Grid-Tied Solar Systems Never Function Properly When The Grid Is Down


Grid tied inverter and solar panels

This may possibly be a surprise. But a common grid-tie solar energy method will not present energy for your household when the electric grid goes down.

I’ll bet that numerous thousands found this not too long ago when California’s energy utility decided to shut down the electrical grid due to wind/fire danger hazards. Whoops…

Grid-tied systems make up the vast majority of solar energy method installations. As opposed to off-grid.

What is a Grid-Tied Method?

In brief, solar panels are tied (plugged) into the electrical grid by way of a grid-tied inverter.

A method referred to as “net metering” will, in impact, roll your energy meter backwards as excess power from the panels feed into the grid.

When the household needs extra power than the solar panels can provide, you draw electrical energy from the grid as an alternative.

In essence you get credit from the energy organization as your grid-tied solar method dumps power into the grid. But then that credit flips the other way when your power demands exceed the panel’s output.

So what’s the issue with that? (you could ask)

The Trouble With Grid-Tied Systems

There’s not a issue for most people today, most of the time. Why? Due to the fact most people today set up this method with the expectation of saving some dollars more than the extended term. The net-metering billing method just performs behind the scenes and adjusts the month-to-month electric utility bill accordingly.

The Surprise

The issue arises when the electric grid goes down. Maybe storm harm or some other cause. The homeowner discovers that there’s no energy. Even even though there’s lots of solar panels on a sunny day.

It is a security challenge. Grid-tie inverters will switch out of the grid when the grid itself goes down. This is required for security motives so as not to injure a utility lineman with voltage back-feeding from your solar method into the grid whilst the grid itself is down.

Some Grid-Tied Inverters Have Courtesy Energy

With that mentioned, some grid-tie inverters may possibly have an attached outlet offering “some” restricted energy for use whilst the grid is down. For instance an extension cord could be plugged into it and energy routed to a chest freezer or other appliance, and so forth.

Of course the sun would have to be shining for this to perform.

Grid Tied AND Off-Grid Capability

The greatest of each worlds? An inverter developed for each grid-tie and battery storage power. You will get credit on the utility bill for power fed into the grid, whilst also getting power storage capability for grid-down scenarios.

The issue with this is the expense. It fees WAY extra to do this. Nevertheless it is in an choice. Battery bank. A lot more pricey inverter, interconnections and installation.

Off-Grid Circuits

This is not for absolutely everyone. But briefly, this is how I have my method installed…

I do have grid energy to my household. I’ve also installed a stand-alone off-grid method which I use on numerous circuits inside the household. I separate these circuits absolutely from the grid by way of transfer switches. Thankfully I have the information and encounter to have accomplished this myself (saved installation dollars). But I’m just placing the notion out there for anyone’s interest.

The battery storage bank is normally a pretty substantial expense. If you program on staying at your place for a substantial period of time, the extended term expense evaluation is much less painful. And in truth, it appears that today’s present Lithium battery technologies delivers affordable expense more than the life expectancy of the battery kind.

A sponsor right here is positioned in Denver. They make use of a number of distinctive battery technologies like Lithium Iron. I’m certain they would appreciate to answer any inquiries that you may possibly have. I do advocate them.


The Takeaway

In summary, I just wanted to get an short article out there which briefly describes the standard functionality of the pretty widespread grid-tied solar method. It performs terrific when the sun is shining. But not so considerably on cloudy days, and not at all throughout the evening. That is when you nevertheless need to have the grid. Furthermore, when the grid goes down, so will most grid-tied solar systems.

Continue reading: eight Benefits of Lithium Batteries for Off-Grid Storage

four Essentials of Off-Grid Solar


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