A Guide to Solar Energy Behavior
When the power goes out, and the kitchen goes dark, many homeowners with solar panels may wonder, “when you lose power, how does solar work?” It’s a common question with important implications for your home’s energy supply and safety. We will explain what happens to your solar panels during a power outage and how solar plus battery storage can keep your home powered even when the grid goes down.
The Interconnected Grid and Solar Panels
Solar panels function by converting sunlight into electricity, reducing your reliance on traditional utilities. However, when power outages occur, the relationship between the grid and your solar panels comes into focus. Here’s how the interconnected grid helps:
- Grid-Tie Systems: Most residential solar installations are grid-tied systems. This means that the solar panels are connected to the local electricity grid. Excess energy produced by the panels can be fed back into the grid, and when your panels aren’t producing enough energy, you can draw power from the grid.
- Net Metering: This system allows homeowners to receive credit for excess electricity sent back to the grid, effectively reducing their electricity bill.
The Role of Inverters in Solar Power
Inverters play a crucial role in solar power systems. They convert the direct current (DC) electricity that solar panels produce into alternating current (AC) electricity for home appliances. Here are some ways inverters help:
- Energy Conversion: The inverter’s main function is to convert the DC energy generated by solar panels into usable AC energy.
- Grid Synchronization: The inverter also helps synchronize the solar panel system with the grid. It ensures that the electricity fed into the grid matches the grid’s frequency and voltage.
Safety Regulations and Power Outages
During a power outage, federal safety regulations require your solar panels to automatically shut off. Here’s how these safety measures help:
- Protection of Utility Workers: The automatic shut-off protects utility workers repairing power lines. It prevents any power your solar panels are generating from being fed into the grid, which could be hazardous to workers.
- Preventing Islanding: This safety feature prevents a condition known as “islanding,” where a section of the grid continues to receive power in spite of a power outage, posing a risk to workers and equipment.
Solar Panels and Battery Storage
The solution to maintaining power during an outage is to pair solar panels with battery storage systems. With a battery included in your system, you are able to utilize the solar panels as well as the battery to power the home during an outage. Here’s how battery storage helps:
- Storing Excess Energy: During peak sun hours, solar panels often produce more electricity than a home can use. Battery storage systems store this excess energy for later use.
- Maintaining Power During Outages: If the power goes out, a home with a battery system can use the stored energy to power the home.
- Increased Energy Independence: With a battery system, a home can rely less on the grid, achieving greater energy independence.
By understanding the role and benefits of these components, we can better appreciate the resilience and safety features inherent in modern solar panel systems.
The Benefits of Battery Storage
With a solar panel system and battery storage, your home can essentially remain powered indefinitely during extended outages. This is achieved by recharging the battery with the solar panels. Some advantages include:
- No need for a noisy generator.
- No fuel costs or need for refueling.
- Eligibility for a 30% discount on the entire cost through the Federal Tax Credit.
8MSolar is Here to Help
When you lose power, how does solar work? The answer lies in battery storage. There you have it. By combining solar panels with a battery storage system, you can ensure that your home stays powered, even when the grid goes down. 8MSolar can help you design and install the perfect solar energy system to keep your lights on, whatever the weather.