The Future of Battery Backup is Your Vehicle

Paul Cutting, Energy Planner

Prolonged power outages in the wake of natural disasters show the value of solar with backup battery capabilities. Following Hurricane Ian back in September, many areas were left without power for weeks, and as Decorah residents witnessed last December following a freak early winter storm, the power can go out for extended periods of time. Utilizing a stationary backup battery like the 13kW Tesla Powerwall, while also limiting electric loads to the bare necessities, is enough to provide needed power for a few days. Pair that battery with solar panels—weather-depending—and you may be able to lengthen that time considerably. But there’s potentially a simpler and more powerful solution- your electric vehicle’s battery.

Compared to a stationary battery, your EV’s battery is a magnitude larger. Most new EV models with ranges of 250-350 miles have batteries in excess of 80kW, but few currently allow for battery discharges back into the home. The exceptions are the Nissan Leaf, Ford Lightning, and a few others, but with an increasing number of manufacturers moving in this direction, the rest will surely follow.

The Inflation Reduction Act extends the EV tax credit of $7,500 for ten years, but with new manufacturing and sourcing rules that may make certain vehicles ineligible for the next few years. Also included is a $1,000 credit for bidirectional chargers that allow for vehicle to home discharging. And if backup is something you want now, there’s a new 30% tax credit for battery storage 3kW and larger. If you’re interested in learning more about vehicle to home backup, check out this excellent explainer.

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