What Happens to Solar Power During Power Outages?

Light by Solar Panels in Power Outage

Whenever there is a power outage, most homeowners wish they had a solution to keep the lights on and the appliances running. This means they often wonder if they should have invested in a home solar panel system. But do solar panels work during a power outage?

The short answer is no; solar panels won’t work on their own during a power outage. However, you can build a system that continues to work, even during a power blackout. This article will show you the different types of systems and how solar powers work during a power outage.

A grid-tied solar system works in conjunction with your electricity company and has two main advantages:

  • You can send the extra energy your system produces to your utility company, which will give you credits toward your monthly bill.
  • You’ll be able to get power from the electrical grid if you need it.

Even if you choose to use a grid-tied system, you can still build it in a way that allows you to get power during outages. In this case, you’ll need to install a solar backup battery that stores some of the energy your panels produce.

On the other hand, an off-grid solar panel system requires more battery power to provide sufficient power production. The off-grid solar panel system is considered much more expensive compared to the grid-tied solar panel system, and you won’t have the option of drawing energy from the electricity company grid. This means that if your solar system isn’t generating enough electricity, it will start to use the energy stored in the batteries. The main advantage is that you’ll be able to power your home during outages and will be completely independent of your electricity company.

Off-Grid and Grid-Tied Solar
Home Uses Solar Power During Power Outage

If you experience power outages and are are considering solar panels for your home, you may wonder if it would give you immunity from blackouts.

Most solar systems are grid-tied, meaning they are connected to the electricity grid from your electricity company. They generate electricity that passes through the inverter and goes to your home to supply your energy needs. Then, the electricity not used in your home goes back to the electric grid. Because of that, your solar panel system will shut off automatically when there’s a power outage.

But grid-tied systems are not the only ones available; off-grid systems may also be available, but they are much less common and usually only available to those living in rural settings.

While solar panels alone will not provide you with power during an outage, adding solar battery storage to your system can provide you with automatic backup power. This is becoming a more common way that homeowners across the country are addressing the problem of power outages.

A battery-backed solar system can provide peace of mind with backup protection from the solar energy produced by your system. You retain the option to have enough battery power to provide electricity for your entire home during a blackout, or you can opt to only store energy for a few appliances around the house to reduce your costs.

You can also use generators as a temporary solution. However, they use dirty fossil fuels, which are harmful to the environment — so keep that in mind if your carbon footprint is important to you when you make energy-related choices.

How Solar With Battery Backup Works

When the grid goes down, a solar system with battery backup will automatically kick in to power your home.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, customers experienced almost 5 hours of power outages in 2019. In 2020, this number surpassed the 8-hour mark. If you want to avoid the dangers and inconveniences of blackouts, you need to build your own independent system.

Solar Battery Systems by Qcells
Solar Battery Storage Grid

The American grid system is outdated and needs a lot of improvement. Renewable energy, like solar systems, will be of great help in this cause since homeowners won’t have to rely solely on grid electricity. Solar can help reduce the strain on the grid as well as the number of blackouts that occur during peak periods of demand.

So, do solar panels work during a power outage?

They work! It’s possible to obtain electricity during a power outage in two ways:

  • Using batteries to store the electricity in a grid-tied solar system
  • Installing an off-grid solar system (not offered by most solar providers, including Axia)

But because few providers offer off-grid solar systems, let’s take a quick look at how solar panels are used during an outage.

You’ll need to install one or a couple of batteries that store the unused power generated by your solar system. When the power goes out, your battery will kick in automatically to power your home during an outage. You can customize your home backup so you can power the essentials or potentially back up your whole home with multiple batteries.

You have power outage solar panels on your roof that are generating electricity whenever the sun is up. In most cases, you’ll not be able to consume all this electricity in your home. The batteries will store this electricity, so you can use it when you need it.

The off-grid panel system is considered a good choice for those who live in remote areas where the grid-tied solar system isn’t available. Axia, however, does not offer off-grid solar system installations, as we don’t recommend it for the majority of cases. This type of solar system often has too few benefits to justify the price.