Store extra solar power to provide backup for your home during power outages
Solar panels can power your home with clean, renewable energy while shrinking your energy bills and reducing your impact on the environment. Consider adding smart battery storage for even greater control, convenience and peace of mind.
Solar + storage systems make your home energy resilient. The system stores solar power in the battery to use for essential equipment during power outages or disasters like an earthquake. If a storm or other issue triggers a power outage, a solar + storage system can provide backup power for essentials, like your lights, refrigerator, critical medical equipment or a well pump. You choose which systems to serve with backup power.
You may qualify for rebates, tax credits and Energy Trust incentives to reduce the cost of installing solar, solar + storage, or battery storage to an existing solar system. We also offer Solar Within Reach increased incentives for income-qualified homes. Portland General Electric customers may be eligible for bill rewards through the PGE Smart Battery Pilot.Get a free, no-risk analysis and bid >
How Solar + Storage works
- Solar panels use sunlight to produce electricity.
- A solar inverter converts the energy from direct current to alternating current so it can power your home. It also directs the flow of energy to your home and battery.
- A battery—typically installed on a garage wall—stores solar energy.
- Any energy not needed for your home or battery flows onto the electric grid, and you receive a credit on your utility bill.
- During an outage, your home automatically disconnects from the grid and your solar + storage system powers selected rooms and appliances.
- The solar panels recharge the battery every day, so it can provide backup power even during extended outages. The amount available will depend on the size of your system, the season and your energy use.
Solar + Storage FAQs
Why is solar + storage better than solar alone?
If you have a solar system without storage, you will not have power during an outage. Rooftop solar systems are required to turn off during an outage as a safety measure to protect repair crews working on power lines. Solar + storage makes your home energy resilient because it works differently. During an outage, your system safely disconnects your home from the electrical grid and continues to provide you with electricity.
Are incentives available?
Yes, Energy Trust offers cash incentives for qualifying solar and smart battery storage systems to decrease the upfront cost of your project. If you meet income guidelines, you may qualify for Energy Trust Solar Within Reach increased incentives for solar + storage. You may also be eligible for an Oregon Solar + Storage rebate and a federal tax credit. An Energy Trust solar trade ally contractor can explain available incentives. Get a free bid.
If I already have solar panels, can I add storage?
Yes, you can add battery storage to existing solar systems. Battery storage added to solar can qualify for Energy Trust incentives and federal tax credits. However, to qualify for the Oregon Solar + Storage rebate, you must install the solar and battery storage at the same time.
Why choose solar + storage instead of just a backup generator?
Other portable and hard-wired backup power systems depend on fossil fuels, but you could run out of fuel during a long outage. With a solar + storage system, the solar panels continue to generate clean, renewable energy to power your essential loads and charge the battery daily. It’s clean, quiet and safe. Plus, solar helps lower your electric bill so you can get benefits from your system every day, not just during power outages.
Will solar + storage power my whole house?
No, battery storage typically won’t power an entire house during an outage. But you can count on it for enough backup power to keep food cold, cell phones charged and lights on. Or you may need backup power to keep critical medical equipment or a well pump operating. You choose which rooms or appliances you want to power. Solar panels produce energy every day to recharge the battery, but the amount available will change depending on the weather, the season and your energy use.
Why is home energy resilience important?
If your home is energy resilient, you will have backup power for important items in your house so you can remain in your home during an outage. Oregonians are vulnerable to a range of natural hazards—from storms and wildfires to earthquakes and tsunamis—that could damage poles, wires or substations. That’s why Oregon’s Office of Emergency Management encourages everyone to be “2 Weeks Ready” so you are prepared to be on your own for a minimum of two weeks in the event of an earthquake or other major incident. Solar + storage can provide you with essential backup power that recharges daily, which will allow you to stay home and shelter-in-place. This can help ease disaster recovery by letting first responders focus on community members in most need.
Are all storage systems the same?
Battery storage systems vary, from simple battery backup (typically lead acid) that only works during a power outage to more advanced or “smart” systems (typically lithium-ion) that can be used every day and include home energy monitoring. Most advanced systems have a phone app that shows your real-time energy use and where you’re drawing energy from: your solar panels, battery storage or the grid. Smart storage systems qualify for Energy Trust incentives.
Smart batteries have another advantage: some models enable you to participate in special utility programs such as the PGE Smart Battery Pilot. In addition to earning bill rewards for participating in peak time events, you will also help create a more flexible grid for a clean energy future. When you’re not using it, your battery is part of a community that forms a “virtual power plant.” This strengthens grid reliability and makes it easier to add more clean, renewable power into the grid.
How will I know how much energy is available to use?
The battery storage system will usually tell you. On simple models, it may be an LED screen on the unit itself showing how much energy your battery is holding. More advanced systems can provide updates to your mobile phone.
Is this the same as going “off grid?”
No. Your home is still connected to the electric utility grid. But solar + storage gives you more control and increases your energy independence so that during an outage you can rely on the energy your solar system produces.
How can I learn if solar + storage is right for my home?
The best way to get started is to request a free bid. We will connect you with trusted Energy Trust solar trade allies in your area who can perform a custom analysis of your home, explain the incentives available and answer all your questions.