Off-Grid Solar Backup Power Options

If you plan to operate your home off-grid, then solar backup power will be necessary to ensure you have electricity whenever you need it.

As government entities and disaster preparedness experts well know, many factors threaten the U.S. power grid’s stability. And if the network (or even part of it) does go down, federal safety regulations require that grid-tied photovoltaic systems must be shut down too.

With the right off-grid solar backup system in place, however, you’ll never have to worry.

How — and Why — an Off-Grid Solar Power System Works

Whenever the municipal power system goes down (for any reason), a specific federal safety standard (UL-1741) requires that all grid-tied solar system inverters go dark as well. In fact, the utility company has access to a disconnect switch that is used to take your system offline.

The purpose of UL-1741 is that it protects the safety of line workers attempting to restore power during an outage. If a system remains online, it may send power back up the line, resulting in a serious accident.

With an off-grid system, however, your excess electricity is stored using your backup system, typically consisting of a battery bank and backup generator. But depending on your dedication to pure energy independence, the type of solar backup power system you select can vary.

Off-Grid Solar Backup Battery & Generator Systems

The true definition of energy independence, a battery bank and generator system allows you to have an ongoing supply of electricity.

Depending on your goals, these solar backup systems can meet only your critical load needs or power your entire home. Generators can be outfitted with a transfer switch that monitors the ongoing flow of electricity, and kicks in instantly to avoid any break in your service.

This eliminates the need to fire up the system manually in order to switch power sources.

Hybrid Solar for Short-Term Power Backup

If you want the best of both worlds, then consider a hybrid approach rather than a purely off-grid solar power backup option.

The hybrid system complies with the UL-1741 restrictions through an AC-coupling switch that allows your panel array to remain tied to the power system when it’s live, but disconnect if power goes out for some reason.

During a power outage, a battery backup system feeds power to a secondary electrical panel system that is not tied to the grid. Like the free-standing approach, you can design your hybrid solar panel system to meet all of your electricity needs or to supply only basic emergency power.

Contact Intermountain Wind & Solar today to learn more about your backup options. We serve customers throughout the Intermountain West, in Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Colorado and Nevada,

Whether you would like to explore a full system installation or add backup capacity to your existing photovoltaic array, we look forward to helping you save money and establish your energy independence with an off-grid solar power backup system.