries make sure you always get the lowest price for grid energy. How does this happen? It’s called time-of-use shifting, and it’s pretty genius. Many utilities charge more for electricity during peak demand hours, or the times when the most people need power (in the evenings.) On the other hand, power is pretty cheap in the early morning hours when no one needs it. With a home battery, you can suck energy from the grid during the cheap hours, and store it for use when the rates are at their highest. With a home battery, get early morning rates all the time.

The energy world is changing, and battery owners are coming out ahead. Because behind-the-meter power generation and a more distributed grid is where we’re headed, there are growing incentives for people to own their own on-site energy storage devices, like home batteries. Now, some battery owners are compensated for deploying energy power during hours of high demand, and more utilities are brainstorming ways to monetarily incentivize at-home battery storage. Soon, there will even be a shared energy market where businesses and households can virtually buy and sell electricity to each other; the energy version of the shared economy. It won’t be long before households can use their home batteries as a vehicle for making money, as well as securing their own home’s energy.

Whether going off-grid is what you’re leaning towards, or you simply just want more independence from your electrical utility, home batteries are making a whole new world of residential energy possible.