For nearly a decade, grid-supply and net energy metering have been the paradigm for PV system installations in Hawaii. However, with battery technology rapidly evolving, creating safer and more economical batteries for solar energy storage, self-supply has emerged as the new way for homeowners to install a solar system and achieve energy independence. Self-supply affords homeowners the best of both worlds: a battery to use stored energy when the sun is down or the power is out, and a connection to the grid when the battery is empty and power is needed.
Energy independence and faster approvals
Now that Oahu has reached HECO’s 25 MW cap on grid-supply systems, many homeowners are left wondering if there is still a way to put a solar PV system on their roof. The answer is yes. Self-supply systems are not affected by the utility’s cap on grid supply. Self-supply has many benefits that are often overlooked. The first is Self-supply systems have a power storage component to draw from at night or in the event of a power outage. Unlike being totally off the grid with no lifeline to emergency power, self-supply also includes a one-way connection to the utility, so homeowners can simply flip a switch and pull power from the grid at the consumer rate when necessary. These systems also come equipped with web-based monitoring that shows how much energy the house is using and how much charge the battery is holding. The other benefit of the Self-Supply program is that homeowners who were told they couldn’t move forward with a NEM PV system due to “high saturation” in the neighborhoods now can. Because Self-Supply programs don’t export power back to the grid, saturation issues don’t apply. Lastly, because these systems are independent to the home, the approval process is much simpler. Approvals now happen in a matter of weeks versus years under the old NEM program.
Reduce before you produce
To maximize the efficiency of a self-supply PV system, the home should first be as energy efficient as possible. This will lower the overall cost of the PV system needed to produce and store the electricity for the home. RevoluSun Smart Home products like QuietCool Advanced Whole House Fans, Velux sun tunnels and skylights, the Haiku Fan from Big Ass Fans, Sunbandit PV Water Heater and Clipper Creek EV charging station, work in partnership with PV and the Tesla Powerwall battery to achieve a hybrid approach to lower the overall cost of a self sufficient home from an energy standpoint.
Batteries and getting informed
The battery is an integral component of a Self-Supply system. Its job is to store excess power generated by the PV panels. With major advances in battery technology, the lithium ion batteries used in the Tesla’s Powerwall battery are light years better than the car batteries of old. They are safe and can store more energy in a smaller amount of space. They have an internal cooling mechanism, don’t get hot, and don’t off-gas, so they can be stored inside or outside the home.
Come to the RevoluSun Smart Home Innovation Center to see it all in person and speak with a specialist. Take control of your home’s energy potential and achieve energy efficiency and independence no matter what is happening at the utility.
Download our easy to understand PDF “Your Guide to All the Power You Need.”