When the power goes, out my power stays on. It’s that simple.
I don't know if you noticed, but our planet’s weather patterns are fairly unpredictable — and frightening. As I write this, it is mid-January, and California is drowning under multiple atmospheric rivers; Buffalo, NY is still buried from a once-in millennium snow storm, and people are losing their lives to January tornadoes in the south. What do all of these events have in common — besides freaking me out? Large-scale power outages. Bad storms = no power. A warming climate has increased our collective and individual anxiety about security and grid resiliency.
Adding energy storage to my solar installation reduces my energy insecurity concerns — and might do the same for you. Because I have a home essentials backup system, when the power goes out (which it inevitably will), I will still have heat, refrigeration, internet, and lights, whether I am home or wandering around our planet. This is important to me.
After considering my own energy needs, I chose to install a 10 kWh battery. A fully-charged battery will power my selected circuits for two-plus days. If there are clear skies during the day, the sun will replenish my system, which can then power my house indefinitely. I am fortunate — I don’t need backup power for water, septage (I have town sewer & water), or cooking (I will use my outdoor grill). Households that do have these needs will need a larger battery; Enphase currently offers batteries with 10, 13, 16, or 20 kWh.
Part of the essential backup is selecting the circuits you want the backup system to power in the event of an outage. The best way is to make a list of what is critical, which for most people includes heat, water, septic, refrigeration, and internet. Of course, you will want to include some lights; some people use a power strip for internet modem to ensure additional outlets for other uses. To make sure that Jeff had the correct circuits to wire into the backup panel, he had me go to the circuit location in my house; when he flipped the breaker, if the power went out, we knew we had the right circuit. Jeff then marked it, named it, and wired it to the backup panel to help make everything clear.
The battery can be set for either self-consumption or full backup. I use self-consumption mode, which allows me to store the excess energy from my power plant in my battery and use it later after the sun sets. My excess power only flows to the grid when the battery is fully charged, enabling me to use the grid as a second storage option. Most of the year, the stored energy will power my home all night.