Solar panels are an amazing addition to any household in becoming energy independent.
Adding a home solar battery to your system can potentially make you invincible when it comes to blackouts.
Do solar batteries work in a blackout? Yes!
However, your solar batteries won’t function unless you have blackout protection. And there are other attributes that may or may not allow your solar system to function during such an event.
This might sound a bit complicated, so let me explain your options to stay connected to a power source even during a blackout.
How Do Solar Batteries Work?
Solar batteries are storage units of backup power on which you can rely in the event of a power outage or at night when the solar panels can’t produce electricity. Whether it is a grid-connected system or an off grid system, you can have solar batteries added to both of them. However, when offered a high Feed-in-tariff (pretty rare nowadays), solar owners tend to gravitate towards exporting power to the grid instead of storing it in the battery, losing power autonomy in the process.
A typical solar storage system usually stores the surplus of energy generated by the solar panels. The surplus being whatever energy is left after your average household needs are met. Solar panels can generate more than what you need if the system works at its peak potential, you have an oversized system, or simply because you are a light energy consumer and for many other reasons.
The point of having solar batteries is to keep you connected at all times. There are several types of solar batteries available in the market for you to choose from. For instance, there are nickel-cadmium batteries, flow batteries, lithium-ion batteries, and lead-acid batteries. Because of their low cost, lead acid batteries are by far the most common option among all of these battery kinds. However, they need regular maintenance and are susceptible to damage if not treated properly. Lithium-ion batteries, on the other hand, are also growing in popularity lately.
Blackout Protection Mode- Home Solar Batteries
In order for solar batteries to continue working and provide you with energy, you have to have blackout protection mode. No, not every solar battery comes with a blackout protection mode; there are specific batteries that either have it or they don’t. For this, you have to have a chat with your solar battery installers.
Let’s imagine ourselves in one of these situations to get to understand the concept a tad better.
Suppose you are connected to the grid, and suddenly your area experiences a blackout. The first thing that will happen is your solar panels will stop working, meaning the solar panels will stop feeding energy to the solar inverter, thus having no power in the outlets. This is true if you have a grid-connected system without solar batteries or batteries without blackout protection mode.
It happens for the sake of the safety of the people working to fix the issue that caused the blackout in the first place. If the grid-connected solar panels keep on generating energy, then the possibility remains that the surplus will be exported back to the grid, being fatal for the workers.
In such a scenario, your solar batteries will get the signal of the blackout within seconds. Depending on the type of battery and how it works, the time delay may vary. As mentioned before, to trigger the blackout mode, your batteries need to have a blackout protection mode. Only then the stored energy will flow back to the house.
For How Long Can You Depend on Solar Batteries During a Blackout?
There are two things that can happen in a situation like this.
First, your solar batteries will only be usable till the point they run dry. This is simple; whatever much energy is left in the batteries, you will get only that much to work through. As the panels have already stopped working for safety purposes, there is no more energy to store for later. Point to be noted; this also depends on the blackout protection mode provided with your batteries. Depending on the battery manufacturer, your blackout protection mode will be able to handle a different amount of load. Some can handle up to 7kW, while other batteries can go only to 2.5kW.
In a different scenario, you can go for days with a quality solar system paired with a top-notch battery in case there is a blackout. For this to happen, your batteries need to have the functionality to let the solar panels keep working in such events. Of course, without exporting any energy back to the grid.
It goes without saying that with an off the grid system, a blackout has no effect on your life. As going off the grid means being energy independent and self-sufficient. It’s the ultimate protection from power outages, blackouts, and outrageous electricity bills at the end of the quarter.