How to Use Solar Panels During Power Outage? Best Guide in 2024

There is a very serious situation of power outages in the whole world.

Because of the problems of maintenance and breakdown, this Problem shows in electricity utilities from time to time, the problem of power cuts arises.

The U.S. is cited as the leading cause of power outages in the United States. Department of Energy site weather-related power outage report.

Especially in the U.S., the average power outage is higher than in other developed nations. We are using a battery-back system with the inverter to fix this conventionally.

But if you have solar panels and want to get some work from them during a power outage, we need to know how to use them during a power outage.

Before going in too deep, we need to know some basics.


What Is a Power Outage?

What Is a Power Outage
What Is a Power Outage

You know how sometimes the power suddenly goes out, and everything in your house shuts off?

That’s what a power outage is. Basically, a power outage happens when electricity gets cut off unexpectedly.

One minute, the lights are on, and your fridge is humming along, and the next minute, everything goes dark and quiet.

Blackouts can result from big storms tearing down power lines, accidents damaging electrical equipment, or too many people using too much electricity.

Power outages destroy modern amenities like lights, appliances, heating, and AC until they are restored. I hope it’s only a few hours, but outages can last days!

At such times, you may have another option: your solar panel power system, which can also store the power in batteries, and you can use it during outages.


How to Use Solar Panels During Power Outage? Step-By-Step Guide

Using Solar Panels During Power Outage Step-By-Step Guide
Using Solar Panels During Power Outage Step-By-Step Guide

Solar panels during a power outage need special equipment and setups. An instruction manual for how to use solar panels during a power outage is provided below:

Safety First

Before attempting any actions, prioritize safety. Ensure your solar panels are installed safely. Consult an expert about your solar system’s safety.

Assess Your System

Determine whether your solar panels are grid-connected, off-grid, or hybrid with battery backup.

Grid-tied systems without battery storage cannot deliver electricity during an outage without extra equipment.

Install a Battery Backup System

Grid-tied solar systems with battery backup can use solar electricity during outages.

Install batteries, a charge controller, and an inverter to manage power transmission between solar panels, batteries, and your home.

Solar panels store energy in batteries during the day. Batteries power vital systems and appliances when the power goes out.

Connect Solar Panels to the Battery Backup System

Solar panels must be connected to the battery backup system.

Wiring the solar panels to a charge controller controls battery charging.

Charge controllers prevent battery damage from overcharging.

Connect the Battery Backup System to Your Home

In an outage, the battery backup system must be connected to your home’s electrical system.

Connect the inverter to your home’s main electrical panel or install a sub-panel.

Professional electricians ensure appropriate wiring, local code compliance, and safety.

Stand-alone Solar Generator

You can utilize a stand-alone solar generator or power station during a power outage.

These portable gadgets combine solar panels, batteries, and inverters.

Solar energy powers small appliances, electronics, and emergency illumination. Charge your solar generator for outages.

Top Solar Generator
Renogy Solar Power Generator, Lycan Powerbox

Renogy Solar Power Generator,

Lycan Powerbox

High-capacity—1075wh, charges 100 iPhone Xs, 93 Samsung S9s, 260 Go Pros, and 13 laptops.
2000-cycle lithium-iron-phosphate batteries are custom.

Emergency Outlet

You can put a dedicated outlet on a solar-powered circuit. During an outage, this plug can connect vital electronics to solar energy.

Consult an electrician for proper installation, wiring, and safety.

Monitor and Manage Energy Usage

Power management is crucial during a power outage. Refrigeration, lighting, and medical equipment should be prioritized.

Conserve solar or battery power by reducing non-essential electricity use.

Call a professional solar installer or electrician to guarantee correct installation, compliance with local rules, and safety in a power outage.

I suggest a video for using solar panels during a power outage

Credit to 100k Solar How To Use Solar Panels During A Power Outage

Understanding Grid-Tied Solar Systems and Safety Measures During Blackouts

Solar panels can generate electricity during a blackout if they receive sunlight. Grid-tied solar systems and safety restrictions prevent solar panels from working during outages.

Grid-tied solar systems generate electricity for immediate use or return excess electricity to the grid.

Net metering or feed-in tariff schemes credit you for extra electricity solar panels generate when the grid works.

Grid-tied solar installations automatically deactivate during blackouts to protect utility workers. Many nations mandate this feature.

Grid-Tied Solar Systems and Safety Measures During Blackouts
Grid-Tied Solar Systems and Safety Measures During Blackouts

The grid-tied solar system shuts down promptly after a blackout to prevent electricity from returning to the grid. Anti-islanding defense.

This closure protects power-restoration workers. Solar panels could back-feed power into the grid during an outage, endangering grid personnel.

The grid-tied solar system is configured to disconnect during blackouts, even if solar panels can still generate electricity.

During blackouts, battery backup systems or generators are essential.


How Reliable is Grid-Connected Solar Power During Power Outages?

Grid-connected solar power systems with backup are reliable during power outages. For safety, grid-tied solar systems disengage from the grid when the grid goes down.

This disconnection prohibits solar panels from generating electricity and returning it to the grid, which could endanger utility personnel repairing the grid.

Without a battery backup system or generator, grid-connected solar systems cannot provide power during power outages.

Solar panels can only generate electricity during daytime hours without a grid connection.

If power disruptions are a concern, investigate battery backup systems or other off-grid solutions.

These devices store extra solar energy in batteries for grid-down use.

To find the best backup solution and assure correct installation and safety, engage a professional solar installer or electrician.


How Long Can a Solar Battery Power a House?

How Long Can a Solar Battery Power a House
How Long Can a Solar Battery Power a House

A solar battery’s capacity, power consumption, and solar energy availability determine how long it can power a dwelling.

Solar batteries store energy in kWh. The battery capacity and household power consumption determine how long a solar battery can power a residence.

Here’s a simple example to illustrate the calculation:

Determine battery capacity:

Say you have a 10-kWh solar battery.

Daily electricity usage:

Calculate your average daily kilowatt-hours. The daily electricity needed is 20 kWh if your home uses 20 kWh on average.

Estimate usable capacity:

Don’t fully deplete the solar battery to prolong its lifespan. For battery longevity, use 80% of its capacity. 8 kWh is 80% of 10 kWh.

Estimate duration:

Estimate duration by dividing usable capacity by daily power consumption. 8 kWh divided by 20 kWh daily equals 0.4 days or 9.6 hours of battery power.

This simple computation may change depending on weather, seasonal solar energy production, and your home’s energy demand.

The time can also be affected by battery system efficiency and energy inputs from the grid or a backup generator.


Types of Solar Power Systems

Three types of solar systems are most prevalent.

Types of Solar Power Systems
Types of Solar Power Systems

Grid-tied Solar System

In the grid-tied solar system, you will generally get a power supply from a utility, and simultaneously, solar panels generate energy.

If you are consuming more energy than your solar panels generate, then your additional requirement is fulfilled by the utility’s source.

But you consume less than what is generated by your solar panels. Surplus generation by solar panels gives back to the grid, and you are making money from solar panels as per your tariff contract with the utility.

A net-metering system does this about how much energy you have consumed from utility and how much you have generated.

Why will most grid-tied solar panels not work during power outages?

When the power supply from the utility goes off, solar panels cannot provide electricity. This is because grid-tied solar systems are designed to disconnect from the utility’s power during an outage.

A system is in place to protect utility workers by automatically restoring the power supply when it is back, and solar panels can be helpful during outages by storing extra energy in batteries.

Options Available During a Power Outage

Backup Gas Generator

As the name suggests, using a gas generator can fulfil our energy requirement during a power outage.

Though this is a cost-effective investment to meet our energy needs, it also has many cons, and we, as solar energy advisors, never heartily recommend using it.

Top Gas Generator
Gas Generator DuroMax

DuroMax XP12000EH Generator-12000 Watt

Gas or Propane Powered

DuroMax MX2 enhances 120-volt power. Generator power is best at 120 or 240 V.
XP12000EH powers everyone.
4-Stroke Gas: 12,000/9,500 Watts max. 79.17, 39.58, 25% runtime, 120V/240V. Load: 19, 50% Load: 8,

Solar Batteries Along With a Solar Panel

We can use storage batteries like deep-cycle lead-acid batteries and Tesla power walls to meet our energy needs during power outages.

Nowadays, various Powerwalls of Tesla or products of LG and Sonnen are available in the marketplace.

Solar Generator

Solar batteries and solar panel systems may be expensive for some people due to multi-dollar investments, and they may not need to power the whole house.

Though you are using this system, this can only be charged when there is a supply from the utility.

You can charge special equipment for the entire solar plus storage system during the down grid.

Special Inverter or Inverter System

With much effort, developers have developed a system through which homeowners can use solar panels during a power outage.

This can be helpful to you if you are using a grid-tied system without putting utility personnel at risk.

Off-grid solar system

In an Off-grid solar system, there is nothing to do with the utility’s power supply.

During the sunshine or daytime, you will continuously supply solar panels. During the night or cloudy atmosphere, you need a battery storage system to meet your requirements, significantly enhancing your installation cost.

Also, the utility’s electricity option is unavailable, which might not be affordable for homeowners and small businesses.

So, it is better to use this setup if you do not have the option to use a grid power supply located in remote places. And also, you want to keep your energy demand independent.

The off-grid solar system is very useful during power outages, which will give you information about How to use solar panels during a power outage.

Top Solar Power Kit
ExpertPower Solar Power Kit with Battery

ExpertPower 2.5KWH 12V

Solar Power Kit

LiFePO4 12V 100Ah, 30A, 3KW Pure Sine Wave Inverter Charger |400W Mono Solar Panels, RV, MPPT Solar Charge Controller, Trailer, Camper, Marine, Off Grid

A solar system with a battery back system or hybrid solar system (“hybrid” in the context of home battery storage).

Investing in a hybrid system that combines grid-tied solar panels with backup battery storage can benefit areas with unreliable power supply or businesses prone to extreme weather conditions.

This system allows for solar energy during power outages and reduces the need for extensive battery storage.

It is essential to identify the critical loads and calculate their power requirements to determine the appropriate capacity for a solar power system for batteries, inverters, and controllers.

Understanding the different types of electrical consumers in the US can provide insight into installing solar panels and their use during power outages.


Type of Electricity Users in the US

Households in urban centres have a reliable power supply from utilities.

Suppose you have set up in an urban area with a very reliable power supply from the utility for a year. In that case, there is no need to have an expensive setup with batteries means. Here, on-grid or grid-tied solar systems have more value for money.

Households in the urban centres have unreliable power supply from the utility (like transient trippings or short-duration power shut down).

If you have set up in an urban area with an unreliable power supply from the utility, you can look for a system that can serve you during a power outage.

Here, if you want to run only emergency things, small battery storage with solar panels and a system, as mentioned above, can be helpful to store unused solar-generated energy.

This stored energy can run emergency things during a power outage.

However, such a setup may not be helpful during significant power outages or to run a heavy electric load.

Households or businesses in urban centres have very unreliable power supply from utilities.

Conventionally, if there are frequent and long-duration power outages, we use power generators run on fossil fuel. This is not hampering the environment but is also very difficult to get during massive power outages due to disaster-like situations.

This setup is also prevalent if there is cost concern for initial investment over an expensive battery-back solar system.

If there is no initial cost concern and also has low load demand like a warehouse, education, museum, or office building.

Then, you can look for such a system with large batteries with the solar system and a separate system that can optimize your solar energy generation and load demand.

Households in remote areas have no power supply or unreliable power supply.

Households situated in remote areas with no grid connection from a utility or who want complete independence of their energy need solar panels with batteries with total electric loading capacity, inverter, and controller needed to meet uninterrupted power supply.

This setup is very expensive and can be used only if no other options are available.


FAQs

1. What happens when the power goes out and you have solar panels?

Once an outage occurs, your solar system’s inverter – a device that converts the direct current (DC) electricity produced by your panel into alternating current (AC) electricity that powers your home – will automatically switch to a mode that returns the power that will prevent In the grid.
For safety reasons, the solar system does not normally generate electricity during a power outage.
However, when you connect a solar panel to a battery backup system, you can limit the effects of blackouts. Keep reading to know more about what happens if you have solar and run out of power.

2. Do solar batteries work in a blackout?

But some solar batteries can power your home even during a blackout! Many solar batteries have a ‘blackout mode’.
This mode starts automatically when the grid fails as long as enough energy is stored in the battery. Batteries power your most essential devices and circuits.

3. What happens to power from a solar panel that is not connected to anything?

If the solar panel is not connected (for loading), it has only voltage and no current. This becomes a case of zero energy because voltage alone does not produce power.
The panel gets hotter every time. Only 20% of the incoming energy is used to expel electrons from the atom’s electron shell.


Wrapping Up

After going through the above article, we can conclude that a grid-tied system is the best option if power during an outage is not the primary concern.

On the other hand, an off-grid system can provide us with a reliable power supply, but it tends to be more expensive. It can be used if cost is not the primary concern and power reliability is the primary concern.

Suppose we want to use solar panels power during outages after considering economic and energy need factors. In that case, we can use solar systems with specially designed solar inverters that can help optimize our energy needs.

I hope that this article will be helpful to you in powering your unit during a power outage with the help of solar panels.

Thus, I have given you all the knowledge about How to use solar panels during Power outages.

5/5 - (1 vote)
Kevin Smith

Hi, I am Kevin Smith; I promote solar energy’s limitless ideas on our Solar Energy Tip Company's different Platforms. Solar Energy Tip is your definitive solar resource! I provide expert advice, product recommendations, troubleshooting solutions, and in-depth talks about the fantastic world of solar energy.

Leave a Comment