We can give you an approximate size for recommended solar batteries, but as you’ll soon discover, the question itself is a bit more complicated than many people realize.
First a little background. We need to understand what a solar battery charger actually is.
There are many different types of batteries and chargers, but for our purposes, we’ll define a solar battery charger as any type of back-up storage that captures solar energy for later use. These battery units range in price from just a few dollars (for simple applications) to tens of thousands of dollars (for residential and commercial applications).
For the average solar installation in San Diego, you can expect to pay anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000 for a reliable solar battery.
So What Size Solar Battery Do You Really Need?
This is where it gets a little more interesting.
Not surprisingly, solar panels don’t work at night, so you need some way to power your appliances when the sun goes down. This is where batteries come into the picture. They’re also useful during blackouts – a relatively common occurrence in San Diego.
We typically advise our customers NOT to invest in solar batteries.
Solar battery chargers are expensive. At $10K a pop, they can double your total solar installation costs. Worse still, even the best solar batteries need to be replaced every 7 to 12 years.
So if solar batteries are a bad idea, how do Sunline Energy customers power their homes when the sun goes down?
Simple. We connect their homes to the local utility grid and help these customers qualify for San Diego’s incredibly awesome net metering program.
With net metering, you’re able to sell excess solar electricity into the grid (during the day) and buy back the energy you need from the grid (at night). At the end of each billing cycle, you’re only responsible for the net difference in energy used and sold. The entire utility grid becomes virtual storage.
Better still, it’s possible to actually generate a profit if you have a large enough solar installation (and thus – enough excess electricity to sell).
Connecting your solar installation to the local electricity grid is basically free. At least for now. Utility companies are trying to implement all kinds of fees and surcharges for solar customers. They’ve been unsuccessful so far, but this could eventually change in the future.
In any event – free solar storage is a lot better than paying $10K every 12 years to replace an expensive solar battery charger.
The only customers who need to worry about solar batteries are those who:
- Absolutely, positively need 24/7 uninterrupted power. Very few homeowners fall into this category. Solar batteries are best for hospitals and military installations.
- Live in homes that are too far away from the utility grid. Again, very few properties fit this criterion. Even remote summer cabins in the San Diego region usually have access to grid electricity these days.
So what size solar battery charger do you really need? Well, 99.99% of the time, you don’t need one at all. It’s not worth the time or money.
But if you really need backup storage and don’t want to use net metering, we can help you customize a solution that satisfies your energy needs.