One of the most common questions we receive from customers is “Can I use solar in a power outage?” Read more to find out.
Do I need a battery backup with my solar PV installation?
Most solar PV system installations in the U.S. are grid-tied, meaning that when the home loses power, the grid-tied inverter shuts down. This means that during an outage without a battery backup system, solar panels can’t be used to power the home until the power grid comes online again. For safety reasons, solar panels tie into the grid directly to be re-distributed into your home according to the specific load required to power each circuit.
How can I use solar in a power outage?
With a backup battery, your critical load circuits (fridge, lights, internet, TV, etc.) can be tied into your backup system so that if the grid goes down, your battery switches on automatically, and these circuits continue to operate normally. With a big enough battery, all of the circuits in your home can be tied into the backup system.
A backup battery can be tied into both your power grid and your solar panels so that during an outage you will generate power during daylight hours, and batteries will store that solar energy for use at night. A solar PV installation with a battery backup system can provide energy for extended power outages and can even be used to go completely off the grid.
You might be thinking about purchasing a generator – but wait! Batteries may be a better choice than a generator for many reasons!
Why should I choose a battery backup over a traditional generator?
- If you’ve ever used a generator before, you know generators are noisy and require regular maintenance, including refueling. Batteries are silent and low-maintenance and can charge from the grid, and/or your solar panels.
- Batteries have a small carbon footprint, a long life cycle, and can easily be recycled.
- Batteries are fast and efficient. A grid-tied solar photovoltaic (PV) system with battery backup can respond more quickly to a power outage than an auto-start generator can – and there is no fuel cost.