Can we use solar panels without battery?

It depends on whether you are connected to the grid or not …

It is possible to use solar panels without batteries if you are connected to the grid. However, if you are not connected to the grid, you will need to own batteries to store excess electricity produced by your solar panels.

People not connected to the grid need solar batteries …

For people that live in remote or rural areas and have no access to the grid, batteries are needed to store excess power generated during the day when there is sunlight and use it at night when the sun goes down.

People living in residential or commercial places that are connected to the grid do not need solar batteries to store excess solar power, because the grid can be used to store excess power to be used by the neighboring communities or to be used at night.

Learn more about off-grid solar batteries such as the Renogy solar panels and solar batteries at Amazon.com

solar battery

One way to go solar without batteries is through net-metering …Connecting your solar panels to the grid is beneficial for states that already have a net-metering arrangement which allows for solar adopters to connect to the grid and get a credit towards their energy bill.

Net-metering allows for especially home-owners to benefit from feeding excess solar power to help lower their energy bill even more.

A bi-directional meter is installed for the home-owner to help in determining how much power is generated by their PV system, how much is used to power their home, and how much excess is fed into the grid for any billing cycle.

It is possible to determine these amounts because the bi-directional meter moves forward mostly at night when the home-owner is utilizing power from the grid, while during the day since the PV system is generating power, the meter will be moving in the opposite direction or backward.solar battery

On the other hand, solar batteries are good and can be used if a home-owner wants to be energy independent and instead of using the grid for storage, they can buy solar batteries for storage and use the power stored in them for their energy uses.

Today there are various types of solar batteries …

There are various types of solar batteries out there, including flooded leaded acid, gelled electrolyte lead-acid, sealed absorbed glass mat (AGM), and Lithium-ion batteries (e.g. the Tesla Powerwall home backup power systems).

Lithium-ion batteries are relatively new in the solar field, although they were first developed in the 1970s, they were used mainly in electronics like cellphones and laptops until recently when the switch to lithium-ion batteries in the renewable energy sector is taking place slowly.

Lithium batteries such as the this BESTSUN home battery BESTSUN home battery have started entering the renewable energy market and compared to the traditional lead-acid batteries, lithium-ion performs better and can survive more charge cycles.solar battery

However, lithium-ion batteries are expensive compared to their counterparts because their market is relatively new, but as the demand continues to increase, perhaps their prices will go down like the way the solar panel cost has decreased in the past one decade. The solar panel cost in the 1960s was above $100/watt compared to only $1 or less than one dollar per watt today.

Join EnergySage today to learn more about how to go solar with or without batteries!

If you would like to learn more about going solar with or without batteries, get started today by obtaining free quotes from your local companies when you join EnergySage.solar battery Switchingtosolarpv.com has partnered with online solar marketplaces such as the EnergySage to help you go solar. When you create an account with either EnergySage  you will receive:

  • You will access a free solar panel cost calculator to calculate your energy costs and savings to decide if solar is good for you.
  • Multiple solar quotes from pre-screened solar installers in your local area.
  • You will gain access to a pool of solar financiers that will provide you with the best interest rates in the market.
  • Also, in case you don’t want to purchase cash for your solar PV system, there are various financing options for going solar such as leasing or solar PPA which do not require you to put any money down or own the PV system.
  • By joining EnergySage you can access these financing options and get good advice regarding which option is the best fit for your specific situation.
  • This process is 100% online and no phone calls are required if you decide to.
  • You will gain access to solar advisors that you can ask any solar or related questions that you may have.
  • Last, but not least, by using solar calculators you can lower your solar panel cost significantly.
  • A recent study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) found out that PV installers using platforms like EnergySage, bid $0.24 per watt lower because of increased solar installer competition.

Click here to get started with a solar calculator.

How long does a solar panel take to pay for itself?

This a typical question asked by people considering owning solar panels for their house or business. Since solar panels are supposed to help you reduce your energy costs; knowing the pay-back period before purchasing your solar panels will help you make an informed decision and answering the question: Are solar panels worth it?

Solar Panel Payback Period

The solar panel payback period is considered as the amount of time taken to payoff your solar investment or as put by the EnergySage it is “the calculation that estimates how long it will take for you to “break even” on your solar energy investment. Solar panel payback period is not a constant and varies from state to state or country to country. The solar panel payback period depends on the following aspects of going solar.

1. The amount of tax-credits or rebates present in your state.

2. Utility rates i.e. commercial or residential power rates as charged by your local utility.

3. Solar panel brands

4. Accessibility to multiple solar quotes

1. The amount of tax-credits or rebates available in your state.

The Federal government offers a 30% tax credit to help lower the high initial cost of solar panels and hence the financial burden to the end-user in a time when the cost of solar panels is not yet at grid-parity in many states. The 30% tax credit is set to remain at 30% through 2019, and then will decline gradually for two years and eventually fall to 10%, before it is phased out by the end of 2022.

It is anticipated that the solar panel cost will continue to reduce and when grid parity is reached in most states; the solar subsidies will be phased out. As such, the federal investment tax credit is provided in all the states, however, different states provide different rebate system to further lower the solar panel cost. As a result, the amount of tax-credit or rebates available varies from state to state as explained because of the different financial incentives provided in different states to help people go solar.

2. Utility rates, commercial or residential power rates as charged by your local utility.

Different states have different utility rates based on the form of energy resource sourced by the utility company. States with a significant amount of coal tend to have lower utility rates compared to those of solar power. Going solar in such states may not be easy, since solar does not provide a good amount of savings when compared to the rates provided by the local utility. In such instances, the amount of savings accrued will not be significant and hence it will take a long time to break even or recoup your solar investment. The payback period in these states can be 15 years or more which is not very good when compared to the US national average of between 6 and 8 years.

On the other hand, states that rely heavily on oil to produce their electricity; have high utility rates that make solar a good candidate for lowering energy prices. As such, commercial or residential places in these states can save more with solar and can expect payback periods ranging between 5 and 7 years.

3. Solar panel brands

Different solar panel brands will have different costs or prices for their solar panels and this fact is affected by where solar panels are sourced and how they are manufactured. High end solar panels depending on the manufacturer will tend to be more expensive affecting your payback period. However, whether you choose expensive or affordable solar panels is dependent on the needs or requirements of the user. For instance, customers looking for high efficiency solar panels will be expected to pay more for their solar panels. Also, some solar brands offer high warranty periods and great service or customer service may tend to offer high solar panels prices which means high payback period of perhaps over 10 years.

The vice-versa is true when you buy low quality or low efficiency solar panels that could be cheaper for the end-user in the short-term or would have a low payback period, but in the end may affect the durability or performance of your solar panels.

4. Accessibility to multiple solar quotes

Considering all the above factors affecting the solar panel cost, it may be easy to give up on the process of going solar because of the information you need to gather before making your final decision. However, you don’t have to do all this research when you have online solar tools that analyze all these factors and provide you the best solar quotes that you can find online. Online solar marketplaces such as the EnergySage or Pick My Solar provide tailor made solutions based on the size of your roof and the amount of solar rays that is hitting your rooftop. Using your home/business address on these online tools you can access several solar quotes for your specific case making it easier to select the best quote. It means you can select the best quote based on your circumstances of affordability.

Solar quotes aggregators like the EnergySage and Pick My Solar can help you reduce your solar quotes significantly as confirmed by a 2017 study conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) titled “the value of transparency in distributed solar PV markets”. The NREL study found out that PV installers bid $0.24 per watt lower on the aggregators quote platform than when they bid directly to the same customers, on average. Also, the study found out that the prices decline as customers receive more solar quotes because of increased solar installer competition.

Hence, answering the question “How long does a solar panel take to pay for itself?” depends on several factors as explained above and we recommend using such solar aggregators like the EnergySage or Pick My Solar to get started. Also, to answer this specific question and to determine whether solar energy is right for you, the use of online solar tools like the solar panel cost calculator can help you conduct this exercise .

What are some solar calculators to consider when you want to go solar?

go solar

With the increasing demand for solar energy and people wanting to decide about going solar; new online tools have been developed with solar consumers in mind to help them make informed decisions about going solar.

Switchingtosolarpv.com shares most of these new online tools to help online users decide about solar.

These tools range from financial calculators, LIDAR developed rooftop solar potential tools such as EnergySage , Google Project Sunroof etc .

Furthermore, solar checklists and how-to-guides can be used to help solar customers, solar developers, civil society as well as government institutions to go solar or plan about solar while getting information about the economics or financing for solar.

1. Online solar calculators!

When it comes to LIDAR or commonly known as Light Detection and Ranging data (LiDAR); it is one of the sophisticated technologies used to create three-dimensional digital elevation models that has various uses such as for self-driving cars fitted with sensors to help them navigate the world.

Using LIDAR for self-driving cars it is possible to map and navigate an environment and know ahead of time any obstructions, or the bounds of a lane or whether there is a stop sign or traffic light 500m ahead.

Similarly, with LIDAR powered solar maps, it is possible to analyze the impacts of shading obstructions, identify roof tilt and estimate the amount of roof area that can be used for a particular solar installation through the use of online solar calculators.

Hence, using LIDAR online maps such as those included in the EnergySage solar calculators; data is obtained with the greatest degree of accuracy and this boils down to developing some of the best solar PV distributed renewable energy systems which reduces risks of under sizing or over sizing a PV power system.

2. Solar calculators for going solar!

In particular, LIDAR solar maps have been developed to help reduce the soft costs associated with solar because they are now widely available in the internet and users can type their home or business address to find out their solar potential while been provided with useful information of deciding about going solar such as financing, costs and savings of solar.

For instance, EnergySage or Pick My Solar in addition to having LIDAR powered solar maps, they provide solar financing tools or solar calculators as well as solar comparison tools to enable users choose their best solar installers in their local area or even decide about the best financing option such as solar loans, cash or solar power purchase agreement (solar PPA).

In addition to LIDAR powered solar maps available at EnergySage and Pick My Solar, other useful tools to help you make informed decisions include solar checklists, reviews on solar panels to find the best solar panels/manuals to help you navigate the process of going solar from start to finish.

EnergySage and Pick My Solar are solar quote aggregators and when you shop for solar with such online solar marketplaces, a 2017 study conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) titled “the value of transparency in distributed solar PV markets” has shown that quote aggregation drives solar installers to offer lower prices.

The NREL study found out that PV installers bid $0.24 per watt lower on the aggregators quote platform than when they bid directly to the same customers, on average.

Also, the study found out that the prices decline as customers receive more solar quotes because of increased solar installer competition.

3. Reviews on solar panels to find the best solar panels.

You can find some solar panels review for specific solar panel brands such as Solarworld solar panels, Suniva solar panels, LG solar panels etc in this blog.

You can also find a good solar checklist that lists the steps of going solar and the items you need to consider before deciding to switch to solar. For instance, this blog describes the IREC’s solar checklist that lists the steps or factors to consider before going solar.

If you are considering solar today, You can find all these tools in one location at EnergySage !  Please check out EnergySage  to access especially the LIDAR powered solar maps. These platforms offer a one-stop place for all your solar decision needs.