The vast majority of solar electric systems installed in the Carolinas are grid-tied systems, relying on the utility and net metering to compensate the owner for any excess energy delivered to the grid. When in one recent case the utility would not allow net metering, Renewable Energy Design Group (“REDGroup”) designed a system to provide the electricity needed on specific appliances and serve as a back-up generator when the grid goes down.
With frequent power outages, fine arts bronze foundry and REDGroup customer Carolina Bronze faced the possibility of ruining equipment and materials if certain pumps were not powered to function every 10 minutes. The system designed by REDGroup does not back feed energy to the grid, but supplies the loads with power generated from the array or the grid. With the energy stored in a battery bank, REDGroup is keeping the batteries charged daily to maintain the life of the batteries, and to be prepared for an outage from the grid.
"We love solar with battery backup! It has kept our essential systems running even when the power grid goes down and is saving us a substantial amount on our energy costs," says Carolina Bronze’s Melissa Walker. Walker notes that use of this system has lowered Carolina Bronze’s overall electric bill by 25%, while substantially decreasing their overhead costs and carbon footprint.
"We have essentially taken several items in the building 'off-grid' and helped Carolina Bronze achieve a sense of energy independence," says REDGroup's Jeff Redwine. "Working with small business owners to understand options and pursue energy independence offers a great sense of satisfaction.” Since the 2015 installation at Carolina Bronze, the grid has failed multiple times, but this equipment has helped safeguard equipment and kept processes running smoothly.
Jeff Redwine and Christian Lofton, principals of redgroupnc.com have been installing solar systems together since 2008. As General and Electrical Contractors in NC and SC, they serve both the residential and commercial sectors, and get a great sense of satisfaction from working with clients like the Walkers who appreciate the benefits of the technology and knowing REDGroup is there to make the sure the system operates as it should.