Solar + storage helps homeowners weather storms better

Solar + storage helps homeowners weather storms better

When a massive ice storm left Marc and Linda Vickery without power for five days, they knew they needed to develop a plan for the future. The solution? Solar paired with battery storage that provides clean energy, backup power and peace of mind.

In 2021, thick ice brought down power lines near their Keizer home and left Marc and Linda hunkered down in the dark for most of a week. If the inconvenience and cold wasn’t challenging enough, they were concerned about losing over $1,000 of insulin stored in their refrigerator. Linda’s lifesaving medication requires constant refrigeration. The experience led them to work with Energy Trust solar trade ally Earthlight Solar to install a solar + storage system.

“At first, we started thinking about getting a big generator. Or do you get smarter about it? This was our ‘smarter about it,’” said Linda. “It’s such a greener way to operate.”

In addition to an 8.1-kilowatt solar array—which is an average size for Oregon homes—Earthlight installed a 13.5 kilowatt-hour battery in their garage. The couple received an Energy Trust Solar Within Reach incentive, an increased incentive that helps income-qualified homeowners install solar.

The solar installation provides renewable power for their home, which lowers their electricity bill. It also charges the battery and sends excess energy to the utility grid. If a power outage occurs, the home’s system automatically disconnects from the grid and draws power from the solar + storage system for essential items. (Read more about how solar + storage works.)

The Vickerys have experienced several outages since installing the system in 2022, and the system has performed seamlessly. A control panel lets them prioritize which items they want to operate.

“Our battery is enough to power our fridge, freezer, heat, hot water, lighting and a few outlets. So, no washer and dryer or stove. But we could operate the toaster oven and crockpot and keep going for days,” said Marc.

Solar + storage incentives now available

To help more Oregonians make their homes energy resilient, Energy Trust recently introduced a battery storage incentive. Homeowners can get up to $3,000 for battery storage or up to $10,000 if they meet Solar Within Reach income guidelines. These incentives are on top of Energy Trust solar incentives. The storage incentives are also available for customers who want to add battery storage to their existing solar installations.

Energy Trust incentives can be combined with a 30% federal tax credit and the Oregon Solar + Storage rebate to reduce costs further. In addition, many Energy Trust trade allies offer special financing options.

Homeowners interested in exploring solar + storage can request a free analysis and bid from an Energy Trust solar trade ally.