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Solar Mythbusting: Can Solar Work in a Blackout?

 

One of the major benefits of going solar is being able to be more energy independent.  The idea behind it all is that if the sun is out, then your system should be able to produce energy.  Now, what happens when there is a power outage when the sun is out?  Can your solar system still continue to work through this?  Well, the answer is a bit more complicated than you think.  See it all depends on what you have.

 

If your system happens to have a battery backup, then you should be able to use the battery in the case of a blackout. If homeowners can also choose to have a battery backup installed, the battery lets you store excess generated power from your system but they do have a limited capacity.  However, batteries are a bit pricey for most solar owners, and for those who are tied to the grid, your system cannot give you immunity from a blackout.  But that doesn’t mean they aren’t working, it’s most likely because of the grid itself.

 

During the event of a blackout, whether it be because of weather damages or mandated, all systems are required to be turned off (by law) for safety purposes. This is because there are damages somewhere along the lines that require repair, and in order for utility teams to safely look at it, the lines need to be shut off.  If the electric currents were still flowing, these workers risk losing their lives, therefore all lines are to be shut off.

 

Now there are ways around this. If the homeowner chooses to, there is a special hybrid inverter that can disconnect automatically from the utility grid and deliver power locally.  This means that the energy you produce won’t flow along the damaged lines so it won’t pose a risk to the utility workers. The only downside to this is that it will only work during the day when your panels are able to generate energy.

 

Ideally, as long as the sun is out, you should be able to enjoy full uninterrupted power. But in the event of a grid blackout, even your panels cannot protect you, unless you choose to buy extra equipment for your system. It’s rare that Ohio gets blackouts, and if it were to happen, everyone on the grid would be affected, not just you. Being energy independent has its pros and cons, however, this issue is minor compared to all the benefits.  We believe that making the switch is still worth it in the end.

 

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