Grid-tied solar installations like our Solaflect Tracker work great for producing lots of energy and essentially saving the excess to the grid when it’s not being used at home, but what happens when the grid goes down? The quick answer is that the inverter on your solar installation immediately shuts down (to protect the utility line workers trying to fix the grid) and you’ll stop producing solar energy until the grid is restored. Many people don’t realize that you can’t produce power during a grid outage unless you have a battery storage system.
A home storage battery will take over responsibility of covering your electricity loads in your house while the grid is down, and will also allow your solar to continue producing power to recharge the battery. Generally, a battery backup system should be designed to cover limited (mission critical) loads for a number of hours or perhaps a day or two. For extended outages, a battery in conjunction with a Solaflect Tracker can produce enough power to run critical loads in your home for a period of several days (provided there is ample sun to produce power).
A battery also offers the flexibility to “future-proof” your home, and pocketbook, in preparation for widely-expected “time of use” rates the utilities will be charging (like they already do in states like California) — premium rates of up to 5x the standard price for electricity during the highest usage times of the day when the grid is most taxed. Once a battery is installed, energy can be drawn from the battery during those expensive times of day, avoiding the higher priced energy from your utility.
We love talking about all things related to solar, so please reach out to us or call us at (802) 649-3700 if we can answer questions and help you think about how solar can cover an ever-increasing share of your family’s power usage!