How to Use Solar Panels During Power Outage? Best Guide in 2023

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

Because of the problems of maintenance and breakdown then, the question in your mind will be how to use solar panels during power outage.

This Problem shows in electricity utilities from time to time, the problem of power cuts arises.

Then the question in your mind will be How to use solar panels during Power outage?

How to use solar panels during Power Outage
How to use solar panels during Power Outage

The U.S. is cited as the main 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 we have solar panels, and you want to get some work from them during a power outage, then we need to know how to use solar panels during power outage.

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


Key Points of Content

What Is a Power Outage?

A power outage is usually when no electricity supply or network or the electric grid is unavailable.

They all have in common that Power Outage affects not just one home but the entire area.

Because a power outage is not a problem inside the house but a problem with the electricity supplier, this could be a circuit breaker problem inside your home if your home is without electricity and if there is electricity nearby.

So to solve this kind of problem, you have installed solar systems in your house and detailed information about How to use solar panels during power outages?


How to Use Solar Panels During Power Outage?

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

  • Safety First
  • Assess Your System
  • Install a Battery Backup System
  • Connect Solar Panels to the Battery Backup System
  • Connect the Battery Backup System to Your Home
  • Standalone Solar Generator
  • Emergency Outlet
  • Monitor and Manage Energy Usage

Safety First

Before attempting any actions, prioritize safety. Ensure that your solar panels are safely installed. 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 assure appropriate wiring, local code compliance, and safety.

Solar Battery Backup Systems Empowering Resilience

Standalone Solar Generator

You can utilize a standalone 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.

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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.


Why Don’t Solar Panels Work in 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.

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?

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 Systems

Three types of solar systems are most prevalent.

  1. Grid-tied solar system
  2. Off-grid solar system
  3. A grid-tied solar system with battery back storage

Grid-tied Solar System

In the grid-tied solar system, you will normally 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.

Positive

✔ We can make money and reduce our consumption by using or exporting solar-generated power.

✔ This is value for money investment if the utility has a reliable power supply.

Limitation

✔ You cannot use this system while there is a power outage.

✔ This means you are dependent on a power supply provider.

It is clear how to use solar panels during a power outage in a grid-tied solar system.

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

Whenever a power supply goes off from the utility’s side, we cannot get electricity from our solar panels though they generate energy from sunshine.

For grid-tied solar systems, when the power goes out due to a breakdown, utility workers must deal with grid lines and assume that solar panels are separated from utility electricity.

There is an automatic arrangement whenever the power goes off from the utility’s side power supply from solar panels is also cut.

And restore when the utility’s power supply gets restored. A special automatic system does this to protect the utility worker.

Suppose somehow you will try to get a power supply from solar panels. In that case, the same low tension supply will also get connected with the utility’s service line, which steps up by a distribution transformer and becomes high voltage. And this High voltage power can cause disastrous.

But still, your solar panels can be useful during power outages by using a system that can store extra generated energy in solar batteries.

Options Available During a Power Outage

Backup Gas Generator

As the name suggests, using a gas generator can fulfill 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.

While using natural gas as use fuel which creates pollution, smells dirty, and makes irritating sounds that make us uncomfortable, is the biggest hindrance in its usefulness. Moreover, you can also go for cleaner and silent diesel or gas generators, but you have to pay more.

Here there are a lot of disadvantages to using gas generators compared to only a few advantages, including cost-effectiveness.

So, we can look for more pure, silent, low-risk, and environment-friendly options: the solar system.

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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 Powerwall of Tesla or products of LG and Sonnen are available in the marketplace.

Solar panel system installers have enough expertise to install solar power and battery systems.

These solar batteries are different from conventional batteries as they are specially designed to store the energy accumulated during the sunshine for use at night.

These batteries make us illuminated and greatly useful to meet our essential power needs.

During the outage, a solar battery and a solar panel system keep your power on by islanding and disconnecting our system after detecting a power outage from the utility.

In this system, your batteries get charged during the day by your solar panel and discharged during the night; in this way, you will get power on during a long power outage.

Solar Generator

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

There is another economical option of the solar generator from companies like renogy and goal zero available with few dollar investments compared to a solar battery system, which can meet your emergency needs like refrigerator, emergency lights and keeping space heater running. 

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

During the down grid, you can charge by special equipment for the full solar plus storage system.

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2000-cycle lithium-iron-phosphate batteries are custom.

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.

SMA and Enphase are two companies that have to develop special solar-designed inverters, sunny boy and ensemble, respectively, that operate so that whenever an outage is detected, these inverters automatically disconnect from the grid, still providing power to your home from your solar panels.

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.

And also, the option of electricity from the utility is not available, 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.

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

Suppose you live in an area or run a business where the power supply from the grid is unreliable, and power restoration takes a long time or is prone to extreme weather conditions. In that case, such a hybrid system is a more useful choice to invest in.

You are using a grid-tied solar system and making money whenever there is net surplus energy with you, but this will not help you to get immune from a power outage.

So here we need to look for some backup storage with such a system that can help you whenever the grid power supply is unavailable, and energy from the solar panels is available.

We can install a system synthesizing energy extraction from battery storage and solar panels to meet such demand.

Whenever an outage occurs, the battery system turns ON, and the distribution panel is disconnected.

This system also helps us to reduce battery storage requirements. ). Whenever there is a grid down from the utility, with a couple of batteries if we use this system which can store unused solar energy and use that energy for emergencies (i.e. emergency lights, refrigerators, well pump personnel electronic gadgets.

So here you need to verify which load is critical for you, calculate all those loads, and accordingly choose the capacity of batteries inverters and controllers.

But the limitation is that running the whole residential or commercial electric load still needs expensive storage batteries.

In this way, we can reduce the use of fossil fuels, which impact our environment; consequently, fewer greenhouse gases will produce.

We can reduce our carbon footprint and put our strong steps forward to clean our valuable environment.

To know which system is better for you? You need to know the type of requirements, and it depends on various factors i.e. Availability of power supply, reliability of that power supply, location of a consumer, and power requirement of the consumer.

Based on this, we have categories and types of users. This can help to know in which slot you can land. This is not the final categorization. You can contact a consultant before going to a big investment.

Do you know how many types of electrical consumers in the US will give you an idea of how and why to install solar panels?

So you will have information on How to use solar panels during power outage?

Read More:

How to get free solar panels from the Government?

Type of Electricity Users in the US

Households in urban centers 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 centers 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 and there is 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, then small battery storage with solar panels and a system as mentioned above can be useful to store unused solar-generated energy. This stored energy can run emergency things during a power outage.

But such a setup may not be helpful during large power outages or to run a heavy electric load.

Households or businesses in urban centers 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 huge 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 full independents of their energy need solar panels with batteries with full 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.


Wrap up on How to use solar panels during Power Outage?

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 main concern.

On the other hand, an off-grid system can provide us reliable power supply, but it tends to be more expensive and can be used if cost is not the main concern and power reliability is the main 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 is article will be useful to you to power 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 Outage.


FAQ: How to use solar panels during Power Outage?

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.

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Kevin Smith Solar Energy Tip

Kevin Smith

Hi, I am Kevin a blogger, i promote sustainable energy. I love discovering solar energy’s limitless potential to green the future. Join me in exploring solar technology and its transformational applications. Build a sustainable future together!

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