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SMUCKER’S GRID-TIED BATTERY BACKUPS

With increasing popularity, grid-tied solar electric systems with battery backups are appearing in the renewable energy marketplace as a “best-of-both-worlds” solution for those that want the benefits of being connected to the grid and the freedom of being grid-independent when necessary. Grid-tied solar systems with a battery backup give owners the same ability to reap the benefits of selling their excess energy to the power company (like most grid-tied systems), yet ensure that when the grid is down or shut off for the safety of line workers, your battery backup will keep you from being in the dark by virtue of operating completely independent of the status of the grid. More working components means a higher cost, but be assured you’ll have power following times of crisis (such as Superstorm Sandy) becomes a benefit that you can’t put a price on.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

On standard grid-tied systems, the energy produced by the panels is converted from DC to AC power at the inverter before feeding the loads in the home or building and sending the excess back to the grid through your electric meter. But for grid-tied battery backup systems, power generated by your solar panels is diverted between keeping the battery bank charged and feeding the inverter, which converts DC power to AC power and supplies the home meter, while sending the excess back onto the grid. This inverter utilizes smart “grid/hybrid” technology with an automatic transfer switch that (1) disconnects from the grid when it no longer senses the grid, and (2) transfers to the battery bank as the power supplier for emergency designated loads. (Basic grid-tied systems utilize similar technology during outages to prevent feeding power onto the grid, for the safety of the line workers, which is why you don’t receive power from your grid-tied solar system when the utility is down.) It becomes, in essence, a “green” backup generator, with no dependence on gas or diesel—eliminating the hassle and danger of fuel or other shortages during crisis periods.

WHAT ARE THE INCENTIVES AND EXTRA BENEFITS?

Grid-tied battery backup solar systems are eligible for most of the same installation and production incentives and rebates as standard grid-tied systems. And while these benefits can help significantly reduce the up-front cost of your system, the real benefit is the safety and security provided by knowing you’ll be powered and prepared at all times, and the added value of knowing that you’re backed up in the greenest way possible. And if you still want the security of an electricity backup without the integration of a full battery bank system, Smucker’s supplies gas and diesel generators for your convenience.

IS THIS SYSTEM RIGHT FOR ME?

Home and business owners alike should view grid-tied battery backup systems as a serious option when entering the solar market. For homeowners, it’s a great way to protect yourself in times of emergency while still being able to reap the benefits of being grid-tied, and in commercial settings, it presents those same benefits while introducing the option of load-shaving, which can significantly reduce your company’s demand charge by pulling power from a battery bank. Talk to a Smucker’s Energy representative today to learn if a grid-tied battery backup system is right for your situation!