Why Install Solar Battery Backup in Portland, Oregon?

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    Why Install Solar Battery Backup in Portland, Oregon?

    Power outages are becoming more frequent as we see increased incidents of inclement weather and preemptive shutdowns of the grid to prevent forest fires. With the grid going down more frequently and for longer periods, people are finding that energy independence is more important than ever. Especially, as more people are beginning to work from home.

    Let’s discuss everything you need to know about battery storage and its integration into a solar system in Portland, Oregon:

    How Does Solar Battery Backup Work?

    With battery backup in Portland General Electric (PGE) or Pacific Power Territory, you can either charge the batteries from the grid or from solar, one or the other, not both.  When you charge from the grid you pay your standard rate and it doesn’t require the investment of a solar energy system.  When you charge from an onsite solar system, you’re using a much less expensive source of electricity that is only dependent on the sun.  That means when the grid goes down, as long as the sun is shining, you have a source of electricity to continually recharge your batteries.

    With net metering in Oregon or Washington, it’s like having access to an unlimited battery source.  As you produce power from solar, any extra power will flow to the grid and you get credit for that.  If you have onsite battery storage, you can ensure that your batteries are always full in the event that the grid goes down.  

    When the grid goes down, the batteries have an integrated Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) which allows you to isolate your home from the grid and utilize your batteries and solar to run independently.  The Tesla Gateway, for example, is an ATS that senses the grid multiple times per second so that when an outage occurs it switches to battery back up so fast that the clock on your oven won’t even reset.  Your lights won’t even dim.  In fact, the only indication that the power is out will be a notification on your phone that says you’re now running on Solar and Batteries.

    Do I Need a Solar Battery?

    In Oregon and Southwest Washington, we’ve got very favorable Net Metering agreements with our utility companies.  That said, no you do not need a battery if you’ve got solar.  In fact, since we currently do not have any time of use tariffs, batteries in our neck of the woods won’t even save you money during the day (unless you opt for a time of use tariff, like the one that PGE offers).  Batteries here are primarily used to provide power while the grid is down. 

    How Much Do Solar Batteries Cost in 2021?

    You can expect to pay somewhere in the range of $15,000 to $30,000 to install a battery backup system.  Now, if you pair it with solar, it qualifies for the Federal Tax Credit which can bring the cost down to about $11-22k.  There are also some Oregon solar incentives that can lower the initial cost of a battery storage system. 

    Protection from Power Outages

    Think about the damage that power outages can cause to your home while deciding to purchase solar batteries.

    Spoiled Food

    Without a battery backup system, you’re exposed to spoiled food if an extended electrical failure occurs. You’ll discover that fresh veggies quickly spoil when exposed to hot weather. Everything in your freezer starts to thaw and go bad.

    You can think ahead, keep the power running through your solar batteries, and save money after eliminating the need to restock your entire refrigerator and freezer.

    Frozen Pipes

    A grid breakdown during the winter months exposes your home to the possibility of expensive damages. Frozen pipes tend to burst. The burst happens when the water still left in the pipes freezes, expands, and causes cracked pipes.

    Imagine the water damage that might occur after the electricity comes back on and water flows through your plumbing again.

    Flooded Basements

    Many Oregon homes include basements in the floor plan. Does your basement tend to become flooded during storms? If so, then you’re leaving yourself open to flooding because your sump pump won’t work if the storm causes the power to go down.

    Extensive property damage and even mold often result from flooded basements. You won’t need to worry about any of this if you have solar batteries that keep your sump pump working.

    Lost Productivity

    Do you or any other family members work from home? If so, then you’ll lose productivity when the power goes out. The Wi-Fi won’t work. You’ll have no Internet, and your cell phone and laptop will eventually drain down their batteries.

    Working from home often means you’re communicating with others who don’t live near you. You’ll probably wish you had solar power during power outages that cause you and other remote co-workers to become frustrated.

    home battery backup

    Benefits of Adding Solar Batteries to Your Home

    Here are a few important benefits of adding solar batteries to your home.

    No Harmful Emissions

    You won’t need to expose your family to the harmful emissions caused by gas generators if you have solar batteries installed. 

    Generators can cause carbon monoxide poisoning if you’re not careful about where you place the device. A gas generator needs to stay 20 feet or more away from a house when in use. On the other hand, none of these considerations come into play when using a solar storage system.  Not to mention the noise that a generator creates.

    Drastic Electric Bill Savings

    You will discover that your electricity bills go down dramatically after committing to a solar installation. You’ll likely benefit from using your solar system each day of the year because these energy storage systems provide power even on cloudy days. 

    Your gas generator sits in your garage or sheds for most of the year, waiting for the one or two days when the grid goes down. Your solar energy system will save money on bills every day of the year. 

    Greater Self-Sufficiency

    You’re benefiting from a renewable resource when using solar batteries. The sun works each day without any need for worry that it might stop working. Your generators depend on a fuel source that you might run out of during an extended blackout period. Whereas, solar power becomes a continuous source of electricity when the grid goes down.

    You can rest assured that when the grid goes down, you’ll benefit from the sun’s rays to power all of your family’s home needs. It feels good to remain self-sufficient!

    No Power Disruption

    Unfortunately, it might take you an extended period to get your generator up and running. Even whole-house generators can take a few seconds to get the power working again. With solar and energy back up, the switch over is instantaneous. That Zoom meeting via wifi won’t even go out, not for a second.

    Very Little Maintenance

    Solar panel systems don’t require much maintenance because they don’t have moving parts. You’ll discover that lithium-ion batteries are reliable and safe. 

    Using portable or whole-house generators means that you must keep up with regular maintenance for items such as air filters, spark plugs, and oil.

    What Are My Solar Battery Options?

    We offer two types of solar power product options. Both possibilities have proven track records for providing quality solar power for your home.

    Tesla Powerwall

    The Tesla company has a reputation for delivering solid reliability for renewable energy products such as solar systems or vehicles. The Tesla Powerwall brings a max power rating of 5kW and offers a usable capacity of 13.5 kWh.

    We can install several Powerwalls within the same solar system because of the modular battery technology. You’re protected under the 10-year warranty that ensures your battery retains 70% charge capacity during the warranty period.

    Enphase Encharge

    Get the battery solution created from the same company that’s running your solar panels. The seamless integration allows for a 10 kWh battery solution that’s modular and allows up to 30 kWh on a single Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS). The other benefit is that you get module-level monitoring and battery storage information all across one platform.

    e10 enphase encharge

    Get a Quote Today

    We encourage you to reach out to us for a quote. We’ll take the time to answer all your questions and make sure you’re comfortable with the process.

    Top FAQs

    It’s not uncommon to have plenty of questions when deciding whether to get started with a solar power system. Let’s answer a couple of common questions that most people ask.

    Solar panels alone won’t help you when the electricity goes out. The panels exist to absorb energy from the sun and convert that energy into usable electric power. That power needs somewhere to go, whether that be an appliance or the grid. When the grid goes down, your solar system shuts down so that it doesn’t send power out while the utility is working on fixing the problem. The last thing you’d want would be to injure an electrician that’s trying to fix the outage on the grid.

    Many situations cause power outages in Oregon and Washington. The power can go out during storms. Whether that be ice or snowstorms, or even high wind events.. Storms often cause power lines to go down. It can sometimes take a long time to repair those broken lines.

    Climate change is also a culprit throughout the entire Pacific Northwest region. The rising temperatures affect mountain snowmelt and this negatively impacts aquifers and reservoirs which in turn can create dryer summers and high risks for wildfires. Wildfires often cause blackouts when the grid becomes affected.

    Proactively, the local utilities have decided to shut down the grid in advance of inclement weather to prevent wildfires. These intentional grid outages will become more frequent in the future.


    While a battery storage system in Portland, Oregon can have a high upfront cost, the benefits of having resiliency and energy independence when the grid goes down can be an invaluable asset. Pairing battery storage with solar then provides a continuous source of electricity that can get you through even the toughest of times.


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