When the utility grid goes down during a power outage, battery backup can answer some important questions. Will your solar panels still produce energy? And will you still be able to use that solar energy? The answer is… maybe.
Depending on whether your solar panel system is grid-tied or not, and whether there is battery backup installed, you might not be able to use that power.
There are several factors that will determine if your solar panel system will work during a power outage. Let’s take a look at those factors, and see why safety concerns are a huge factor.
DO SOLAR PANELS WORK IN A POWER OUTAGE?
In many cases, solar panel installations will not power a home during a power outage.
This is because most solar panel systems installed for residential and commercial uses are grid-tied without energy storage.
Grid-tied solar panel systems work in a two-way relationship with the utility grid. When a grid-tied solar home needs power, it will first use the power being produced by the solar panels. If the solar panels cannot keep up with the power demands, it will pull power from the utility grid.
When the solar panels produce more power than the home can consume, it will send that excess power to the utility grid. This is the two-way relationship we mentioned above.
However, this is where safety becomes a concern. In the event of a power outage, grid-tied solar panel systems must shut down or have some mechanism to isolate themselves from the utility grid.
This process is called anti-islanding, and it is crucial in protecting the lives of utility workers. If solar panels are allowed to keep sending power to the grid during a power outage, this puts lineworkers’ lives in danger if they are working on those lines.
For that reason, grid-tied solar panel systems do not produce power during a power outage.
So, how can a solar homeowner or business use their solar panels to power their home during a power outage? The solution is energy storage in the form of battery backup.
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BATTERY BACKUP DURING A POWER OUTAGE
For a grid-tied solar panel system to provide power during a power outage, energy storage needs to be installed. This can be accomplished by installing battery backup.
With solar battery backup, you can store excess solar power in the batteries for future use, such as during the night or during a power outage.
Even though your solar panels cannot send power to the grid during a power outage, they can send that power to the battery and provide peace of mind that you can still power your home or business when the grid is down.
Solar battery backup is a great option for homeowners who want the security and peace of mind that energy storage can provide. It can also have benefits beyond security and peace of mind, such as charging electric vehicles (EVs) and for battery hobbyists.
To learn more about how battery backup could help protect you, contact Green Ridge Solar today and talk with our solar experts.
You can also visit our Home Battery Backup page to learn more about your solar energy storage and power generation options.
ANOTHER SOLUTION: OFF-GRID SOLAR
Another solution to provide energy during a power outage is to install an off-grid solar panel system.
As the name suggests, an off-grid solar panel system is not connected to the utility grid. The only power provided to the home is through the solar panels and the battery backup that stores that energy.
Because there is no concern about linemen working on the power lines nearby, there is no need for an off-grid solar panel system to stop functioning during a power outage.
However, there are drawbacks to an off-grid solar panel system, such as not qualifying for generous solar incentives and the limitations of living solely off the solar power that can be produced and stored.
While Green Ridge Solar does not install off-grid solar panels systems, we are able to provide information on solar panels, battery backup, and general electrical questions. We can also provide information on the benefits of installing grid-tied solar panels.
SO, CAN SOLAR WORK IN A POWER OUTAGE?
In the end, most solar panel systems that are installed today cannot provide power during an outage. This is because most solar panel systems are tied to the utility grid and must shut down during a power outage to protect linemen.
Fortunately, this issue can be resolved with solar energy storage in the form of battery backup.
With battery backup, you can store your excess solar energy and use it whenever you need. This provides a level of convenience, comfort, and security that a typical solar installation cannot provide.