With the millions of solar panels installed in the United States, it’s easy to go beyond just powering your lights on a cloudy day. With billions of dollars invested and dozens of manufacturers offering high-quality solar panels to consumers, you probably want to maximize your investment by learning how to use solar panels during a power outage.
Florida has many homes that have switched to solar energy. This is for both economic and environmental reasons. Solar energy is not only sustainable and clean but also offers long-term cost savings.
Here’s what you need to know regarding solar energy and power outages.
How Solar Works During a Blackout
Solar panels require sunlight to generate electricity. Solar customers are often affected by power outages in daylight. You’ll lose power if you are dependent on your power grid like all their customers.
Solar panels will not be able to supply power during emergencies or planned shutdowns if they don’t have additional support. There are two options: install backup solar batteries or go off-grid.
What Is the Difference Between Grid-Tied and Off-Grid Solar?
There are two ways to install a solar energy system, off-grid or grid-tied. Grid-tied systems are usually connected to an electric grid. This allows you to draw electricity directly from the grid if yours isn’t generating enough power, such as at night or on cloudy days.
An off-grid system does not have a connection to the grid. Outages won’t affect your system because your only source of electricity is your solar energy system. Off-grid systems often have generators and solar batteries to meet power needs. The downside to going off-grid? It is expensive upfront.
Battery Storage During a Blackout
The solar energy storage system captures the energy from the panels and stores it in a battery. The solar battery can be used during blackouts to:
- Brighten up your home
- Charge mobile devices
- Keep your fridge topped up
- Power up medical devices
But, as the HVAC system requires a lot of power to continue working, battery backups won’t be enough.
The storage capacity of your battery determines how long it can last. If you use conservative energy, the more storage capacity your battery has, the longer it can withstand an outage. Many solar batteries come with apps that allow you to monitor your usage in real-time.
What Do I Need an Inverter for My Solar Panels?
An inverter is required if you plan to rely on your panels during power outages. Your solar panels will send power to the grid when your house is connected to the grid. You already have the power conversion done. An inverter is required to extract energy from the home’s solar power system.
Your utility company will need to have power available when the grid goes down so that their technicians can work safely on downed lines. To convert the direct current (DC) from the solar panels to the alternating current power required in your home, you will need to have backup solar batteries and an inverter.
How to Use Solar Panels During a Power Outage
You will be able to use solar panels in an outage if you have a backup battery. This will depend on how your solar power system is configured, as well as the type of inverter. Here’s an example:
- Find the switch that will disconnect your system from the grid. This switch will be located in or near the main breaker box.
- Locate the solar power breaker boxes near the main box and flip it on.
- Your inverter may take some time to fully charge and be ready.
- The system will then be operational.
- The system can monitor your power consumption and battery levels to regulate your usage.
There are other options, but a solar power storage system is the best. Solar is the best option if you don’t have to be bound by HOA rules or other factors. Backup generators are limited in capacity and require diesel or gas to run. Unused fuel can cause instability and damage to your generator.
What Number of Solar Panels Do I Need for an Inverter?
The capacity of the panels and the inverter will determine the number of panels that can be or should be connected. A 1000 kW inverter can be connected to four 250-watt solar panels.
How Many Kwh Can a Solar Panel Produce?
There are many factors that influence the amount of energy produced by a solar panel. The time of the year, cloud cover, the height of buildings or tall trees shading the panels, and many other factors all affect how much energy a solar panel produces. These factors are taken into account and a single panel of solar panels will likely produce around 2 kWh per day.
How Many Solar Panels Are Needed to Power a House?
You must also consider the environment, such as the location of your home and the direction it faces. You or your solar provider will divide your energy consumption by the amount you can expect to get from one panel to calculate the number of solar panels required to power your home.
The Key Takeaways
Are you able to use solar panels during a power outage? It all boils down to whether you have a backup battery system. This is one of the main takeaways. Solar battery storage is the best and most efficient way to power your home in an outage. Aside from that, solar batteries are safer and more reliable than backup generators.
Learn More About Solar Panels in Florida with ESD Solar
If you’re considering solar panels in Florida, there’s a lot to consider: the amount of sunlight you get, the money you’ll save, and how to be an environmentally friendly homeowner. Let ESD Solar answer all your questions with a free estimate. Our professional solar installers will hook you up with hundreds of dollars in savings on your next electricity bill. Contact ESD Solar today for more information about switching to solar power in Florida!