There is a lot of buzz in the marketplace about battery storage, and you might be on the fence about whether batteries make sense for your home.

Depending on the availability of gas service in your area, you might have the option of using a natural gas powered generator or you may have traditionally been limited to generators that run off of gasoline.  The emerging technology of battery storage has provided another option.

I think we’ve all heard a story of someone who suffered through a winter power outage and decided to plunk down the money for an on-demand gas generator, only to never lose power again.  They purchased peace-of-mind but aren’t really getting a return on their investment.

As solar homeowners, we have the ability to store energy for our own use but there is also an opportunity to sell the stored energy to the utility company.

RI Energy and other suppliers face the duty of providing consistent power 24/7.  They must produce what is needed to serve the demand, but they are challenged by government mandates to reduce carbon emissions.  This is what spawned the concept of Rhode Island Energy’s “ConnectedSolutions” program for small-scale battery owners.

Simply explained, a solar homeowner with battery backup may enroll in a program where the stored energy can be exported to the grid during peak-demand times.  The utility company will send out a notification several hours prior to an ‘event’ to alert you that your system is being called upon, and you will be paid a pre-determined rate for the power that you export.

Is this a win-win?  That depends on your individual house and needs.  Personally, I’m not ready for this program.  Although I dread the idea of being left in the cold during a power outage, we almost never lose power and our densely populated suburban neighborhood gets quick attention after storms.  If we were prone to long outages, I would love the idea of having emergency power and the ability to offset the cost of batteries by selling the power during the summer months. (Power export ‘events’ run from June – September, 3 pm – 8 pm, for a maximum of 3 hours.)

If you are considering batteries for your home, I suggest getting a quote from an installer who can determine whether battery backup can be added to your solar panel system and look into the ConnectedSolutions program.  This local program, combined with federal tax credits might justify the cost of storing your own energy!