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How to Avoid Grid Outages With Solar

Solar Power GridPower outages are on the rise thanks to frequent extreme weather, a growing population, and an aging infrastructure. In the last 15 years alone, outages increased six-fold, with June, July, and August experiencing the highest rate of outages. To top it all off, recent research discovered that one in three utility companies took more than a day to restore power to its customers, and one in ten took more than a week.

That’s a long time without power, especially when the thermometer reaches tropical temperatures.

But believe it or not, you can beat the heat this summer with the one thing causing you to sweat: the Sun.

How Solar Can Help Prevent Your Home From Losing Power

While it is true solar PV systems are tied into the grid, with the right equipment they can also operate independently and provide power in the event of a grid outage.

SMA America’s Inverter with Secure Power Supply

Rated in the top 10 green picks for 2014 by Building Green, the SMA America’s Sunny Boy TL-US inverter with the Secure Power Supply feature is an easy, cost-effective alternative to battery power and storage. During a daytime power outage, this inverter provides 1,500 watts of power to your home via an external outlet.

You won’t be able to power you whole house this way, but when operating at full capacity the inverter supplies enough power to charge several cellphones, run several fans, several small appliances, a laptop, or a home entertainment system. The inverter can even power a large, energy-efficient fridge, or more important, an air-conditioner.

Electricity produced from the inverter is dependent on the amount of solar insolation, and the output of the PV array fluctuates with available energy from the sun, meaning you may not always get 1,500 watts of power throughout the day. The inverter will also not work at night or if the weather or time of day does not permit enough solar insolation. Even when operating at full capacity, the Sunny Boy Inverter with Secure Power Supply cannot power an entire home and provides just enough power for small appliances or emergency services.

But it’s better than having no power than all, and it is possible to divide the solar arrays and use separate inverters. Each inverter would supply one outlet with a possible maximum output of 1,500 watts for more power. Then when the power goes out, or the zombie apocalypse happens, you can sit comfortably in your home.

Equipment failure caused the latest grid outage in Maryland earlier this year, causing cancelled classes at the University of Maryland, delayed trains at Union Station, and it stuck several people in elevators. While most students and staff probably enjoyed their day off from classes, no one likes being stuck in an elevator. That could be you, or you could be sitting in a boiling hot home waiting for the power to come on. Or worse, it could be the middle of winter with no heat and you have to pile under 10 blankets just to stay warm.

Don’t be that person. Try solar energy and be the envy of your neighbors when you have power and they don’t.