Battery Assisted Solar: A New Way to Power Your Home

Battery Assisted Solar: A New Way to Power Your Home

Last Updated on February 16, 2024 by Jeremy Pearl
Oct 31

Today, it’s common for homeowners to worry about the efficiency of their spaces. And for good reason. After all, we all want to live in comfortable, eco-friendly, and sustainable homes.

Fortunately, there’s a new technology on the market, and it can help you achieve all of those goals.

We’re calling this new tech solution Battery-Assisted Solar (BAS), and it’s a cutting-edge new way to power your home at night and during peak use hours.

In this blog, we’ll discuss what BAS is, how it works, and how it can make your home more comfortable and efficient.

Let’s dive in.

What is Battery-Assisted Solar (BAS)?

what is battery-assisted solar

BAS is a new way to go solar, maximize savings, and offset energy use under NEM 3.0 in California.

Battery Assisted Solar utilizes select battery backup system components while simplifying the featured equipment and design.

The result is a system that keeps costs low and maximizes electric bill offset.

How BAS Differs From Solar-Only and Battery Backup Systems

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When you install a residential “solar-only” system under the current Net Metering program (NEM 3.0), your system is wired to export power from your roof to the grid during the day, and the utility companies are compensating you, on average, 5-7 cents per kWh for that energy.

At night, when you’re pulling energy from the utility, they charge 30-45 cents per kWh (or more in some cases depending on your rate plan) for the energy you need to draw from the grid.

This means new solar-only customers suffer from an imbalance in how the energy they produce is valued and what they pay for energy when they need to pull it from the grid.

For a long time, the answer to this pain point was to install a battery backup system.

This is an excellent idea – if battery backup is within your budget.

Home battery backup typically powers your critical loads (refrigerator, internet, select lights and plugs, etc.) and provides the greatest offsets to your monthly energy bill.

Adding battery backup to your home can increase your long-term savings but also increases the overall cost of your project and your payback period (return on investment).

This is where BAS comes in.

BAS works differently than a traditional solar and battery system.

Here’s how:

With a BAS system, you store the energy you would’ve exported to the grid in a non-backup, simplified battery set-up.

While it uses a battery, BAS is not a backup power system for your home.

Instead, it is a simplified configuration (utilizing a battery without the controls and without a gateway/system controller) that works to improve the function and economics of your solar energy system under NEM 3.0.

During the day when your solar energy system is generating energy, the energy produced by solar panels that is not used up by the home in real time is exported first to the battery (until the battery is full), and then out to the utility/grid.

When the sun goes down, the battery self-discharges to the home, running until it’s empty. This reduces the energy you draw from the grid during the highest time-of-use rates.

Rather than selling power for 5 or 7 cents and buying it for 45 cents, BAS lets you store the energy you would’ve exported so you can use it later on – when you need it.

In short, it’s a way to “self-supply” power to your home, significantly increase your long-term savings and overall bill offset, and increase your energy independence.

The Technology Behind BAS

technology behind bas

The new BAS option utilizes a small battery to limit solar energy exported to the grid during the day, storing that energy instead for evening use.

While a BAS is not a backup system (meaning it won’t turn on during a power outage), these systems are the new solar standard for homes that want to maximize energy savings and minimize their electric bills.

Additionally, by intelligently managing solar energy, BAS systems enable households to both self-supply energy during peak rate periods and push energy back to the grid during “power hours” – when exported energy is most valuable to you.

These “power hours” are select hours during the year (defined by the utility based on when power costs the most to generate) when the utility credits 30x the regular rate for energy exported to the grid.

Your BAS system will be automatically programmed to know when these “power hours” are and to send any available energy from your battery to the grid to maximize energy credits on your account.

Additionally, installing a BAS reduces the costs associated with a backup system.

Because the solar panels and battery unit are managed by software that automatically receives excess energy produced, BAS systems have fewer components and are generally easier to care for and maintain than full battery backup systems that operate when the grid is down.

When the sun goes down, the house draws power from the battery, and the homeowner gets to monitor the day and night energy cycle and usage on an easy and convenient portal and platform.

The Benefits of Opting for Battery-Assisted Solar (BAS)

Wondering why you should install BAS in your home? Here are a few benefits you should know about.

1. Cost-Efficiency

Compared to complete backup systems, BAS systems come with lower upfront costs related to installation and equipment.

When you install BAS, you buy the battery but NOT the battery management system that controls when the battery discharges.

BAS systems allow you to save on the engineering costs associated with designing a backup system, rewiring your main panel, and laying the foundation for a critical load backup panel, which can cut as much as $15k off of installation costs.

2. Higher Energy Independence

BAS systems allow you to minimize energy output to the grid, store more of the energy you create, and utilize said energy during peak rate periods.

This, in turn, fosters greater energy independence and allows you to power your home in the evening.

3. Environmental Benefits

As energy solutions become more green, BAS systems stand out thanks to their ability to reduce our reliance on non-renewable energy sources and contribute to a greener and cleaner environment.

How to Get Started with Battery-Assisted Solar

Ready to add BAS to your home? Here are the steps to get started:

1. Assess Your Energy Needs

Before you can install a BAS system, you need to assess your current energy use and think about how much power you’ll need your BAS system to generate and store.

A skilled solar installer like Sandbar Solar and Electric can help you assess your home’s energy needs and decide on the right size system for you.

2. Find a solar + battery backup installer

To install a BAS, you’ll need a reliable installer. Look for a licensed, bonded, and insured team with a track record of providing excellent customer service.

Read online reviews for the installer you’re considering working with and ask for examples of their previous work in your area.

3. Design the system

Once you’ve found and hired a solar installer, you’ll need to get to work designing the BAS system with their help.

The specifics of your system will depend on the size of your property, your home’s energy usage, and the geographical features of your lot.

Ready to Harness Energy Independence? Call Sandbar to Power your Home Today!

As more homeowners choose to become energy-independent and move away from the expensive and unpredictable power provided by the grid, BAS systems and similar solutions are becoming more and more common.

If you want to install BAS for your home, we’re here to help.

Sandbar Solar & Electric has been providing cutting-edge solar and power solutions to California homeowners for more than 19 years, and we’re committed to designing customized, eco-friendly solar solutions for both commercial and residential properties.

Ready to learn more about Battery-Assisted Solar and how it could benefit you? Contact us today!

About the Author

Jeremy has worked in the solar industry since 2006. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from UC Santa Cruz in Environmental Studies. Jeremy has spent most of his solar career in residential sales and Sales Management in both California and Hawaii. He was raised in Santa Cruz County and is passionate about helping local residents make the switch to clean and reliable renewable energy. Jeremy lives on the Westside with his wife and two boys and enjoys music, photography and hiking in his personal time.