Do Solar Panels Work During Power Outages?

What happens when a powerful storm rolls through and plunges your neighborhood in Wynnewood, Merion Station, Narberth or surrounding areas into darkness? While solar panels can significantly reduce your reliance on the grid, and lower your energy costs, they won’t keep your lights on during a power outageunless you have a battery storage system. Let’s explore why.

**Grid-Tied Systems: The Sunshine Sharing Economy**

Most homes with solar panels are “grid-tied,” meaning they connect to the local power grid. This two-way street has its perks: surplus solar energy feeds back into the grid, earning you credits on your electricity bill, otherwise known as ‘net metering’ .

Philadelphia and surrounding suburbs have very favorable 1:1 net metering programs, meaning for every unit of energy (kWh/killo-watt-hour) that you sell to the grid earns a credit that can offset any unit that you buy from the grid. However, during an outage, the grid shuts down and safety reasons, prevents your solar system from sending electricity back – or even using your solar onsite alone. This is generally done to protect your system from feeding the electric lines that a utility worker is trying to fix. This is known as Anti-Islanding.

**Battery Backup: Power on Demand**

Batteries, however, work with special ‘grid-forming inverters’, making your home a mini grid or ‘micro-grid’ during outages. There is an automatic transfer switch built into these battery grid-forming inverters, that physically disconnects your house from the grid during an outage to keep the linemen safe – and your house powered up.

You can generally do a partial backup, where essential or critical loads in your house such as refrigerator, internet and lights remain on. You can also do a whole house backup where everything remains powered on.

By storing excess solar energy during the day, a battery transforms your solar system into a mini power plant for your home. When the grid goes down, your battery seamlessly kicks in, powering your essential appliances and keeping you comfortable. The latest battery technology known as LFP or Lithium Iron Phosphate is very safe and has a long life, which translates into a lower LCOE (Levelized Cost of Energy) and is generally warranted for 10 years or 4000-6000 cycles.

**Investing in Peace of Mind**

Solar batteries provide more than just backup power. They offer peace of mind knowing you’re not reliant on the grid during outages. Plus, they can help you maximize your solar energy use, by using features such as peak shaving, self-consumption, and time-of-use arbitrage, and also potentially increase your home’s value.

**Ready to Embrace Solar Freedom?**

Pennstar Solar LLC is a local company based in Merion Station, PA, we design and install top-tier solar panel systems, including battery storage solutions. Contact Pennstar Solar today at 610-900-6405 for a free consultation and see how solar power with battery backup can brighten your future – even during a blackout.

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