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Keep Your Lights On During Rolling Blackouts

Jessica PirroAugust 17, 20207040

Keep Your Lights On During Rolling Blackouts

They are here! Rolling Blackouts. If you live in California you know the pain. As Los Angeles residents have excessive heat warnings, they also have been warned that they can expect rolling blackouts in the next week to try to combat the energy shortage in the area.

One reason for the energy shortage is because a lot of places homeowners would go to escape the heat are closed due to the coronavirus. Malls, movie theaters, and indoor dining operations have been closed in most counties throughout the state, leading homeowners to stay home and run their air conditioners throughout the day.

California Governor, Gavin Newsom tweeted some suggestions to help conserve energy which includes; setting your air conditions to 78 degrees or more from the hours of 3-10 pm, turning off all unnecessary lights, and use major appliances during the cooler times of the day.

But there’s another way that homeowners can protect themselves from the rolling blackouts, by getting a residential solar panel installation with solar batteries.

Why Solar Panels?

The cool thing about solar panels is they let homeowners generate power without relying on utilities. Solar panels rely on the sun's rays to hit the solar cells and shake the electrons from their atoms. If the conductors are attached to both the positive and negative side of the cell, it will then form an electrical current. The electron is then going to flow through the circuit to then generate solar power.

Solar panels are made up of multiple solar cells. Solar panel installation is made of multiple solar panels that are wired together. When it comes to solar power, the more solar panels you use, the more solar power you can generate.

Photovoltaic solar panels are made up of multiple solar cells (as mentioned above). These solar cells are going to be made up of silicon, like semiconductors. They are then going to be constructed with two layers, one positive layer, and one negative layer. Together the positive and negative layers are going to create an electrical field.

The solar panels are going to generate energy is through direct current electricity. The DC electricity is going to allow electrons to flow in a single direction around a circuit. These electrons are going to flow from the negative side, through the object that they provide power for, back to the positive.

Then comes in alternating current (AC) electricity. The AC electricity is going to push and pull the electrons, periodically reversing the direction that the electrons are flowing. For the solar panels to generate solar power that is usable for homes in the United States, it needs to be paired with a solar inverter to invert the DC electricity to AC electricity.

Why Do You Need a Solar Inverter?

A solar inverter is vital to solar power systems because, without it, the solar power that the solar panels generate would simply be unusable. The solar inverter is not only going to invert the DC electricity to the AC electricity, but it will also provide the solar power system with ground fault protection and the system stats. This is going to include the voltage and current on AC and DC circuits, the energy production, and the maximum power point tracking.

To generate usable solar power and protect the solar power system, you will need a solar inverter, but to protect your home from rolling blackouts you will need to add solar batteries to your solar panel installation.

Why Do You Need Solar Batteries?

A lot of people opt out of adding solar batteries to their solar panel installation due to the added expense, but what most people don’t realize is a grid-tied solar power system won’t provide homeowners with solar power if the grid shuts off. Why? For safety reasons. With solar batteries, you aren’t going to need to go completely independent of the grid. You will have the option of getting a grid-tied solar power system with backup solar batteries.

A grid-tied solar power system with back up solar batteries can intentionally island, which allows the critical systems to continue operating while using the solar power that your solar panels generate to power your home.

The solar inverters behind-the-meter assets will immediately disconnect from the grid when the grid fails and then direct the distributed generation to provide solar power local electrical loads.

If/when the centralized grid shuts the power off, the ‘intentional islanding’ will be the most basic kind of resiliency. The solar power system will utilize solar power equipment that can remain operational in the absence of the grid or centralized control system.

The solar batteries will help a homeowner stay protected during a rolling blackout due to the solar batteries being wired independently of the grid. The solar batteries will store the excess solar power that your solar panels generate for later use.

When you install solar batteries alongside your solar power system, you can store the excess solar power at your home instead of sending it back to the grid. If your solar panels produce more solar power than your home needs, the excess solar power will be sent to the solar batteries to charge it. When your solar panels aren’t producing solar power, you can then draw solar power from the solar batteries to power your home. You will then only send electricity back to the grid when the solar batteries are fully charged, and then you will only need to draw electricity from the grid when your solar batteries have been drained of their power.

The solar batteries are going to be vital if you want to protect yourself from the rolling blackouts. You can use your solar inverter to intentionally island, disconnecting you from the grid, allowing you to keep powering your home, even if the grid is down.

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