Do Solar Panels Work When the Power Is Out?

One of the most commonly believed myths about solar panels is that they can power your home during an outage. It makes sense—your solar panels are using energy from the sun, not the grid, so why would a grid outage impact their performance? 

But grid outages do affect houses with solar panels. If your solar system is grid-tied (most residential and commercial solar panels are) it will automatically shut down during a power outage. This is a safety feature that protects utility workers and equipment from unexpected power surges. But it also leaves solar panel owners without power during an outage. 
Thankfully, there is a solution. When solar panels are paired with solar battery storage, they can remain on during a power outage.

Why Do You Need a Solar Battery During a Power Outage?

Home solar batteries work by storing the excess electricity your solar panels generate. This allows you to power your home with solar backup power at night or on a foggy day when there isn’t enough sunlight to generate solar electricity. But energy storage isn’t the only advantage of a solar battery for your California home. Solar batteries also allow you to use your solar panels in a power outage. 

When you have a solar battery, your solar energy system can temporarily disconnect from the electric grid when a disruption occurs and operate as a microgrid until the grid comes back on. This is often referred to as “island mode.” Solar plus battery systems are able to do this because the battery gives your surplus electricity a place to go when it cannot be directed back into the grid. 

With solar plus battery storage, your solar panels can provide back up energy during an outage.

How Much Backup Power Do Solar Batteries Provide? 

The amount of backup power you can derive from your solar battery system depends on the type of battery you choose and the number of batteries you install. Solar battery storage capacity varies by product, and the more batteries you have, the more power you can store. 

With one or two fully charged solar batteries, you should be able to keep your lights on, charge your cellphone, run your refrigerator, and maintain power to medical equipment for several hours. If you want enough backup power to run your entire home, you’ll need a much larger battery bank with multiple solar batteries. If your system is designed to go “off-grid”, your battery will allow your solar panels to run during the day, so, in most cases, one or two batteries is enough to keep your family safe and comfortable during a power outage, particularly at night.

Get Solar Panels & Back Up Power for Your Northern California Home or Business

Six Rivers Solar specializes in solar battery design and will install the best backup power system for your home. We install solar batteries for homes and businesses of all sizes on the North Coast and are a trusted local solar installer. Whether you want to install a new solar power system with battery storage or add batteries to an existing solar PV system, we can help. 
We’ve been the North Coast’s leader in renewable energy since 1980 and have helped hundreds of locals take control of their own power production. If you want to work with a local solar company that knows and cares about the community behind the Redwood Curtain, give us a call! We can help you  go solar for zero dollars down with great solar financing and incentives!

Avoid power outages with solar plus battery storage. Call 707-443-5652 or contact us to schedule a free consultation.