From intensified hurricanes to unprecedented heatwaves, the effects of climate change have created a sense of unpredictability across the globe. As the winter thaws and warmer weather becomes more commonplace, we brace for what new events may be around the corner – especially during wildfire season. Those in California – often the center of it all – will only be thinking about one thing – when will the next power outage occur?
Over the past few years, solar batteries have increased in popularity for good reason. They can offer peace of mind and help homeowners get through public safety power shutoffs (PSPS) during peak wildfire season. But because the technology is still fairly new, there are a lot of misconceptions about what solar + storage can truly offer.
To help you distinguish what is and isn’t true, we’re breaking down five common myths people tend to believe about solar storage systems.
1. Solar Battery Storage Isn’t Affordable
Like any technology, the latest and greatest gadget can often come with a hefty price tag. While costs for a solar battery may have been higher during the product’s infancy, many things have changed to make this clean energy solution more affordable.
For starters, the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act has extended the solar investment tax credit. The law was created to help make renewable energy sources more accessible and its focus on standalone storage does just that.
There are local incentive programs that can also help. Californians under NEM 3.0 can see higher payoffs when using a solar storage system like SunVault to regulate when to use stored solar energy during times of high demand. Through the mySunPower app, SunVault users can decide when to program their solar battery for utility savings.
2. Solar Battery Storage Doesn’t Provide Long-Term Backup Power
When combing through the FAQs we receive most from homeowners, we noticed one common thread that stood out. Many homeowners don’t realize how long a solar battery can power their homes during power outages and rolling blackouts. This curiosity makes sense, given that the length of time a solar storage system can power essential appliances can vary. There are a few things that factor into your solar battery’s span of use:
- Capacity- how big is your solar storage system? Knowing how much stored solar power it can hold will help you get an idea of its longevity.
- Stored energy- how much clean energy was in your solar battery right before the power outage? If the battery isn’t fully charged, that could affect how long it can power your home.
- Energy consumption- how are you using the stored power you currently have? If you’re just discharging the battery during times of need, chances are that your stored energy can power things longer.
The bottom line is that given the right conditions, your solar battery can last a good amount of time during a power outage, especially if it is able to recharge during the day. SunVault has more charge cycles than conventional storage systems, giving you a better opportunity to stay powered.
3. Solar Battery Storage isn't Available in Certain Climates
Like with any technology, ideal weather conditions are best but solar + storage systems like SunVault are actually pretty hardy. They are designed to handle fluctuating weather. While we recommend indoor installation, typically in a garage, that’s not the only option available to homeowners. Outdoor installations are possible in shaded areas and where temperatures remain between 15-110° F and are protected from other severe and extreme weather.
Solar storage systems are flexible and can handle a wide range of climates. Don’t let this myth hold you back from being well prepared for Mother Nature.
4. Solar Battery Storage isn’t Safe
We won’t beat around the bush, not all solar batteries are made the same and some of the materials they consist of are safer than others. SunVault was designed with safety in mind. In fact, at SunPower our number one value is Safety First.
SunVault uses Lithium Iron Phosphate (LPF) chemistry, a safer alternative to some of the other options available on the market. LPF batteries have a proven record of stability and cooler operating temperatures.
5. Solar Battery Storage is Loud
When the SunVault system charges itself during the day, it can emit sounds up to 50 dBA. Sounds at this level are considered light and run similar to the hum of your refrigerator. The buzz sound that can be heard from a SunVault can vary based on the amount of solar power that is being converted when the battery is charging and discharging.
SunVault also has a fan-based cooling system that may turn on during operation or when the ambient temperature is elevated.
Solar + storage can provide homeowners with many benefits including peace of mind during power outages and utility savings. Beyond that, solar batteries are much cleaner for the environment than a generator. Myths aside, it’s easy to see why so many Americans are adopting solar + storage.
If you have further questions about how solar storage works, you can visit our FAQ page or reach out to your local SunPower dealer.
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