This is a great question! I think, however, there is a more important underlying principle that has to be addressed before diving into Distributed Energy Resources (DER) technology. That principle involves awareness and habits.
You must first become aware of your energy usage and its impact on your electric bill, budget, environment, and the future. Understanding these interrelated factors helps focus your concern about saving energy and the impact it can have on your life and our world. This will lead to better habits. Before diving into DER technology, I think the first step is becoming “connected.” There are great ways to get connected with your energy use. The free myMTEMC app allows you to follow, chart and compare household energy usage on an hourly basis. Also, get connected with the largest appliance in your home: the heating and cooling (HVAC) system. Invest in a smart thermostat and download the free app to help you understand how much energy it’s using. Once you have a full 12 months of data on electricity use -- and a smart thermostat to help minimize the impact of the HVAC system-- then DER technology can come into play.
Solar panel systems often have free monitoring packages that link to the web or app to help you determine how much you’re producing versus consuming. This can help you reduce your bill even more. Think of it as a game to some extent. On a daily basis, you want to try to generate more than you consume. Today’s solar tech routinely pairs battery storage with solar panels. This allows our members to produce more than they consume and “dump” the excess energy into batteries for use during the night or during grid outages. This is the direction we see the solar industry going. It just makes sense and can improve energy conservation habits. Battery storage of solar generation ensures you have enough production when the sun is shining to handle your night-time loads. However, in the event this doesn’t happen (rainy days, winter, etc.), you can count on Middle Tennessee Electric to deliver the remaining energy you need.