Five Reasons Why Going Solar Without a Battery in California Just Doesn’t Make Sense

Five Reasons Why Going Solar Without a Battery in California Just Doesn’t Make Sense

Published 12/12/2023

If you're considering going solar, pairing your system with a home battery storage solution is the way to go. With recent changes to net metering policies, like the shift from NEM 2.0 to NEM 3.0 (or Net Billing Tariff (NBT)) in California, solar economics are evolving rapidly.

Adding a battery allows you to take advantage of more of the energy that your panels produce and optimize your energy bill in California.

In this article, we'll cover five key reasons why solar plus storage is the ideal combination. But first, let's take a quick look at how solar has changed, especially in states like California:

A glimpse into California's solar policy evolution

California, a beacon of solar adoption, has witnessed a pivotal shift in its solar landscape, especially with the transition from NEM 2.0 to NEM 3.0. The evolution in the Net Energy Metering (NEM) policy not only reshapes the way homeowners interact with the grid but also redefines the economic aspects of adopting solar. 

Check out NEM 3.0: What It Is and How It Affects California Home Solar for the full details. 

Embracing the change

While the transition from NEM 2.0 to NEM 3.0 marks a significant change in California’s solar experience, homeowners who choose a battery storage solution with their solar system install will still reap the benefits of going solar, and contribute to combating climate change. 

The silver lining: Batteries 🔋

With NEM 3.0, batteries have emerged as not just allies, but essential tools in the solar adoption journey.

  • Optimized energy use: Store solar energy to utilize it directly, instead of buying high priced energy from the utility 

  • Smart export: Take advantage of late summer evening hours to export when prices are very high, and solar isn’t producing.

Without further ado, here are the top 5 reasons you need a battery with solar:

1. Utility rates in California will continue to rise 

Electricity rates have more than doubled in California from 2003 to 20222. But what’s behind this concerning ascent? 

  • Fuel costs: According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), higher fuel costs for power plants have driven residential retail electricity prices upwards.

  • Predicted hikes: The CPUC forecasts anywhere from a 23%-39% rise in electricity rates in California through 20263, depending on your utility provider.

But why should you, a savvy homeowner, be concerned? 

  • Uncertain bills: With the Global Energy Institute highlighting unprecedented electricity rates in 2022, your bills may continue to rise.

  • Budget strains: Especially in a world where remote work is prevalent and home energy use is vital, these fluctuating costs can make budgeting difficult.

So, how does solar, particularly with a battery, come into play? 

  • Locking in rates: Going solar helps protect against unpredictable jumps in utility costs.

  • Maximizing use: With a battery, you store excess energy, ensuring you utilize your generated power to its fullest, even when the sun takes its nightly rest.

Real-life example: The NBT rates have higher priced import and export rate periods according to a fixed schedule, but instead of drawing expensive energy from the grid during those times, your solar system and battery supply the needed power.

In a nutshell: Solar plus storage doesn’t just mean energy independence; it’s a financial strategy— a safeguard against rising electricity rates.

2. Home energy use is increasing

  • Bigger homes: More square footage often equals more energy usage

  • Gadgets galore: An influx of electronic devices keeps our outlets busy

  • Electric vehicles (EVs): Charging at home adds to our electric bills

  • Remote work: The home office phenomenon increases daily energy use

Did the Pandemic affect our energy consumption?

Yes. According to a study found on PMC, average household daily electricity consumption surged by about 12% in 2020 compared to 2019, with about one-third attributed to the pandemic's lifestyle shifts.

How does solar and storage cater to this? 

  • Offsetting costs: With electricity rates fluctuating over time and moving upwards in 2022 and early 2023 (EIA), solar provides a stable, predictable cost for energy.

  • Energy-on-demand: Storage ensures the sun’s gift is available, even when it sets.

  • EV charging: Go solar to power your EV, reducing reliance on the grid.

Real-life impact: Imagine a summer day, working from home, AC blasting, and your EV charging in the garage. With solar and storage, this scenario is powered with minimal energy from the grid, safeguarding you from peak rates and outages.

In a nutshell: Solar and storage aren’t just about being green, they’re about smartly navigating and accommodating our ever-growing energy needs, ensuring our homes are powered affordably and reliably. 

3. Power outages are increasing

Power outages are becoming more frequent and longer-lasting. What’s contributing to this?

  • Climate’s role: A staggering 78% increase in annual weather-related power outages was observed from 2011-2021 compared to 2000-2010 (Climate Central).

  • Aging infrastructure: Our electrical grid and fossil-fueled power plant infrastructure, now facing the intensified challenges of climate change, is being pushed beyond its limits (Nature Communications).

How does this affect us?

  • Health risks: A power outage is more than just an inconvenience, it can be dangerous. Outages may cause disruptions to communications, water and transportation, prevent use of medical devices and more.

  • Economic impact: Disruptions in energy supply, like outages, can have detrimental effects on the economy (US EPA).

Can solar and battery storage really be our beacon? 

Yes. Amidst the unpredictability of outages, solar and battery storage stand as resilient pillars, ensuring your home remains an illuminated sanctuary when the grid falters.

Real-life impact: Imagine your neighborhood going dark during a power outage. Your home, thanks to solar and storage, remains a glowing haven, providing not just light, but safety, comfort, and a sense of normalcy amidst the disruption.

In a nutshell: Embracing solar and storage isn’t merely about adopting technology; it’s about ensuring that your home remains illuminated even during unexpected outages. 

4. You'll rely more heavily on the grid without a battery

Going solar is commendable, but without a battery, problems with the energy grid persist, especially during those sunless moments and peak usage periods. How does having a battery ensure you rely less on the grid and help curb emissions?

  • Storing sunshine: Storage allows the system to save up solar energy to be used or released when it’s needed most. This means that with a battery, you can shift stored energy to the grid when it’s under strain and predominantly powered by fossil-fueled generators.

  • Grid compatibility: Stored electricity can be used later, easing grid dependence.

Why is minimizing grid interaction important? 

  • Control: It allows you to have more control over your energy use and costs.

  • Resilience: Ensures power availability during outages or peak times.

How does this impact your daily life? 

Real-life impact: Consider a neighborhood where everyone is pulling from the grid during a heatwave. Your home, thanks to stored solar energy, doesn’t strain the grid, safeguarding against outages and peak rates.

In a nutshell: The addition of a battery helps you move toward true energy independence, ensuring every kilowatt-hour generated is utilized to its fullest, providing reliability, potential savings, and a sustainable embrace for your home. 

5. A battery unlocks true energy independence

  • Storing your own sunshine: The U.S. Department of Energy notes that storage allows solar to contribute even when it’s cloudy or dark.

  • Reliability: Solar energy storage is safer and more reliable than gas generators, as it doesn't require fossil fuels to be stored in the home or ignited during an outage.

How does this impact your daily life? 

Real-life impact: Imagine a muggy night when you want to crank up the AC without worrying about peak rates. Your stored solar energy allows you to do just that, ensuring comfort without driving up your energy bill.

In a nutshell: Powering your home with solar and storage isn’t just about being environmentally friendly; it’s about creating a future where your home is a self-sustaining haven of warmth, light, and energy. 

Sunrun: The U.S. leader in home solar + storage solutions 

We think that embarking on a solar journey with storage is a brilliant move, and choosing the right partner for this adventure is crucial. Why Sunrun, you ask? 

  • Pioneering excellence: Sunrun is America's leading home solar and storage provider. With 900,000+ customers, we have a stellar track record of deploying integrated solar and battery systems.

  • Tailored solutions: Our expertise ensures your solar and storage system is tailored to your energy goals and home needs.

Our solar storage solutions:

  • Premium backup batteries: Our backup battery options offer sleek design and cutting-edge technology. And with convenient functionality like in-app monitoring, you can manage your energy storage in real time, scheduling off-peak hour charging and more. Learn more about backup battery.

  • Sunrun Shift™️: Exclusive to CA, Shift, is an innovative non-backup battery that helps you maximize the value of solar energy under California's new NBT solar policy. Shift is specifically designed to store self-generated solar energy throughout the day and autonomously shift it to your home or the grid in the evening during peak hours, optimizing potential savings.

  • EV charger: Sunrun's new home EV charger is a convenient solution for you to charge quickly, affordably, and from the comfort of home. Plus, it comes with our standard hassle-free permitting, design, and installation when you go solar, so upgrading your home’s energy ecosystem is easier than ever. Learn more.

No matter your goals, Sunrun ensures your solar battery solution is harmoniously tuned to your home, combining top-tier equipment, customized system design, and installation from the most experienced team in the country.

Conclusion

To truly harness the full potential of solar power for your home in California, adding battery storage is now essential. With a solar battery, you can use more of your own clean energy, save money by avoiding peak rates, power through outages, and live sustainably on your own terms.

Need a guide to determine the best energy storage solution for your home? A Sunrun Solar Advisor is waiting to help you!


Sources:

  1. Short-Term Energy Outlook - Coal

  2. EIA.gov

  3. sfchronical.com

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