No More Power Outages - How to Become Energy Independent

Updated: Mar 10, 2021



I want to write a few paragraphs in an effort to educate those still confused about why solar equipped homes could also loose power during a grid failure, aiming to put

an end to the growing misconception circling online and social media channels on this subject.


Nearly 4.5 million Texas residents suffered temporary power shutdowns amid winter storms castigating the Lone Star State in February 2021 — many of which belong to a growing number of homeowners that have already switched to solar and experienced their first blackout. A number of these solar owners were sadly caught by surprise when they found themselves without power along with the rest of the neighborhood. It can be frustrating to learn you have no power when the grid goes down and you thought you had backup power capability with your solar panels. So why does this happen? Please read on to learn more.


How Solar Works


The first thing we need to realize, is that solar panels do not retain and store energy. Solar panels are designed to convert sunlight absorbed in the form of photons, into raw electricity or direct current (DC), nothing else. Thus, Photovoltaic technology works only during daytime, not at night. The DC electricity produced during the day is then converted into alternate current (AC) through an inverter and then sent to the main electric panel for distribution and regular household use. Again, solar panels DO NOT store energy; nor does the inverter or the main panel. So, what happens when there's no sun or grid power? Continue reading...




Energy Grid


Let's take Texas as an example. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) operates the electric grid "carrying 90 percent of Texas' load" and like every other state, most homes in Texas are connected to the grid — if you're a Texas resident in an urban area, likely your home is too. Moreover, if you're currently connected to the grid, 99.99% of the time your solar system must be connected as well. The grid will serve as your backup power source, in case your solar array does not produce enough to cover your consumption in a given month. This process of energy accountability is called net-metering. Systems not connected to the grid are called "off-grid-solar-systems", and are rarely found in urban areas — but that's a different subject.


So, why do grid connected solar systems loose power during a grid shutdown if panels produce electricity during daytime? It's very simple... grid connected solar systems, will be shut down by utility companies to avoid potentially energizing the lines and put grid workers at risk — a home energy backup battery or energy storage platform will solve that problem.



Become Energy Independent


Regardless of the location, in order to become energy independent, any solar system requires battery storage to reduce or fully eliminate dependability from the utility company. Having said that, in order to safely eliminate the risk of a power outage, a grid connected home will have a net-metering setup combined with a battery or energy storage backup. You will enjoy the peace of mind of maximizing solar energy production, while still having the grid as a safety net in those rare occasions when you need more electricity than usual to cover your home's energy thirst. Homes with solar energy + storage will have the necessary equipment to power their homes during day time while still having enough electricity to service critical areas of the home during shutdowns or solar downtime.



Types of Inverters


There are basically three types of solar set ups you can choose from. String inverters, hybrid inverters and micro-inverters.


String Inverters


"Stringing" in the solar industry refers to connecting groups of individual modules together to from a string of solar arrays. A string solar inverter converts all of the DC electricity produced by the string of panels into the usable AC electricity you can safely use in your home. This technology has proven reliable and affordable for most residential projects and small-scale solar installations. String inverters are a suitable option for south facing uniform pitch roofs scenarios.


They're downfall is that shade on a single panel will affect the output of the entire string; they are unsuitable for system expansion if there was a need for additional modules, due to the fact that to get the best performance out of your string inverter, it needs to be operating near its maximum capacity and any additions would require swapping inverters or adding a whole system to the existing one. String inverters don't have a "pass-through power function" found on Hybrid inverters, which allows solar energy to flow to your battery or home circuits when there’s a grid disruption.

Moreover, string inverters have a shorter lifespan than its counterparts, thus the warranty is typically limited to 10 years with an optional 25 year extension.


Hybrid Inverters


Very much like a hybrid vehicle combines regular gas energy with lithium battery, hybrid solar inverters combine features of a standard solar inverter and a battery inverter into a single cheaper, smart energy routing and backup solution. Including a hybrid inverter and battery backup to your system will definitely cost more upfront than installing a solely grid-tied solution; however, this extra cost can be justified in areas where frequent power outages are expected or where the use of a battery for electricity rate arbitrage is feasible. Under more favorable utility net metering incentives and reliable grid situations, a simple traditional grid-tied solar system will cost much less upfront.



Micro-inverters


Then there's the smarter way to go if you definitely want the capability to scale up with more panels or an energy storage system without breaking the bank upfront.


The "Enphase Micro-inverters Solar and Storage" is our solution of choice if you want rapid shutdown requirements, have panels facing multiple orientations or you have shading issues. With Enphase Storage, you save money when the grid is up and have power when the grid is down. In addition, you can build up your Enphase solar system over time allowing you the flexibility to grow your energy production while adding more features and components as you need them.


The Plug and Play solution is an easy assemble that allows you to expand your solar arrays to match your home needs and design the right system size without overextending initial costs for future energy demand.



Enphase Storage is a smart internet based software, capable of updating itself automatically to the latest upgrades and features. You can easily track your energy production and usage through a beautifully designed app anywhere you go. Best of all, it comes with a standard 25 year factory warranty. The bottom line is that we can now design your solar system, so that your power is always on, regardless of weather conditions or electricity distribution issues.


There are many more advantages for choosing the Enphase Micro-inverters + Storage technology. Residential solar customers now have a choice to have peace of mind, control their power and the cost of electricity — a viable alternative to unpredictable electricity prices and abusive practices of utility companies. See if your home qualifies for a free solar installation.




MANOLO BARDEGUEZ - Welcome to my Blog. I hope the articles on this site inspire you and I encourage you to discover the benefits of going solar for yourself by clicking Go Solar. By clicking Join you can also learn how you can join our movement to connect the world to sustainable technologies and get paid handsomely by the fastest growing solar company in America. If you have any questions, contact me directly at ManoloBard@SunbrightNet.com or call me by clicking the phone icon above.


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