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What Happens in a Power Outage?

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Power outages can be a major headache, and unfortunately, they seem to be happening more frequently these days. With warnings of rolling blackouts for the upcoming winter due to anticipated peak demand surpassing supply, it’s crucial to understand how your solar system functions during an outage.

So what happens when the grid goes down if you have a solar system? Well, that depends on the type of system you have.

Watch the below video for a full breakdown:


With a solar only system

Many believe that a solar-only system will continue to operate during a grid outage, but that’s not the case. When the grid goes down, so does your solar system. This isn’t a flaw, but rather a safety precaution. If your system is producing power during an outage, there is a risk it could send power back to the grid and electrocute people working on the lines.

That’s why your solar system is smart enough to detect when the grid goes down and automatically turn itself off. Once the grid is up and running again your inverter will kick back into gear and start producing power


With a Battery System

The good news is you don’t need to worry about the power going out if you have a battery as part of your system. 

During an outage, a battery like the Tesla Powerwall will switch to ‘off-grid’ instantly. Thanks to the technology built into the battery, it can ‘disconnect’ itself from the grid, removing any risk to linesmen working on repairs. Your battery will then function as the grid to keep your solar running and your home powered. 

When the power goes out, you’ll receive an alert in your Powerwall app. The app then keeps you in the loop, providing real-time updates on your estimated remaining battery time, based on current energy loads. 

You should keep an eye on your power usage during outages. This isn’t so important if the sun is out and your solar is cranking. But if it is nighttime and the grid could be out for hours, you want to manage your usage to ensure your battery will last. 

When the grid is back, your system will automatically switch from ‘off-grid’ mode to ‘grid-tied’, bringing your full system back online.


Making the Choice

If outage protection is a top priority for you, investing in a battery is a no-brainer. It provides peace of mind knowing that your home will remain powered even when the grid fails. However, if outage protection isn’t a concern, a solar-only system may be the way to go. It’s worth noting that you can always add a battery to your solar system later on if your needs change.

We’re always happy to offer advice on what set up will best meet your needs. Get in touch to discuss your options

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