Do Solar Panels Work in a Blackout?
Well, this question doesn’t have a simple yes or no answer. Rather, the right answer is that, depending on your installation, it could. However, generally, a basic installation with solar panels won’t work in a blackout.
In this post, we’ll look at why this is and what you can do to use solar panels during a blackout.
Why Solar Panels Won’t Work in a Blackout
Unless you use an off-grid solar system, your system will still be connected to the grid. This means that your solar panels will capture sunlight, generate electricity, and use it to power your lights and appliances. However, when your panels generate more electricity than you use, this electricity is pushed into the grid. Understandably, this is a significant problem.
- Safety of Power Line Technicians
The first issue is that, during a blackout, technicians might be working on the lines to resolve a problem. They’ll do this with the assumption that there’s no current in the lines. When your system then pushes electricity into the grid, this assumption will be wrong. In turn, this creates a significant safety risk and could lead to serious injuries or death.
- Prevention of Further Infrastructure Damage
Apart from causing a serious safety risk, pushing electricity into the grid during a blackout can also damage grid hardware. As such, your solar panels won’t work during a blackout to prevent further infrastructure damage.
How to Use Solar Panels in a Blackout
Now that you know your solar panels won’t work in a blackout, the immediate question is: What about those homes that have light during a blackout? Well, they either have off-grid systems or, more likely, have measures in place that allow them to use solar power even when the grid is off.
The first tool that can help you use solar panels in a blackout are solar batteries. These batteries store any excess electricity you generate through your solar panels. Then, when there’s a blackout and the panels won’t work, these batteries provide electricity to your home. However, there is a proviso when using batteries.
It’s important to remember that, to use batteries during a blackout, you’ll need batteries with blackout protection and a hybrid inverter. This will automatically switch your system to battery power when there’s a blackout. Without these, you’ll only be able to use battery power when there’s no sunlight driving the system.
There you go, now you know that your solar system might not work during a blackout and what you’ll need to do to make sure it does. To learn more about solar systems and their benefits, get in touch with your local solar installer.