Battery Backup Power

3 Minutes Read


Power outages are a nuisance at best and dangerous at their worst. Whether it’s for a few hours, days, or even weeks, unexpected outages can bring life to a halt. Reasons for grid outages can vary but it's important to realize that the US energy infrastructure is outdated and long overdue for an overhaul. Evidence of this is shown through recent major blackouts in Texas and California which leave millions without power. 

So what can you do to protect your home or business? You can equip yourself with a backup power solution. In this article, we will cover the common misconception that all solar comes with backup power, and then we will discuss the various backup power solutions available to you. 


A Common Solar Backup Misconception

It is commonly misconceived that if you install solar on your home or building you will be able to produce energy even if the grid goes down. Although that is a possibility with added backup equipment, this is not typically the case for a standard solar panel system. A standard grid-tied solar panel system is designed to turn off when the grid goes down. 

Here’s why -All standard grid-tied solar panel systems come equipped with what we call a rapid shutdown device. This device will recognize when the grid losses power and it will shut off your solar panel system. The reason it does this is to prevent your system from back-feeding energy into the grid and endangering utility workers. The only way you can get around this is to have additional backup equipment installed with your solar panel system. 

Backup Power Solutions

The future of energy independence is now in your hands. Backup power solutions are designed to provide energy when you need it most. Here are a few different types of battery backup systems you can add to your solar panel system.  


Sunlight Backup 

Thanks to the latest Enphase IQ8 microinverters powering your home with just your solar panel system is now possible. If the grid happens to go down during sunlight hours then your solar panel system would be capable of backing up a few breakers. Upgrading to sunlight backup does require using IQ8 microinverters as well as installing an Enphase IQ controller and an essential loads solution. 

Pros: Have power when the sun is out 

Cons: You can only backup a few small breakers, You only have backup power if the sun is shining.

Power Capacity: Basics, Phones, WIFI, Lights, or a fridge, etc.

Home Essentials Battery Backup 

This is by far the most common backup solution we install for our customers here at Solar Wave. When you add a home essentials battery system to your solar system you will have the capability to store excess power your solar panels produce and if the grid goes down your battery will automatically transfer power to supply a priority breaker panel. Upgrading to a home essentials backup system will require either IQ7 or IQ8 microinverters, an Enphase IQ controller, an Enphase IQ battery, and an essential loads solution. 

Pros: Backup power standing by when you need it most 

Cons: Increased project cost depending on battery size needed

Power Capacity: Basics + HVAC, Heat pumps, washer/dryer, etc.

Whole-Home Battery Backup 

Whole-home battery systems are for those of you who do not want to sacrifice any functionality during a grid outage. If properly designed and installed you can go about your normal routine even if the grid is down. This normally requires installing multiple Enphase batteries depending on your needs but power from these batteries can plug directly into your existing breaker panel(s) so all your loads are backed up. Upgrading to whole-home backup will require IQ7 or IQ8 microinverters, an Enphase IQ controller, and multiple Enphase batteries.  

Pros: Backup power without compromise 

Cons: Increased project cost depending on battery size needed

Power Capacity: Whole home


Side By Side Comparison

Home Energy Goals Solar Only  Sunlight Backup Home Essentials Backup Whole-Home Backup
Save money on your power bill Yes Yes Yes Yes
Help the environment Yes Yes Yes Yes
Power basics during an outage Phones, WIFI, Lights, a fridge, etc.   With sunlight  Day or night Day or night
Power essentials during an outage HVAC, Heat pumps, washer/dryer, etc.     Yes Yes
Power your entire home during an outage       Yes

Enphase batteries-01


Battery Tax Incentives

Battery backup systems do qualify for the Federal Investment tax credit (ITC) as long as their main power comes from a renewable energy source like solar. This means you can combine both the cost of your solar panel system and your backup battery system and qualify for a 26% tax credit based on your project costs. For more on the ITC click here.  


Choosing the Option that is best for you

Choosing the right backup solution for your home or business ultimately comes down to the level of security you are after. The good news is that battery systems can always be added or expanded on to your solar system in the future. A lot of Solar Wave customers like to use the savings they receive from their solar panel system to pay for their batteries. It's also good to note that batteries can be financed as well. If you would like to discuss more about backup batteries with us or if you would like a quote for your home or business head over to our proposal page to start a chat with us today!

Picture of Steven Weaver

Steven Weaver

Steven is the founder of Solar Wave and has dedicated the last 4 years of his career to the solar industry. After consulting for multiple solar companies across the US he founded Solar Wave. Solar Wave is on a mission to continue the rapid deployment of residential and commercial solar in the US by offering the best solar equipment and installation services at the lowest prices possible.