Solar plus storage is a tool to manage your energy future

Published November 6, 2020

When you add solar and battery storage to your home, you begin a lifestyle of more mindful energy use. Like many of our customers, you might enjoy keeping an eye on your solar generation and battery charge level to make the most of your solar resource. On ordinary days, that can mean choosing to turn on certain appliances when the sun is shining. When the grid fails, you will need to pay closer attention to your consumption, generation and battery status. The Tesla app makes that simple – and fun.

“The Tesla app tells me the amount of solar power coming into the house and into the Powerwall batteries,” says Jan Culwell, LightWave Solar customer in Cadiz, Kentucky. “I’ll do something to use the excess power because it’s mine to do with as I please,” she says. “We have the chance to do our laundry by the sun, we charge our car with the sun, and we bake cookies using solar,” she adds.

LightWave Solar customers love the Tesla app.

Usually, it does not take long for system owners to change their energy habits. After getting real-time insight into where their electricity is coming from (grid power, solar power or batteries), and how much electricity they are using, many want to optimize their system as often as possible.

“Now we’re more conscious of when we charge our cars,” says LightWave Solar customers Dana and Brent Kose of Franklin, Tennessee. “On sunny days, Brent says, ‘We’re exporting, go charge the car!’ He checks the app nearly every day,” Dana says.

With these systems, the utility grid serves as your backup, so you do not have to match your solar generation with your electric use. But, when the grid fails, you do have to pay closer attention to your home’s energy demands and system status.

Nashville homeowner Brian Gilbert lost grid power after the March tornado, and the Powerwalls automatically took over.

“My neighbor took a direct hit, and the home was devastated,” Brian says. “My house was basically untouched, fortunately,” he says. “Until grid power was restored, my neighbors came to our house to charge their phones and other devices,” Brian explains.

When you face a grid outage, solar and Powerwall automatically become your home’s main energy source. Each Powerwall can provide up to 5kW of continuous power. You can back up any number of appliances, so long as their combined power usage does not exceed the total power rating of your Powerwalls. The best way to extend your usage of Powerwall during a grid outage is to monitor your use of energy intensive appliances:

“I realized we needed to store more power to keep us running overnight, so I adjusted my battery settings to store up to 20%,” he explains.

Another LightWave Solar customer lost grid power during the May 3 derecho which caused widespread damage and power outages in Middle Tennessee. Fortunately, for David Shupe in Brentwood, the storm didn’t cause any damage to his home or his solar system, and he was unaware he had lost grid power until he heard the neighbor’s generator running. David’s Tesla batteries took over automatically and provided seamless power until the grid was restored 22 hours later.

“During the outage, we took in frozen perishables from my daughter’s household and two neighbors until we had no more freezer space,” David says. “We were so pleased we could run everything we needed,” he adds.

A solar and storage system gives you the tools to manage your energy future, whether you’re interested in using cleaner energy every day or having peace of mind for the unexpected.

Contact LightWave Solar today to request a system consultation for your home!