Will Solar Batteries Continue Working During Prolonged Outages?

Battery Backup
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Will solar batteries continue working during prolonged outages? The short answer; it depends. The capacity of the solar battery and the amount and rate of electricity drawn determines its duration. Even so, investing in a solar battery means less reliance on the grid, which will shut off during an outage.

Why Solar Homes Need Battery Backup

During a power outage, the electrical grid will shut down. Because of the requirements of the NEC 2017, grid-connected solar panel systems have to shut down at the modular level, meaning solar panels have to shut off during an outage.

This requirement protects utility company technicians fixing damaged power lines from possible electrocution. It also increases the safety of firefighters should they have to enter a solar home through the roof. However, it poses a problem for solar homeowners who don’t have solar storage.

When Solar Panels Generate Electricity

Solar panels work because UV rays from the sun reach a home’s solar module and convert energy into electrical power. This energy-conserving process only exists because of the sun, hence why solar panels cannot generate electricity at night.

As a result, many solar homeowners still stay connected to the grid, enabling them to have power at night and sell or receive credit for their excess solar energy generated during the day. While solar panels could still produce electricity during a daytime outage before the NEC 2017, now they have to turn off.

Grid-tied Transfer Switch Requirements

Before the NEC 2017, solar homes still needed to shut off power or redirect it away from the grid during an outage, but the solar panels didn’t need to stop producing electricity. Solar homes could continue generating power during the day, and solar homes with battery backup could continue running at night.

After the new electrical code, these homes could only function during an outage if they had solar storage. The rapid shutdown requirement calls for all conductors within a foot of an array to reduce to 80 volts in fewer than 30 seconds. Go Solar Group’s solar inverter, the SolarEdge, can turn off manually at the bottom if it doesn’t switch automatically.

How Long Will a Battery System Last?

The new rapid shutdown requirements have made solar battery duration on a single charge increasingly important. Customers want to know the projected lifespan and discharge duration.

The lifespan of a solar battery depends on whether it needs priming and regularly endures extreme temperatures. However, solar battery lifespans typically range between 5-15 years and are expected to increase as technology improves. How long the solar battery discharge will last depends on the amount and rate of electricity drawn and the battery capacity.

Average Power Outage Length and Usage Needs of Homeowners

Power outages in the United States vary in duration and frequency. In 2018, the average power outage duration for electricity consumers nationwide was 5.8 hours. Of course, these instances depend on outside factors, like weather and utility practices. But 5.8 hours is a significant portion of time, making energy storage options worth considering.

Determining how much electricity your home will need during an outage depends on how much power you consume, the duration of the outage and the environmental climate. Some homeowners can make one emergency battery work, while others require two or more home batteries to satisfy their energy needs.

Solar Battery Capacities

The capacity of a battery determines how much power it will store and later provide. Matching a solar battery with enough storage to meet the homeowner’s energy needs will ensure the desired outage coverage.

Because solar battery capacity needs differ, Go Solar Group offers three levels of battery backup. Depending on your needs, you can find the best battery to accommodate your expectations for the duration of power outages.

Battery Backup Options for Prolonged Power Outages

Go Solar Group offers three different battery backup options for homeowners with their needs and preferences in mind. The level one backup has portable features that make it easy to move. Level one has two options: the Yeti 1500, which will sustain power for half a day or the Yeti 3000, which can provide power for one or two days, depending on the wattage-per-hour rate of the essentials drawing power from it.

For longer power outages, we recommend our second-level battery backup. This level includes the Goal Zero Yeti Link and Tanks, providing an extra 1,250 watt-hours or 12 hours of energy storage drawn at 100 watts-per-hour.

The third option includes investing in a Tesla Powerwall. Tesla uses lithium-ion batteries, which have a higher energy density, allowing them to pack more electricity in less space. The Powerwall also contains a cooling-liquid to regulate temperature, which reduces overheating.

Emergency Battery Backup and Portable Solar

Power outages can happen at any time. However, because residential solar users still have to unplug from the grid to meet safety codes, portable solar options are a great way to go.

Our portable solar options include foldable solar panels, which means you can place them in the ideal spot and charge the battery during the day, prolonging battery life during an outage. Our emergency battery backup packages also aren’t stationary, like a home battery, making it easy to bring them on trips.

Using a Tesla Powerwall During an Outage

The best battery on the market for residential power outages is the Tesla Powerwall. This stationary battery is the most viable for homeowners looking to power their house for several days. For prolonged outages, it’s wise to determine your energy usage essentials or install more Powerwalls.

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