Electricity is the lifeblood of our daily lives, so the resilience and uninterrupted availability of power is crucial. Given the number and severity of recent storms in the area, you wouldn’t be alone in seeking a solution to power supply. Which brings us to the question everyone is asking: Will solar power work during a power outage? We shed light on what happens during a power outage, and how you can be prepared.
Can I use solar during a power outage?
The short answer is yes, but the devil is in the details. While your solar panels continue to generate electricity regardless of the weather, whether or not you can use the electricity depends upon what type of solar system you have installed. If your system is grid-tied and you don’t have a solar battery, you won’t be able to use that electricity to power your home because your solar system will have shut off for safety reasons. The way to keep your lights on during a power outage, is to store the electricity your system generates on-site with a hybrid system. A hybrid system is connected to the grid (allowing for the sale of excess energy), but it comes with a battery too, allowing for backup power during grid outages (e.g. emergencies, severe weather events).
How much does it cost to add a battery to a solar system?
We wish we could provide you with a price upfront, but there’s a few factors to consider when adding a battery to your system. These include:
- The type of solar panels you have installed
- The size of your existing solar system
- How much energy you’re looking to store
An assessment with one of our professionals can explore these factors – providing you with your best solution and cost.
Should I wait to go solar, if I’m not ready for the battery yet?
Weather events or not, there’s no reason to wait. You can start saving money on your exorbitant energy bills now, even if you don’t have a battery storage component. With a traditional on-grid solar system (the most common type for homes and businesses) you are still connected to the main power grid, and you can even send excess energy back to the grid to be sold. This is known at net metering. Net metering simply feeds any surplus electricity back into the grid, and gives you credits. These credits can be banked up and later drawn upon, in any instances when your solar panels aren’t generating enough electricity. Another option is feed-in tariffs. Feed-in tariffs allow you to be paid a predetermined rate for the excess energy you feed back into the grid.
Do I need a generator if I have solar?
A back-up generator can be a valuable source of power alongside an on-grid solar system (a system without a battery storage solution). A back-up generator can supply immediate power during outages, it can operate independently of sunlight and weather conditions, and there’s various fuel options available. It’s a great solution for extended outages and times of high-energy demand. But this solution isn’t without its cons. A back-up generator requires ongoing fuel costs, maintenance and it’s not an environmentally-conscious energy solution, like solar power. Regardless, it’s important to create a robust energy strategy. With a generator you can explore:
- Automatic switching: Which seamlessly transitions between solar and generator power, ensuring uninterrupted electricity flow
- A hybrid model: Which combines solar and generator power to create a hybrid system that maximizes the strengths of both technologies
In certain scenarios, having a back-up generator alongside an on-grid solar system can enhance the reliability and resilience of your energy strategy. By carefully evaluating your energy requirements, considering the frequency and duration of outages, and exploring the potential synergies between solar and generators, you can create a comprehensive and dependable energy solution. The key is to strike the right balance that aligns with your unique circumstances and goals.
So, as we navigate an era where power outages can be a sad reality, it’s more important than ever to arm yourself with a solution that works for your needs. From hybrid solar systems with batteries, to the dynamic connection between back-up generators, the possibilities for uninterrupted power are expanding.
Discover more about solar storage and batteries. Or call us on 1300 4 SOLAR so we can answer any questions you might have.