How Solar Energy and Storage Could Benefit You
As an increasing number of people are opting for renewable sources of energy, if you are considering your solar-plus-storage options, the great news is that the costs of batteries for energy storage is declining. Moreover, there will be added money-saving potential for customers as more contractors will begin offering these products and installation services. A lot of these price cuts have been possible primarily because of the development of several high-efficiency Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) battery products.
In 2016 Florida was eighth in small-scale energy storage deployment (source: US. Energy Information Administration), however, this could change rapidly at any moment. Florida was identified by GTM Research as one of nineteen states in the US which should have highly favorable market economics for commercial and industrial customers to adopt on-site energy storage technologies by 2021 (source: PV Magazine).
However, this study was performed in 2016, and more recent research suggests the transition could occur even sooner. In 2017, the University of California San Diego released a report that indicated many commercial and industrial customers in Florida could begin saving money by installing Li-Ion energy storage devices today (source: UCSD).
We can count on this trend to provide increased opportunities for business owners (especially to those who own restaurants or warehouses) to save money on their cost of electricity, reduce their carbon footprint and join the 154 other influential businesses which have announced their commitment to running on 100% renewable energy.
Depending on your utility provider, even some homeowners may find they have an opportunity to save more money by installing a battery with their solar energy system.
These benefits are of course in addition to the priceless security offered by a solar plus storage system as these systems can provide critical power supply in the event of emergencies and power outages with no need for maintenance (when was the last time you fired up your gas generator?) or fuel storage.
One potential downside of this trend is, of course, the opportunity it creates for scam artists or unqualified workers to take advantage of the increasing consumer interest. One piece of advice you can always count on to help protect yourself is always to verify if a company is Licensed by the Florida DBPR to do the work they are offering before making a single payment to them. You can search for licensing information by company name on the DBPR’s website here.
Also, it is unfortunate that the costs of batteries didn’t start to drop sooner as they can qualify for the 30% Federal ITC, but this incentive will be cut back for purchases made after December 2019, which is only one year from now!
Image source - BlueSel Commercial Solar - Woburn, MA.
What are the benefits of solar energy and storage?
Home and business owners can enjoy many benefits from affordable energy storage, such as:
- Power demand shaving
- Energy Arbitrage (time shifting)
- Emergency backup power (when paired with solar)
- Additional tax credits (when paired with solar)
- Reduced carbon footprint (when paired with solar)
- Increased Press and Marketing
Home and business owners can take advantage of affordable energy storage by hiring a Licensed Electrical Contractor (EC) to evaluate their needs and perform the equipment installation. However, it is almost always advantageous to contact multiple contractors so that you can verify the information you are receiving, get multiple installation quotes and expose yourself to all the available products.
You may also choose to first reach out to a third party consultant such as Uptown Energy Solutions to take some of the pressure and time expense off of your hands and help guarantee you will see the most bang from your buck. We understand that not everybody is an expert in solar technologies, and many of our clients have no intentions to become one either.
As with many other professional decisions, working with a consultant can give you the benefit of non-biased expert opinion for your project based on what’s available throughout the marketplace before contacting a sales team who may only be educated on the products and services that their company offers. Many consulting services (including ours) will even offer to reach out to contractors on your behalf and help you work through your options using a standardized cost-benefit analysis of each bid received, effectively reducing your time expense by 90% or more and improving your overall ROI.
Unsure about the need for solar energy and storage?
If you’re still on the fence about the needs or benefits of using solar energy and storage, here are some tasks that will help you gain clarity:
Look at a few of your most recent electric bills - are you subject to Demand charges or Time of Use (TOU) charges?
If you’re thinking about installing a PV solar energy system - call your utility and ask what their current Net Metering policy is. Do they offer retail rates for the electricity you export onto their grid, or wholesale rates? Have they recently filed a request to change this with the Public Service Commission? Do they plan to?
If you live in a coastal region - do you want access to “hurricane-proof” backup power for your home or business without worrying about maintenance or fuel availability?
Do you worry about the environment (oil spills, toxic gas emissions, offshore drilling, fracking, etc.)? You may be interested in this video from the Union of Concerned Scientists for a high-level overview of the benefits of upgrading our energy use.
Do you worry about the cost of electricity being based on volatile fuel prices and being controlled by influential investors trying to guarantee themselves a profit? If you’re a business owner - do you want to increase your visibility to the public and attract more customers, especially young ones?
Take some time to answer these questions for yourself and know that investing in a solar plus storage system (or even storage alone in some cases) can solve many of these concerns for you have from the first day itself.
As full-service solar energy brokers in Orlando, FL, Uptown Energy Solutions is dedicated to putting our clients’ best interests first. We aim to accelerate the adoption of solar energy by reducing the anxiety of making a large investment, by providing you with a solar expert, specifically trained in the state of Florida. Our experts act as your personal guide through the industry so you can stay focused on the things you know and love, and still invest with confidence.