When most people install a solar electric system, it is connected to the utility grid, hence the name “grid-tied.”
Why does my power go out even when I have a grid-tied solar system?
This is because your are connected to the utility grid. When there’s a power outage, the power company often has to send out a maintenance team to fix the problem. If there is a live energy feed, this can be especially dangerous for the workers who are repairing power lines.
For most people, a power outage here and there isn’t too much of a concern. Just keep your refrigerator closed for couple hours and if you want to make sure that you can charge your iPad, get a JOOS Orange Portable Solar Charger.
Keep in mind, battery backup is for critical loads, so you really can’t blast the AC and leave the television running 24/7 in the aftermath of a natural disaster. In most cases, it will mean you can keep some lights on and a small refrigerator running. This combination of a grid-tied system with a backup battery supply for emergency situations is known as a hybrid solar system.
Though the idea of going off the grid is appealing, for most consumers it is not a practical investment. The additional equipment that is required for an off-grid system means that your overall system will cost more upfront and incur additional maintenance.
Off-grid solar systems require a battery bank to store the solar energy that is collected by the array. Without a battery bank to store energy, it’ll be lights out by sunset.
Since a battery can only hold a limited amount of energy, you can’t depend on the excess energy produced during the summer to be around for those cloudy winter days.
Off-grid batteries will most likely need replacing in about seven years if you’re using it correctly. If you are thinking of installing an off-grid solar system, please educate yourself so you have the know-how to maintain your system properly. We also ask that you please recycle your used batteries because they can be an environmental hazard.
If you’re thinking of purchasing a solar system and need help planning out the details, give us a call at (866) 798-4435.
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