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Do Solar Panels Work During a Power Outage?

June 30, 2018

There are few things that can be more stressful for your family than an extended power outage. Even short outages of a couple of hours can create problems and costs for your household. Power outages can rise to the level of a full-fledged crisis. Puerto Rico has dealt with months of power outages as a result of Hurricane Maria. And here on Long Island, many of us were without power in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. Modern life without power can be difficult and at GreenLeaf Solar, we’re often asked about whether or not solar panels work during power outages.

GreenLeaf Can Save You From High Utility Bills

GreenLeaf is Long Island’s leading solar panel company. Our customers come to us for many reasons. We can help you save money from your current utility bills, while at the same time helping to save the planet while reducing your carbon footprint. Installing solar panels can liberate your power company and we want to tell you about the implications this has during power outages and how solar panels work when the power goes out everywhere else.

Solar Panels and Power Grids

The answer to the question of whether to not solar panels work during power outages is that it depends on the circumstances. Solar energy can be independent of the power grid associated with your utility company. But in some cases, homes that are solar paneled can be connected to the electrical grid and if that grid loses power, solar powered homes often have to be shut down with it as a safety precaution. This is to prevent utility workers from being injured trying to restore power.

There is technology that will allow the lights to stay on during a blackout. According to the website LiveStrong, you can use solar panels to power your home during a power outage if you’re not connected to a grid, but very often you’ll require a device called an inverter to power up. Very often these stand-alone systems involve the use of direct current or DC. But many of the appliances in your home use alternating current, or AC. An inverter can convert the DC system into AC. There are some inverters on the market that can keep the power on and won’t endanger utility workers in systems that are normally shut down during outages.

Another way to keep the power on during an outage is with a battery system. These systems store excess energy that’s produced by your solar system. But in the event of a long outage, you will need to conserve energy. You’ll only have power on as long as the battery is able to supply it.

GreenLeaf Can Tell You About Solar Panel Options

One area where solar panels have become a more popular option is Puerto Rico, which has suffered the long term effects of Maria. One island resident, who switched to solar told CNN, “I suffer from sleep apnea and need my machine to sleep right,” adding that family members not worrying about having to find gas for a generator, “goes a long way for our mental health.”

If you’re considering adding solar panels and you have questions about how they operate, GreenLeaf can take you through the entire process. To learn more, contact us today.