Often, homeowners dream of investing in solar panels so that they will have power anytime they want, even during an electric grid failure. In most cases, however, even when a home has a solar panel installation it is required by the National Electric Code, or NEC, to undergo a “rapid shutdown” if grid power goes out. There are ways around this, where the homeowner can keep the power on when the grid is down, though they come with their own caveats.
What Is Rapid Shutdown & Why Is It Needed?
All grid-tied solar panels are required by the NEC to have a rapid shutdown feature that automatically disables their power generation if the grid goes down. This is an essential safety feature since conventional power transportation infrastructure has safeguards to minimize the risk of electrocution to electrical line workers.
Rapid shutdown is needed for solar installations because if there is a power outage there will undoubtedly be workers servicing the components needed, and if the panels are still producing amperage and putting that back into the grid it can be deadly. This is why all microinverters are made to comply with rapid shutdown requirements, disconnecting their output from the grid.
Enphase IQ8 Microinverters Change The Game
Enphase has developed new microinverters, in their IQ8 series, which not only have rapid shutdown technology but also have state-of-the-art circuitry that allows the panels to create their own “microgrid” for your home. This allows the panels to fulfill their rapid shutdown grid requirements, while still producing power for your home, so your lights and devices stay on.
This technology is not without its potential drawbacks, however, and these drawbacks are largely related to how new the technology is. The primary drawback is that while you will enjoy the benefit of your home having its own microgrid in situations where the primary municipal grid is down,
Are There Other Ways To Have Power During Electric Grid Failure?
For homes that have already invested in solar energy, but may not have panels with advanced microgrid technology, there may still be a way to continue powering the home if the grid goes down. By working with experienced solar professionals, an existing solar system can benefit from added battery storage.
Augmenting a previously-installed solar power system with a solar battery, not only can the existing solar panels still be used to generate the power, but it can then be stored in a large battery with the capacity to run the devices and appliances in the home even when the grid and the panels have been shut down.
Generators Can Run Your Home During Grid Outages
Generators are another way that homeowners with solar panel installations can weather failures of the electric grid. While they aren’t as green of an energy solution as running your home purely from solar can be, they are also a much more robust way to power heavier loads in adverse conditions.
They can also help bridge the power gap if you have a solar battery storage system that simply doesn’t have the capacity to run your entire home for days on end, during an extended weather event, for example. Barrett Solar generally works with Generac propane and natural gas generators, which can provide power to your whole home in the event of a power grid outage and help keep your batteries charged.
Barrett Solar Can Help You Deal With Grid Failure
If you feel your home could benefit from increased energy independence, the experts at Barrett Solar can be an ideal local resource. Reach out for a quote today on how you can insulate your home from electric grid failure, and begin owning your own power consumption.