Can a Solar Energy System Protect You from Power Outages?
If the utility grid goes down, will your solar energy system continue to provide your home with power? Or will you be without electricity like everyone else in the neighborhood?
Most home PV systems don’t work during power outages. However, if you want to turn your back on blackouts and ensure you have a steady supply of electricity, you do have a few options.
Buy a Backup Generator
Investing in a generator is one way to shield yourself from the inconvenience of utility grid blackouts.
A gas-powered model can provide you with electricity – if you keep it fueled up. With a solar generator, on the other hand, you won’t have to worry about buying gas. Energy from the sun is the fuel, and a solar generator can capture and store power for use during blackouts.
Install a Different Inverter
With a special kind of solar inverter, your home PV system can continue to provide power during blackouts.
In the event of a power outage, you simply need to flip a switch on the junction box that’s wired to the inverter. This tells the inverter to direct the electricity produced by your solar energy system to the junction box outlet. You can then power a few appliances, lights or electronic devices by plugging them into the outlet.
Add a Solar Battery Bank
A gas-powered or solar generator can only provide a certain amount of electricity, and the inverter mentioned above will only protect you from power outages that occur in the daytime.
If you want a continual supply of electricity for your entire home, regardless of whether the sun is shining, adding a solar battery bank to your home PV system is the solution. During a power outage, batteries feed solar energy to a secondary electrical panel that isn’t connected to the utility grid. As for how many days’ worth of electricity you’ll have, that will depend upon the capacity of your battery bank – and that’s completely up to you.
Which Option is Right for You?
Before you decide whether a generator, a special inverter or a solar battery bank is your best bet, you should consider your needs and your budget.
If you need electricity to operate home medical equipment or just don’t want to ever be without power, adding batteries to your solar energy system is your only choice. But be aware that a battery bank can be quite costly, particularly one that can protect you from an extended power outage.
When having home electricity isn’t a critical need, installing a special solar inverter or investing in a generator can be a smart solution. Either could provide you with a limited amount of power during blackouts, and both are a bit more budget-friendly than a battery bank.
Do you have questions? For expert answers and advice on solar energy system design, turn to the professional photovoltaic contractors at Intermountain Wind & Solar.
With locations in Woods Cross, Utah, and Boise, Idaho, Intermountain Wind & Solar works with homeowners throughout both states, in addition to residents of Nevada, Oregon and Wyoming. For a free consultation to discuss the configuration of your solar energy system, contact us today.