Choosing a Battery Backup for Your Home
Which battery backup for home is best?
The number of extreme weather events is increasing and causing extended power outages, with which consumers must contend. In California and other states, electric utilities have now instituted planned outages, called Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events, to help limit the risk of wildfires.
Additionally, residents in Texas will likely never forget the massive winter weather storm in February 2021 that left thousands of homeowners without power for more than a week. Beyond the inconvenience of losing power during a time of extreme weather, many homeowners experience property damage when the power goes out.
With more and more people learning and working from home, even minor power outages can cause severe disturbances to our daily routines. Home battery backups have been growing in popularity for these reasons and help promote clean power options that are also good for the environment.
As a result, there are now quite a few good battery backup options to help protect your family and home when the power grid goes out. The switch from grid power to a battery backup can be seamless, and many homeowners do not notice the transition.
Examples of backup batteries for home
When considering a battery backup for your home, you should first consider how many appliances you would like to power during an outage and for how long. Options range from short-term to whole-home backup power.
Your battery can be configured to either power your whole home or partial home backup. Some things to consider are that in a power outage under a “whole home” setup, you will need to quickly reduce your electricity usage to ensure that you do not drain the battery too fast. Of course, this can be challenging if you are not at home. An alternative is that your home battery storage system can be configured to power only virtual devices under a “partial home” backup setup. You will not have to manually reduce your electricity usage with a partial home backup, which can prolong the time your virtual devices stay powered during a power outage.
Solar generators are batteries that offer much flexibility because they can be charged in several ways- via solar panels, a wall charger, or in some cases, using a car’s 12V socket. They are typically used for outdoor use, but if you want to use a solar generator for home backup power, you will need to connect it to your home electrical panel.
Once fully charged, solar generators offer between .5-2 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of backup power, depending on the size and model of the battery. They are usually full of USB ports, 12V DC sockets, and 120V AC power sockets and allow you to run small appliances (such as fans, lights, modem, a small refrigerator, or television) for several hours. They are also completely silent.
Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS’s)
We have all been there. You are working on your computer, and the power goes out. All your hard work is lost! If this is a common occurrence for you, you may want to consider installing an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) backup.
Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) backups are for short-term backup power. They primarily provide surge protection to multiple devices and are particularly useful in protecting servers. In the event of a blackout, a UPS will keep your devices on long enough for you to save your work and shut down the device. Even small UPS are specifically designed to back up your Wi-Fi router to ensure uninterrupted internet access during an outage.
How does a backup battery work?
Having a backup battery for your home means you can be less dependent on the power grid, allowing you to keep virtual devices (medical equipment, refrigeration, air conditioning, electric heating, and lighting) powered during outages. Home battery storage systems can also help minimize electric bills, ensure power quality, and reduce your carbon footprint.
Typically, backup batteries connect to the power grid and your home’s electric panel to perform two main functions- charging and discharging. Concerning setting, homeowners can store power generated by their home solar system or from the grid when electricity prices are lower. Discharging means that homeowners can use the energy stored by their battery storage system to power their homes when the cost of electricity from the grid is higher, at night when their solar system is not producing (if they have a solar system), or during an outage when they need backup power.
How much does a home backup battery cost?
It is common for an average-sized whole home backup battery to run between $10,000 and $20,000. The battery size and its cost will largely depend on your current energy use and the size of any generation technologies you have installed. You may also consider planning for future electricity use if you intend to purchase an electric vehicle. Several incentive programs may help you save on your home backup battery. These include federal tax credits and state, local, and utility-specific incentives.
How long will the battery backup power my home?
A typical whole-home battery backup should last you for at least a day or two in a power outage. However, the length of time that a battery backup can power your home also depends on how much you conserve your energy use. Uninterrupted power supplies are used for short-term power backups, and solar generators will allow you to run several appliances for a few hours during a power outage.
What to look for in backup batteries for your home
There are several kinds of backup batteries for your home on the market. Various factors that differentiate storage technologies include stackability, charging options, cycle life, capacity, and price.
Stackability is the ability to install many backup batteries together, increasing the overall capacity.
You can store power generated by your home solar system or from the grid to be used later. If an outage is imminent, some storage providers can signal your battery to charge before the blackout.
The cycle life of batteries is the number of charge and discharge cycles that a battery can complete before its performance declines. The cycle life of lithium-ion batteries is affected significantly by the depth of discharge, in other words, the amount of a battery’s storage capacity that is utilized.
There are various backup battery technologies available for your home. Some of the most popular include lithium-ion batteries, lead-acid batteries, or batteries that are coupled with your home’s rooftop solar system.
Capacity is the amount of energy stored in a home battery. The energy capacity of a battery backup is rated in kilowatt-hours (kWh) and represents the amount of time that you can power your appliances.
It is common for an average-sized whole home backup battery to cost between $10,000 and $20,000. Cheaper options for home battery backups may include a partial home backup battery, an uninterruptible power supply, or a solar generator.
Top battery backup systems for home
Enphase IQ Battery
We recommend the Enphase Energy System to power your home. The Enphase Energy System brings solar, batteries, and software together in one complete package, so now you can make, use, save, and sell your power—all through an innovative mobile app. With an Enphase system, you can lower your utility bills, reduce your carbon footprint, and keep your control flowing even during outages. The Enphase Energy System includes the Enphase App, IQ Microinverter, and IQ Batteries.
- Enphase App. With the Enphase App, you will always know how much power youare making, using, and saving in real-time and as it fluctuates over time. Homeowners can also use the IQ Load Controller to prioritize and direct power to essential appliances during a grid outage to optimize energy consumption.
- IQ Microinverters. IQ8 Microinverters offer microgrid-forming technology that provides Sunlight Backup during grid outages, and the proprietary, intelligent chip makes switching between on or off-grid virtually seamless.
- IQ Battery. Store solar power to use anytime with Enphase IQ Batteries—at night or during peak hours to reduce energy bills or when utility power is unavailable during an outage.
Who should install my system?
We recommend using the Enphase Installer Network, which connects you with the best local installers in your area.
How do I get the right contractor?
When your battery storage system requires maintenance, you need a quick and efficient way to get them back up and running. Our platform arms you with the perfect, all-in-one solution. We can instantly generate pre-priced work orders and match the scope of service requirements with certified and competent on-demand service providers.