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Do Solar Panel Systems Work During a Power Outage?

If the power grid in your part of Utah goes down, will your solar panel system follow suit? Or can you count on having electricity during blackouts?

The answer depends upon what type of solar power system you have installed. Go with a hybrid or off-grid photovoltaic array, and you won’t have to worry about power outages. If yours is a grid-tied, however, you’ll be left in the dark.

Hybrid and off-grid solar panel systems

Why Grid-Tied Solar Systems Shut Down During Blackouts

A grid-tied solar panel systems will provide you with a reliable source of electricity for use at night and on cloudy days. On sunny days, your photovoltaic array will fulfill your energy needs, then send any excess electricity it produces to the utility grid.

So, with grid-tied systems, electricity flows both ways – and this is why they go down anytime the utility grid does.

During a power outage, utility workers head out to work on the electrical lines and repair any other damage. If grid-tied solar systems were to send electricity through the lines at that point, someone could suffer a serious injury – or worse.

Hybrid Solar Systems Provide Power When the Grid Goes Down

If you want your photovoltaic array to continue producing electricity during power outages, you can pair the solar panels with a battery bank. This doesn’t mean giving up your grid connection, either.

With a hybrid solar system, you will always have power. At night and when the sun isn’t shining, you can rely on electricity from the utility company. If a blackout occurs, your batteries will kick in to supply the energy you need.

Hybrid systems can provide a few hours or a few days of electricity, depending upon their size and configuration. A professional photovoltaic contractor can design a hybrid solar energy system to meet your specific needs.

Power Outages Don’t Affect Off-Grid Solar Panel Systems

If you install an off-grid photovoltaic array, utility grid outages will be a problem of the past. You’ll have energy independence, and you can say goodbye to monthly electricity bills.

Sounds great, right? That’s what many Utah homeowners think, but off-grid solar systems do have a few potential drawbacks.

Going off-grid comes with a higher initial cost than installing a grid-tied or hybrid system. You’ll need more solar panels and a larger battery bank to have electricity around the clock. And even then, several days of cloudy weather could leave you without any power at all. Plus, if you decide to live off-grid, you may need to embrace energy efficiency – otherwise, to provide enough electricity, you’ll need to install an even larger photovoltaic array and battery bank.

Choosing a hybrid or off-grid solar panel system can put an end to your concerns about blackouts, but what’s the best way to power your Utah home? For expert advice and answers to your questions about going solar, turn to the professional photovoltaic contractors at PRVL Energy.

A trusted SunPower Elite dealer, PRVL Energy has the skill, knowledge and expertise to design a highly-efficient photovoltaic array that meets your energy needs and fits your budget. To schedule a complimentary solar panel system consultation, contact us today.

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