Are you wondering how to construct a solar installation that remains functional during grid outages? It’s a common misconception that solar installations are always operational during natural disasters and severe weather events. However, the reality is that you need specific components to ensure your solar installation’s resilience if the grid goes down. This guide will walk you through the essentials of building a robust solar power system.
Understanding Resilience in Solar Installations
A resilient solar installation is one that can operate independently from the grid during an outage. While many people opt for gas-powered generators as a backup power solution, they aren’t necessarily the quietest, most sustainable, or cost-effective option. Moreover, fuel supplies can become vulnerable to contamination or shortages during catastrophes. Off-grid solar installations or systems with battery storage can offer a reliable alternative, ensuring you have access to energy, regardless of the circumstances.
Exploring Your Solar Power System Options
Off-grid Solar Systems
Off-grid systems store energy produced from solar panels in a battery bank. Instead of connecting to the grid, you draw power from your battery bank at night or during periods of low sunlight. These systems are particularly popular among those living in remote areas with unreliable or expensive grid access.
On-grid systems are the most widely used among solar adopters. These systems tap into the grid when your panels aren’t producing energy, instead of relying on a battery bank. However, it’s crucial to note that on-grid systems don’t function during a blackout for safety reasons.
On-grid Systems with Battery Storage
As battery costs continue to decrease, more people are adding battery storage to their on-grid projects. This approach combines the benefits of both on- and off-grid systems, ensuring energy access during blackouts and reducing dependence on the grid.
Will Your Solar Installation Work During a Grid Outage?
Just having solar panels doesn’t guarantee power access during a blackout. You need battery storage and the ability to disconnect from the grid to keep your home’s devices and appliances running with your solar installation.
Off-grid and Hybrid Systems
These systems will function during a blackout, provided you have battery storage and a solar power station or gas-powered generator. Although batteries are an investment, backup generators often present a less expensive solution. However, fuel can be challenging to acquire during emergencies, making reliance on a gas-powered generator less ideal.
If you’re connected to the grid, you likely won’t have power access during a blackout. It would be hazardous for your system to push energy into the grid while utility workers are repairing the system.