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Solar Panels and Power Outages: What You Need To Know

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When disaster strikes, alternative power sources like solar can keep your power on even when the grid goes down. However, solar panels alone aren’t enough: you’ll need a backup battery storage to stay powered through an outage. Let’s find out everything you need to know about solar when the power goes out in your neighborhood.

Will Solar Panels Work During a Power Outage?

Your solar system is wired into your electric company’s grid, giving you the ability to take advantage of net metering. When the power goes out from your electric company due to a natural disaster, an overload, or even just routine maintenance, your panels will also stop producing energy. This is for the safety of the utility workers fixing the lines.

And yes, this means solar panels alone will not work during a power outage. 

But wait: there’s more to the story. Here’s what we’ll cover about solar panels and power outages.

  • Why do power outages happen?
  • The solar battery solution
  • An solar battery example from the Texas power outages
  • Do solar panels work in winter weather and snow?

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Why do power outages happen?

Sure power outages are pretty inconvenient for your lifestyle, but have you ever wondered why power outages happen?

Lightning is one of the most damaging causes of outages, but other weather related occurrences like heavy winds, rain, snow or ice also could wipe out your power.

Car accidents can also lead to power outages if poles or power lines are damaged.

If natural causes weren’t enough, your utility company regularly plans routine outages for maintenance.

And to top it all off, even one tiny squirrel could wipe out energy for an entire neighborhood!

All these reasons are just regular things that could cause outages. If you live in an area prone to hurricanes or other natural disasters, you know the damage that is caused by being out of power for days, weeks or months. And in the recent years, power outages have been on the rise.

Power outages when you’re grid-tied are a way of life, but there is a way out.  

The Solution: Solar Battery Storage

When you add a solar battery backup to your solar PV system, your lights stay on even when your neighbors are out. There are many benefits of a solar battery like the Tesla Powerwall or Enphase Encharge but one major benefit is that it can power your home during power outages.

Control your own energy by producing it, and the only reliable way to do this is with a solar panel system.

Once you have solar panels installed, your home becomes a natural energy-producing goldmine. But wait- that means your home produces energy while the sun is shining. And although the sun produces enough potential energy in 1 minute to power the entire world, your solar panels can only produce so much at a time.

However, all the energy your panels produce during the day could be stored for use at night or during blackouts, for any reason.

The answer to this problem is solar battery storage like Enphase Encharge or Tesla Powerwall.

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Just take a look at an example from one of our customers in Texas during the most recent storm:

2 days in Texas without power; no problem thanks to @gosunpro and @tslamotor for their power wall! Still standing and holding strong! Hoping tomorrow is just as “bright” -@cole40five

solar panels tx outage

An Real Example: Solar Panels and Power Outages in Texas

Solar panels in Texas are a great year round investment. With an average of 205 sunny days, solar panels are a smart investment that can help you reduce your monthly electric bill. As of 2021, Texas ranks #2 in the nation for solar power, with over 75,000 installations and enough solar power installed in the state to power 642,199 homes.

ADT Solar (formerly Sunpro Solar) was named the largest residential solar installer in Texas by Solar Power World in 2020 and in 2021. Find out more about going solar in Texas.

Why Solar (and Storage) is More Important Than Ever 

Solar panels are a great way to take control of your home energy. It’s the reason why solar energy has grown 35-fold to an estimated 62.5 gigawatts (GW) today. This is enough to power around 12 million average American homes. And Wood Mackenzie forecasts solar installations to double by 2023.

number of solar PV installations over the yearsOne of the growing reasons homeowners are choosing solar over fossil fuels is due to the increasing instability in the electric grid. People are starting to “lose faith in their electrical system and take these important actions toward making something like energy security for themselves” (via NPR).

The reason for this is simple: natural disasters are increasing at an alarming rate and the old utility grid is producing more power outages than ever before. With the U.S. leading in more power outages than any other developed nation.

Solar Battery Backup System: Do I Need One?

If you want your home protected from power outages, a solar battery backup is the easiest way to feel secure. These days, being connected to the outdated grid isn’t enough. Having solar installed also isn’t enough when disaster strikes. The only thing that can help protect your home against power outages is a solar battery.

Read more about home battery storage and your options.

Even better news: the Solar Federal Tax Credit includes a battery backup, as well as many local incentives. So basically what we’re saying is that there isn’t a better time to invest in backup energy storage.

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Originally published February 18, 2021

 

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