Listen Up: Home Backup Power System Primer

Listen Up: Home Backup Power System Primer

energy storage

Look around your home. Your landline phone, fireplace and pilot lights (on stoves and hot water heaters) are likely gone. Our reliance on electrical power has increased significantly over the past 20 years. So when there is a power failure, we have no communications, no heat and no hot water. Our electricity-intensive society needs backup power more than ever. This week, we review the spectrum of backup power solutions from generators to home battery backup power systems connected to solar.

I’ve been installing home battery backup power systems on and off for 20 years. Most systems used lead-acid batteries that were complicated to install, had limited lifespans, and required frequent maintenance. Although these systems were OK for off-grid living, they did not provide the reliability and ease of use needed for the vast majority of customers.

Battery and inverter technology has improved significantly over the past few years. For many homes and businesses, a lithium ion-based battery backup system is more reliable and cheaper than a generator. Moreover, when connected with rooftop solar, these systems often qualify for federal tax credits and significant rebates.

Whether you are a home or business owner interested in backup power, a solar contractor, or a manufacturer of battery storage systems, Listen Up to this primer on practical backup power options.

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About the Energy Show

As energy costs consume more and more of our hard-earned dollars, we as consumers really start to pay attention. But we don’t have to resign ourselves to $5/gallon gas prices, $200/month electric bills and $500 heating bills. There are literally hundreds of products, tricks and techniques that we can use to dramatically reduce these costs — very affordably.

The Energy Show on Renewable Energy World is a weekly 20-minute podcast that provides tips and advice to reduce your home and business energy consumption. Every week we’ll cover topics that will help cut your energy bill, explain new products and technologies in plain English, and cut through the hype so that you can make smart and cost-effective energy choices.

About Your Host

Barry Cinnamon is a long-time advocate of renewable energy and is a widely recognized solar power expert. In 2001 he founded Akeena Solar — which grew to become the largest national residential solar installer by the middle of the last decade with over 10,000 rooftop customers coast to coast. He partnered with Westinghouse to create Westinghouse Solar in 2010, and sold the company in 2012.

His pioneering work on reducing costs of rooftop solar power systems include Andalay, the first solar panel with integrated racking, grounding and wiring; the first UL listed AC solar panel; and the first fully “plug and play” AC solar panel. His current efforts are focused on reducing the soft costs for solar power systems, which cause system prices in the U.S. to be double those of Germany.

Although Barry may be known for his outspoken work in the solar industry, he has hands-on experience with a wide range of energy saving technologies.  He’s been doing residential energy audits since the punch card days, developed one of the first ground-source heat pumps in the early ‘80s, and always abides by the Laws of Thermodynamics.

This podcast was originally produced by Spice Solar and was presented here with permission.

Lead image credit: Patrick Breitenbach | Flickr

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