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What to know about home solar batteries

If you are thinking about going solar or already have panels installed, you may be interested in adding battery storage to your home energy system.

Right now, home solar batteries are rapidly growing in popularity all over the world, and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) predicts that “by 2027, nearly 30% of all new behind-the-meter solar systems will be paired with storage, compared to under 10% in 2022.”

With solar batteries, however, there is a lot to know, which has led to many of our customers asking us directly if a solar battery is worth it. To help you understand the benefits, costs, and factors to keep in mind while considering a solar + storage solution, below, we’ll answer a few solar battery FAQs, evaluate energy storage costs, and explore the incentives, rebates, and programs available for solar batteries.

Why install a home solar battery?

One of the most common misconceptions people have about solar energy is that installing a set of panels is enough to “go off of the grid.” In reality, the large majority of US solar energy installations are connected to the grid and rely on local power lines to essentially act as a “battery” by giving the excess power produced by your solar panels somewhere to go.

By choosing to also install a battery, homeowners and commercial property owners can experience several benefits when going solar, including:

  • Off-grid electricity: If grid electricity isn’t even an option on your property (i.e. it's in the middle of the woods), installing a battery may be your only way to go solar. With a large enough solar battery and panel array, it is possible to create a self-sustaining home solar energy system anywhere the sun shines.

  • Emergency backup power: Just like the AAAs in your flashlight, batteries for solar energy systems can also prepare homeowners for grid brownouts or blackouts. Much like traditional gas generators (but without the noise or emissions), solar and battery backup systems can send electricity throughout your home while the grid is down, sustainably powering essential electronics, medical devices, and critical appliances like refrigerators.

  • Enhanced energy control: Throughout daily use, solar batteries can also allow property owners to gain more control over their power source and ongoing electricity expenses. In areas with TOU energy rates (like here in Colorado), solar energy batteries can help homeowners save significantly on utility bills while managing the heavy power consumption of electric appliances or EV charging stations around demand-based pricing hours.

Home solar battery costs

Unfortunately, despite all of the benefits, only a fraction of solar energy adopters will purchase solar batteries, largely due to preventative costs. To help you estimate your project’s total price, here is a breakdown of the required expenses for an average home solar battery installation.

  • Solar battery: First and foremost, you’ll need the physical battery component, which can cost between $12,000 to $22,000 for a full-home system. You will also need an advanced charge controller with monitoring communication, which may or may not be included in your battery hardware.

  • Electric panel upgrade: When adding solar storage, many homes (and especially older homes) require an electric sub-panel or main panel replacement to accommodate the high-powered elements of the new energy system. This can cost between $2,000 to $8,000, depending on which upgrade is necessary.

  • Labor and other project costs: Beyond the physical hardware and wiring required for a solar battery, a storage element can also add several hundred dollars of labor to any installation project. Typically, overhead costs will be greater for those retrofitting solar batteries, compared to all-new solar+storage systems.

Home solar battery incentives and rebates

To reduce your total battery investment costs (no matter where you live), we encourage you to seek out any available tax incentives or rebates for solar storage that exist in your city, county, or state, as well as with your electric utility. In addition to the federal 30% battery storage technology tax credit, there are many great incentives and programs available locally throughout the Front Range of the Rockies.

For instance, the City of Fort Collins pays out homeowners up to $1,500 for a battery installation, on top of the $1,000 they offer for solar panels. Likewise, there are a few utilities in Colorado and Wyoming currently rewarding customers financially for new solar energy storage installations, including:

Depending on the structure of the program, solar storage rebates may be paid upon installation (based on the size of your battery) and/or paid over time, (based on when and how much electricity you share with the grid). In the state of Colorado, the value of a solar battery is also exempt from sales tax and property tax assessments.

Ask us anything.

Apollo Energy creates 5-star experiences delivering solar and storage solutions in Colorado and Wyoming. As a certified B-corporation with nearly a decade of local experience, we always pride ourselves on doing what’s right for homeowners and organizations throughout our community in every way we can.


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