On-grid solar power systems are a popular choice for homeowners who want to generate their own electricity while still being connected to the power grid. However, one significant downside of on-grid solar systems is that they typically shut down during a power outage. Keep reading to find out why this happens and how you can make your solar power usable during a blackout.
Why On-Grid Solar Systems Shut Down During a Power Outage
On-grid solar power systems rely on the power grid to operate. When the power grid goes down during a blackout, on-grid solar systems shut down as well. This is because on-grid solar systems are designed to automatically disconnect from the power grid when it senses that the grid is down. This is a safety feature designed to protect utility workers who may be working to restore power. If your system tries to feed electricity into the grid while they’re working, those electrical surges can seriously injure or even kill utility workers.
How to Make Your Solar Power Usable During a Blackout
If you want to make your solar power usable during a blackout, you will need to take some additional steps. Here are some options to consider:
- Battery backup: One of the most popular options for making solar power usable during a blackout is to install a battery backup system. This system stores energy generated by your solar panels in a battery for later use. During a blackout, your solar panels will continue to generate electricity, which can be used to power your home through the battery backup system.
- Generator backup: Another option is to install a generator backup system. This system uses a generator to provide power to your home during a blackout. While this option is not as eco-friendly as a battery backup system, it can be more reliable in areas that experience frequent blackouts.
- Hybrid inverter with backup power: A third option is to install a hybrid inverter that includes a small battery for backup power. This inverter combines the functionality of a traditional on-grid inverter and a battery backup system. During normal operation, it allows you to use solar power generated by your panels and sends excess power back to the grid. During a blackout, it automatically disconnects from the grid and switches to battery backup mode. While the included battery won’t offer much power, it can be enough to turn lights on, charge cellphones, and keep your fridge and freezer running.
If you’re interested in blackout-proofing your on-grid solar system, contact a solar professional to learn more about these options and to determine which one is right for you. They can guide you through the installation process and help you choose the best option for your home, so the next blackout won’t leave you in the dark.