What happens to solar energy during a power outage?
The answer is simple. Solar energy will not serve as a backup generator. Solar energy will go out just like other forms of energy do during a severe storm.
This does not make solar energy any less of a valuable investment for your home. As South Africa, USA, Nigeria, Jamaica, UK, France, Spain solar panel installation experts, we at YOUTH POWER are dedicated to helping you understand the mechanics of how your system operates and what happens when the power goes out.
How Does My Solar Power Systems for Homes Work?
Solar power systems for homes work by collecting energy from the sun, which is converted to alternating current (AC) electricity and used to power your home. Solar panels are placed on the roof of a building, where they absorb sunlight and convert it into DC electricity. This DC electricity is then converted into AC electricity using an inverter, and then it powers your home.
Solar energy cannot be used as a backup if AC electricity goes out during inclement weather or other events. Additionally, solar energy cannot be back-fed while utility repairmen are working on the lines in order to restore power—this could be dangerous or even fatal for those working on the lines.
Can I Have a Backup Battery?
If you’re looking for a backup battery, we have good news! YOUTH POWER can install one and make it work with your solar panels. We believe that, in the future, we’ll be able to offer a backup battery that’s more cost-effective than the ones currently available. However, as of now, there still isn’t enough technology available to make it worthwhile.
If you’d like us to install a battery for you, please give us a call or send an email so we can get started on your system.
How Solar Works During a Blackout
Solar panels need sunlight to generate free electricity for your home. You’d think that a power outage in the daylight wouldn’t affect solar customers, but that’s not usually the case. If you’re reliant on your power grid, you’ll lose power when all the rest of their customers do.
Your system is designed to shut down automatically in a blackout to prevent it from sending harvested energy to the outage source. This is done as a safety precaution—live voltage in the electric grid can easily harm utility workers fixing downed power lines.
Without additional help, solar panels are unable to provide power during planned or emergency shutdowns. But, there are ways to work around this problem: Install backup solar batteries or move to an off-grid system.
The Difference Between Off-Grid and Grid-Tied Solar
A solar energy system can be installed via two methods: grid-tied and off-grid. Most systems are grid-tied since they are connected to a utility provider’s electric grid. This setup allows you to draw electricity from the grid when yours is not generating enough power, say at nighttime or during cloudy days.
Moreover, a grid-tied solar system lets you push the excess electricity produced into the grid supply. You will then receive a credit from the local power company, reducing utility costs under net metering.
An off-grid system is one without any connection to the power grid. Since your only source of electricity is your solar energy system, outages won’t affect you. To augment power requirements, off-grid setups usually have generators or solar batteries. One significant downside of going off-grid is the high upfront cost.
Battery Storage During a Blackout
If you want to know how to use solar panels during a power outage in the most cost-efficient way, consider solar backup battery storage.
A solar energy storage system collects energy from the panels and stores the unused portion in a battery. At the very least, you can use the solar battery during blackouts to:
Light up your home
Charge mobile devices
Keep the fridge running
Power up medical devices
However, battery backups don’t provide enough juice for the average HVAC system, since that requires a lot to keep going.
How long your battery lasts depends on its storage capacity. The higher it is, the longer you can weather an outage, given conservative energy consumption. Most solar batteries have apps that let you monitor real-time usage.