Does DIY Solar Provide Power During Blackouts? Posted on 19 Dec 07:30
When the electricity goes out, do homes with DIY solar still have power?
With blackouts on the rise across the country, this is a concern for anyone who wants to be prepared. The answer? Most DIY home solar arrays aren’t set up to work when the utility grid is down.
But you can take steps to ensure that you always have access to electricity, even during power outages.
Most DIY Solar Power Systems are Connected to the Utility Grid
DIY home solar power systems are usually grid-tied, meaning they are connected to the power grid. This connection is what allows you to have a reliable source of electricity at night and on cloudy days.
When a blackout occurs, every house that’s tied to the utility grid goes dark — including those with DIY home solar arrays. The sun could be shining brightly, but your home will still be without electricity.
It’s Not Safe to Have Home Solar Power Systems During Blackouts
What’s up with that? After all, your solar array doesn’t need the grid to provide power — if the sun is out, your photovoltaic panels can generate electricity.
That’s exactly the problem. When a blackout occurs, the power company sends work crews to fix whatever caused the problem. If your DIY home solar power system is shooting electricity through the lines while the utility workers are trying to make repairs, they could be seriously injured or killed.
Backup Options for DIY Solar Power
Solar backup options are available for professionally installed systems, if you don't want to be without electricity. For your DIY solar array, your options are essentially limited to a home generator.
Professional solar installers may be able to add a battery bank to your DIY solar system so that the excess energy your panels produce will be stored instead of flowing to the utility grid.
But battery backup systems can be expensive. And because installation requires a licensed professional, you won’t be legally allowed to embark on this project as a do-it-yourselfer.
Besides, if you cut ties with the power company, you could still be left without electricity when an outage occurs. Batteries have their limits, and if the blackout persists, you may find yourself without power at some point.
You can install a home generator that runs on natural gas or propane. Or you may want to consider a mobile solar generator.
Solar GOODs is the premiere custom DIY energy superstore, serving all your needs for DIY photovoltaic kits and custom systems. Contact us to learn more about DIY solar and how you can ensure a constant supply of power.