Is Battery Storage for Your Solar Panels Worth It?

Written by Laureen Peck of Solar Energy World
Updated May 15, 2015
solar panels
Homeowners with solar electric systems save an average of 50 to 100 percent on their electricity. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Edward G. in Austin, Texas)

Tesla announced they will soon sell versions of their battery packs to consumers to help power their homes.

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However, the real news is that homeowners who have solar panels installed will still save 50 to 100 percent on their energy bills without battery storage. In fact, solar energy battery backup still won’t be economically feasible for most homeowners.

Tesla batteries are not a new technology. Battery storage has been on the market for some time now, but few homeowners have opted to add that to the cost of their solar PV (photovoltaic) system because it hasn't been cost-effective. Even with Tesla’s improvements, adding battery backup to a solar PV system is still too expensive for most homeowners. This definitely will change, but cost-effective battery backup isn’t really here yet.

Should homeowners wait to go solar?

Does this mean that homeowners considering going solar should hold off on going solar until the battery storage is cheaper? Absolutely not. Homeowners with solar electric systems without battery backup still save an average of 50 to 100 percent on their electricity, and those who own a solar system generate extra income from the excess energy their system produces right now. It’s a lot more expensive to do nothing than it is to have a solar electric system installed on your roof or property.

For example, if you spend $200 a month on your electricity with a yearly increase of 4.5 percent, in 10 years you will have sent $35,667 to your utility company with no return on your dollars. A solar system would have saved you $23,000 on utility costs in less than seven years. With Solar Renewable Energy Credits, grants and other incentives, the solar electric system not only pays for itself, but also makes a profit.

If you are considering going solar, keep in mind if you have a solar electric system installed you can easily add battery backup to it when the prices go down in the future. The battery pricing should not hold you back from switching to cleaner, cheaper energy right now.

CHECK OUT: Who Should I Hire to Install Solar Panels on My Roof?

About this Expert Contributor: Laureen Peck is the Vice President of Marketing for Solar Energy World, which offers solar system design and installation in Baltimore, Maryland and the surrounding area. It's the fastest-growing independently-owned solar power installer in the region. Follow Solar Energy World on Twitter or Google Plus.

As of May 14, 2015, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List. 

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