In the face of such a high demand for energy and struggling utility grids, the question often comes up: "How does solar power help during a blackout?" And while the answer is complex, it boils down to the fact that having a photovoltaic solar panel system can greatly benefit a household during a blackout, or even power it long-term if that home also has a solar battery to store energy as part of a microgrid.
What Are Microgrids?
Because solar panels generate electricity from sunlight, they are not a viable source of energy when sunlight is unavailable. This means that at night, or when the sun is obstructed, electrical needs in a home with solar panels are still handled by drawing power from local utility grids. While this tradeoff still ultimately leads to significant savings for solar owners, it can be further improved by the introduction of a solar battery.
When a solar battery is added to the photovoltaic system, a home suddenly has the potential to further insulate itself against the danger of blackouts. When the panel system is operating and generating power, the electricity is not only used for the home's electrical needs, but also flows to charge the solar battery where it is held in reserve. Any excess electricity not used by the home or stored in the battery is sent back to the local utility grid, potentially resulting in electrical credits for homeowners according to a state's net metering agreement.
In the event of a power outage, the home's photovoltaic system disconnects from the utility grid. Having a solar battery at this point allows the home to act as its own microgrid; storing all excess power from the home in the battery. When the sun goes down and the panels are no longer generating power, the home draws energy from the solar battery for its electrical needs. When the sun rises again, the photovoltaic system starts the process over, sending excess energy to once again recharge the battery.
If this microgrid generates enough energy every day to recharge the battery and power the home, the household can run indefinitely without relying on the local utility grid for its electrical needs. In this way, a home with a solar microgrid can maintain power even during an extended blackout.
Additional Benefits of Solar During a Blackout
Even if a home lacks a solar battery and does not function as a microgrid, there are still benefits of having a photovoltaic solar panel system during a blackout. Let's take a look at each:
Cost Savings: During a blackout, the demand for alternative sources of power can skyrocket, leading to higher prices for generators, fuel, and other emergency power sources. With a solar panel system, you can avoid these costs and save money in the long run.
Eco-Friendly: Solar energy is a clean and renewable source of power. Solar energy does not emit harmful pollutants and does not deplete finite resources. By using solar panels, you can reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to a greener future.
Independence: Solar panels provide a level of independence from the traditional power grid. This means that you can rely on your own power source, even during a blackout, and reduce your dependence on utility companies.
Ion Solar Can Help Defend Your Home Against Blackouts
Want to ensure that your home is protected against electrical blackouts while at the same time cutting costs and becoming more eco-friednly? Let the professionals at ION Solar help you take the first step.
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Actual savings will vary depending on system production, geography, weather, shade, electricity usage, utility rates, rate increases, and financing options. Savings estimated here assumes utility rate increases annually and stable customer utility usage rates. Contact us to receive a detailed proposal based on your home and energy usage.