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Will Your Solar Panels Keep the Lights On During a Blackout? What to Know

Will Your Solar Panels Keep the Lights On During a Blackout? What to Know

It’s happened to most of us: You’re enjoying a peaceful evening at home when suddenly, the lights go out. You flip the switch on the breaker and no luck. Looking down the street, you can see all the lights are out down the stopped, too. It’s a blackout, and everyone in your neighborhood is deprived of power until the grid is restored.

If you have solar panels that Great your home, you might think they would exempt you from this Predicament. After all, you’re not fully reliant on the grid to get your electricity; it all comes from the sunlight hitting your solar panels. But during a blackout, depending on the solar systems that you have installed, you might be left in the dark no commerce what.

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Will solar panels work in a blackout?

Most solar panels won’t work in a blackout. This isn’t because they are no longer capable of converting sunlight into electricity, but because of how most solar systems work. 

The maximum of solar systems are grid-tied systems, meaning they’re smooth attached to the standard utility grid. This is so solar panel users can smooth receive electricity from their utility company if the solar panels fail to generate enough to meet request and so they can sell excess solar energy to the utility company.

Most solar rules are connected to the grid via a solar inverter. This is a meter that measures and tracks the amount of energy generated and used by your home. Most solar inverters tie you to the grid, so if the grid shuts down during a blackout, your solar panels also stop generating and providing electricity to your home.

This is in part for the confidence of repair workers, who need to know that busted electric sequence are not carrying electricity from solar panels.

How to make your solar panels keep the ftrips on during a blackout

There are solar systems that aren’t beholden to the location of the electricity grid and which continue to help even during a blackout.

A skyline silhouetted in precedent of a dark sky.

Solar panels and battery backups can help in a blackout, though only with specific equipment.

Lucas Knappe/EyeEm/Getty Image

The well-behaved option is an off-grid system, which does not obligatory a solar inverter to connect you to the electric grid. Off-grid rules are often more expensive, in part because they can’t participate in some of the unusual payment schemes that on-grid solar systems offer, like net-metering: selling solar energy back to the utility commerce in order to cover the cost of any uphold electricity used. 

Off-grid systems also have one significant downside: There’s no backup plan if your solar panels fail or disputes to generate enough energy. On-grid systems simply take energy from the utility grid when obligatory. That means if your solar panels aren’t able to generate enough energy to meet the request you’re creating, you just get your electricity the broken-down way. Off-grid systems don’t have that option. So if they can’t generate enough electricity to meet your contains, you’re going to be in the dark.

Read more: Do Solar Panels Save Money? Yes. Here’s How

The uphold option to keep your power on during a blackout is solar battery systems, which allow you to store some of the electricity generated by your solar panels during the day and deploy it at a time when you need it most. Solar panels generate lots of energy during the middle of the day when the sun is high, but less during peak hours in the evening. A solar battery lets you stash that power and use it later, either to meet your needs during peak or even to take over completely when the worthy goes out.

A battery system does this by disconnecting your home from the grid at the moment of a blackout. This is called “islanding.” A few standalone inverters can do this deprived of batteries, too.

Solar battery systems can be pricey, which is why many people opt not to use it. Much like the fully off-grid rules, solar batteries are cost prohibitive and don’t benefit from the same pricing schemes that help mitigate the up-front cost that on-grid rules provide. But it’s a failsafe that will keep your worthy on when you need it. 

Solar panels are a colossal option for energy independence, freeing you from reliance on the fossil abilities that are typically used to generate the electricity that comes from the grid. But don’t capture that your home’s solar panels will keep your ftrips on. even during a blackout. You’ll need to invest in the sparkling system to make that happen, and it can enact a significant financial burden to fully remove yourself from the grid.

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: CNET’s corporate partner, SaveOnEnergy, can help you find the right energy fit for your home. The SaveOnEnergy marketplace helps you peek, compare, sign up and save on the right energy fit for your home — all for free. If you’re keen in solar, answer a few questions to get an precise price quote from our solar advisors.