Modern House with Solar Panels installed on the roof

Understanding Solar Energy and Energy Management - Controlling Household Utility Costs

People are making the switch to solar because it gives them control over their energy costs and helps them save money. One of the largest influences over that savings is the cost of energy from your local public utility grid. This blog will help to identify solar benefits, as well as how to use energy management devices to maximize solar production.

Payoff Period
One of the largest appeals to solar is that it’s a self-funding upgrade; meaning over time it will pay for itself by saving homeowners money. There are many options available for homeowners to adopt solar for their home; from purchasing, financing or even leasing. Working with a professional solar consultant will help to find the best solution for families.


Installing solar may require an investment up front now, but the amount of money you’ll save over how much you would have paid in utility charges if you didn’t switch to solar actually pays for the cost of the installation. The amount of time it takes for your solar panel system to do this is known as the payoff period.


Rising energy costs only allows for people to pay off their system quicker. California pays some of the highest public utility rates in the country, and thus actually has one of the shortest payoff periods in the country.

Time of Use Rates and Demand Charges
Utility companies have pushed through a number of changes to how they charge for energy that can severely cut into savings. The first is known as “time of use” rates. This is a pricing structure where energy during non-peak hours is significantly cheaper, and in return energy during peak-usage hours is way more expensive.


During heavy daylight hours when your panels are producing the most energy, your energy cost is significantly lower. That means the excess energy you’re not using (of which there is probably plenty if your home remains empty for most of the day) filters back into the grid at this reduced rate (California law requires energy utilities to pay you retail rates for the energy you put back into the grid).


During peak-usage hours, which start at around 4pm and run until about 8pm, you’re more likely to draw energy from the grid as your panels start to reduce their energy production. This energy is far more expensive, and energy companies pay you far less for the energy you feed back to the grid than you pay for the energy you have to buy later.


Demand charges are based on when you draw the majority of your consumed energy from the grid. If you draw most of your energy during off-peak hours, your demand charge will remain low. If you draw the majority of your energy during peak hours, as most people do, your demand charge will be high. Demand charges can make up as much as 50 percent of your monthly statement!


These alone can significantly increase your monthly energy bill, dramatically cutting into the amount of time it takes for you to pay off your solar energy system. One solution to these charges is to implement an energy management and storage system, to align usage with energy stored when solar panels are at their peak production.

Back Up Energy Supply and Storage
In today’s society, we can hardly afford to be without electricity for more than just a small amount of time, so it’s important to make sure you’re prepared for the event that your normal power source goes offline. This unfortunately is becoming all more common these days as well—with greater demand for power from more and more customers and aging infrastructure that was built decades ago. Blackouts and serious problems should only become more and more frequent in the coming years.


Now, many homeowners are choosing to invest in a backup power source—one they can utilize in the event of a blackout to provide them with enough power to keep their most important devices up and running until their primary power comes back online. Backup generators are one option, but many people are also opting to turn to new technology like Tesla Powerwall.


These two technologies both fulfill a similar function: provide you with backup power you can tap into when your primary power source fails. However, they both accomplish this task in remarkably different ways.


Standby Generators
Modern backup generators are also known as “standby generators” because they sit permanently on standby, waiting for the moment your home loses power. They fire themselves up and within moments you have a limited supply of power flowing through your home. You don’t even have to worry about refueling these systems either—they connect directly to your gas lines, which means they can theoretically run infinitely.


The big benefit to these systems is that they are inexpensive and generally pretty reliable. As long as they receive an annual maintenance service from a professional, you can count on them to be there for you.

Tesla Powerwall
Tesla Powerwall is quite different: no motors, no fuel burning, and no moving parts. However, there’s also no power being generated in the unit, either. Tesla Powerwall is not a generator—it’s a battery backup system. In other words, Tesla Powerwall is a battery that stores enough energy to power your home for a limited amount of time, it sits waiting and ready until the power goes out. When you use the stored energy from Powerwall, it slowly recharges by using a small amount of current from your electrical connection until the batteries are topped off.


Tesla Powerwall can be stacked together and combined for even greater capacity. A single installation can power most of your important devices in a small home for several hours, but several units combined and working together can power an entire large home for even as much as several days.


Tesla Powerwall is a stress-free, maintenance-free, completely reliable backup power solution. They’re also sleek and fit in well with nearly any home design. In fact, Powerwall can be mounted standing up against a wall, or even laying down flat on the ground.


Interested in solar or emergency backup power for your home? Call Quality Home Services at (800) 496-3074 to learn more today!