A Guide to Home Energy Battery Storage Systems

Due to climate change, extreme weather events are occurring more frequently. Wildfires, ice storms, flooding, and hurricanes are causing lengthy regional power outages, and consumers are justifiably concerned about their electric power supply and delivery. Today, more than ever, homeowners need to consider backup power sources to help protect their families, assets, and the environment. Home battery storage systems can help provide you with this peace of mind.

How Does It Work?

Battery storage, or battery energy storage systems (BESS), will play an increasingly pivotal role in accelerating the replacement of fossil fuels with renewable energy. BESS enables renewable sources, like solar and wind, to be captured, stored, and released when customers need the most power. Battery storage allows energy use at a different time from when it was generated, increasing power quality, efficiency, and system resilience.

Typically, home battery storage systems connect to the power grid and your home’s electric panel to perform two main functions- charging and discharging.

  • Charging. Homeowners can store power generated by their home solar system or the grid when electricity prices are lower.
  • Discharging. Homeowners can use the energy stored by their battery storage system to power their homes when the price 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.

The Technology

Home battery storage systems typically comprise a battery, inverter, wiring and backup power configuration, and energy management and communication software.

  • Battery. Lithium-ion batteries, just like those used in cell phones and electric vehicles (EVs), dominate home energy storage systems. This technology is popular due to its lightweight, high energy density, and ability to recharge. However, home battery systems are much more advanced than your kitchen appliances.
    • Inverter. Inverters convert stored direct current (DC) electricity from your battery to alternating current (AC) electricity used by your home and the power grid.
    • Wiring and Backup Power Configuration. Your battery can be configured to either power your whole home or only essential loads during a power outage.
    • Energy Management Software and Communication Software.  Batteries used for home battery storage systems generally include energy management software and communication technologies that automate charging and discharging and monitor system performance.

Energy management software uses algorithms to decide when to store energy. Home battery storage systems can automatically charge the battery when energy is cheaper and discharge when more expensive power is. Some storage providers also provide tools to alert your battery system to remain at full charge when a power outage is imminent.

Top Home Battery Storage Systems of 2022

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.

What to look for in-home battery storage systems 

When evaluating options for your in-home battery storage systems, there are several options to consider. Below are a few of the most common decision criteria:  

  • If you want to power more of your home at once, look for a solar battery with a high power rating. Additionally, some systems allow you to stack more than one unit to get the level of backup you need.
  • If you want to power a more energy-intensive appliance (like air conditioning or sump pumps that require more power to start up than once they’re running), look for a battery with a high instantaneous power rating.
  • If you want to run your home with your solar battery for a more extended amount of time, look for a battery with a higher usable capacity.
  • If you want to get the most out of every kilowatt-hour of electricity you put into your battery, look for batteries with a high roundtrip efficiency.
  • If you are space-constrained and want to get the most storage out of the least amount of space, look for lithium-ion nickel manganese cobalt solar batteries.
  • If you want a battery with the most extended life to cycle the most amount of times, look for lithium iron phosphate batteries.
  • If you want a battery with the absolute highest safety rating possible, look for lithium iron phosphate batteries.

Benefits of battery storage for your home

A home battery storage system means you can be less dependent on the power grid, allowing you to keep virtual devices (such as medical equipment, refrigeration, air conditioning, electric heating, lighting, and suitable electric pumps) powered during outages. Home battery storage systems can also help minimize electric bills, ensure power quality, and reduce your carbon footprint.

Benefits of pairing my home battery with solar

Pairing solar with your home battery storage system can provide additional benefits, such as longer-lasting backup power and lower energy bills. The higher your battery’s capacity, the larger the solar system it can charge.

Home battery storage without solar 

You do not need a home solar system to benefit from a battery storage system. A battery storage system can charge directly from the electric grid and be used for backup power or shift your grid energy to lower-price times of the day.

Home battery storage cost 

It is common for an average-sized home battery backup system 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.

Incentives to help you save

Several incentive programs may help you save on your home battery storage system. These include federal tax credits and state, local, and utility-specific incentives.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the price of a generator compared to home battery backup systems?

Overall, battery backups are the pricier option upfront in terms of cost comparisons. However, generators also need fuel to run, which means spending more overtime on the fuel supply. 

You’ll need to pay for the backup battery system and installation upfront with battery backups. Pricing will vary based on which battery system you choose. It is common for an average-sized home battery backup system to run between $10,000 and $20,000.

For generators, the average price of purchasing and installing a standby generator can range from $7,000 to $15,000. However, you will spend more overtime on the fuel supply. The specific costs will depend on a few factors, including the size of your generator, which type of fuel it uses, and the amount of energy used to run it.

Are lithium-ion or lead-acid batteries better for home storage?

In most cases, lithium-ion battery technology is superior to lead-acid due to its reliability and efficiency. However, less expensive lead-acid battery options can be preferable in small off-grid storage systems that aren’t used regularly.

Does My Home Battery Work During A Power Outage?

A home battery storage system means you can be less dependent on the power grid, allowing you to keep virtual devices (such as medical equipment, refrigeration, air conditioning, electric heating, lighting, and suitable electric pumps) powered during outages. Home battery storage systems can also help minimize electric bills, ensure power quality, and reduce your carbon footprint.

What are the benefits of pairing home battery storage systems with solar?

You do not need a home solar system to benefit from a battery storage system. A battery storage system can charge directly from the electric grid and be used for backup power or shift your grid energy to lower-price times of the day. However, pairing solar with your home battery storage system can provide additional benefits, such as longer-lasting backup power and lower energy bills. The higher your battery’s capacity, the larger the solar system it can charge.

Will my solar panels work during a power outage?

Solar panels absorb the sun’s energy and create direct current (DC) electricity. The DC electricity is converted to AC electricity through an inverter to power your home. For this reason, solar panels cannot serve as a backup if the AC electricity goes out due to a power outage unless explicitly designed to do so. This is also to ensure that power is not inadvertently sent to the electric grid, which could be dangerous or fatal for utility lineman working to restore power.

Can I use an EV battery for home energy storage?

Your electric vehicle’s battery could someday be used to power your home, but we are not quite there yet. A Pacific Gas & Electric Company report released in February 2018 confirmed the technical feasibility of vehicle-to-home (V2H) charging. However, the current “lack of commercially available technologies” for a complete V2H system was also noted. There are currently many case studies and pilot projects validating the commercial viability of V2H charging; however, the conclusions of these reports vary widely. Other concerns about V2H charging include impacts on lifestyle, delayed plug-in electric vehicle charging, and battery degradation.

How do I calculate how much battery storage my home needs?

Electrical consumption is measured in kilowatt-hours. Your monthly electric bill tells you how many kilowatt-hours you have consumed. A realistic system will provide power to the house for a few days. When designing your home energy battery system, you must determine how many days you expect to be without power and whether you want to power your entire home or a portion of it.

How many loads do you need for your home backup battery system?

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.

How long will a home battery charge last?

In a power outage, a typical home battery should last you for at least a day or two. This also depends on how much you conserve your energy use.

Are home battery storage systems safe?

Generally, home battery storage systems are safe. The primary safety concern is a potential for overheating, which can be addressed through several safety measures, including an adequate cooling system; dividers between individual battery cells; battery packs with built-in electronic protection circuits; monitoring of system temperature, rate of charging and discharging; and the ability for remote shut-off via intelligent energy management software. Homeowners should confirm that all included hardware (not just the battery) meets the safety criteria of reliable third parties, such as the National Electrical Manufacturers Association.

Can home batteries be installed either indoors or outdoors?

Most battery storage system suppliers offer both indoor and outdoor options.

Does it make noise?

The noise generated by a battery storage system is minimal and is typically less than or similar to noise levels from an air conditioner.

Will a home battery storage system save me money?

Home battery storage systems provide homeowners flexibility which can also lead to savings on your electric bill. Consumers can take electricity off the grid when it is cheaper and use the stored electricity during peak periods when costs are higher.

What is the life of a home battery before it needs to be replaced?

Most battery storage systems use lithium-ion batteries. The battery is designed to last at least ten years.

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. The 365 Pronto platform arms you with the perfect, all-in-one solution. 365 Pronto can instantly generate pre-priced work orders and match the scope of service requirements with certified and competent on-demand service providers.