Can You Run Your Home On A Battery?
Home battery technology has grown in popularity over the past several years. These systems are not only capable of providing power during an outage but can also help reduce electrical dependence on the grid during extreme weather conditions. But can you really run your home on a battery?
The answer is yes & no. It’s estimated there are 180,000 off-grid homes in the United States. These homes are not connected to public utilities and are most often powered by wind, solar or traditional gas-powered generators. But even though off-grid homes are specially designed to maximize energy efficiency, but recent events in Texas have shown us that wind power can fail, and solar panels are rendered useless when snow-covered. Even on a sunny day, solar alone may not be enough to run your entire home. The solution to running your home on a battery lies in a combination of solar and battery technology.
Home Battery Incentives
Because of the ideal climate for solar, California (as of 2019) had over 10,000 residential and commercial buildings equipped with both solar panels and a battery backup system. The state’s increased frequency of public safety power shutoffs caused by high wind events has fueled the popularity of these systems. And as this technology becomes less expensive through not only innovations and equipment cost reductions, programs like California’s SGIP help fuel the adoption of home battery technology.
Sizing A Battery System
Some homeowners may find that a home battery system meets their family’s power needs perfectly, but there are limits to a battery’s ability to power a home during an outage. Whether or not you can run your home on a battery depends on the battery’s capacity, your household energy needs, and how long the battery needs to last.
A home battery works best when designed to ration battery capacity and minimize the use of major appliances, so the most practical approach is to design a backup battery system to power only critical loads such as lights, a refrigerator, internet, and convenience outlets. Powering large appliances like air conditioning units, EV chargers or electric stoves would require a massive system, so although it’s possible it’s just not practical.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average home in America consumes approximately 30 kilowatt-hours per day or 901 kilowatt-hours per month. A kilowatt-hour is the amount of energy needed to power a 1-kilowatt device for an hour. The sizing process of designing a home battery system also includes determining how many days the home is expected to be without electricity. If the home is in a rural area prone to severe weather causing power outages, the system is designed for three days of battery power.
Costs of A Home Battery
Compared to fuel-powered generators with a cost ranging between $7,000 to $15,000 for a medium-sized home, a home battery system will range from $10,000 to $20,000. Although the initial cost of a home battery system is more than a traditional generator, aside from firmware updates, home batteries require little or no maintenance. Fuel-powered generators with their moving parts require maintenance, and coupled with repair costs could total as high as $165 to $485 per year. Depending on the electrical needs of a home, higher-end home batteries are able to last 1 to 2 days when fully charged. Having solar panels on your home and reducing your electricity usage during an outage will help extend the battery’s ability to power your house during an outage.
Home battery technology is already helping many homeowners bypass utility Time Of Use rates, not only saving them money but also providing them with peace of mind knowing their home will have electricity in the event of a power outage. If you would like to learn more about home battery backup systems, call or text 951-678-7733 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced Energy Experts today.