After the big power outage that affected a large part of the province a few weeks ago, a question we started getting a lot was “will solar energy protect me from power outages?”
The short answer: For the majority of solar energy systems, no. However, we do offer options that will protect you when the power goes down.
How does solar energy work?
As we went over in this post, solar energy is simply energy harnessed from the sun that is converted to be used in your home. The energy created from your solar panels is direct current (DC) electricity. Most homes and establishments run alternate current (AC) electricity, so the DC electricity is converted to AC via an inverter. The inverter is then connected to your electrical panel and feeds the AC energy to your home and anything not used goes to the grid. This is the basics of a grid-tied system.
For these systems, the inverter is designed to shut down when the grid goes down. This is for the protection and safety of the people working on the power lines to restore the grid. Otherwise, the power made by the solar panels could pose a risk to those workers. This means that, even if the sun is shining, your solar panels will not be producing power until the grid comes back.
So, what are my options for having power during an outage?
The majority of systems we install are grid-tied systems, which don’t provide coverage during a power outage. These are by far the most popular of the systems we offer, and even with the inconvenience of losing power during an outage, they are the best option for most homes.
However, we offer two other system options which will keep your power running during an outage.
The first is a grid-tied system with battery backup. This system allows you to store excess energy production into a battery system, which will then kick in as soon as your power goes down, so you don’t miss a beat! These systems are more costly than a regular grid-tied system and require a much more in-depth design process, but they are a great solution if being without power isn’t an option for you.
The second option that will keep your power running during an outage is a fully off-grid system. Again, this is a costlier and more in-depth process than a grid-tied system, but it comes with a number of benefits. As it relates to this post, you’ll experience zero interruptions in the case of a power outage.
The type of system you choose will come down to your personal wants and requirements. While the most common system won’t keep you powered up during a power outage, there are options!
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