When a storm or wildfire occurs in an area, power outages can affect millions of local customers. If you have solar panels installed at your home, you might wonder if your solar solution can shield you from the inconvenience of a blackout. Do solar panels work during a power outage? The answer is yes– if you have a battery backup or an inverter. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at these solutions and understand how they can help you retain power during a blackout.
Understanding the Options
Most solar-powered homes don’t have a battery storage solution and are connected to the power grid. In these situations, excess electricity flows back into the grid, and the production of this power is credited to the homeowner’s account with the utility company. This system is known as net metering, and it’s an effective way to maximize the cost savings of your solar solution. However, grid-connected homes that participate in net metering aren’t protected from blackouts. A battery backup will store electricity that can be used to keep your home powered even when the grid is down. The amount of electricity you’ll have available during a power outage will depend on the capacity of your battery.
Another solution that can offer some power during an outage is an inverter, which allows you to use some of your solar power in the event of a blackout. Inverters can only produce a limited amount of power at a time, so they won’t allow you to power all the appliances in your home. However, if you’re looking for a solution that might allow you to keep some lights on and charge some devices during a power outage, an inverter might be a good choice.
Is a Battery Backup or Inverter Right for You?
Before you decide whether a battery backup or inverter is right for you, it’s important to consider your budget and individual needs. A battery storage system will provide the most power in the event of an outage, but the primary drawback of this solution is its cost. If you live in an area where power outages are relatively uncommon, you may prefer to stick with a net-metering solution and maximize your savings. For many homeowners, an inverter offers a reasonable compromise that can provide a limited amount of power during outages without the hefty costs of a battery backup.
Stay Powered Up
Solar panels will continue to receive the sun’s light during a power outage; whether they’ll be able to harness that solar energy and turn it into electricity that you can use is another story. If you live in an area that is plagued by frequent power outages, a battery backup or inverter can provide valuable peace of mind that your home or business will keep on humming even when the lights go out in your neighborhood.