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How to Use Solar Panels During Power Outage: A Tips Guide

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Solar panels work by gathering the sun’s energy and converting it into electricity for your home. What happens if you have a power outage, though? Will your solar panels still be able to provide your home with a source of energy? Learn more about how to use solar panels during power outages. This helps ensure that you won’t have to go without power for long periods of time.

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Grid-Tied vs. Off-Grid Systems

One of the factors that determines if you’ll have power from your solar panels during outages is whether or not you’re tied to your local electrical grid. If your solar panel system is connected to the local grid, you might not have power if that grid goes down without the right equipment. In this case, you’ll need a battery in order to generate electricity that your home can use during outages. Without a battery, you won’t be able to use the power from your solar panels for electricity when there’s an outage.

If your solar panel system is not tied to your local electrical grid, your home won’t be affected if that grid loses power. In this situation, your home will continue using stored energy from your batteries for power. Your home relies on those batteries and your solar panels for electricity rather than relying on the local grid.

Whether or not you have a system that is off-grid or tied to the grid, your solar panels continue to gather sunlight to convert to energy during outages. Being off-grid or connecting to the grid with a battery means you’ll still have power to use during outages in your area.

A closeup of dark blue solar panels installed on a roof.

Grid-Tied Systems

If your solar panels are able to keep gathering sunlight for energy, then why can’t you use this to power your home when there’s an outage? Grid-tied solar power systems should shut down during an outage to prevent you from using electricity. This is done as a safety precaution, so utility workers can get the electrical lines and grid back up and running. Having this automatic shutdown feature means you’ll have to depend on a battery or other backup system, such as a generator, for power during outages. Read about how you should handle a power outage here

How to Use Solar Panels During Power Outages With Grid-Tied Systems

Grid-tied systems offer a more cost-effective way to use solar power compared to off-grid systems. However, you have to make sure that you have an energy storage system for electricity during power outages. Having batteries installed to store power is an effective way to ensure that your home has electricity during local outages. The number of batteries your home needs will depend on certain factors, such as the following:

  • How much power you normally use
  • How often the power goes out in your area
  • Whether your area has severe weather events often that could lead to long-term outages lasting for several days or weeks

Many households only need one or two batteries in order to have enough power during outages. You should get additional batteries if you have frequent outages or bad weather. This helps ensure you have electricity if you lose power for days or weeks at a time. 

Keep in mind that these batteries can be expensive. To keep costs down, you might want to get a battery or two for the most important electrical needs only. For example, you can do this to keep your fridge or medical equipment running during an outage. Knowing how to use solar panels during power outages with storage batteries means you can at least have enough electricity for these essential items. 

If you want a grid-tied system but live in an area with frequent outages, generators can provide backup power. However, these run on fossil fuels, such as gas, making them less clean and energy-efficient.

A man is lifting solar panels up over a roof during an installation.

Off-Grid Systems

Having an off-grid system means you won’t be affected by your local grid going down. However, keep in mind that you also won’t be able to rely on this grid for power at other times if your off-grid system isn’t producing enough energy for your home. 

If you’re thinking of getting an off-grid system, you should be aware that they typically cost more than grid-tied systems. This is due to the fact that homeowners typically need to invest in more battery storage, since they can’t rely on the local grid for power. You might consider getting an off-grid system if your area experiences frequent outages.

How to Use Solar Panels During Power Outages With Off-Grid Systems

With an off-grid system, you don’t have to worry about local grid outages. However, you do need to be sure that your system can provide your home with plenty of power. Another benefit to grid-tied systems is that you have the ability to draw power from the grid if there isn’t enough solar power available.

the sun in the corner with clouds and blue sky

Want Reliable Electricity? Switch to Solar

If you’re considering investing in solar panels for your home, contact ONIT for more information. We can help you choose the right solar power system for your home and ensure that your home will still have power during outages. Our panels can provide your home with clean, reliable energy. We can also provide you with information to the question “how to use solar panels during power outage.” To start today, give us a call at 1-833-433-0331!

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