Renewable energy needs storage – here's one company charging up solar power

North Carolina - Solar energy harnesses the power of the sun to juice up your home and your electronic devices, and one company is trying to do its part to stop climate change by hooking up customers with solar panels and battery systems.

POWERHOME touts itself on American-made panels.
POWERHOME touts itself on American-made panels.  © Screenshot/Instagram/powerhomesolar

Jayson Waller, CEO of North Carolina-based POWERHOME Solar, an all-in-one stop for solar panels and batteries, talked with TAG24 about how his company works to get people access to reliable power through solar panels and batteries.

The company, which managed to thrive during the height of the pandemic by hiring nearly 1,500 new employees, offers one of the best ways to make a home better for the environment.

Originally, Waller's company didn't use to install American-made solar panels.

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"The first panels we ever installed were Canadian solar panels in 2015," he told TAG24.

But as former president Trump announced plans to increase tariffs on goods from China, Waller decided it was time to make a move.

"We decided to make a fundamental change in our organization to just go American-made panels. And we doubled our sales overnight. And we took the cost, because it cost more, rolled it to the customer, and they didn't care, they're getting a better product with a better warranty. And it was American-made, and they just felt proud of that. So our sales just skyrocketed."

The panels hit a solid 20% efficiency, which is standard in the industry. The panels have a warranty for 25 years, but Waller personally believes they will far outlive their warranty.

Solar needs storage

Waller thinks that adding battery systems to solar power is a no-brainer.
Waller thinks that adding battery systems to solar power is a no-brainer.  © Collage: IMAGO / Panthermedia, POWERHOME Solar

But solar panels alone, no matter how long-lived and efficient they are, can't provide power 24/7. That's where getting batteries into the mix is key.

"98% of customers get solar plus storage. So we believe, that everybody needs battery and storage," Waller explained.

"But if you don't have battery and storage, what are you doing? In today's world, it's not about saving a few bucks going solar. It's about not having power outages. It's about not being left in the dark. It's about being able to control your costs while charging your electric vehicle. That's the future. So we believe everybody should get battery storage."

POWERHOME goes all in on this philosophy and offers a combo package that includes batteries from energy company Generac to pair with solar panels.

The batteries POWERHOME sources are the standard lithium-ion variety, much like what you have in your smartphone or what you get in many electric car models.

"Generac is a huge generator company, so they know about power outages and containment and storage. They get it, so we think they're really great battery company."

Installing batteries didn't use to be a smart financial choice, but thankfully, the tech is 97% cheaper than it was three decades ago, according to Our World in Data – and added storage doesn't have to be a costly choice.

Average POWERHOME customers can get around 300 square feet of 20 solar panels with a monthly payment of $235, and only pay around $31 more for batteries. They "usually break even in about eight to 10 years," Waller said.

Where the sun is harnessed

There is still plenty of roof space across the country to install solar panels.
There is still plenty of roof space across the country to install solar panels.  © Screenshot/Instagram/powerhomesolar

Even though POWERHOME is based in North Carolina, it is already a player in almost a third of the US.

"We're in 16 states, mostly the Midwest, the South, and East. And as far west as Texas. Our largest state is Michigan, our second largest is North Carolina, third largest is Texas, and then Georgia, Tennessee, because we offer battery attachment at 98%," Waller said. "We're allowed to go where they don't even have net metering, so we can go anywhere."

The company has even shown that getting bigger rooftops covered in solar is possible, with deals to help power home stadiums for NFL teams and even one MLB team.

According to the CEO, those stadiums include the Detroit Lions' Ford Field, the Carolina Panthers' Bank of America Stadium, the Indianapolis Colts' Lucas Oil Stadium, the Pittsburgh Steelers' Heinz Field, and the Cleveland Browns FirstEnergy Stadium.

The company also slapped solar panels on the Cleveland Guardian's ballpark, and added solar panels to North Carolina State's Carter-Finley Stadium.

But that's not where sports partnerships stopped, and POWERHOME even worked with former Detroit Lions running back Barry Sanders to crush one of the many epic Super Bowl trailers.

But it isn't all progress, and Waller had some sharp words for power companies and their use of polluting fossil fuels.

"I've had friends and family members get sick or die, so I take it personally. When I first got in this business, it wasn't as much about climate change. It was about energy independence," Waller recalled. "Now it's more about the environmental issue, climate change and the right thing."

"Solar does save the planet and does make a difference. It's not going to fix everything, but it helps. And it's energy independence and a smart business decision."

Cover photo: Collage: IMAGO / Panthermedia, POWERHOME Solar

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