The Electricity Grid in Australia is temperamental at the best of times. Throw in a few bad storms and a falling tree or two and you might have yourself a blackout.
Your solar system won’t work in a blackout to keep the lights on but there is something that will, a Solar Battery with blackout protection.
If you are looking at getting a solar battery or you’ve got one and you’re not sure why the lights aren’t working while there’s a blackout, we are going to cover everything you need to know about solar batteries and blackout protection.
A solar battery in simple terms works by storing excess energy from your solar system. Without a solar battery the solar is consumed by your home first, the excess solar that isn’t consumed by the home is then sent to the grid and your electricity retailer will provide you with a credit or what’s known as a feed in tariff.
Once a battery is installed, in most cases, the home will consume the solar first and the excess power will then charge the battery. When the solar system isn’t generating as much as the home is using, which is usually at night, the battery system will supply the power it’s stored into the home – increasing your autonomy.
The solar panels on your roof don’t work in a blackout by law. The reason is simple – they don’t want anyone getting hurt. If someone is working on the lines the solar power going back into the grid could hurt the person working on the lines.
When the power goes out and you have a battery with blackout protection, there is nothing you need to do. The battery will recognise the grid has gone down, switch over to a blackout mode and start discharging. Each battery manufacturer has different switch over times, it’s normally a few seconds.
Each blackout protection with each battery is different when it comes to how much load it can handle. Some batteries may offer full home blackout protection up to 7kWs of discharge. While others may only offer protection of up to 2.5kWs on a select few circuits in the house.
We strongly recommend when speaking with the installer or retailer to understand how the battery works in a blackout, which circuits are most important to back up and how long the switch over time is.
No. Not all solar batteries have blackout protection. When speaking with your solar installer or retailer you need to check if the battery you are wanting to purchase has this functionality.
If your solar and battery system will allow your solar panels to work in a blackout, you can go days without the grid – weather depending. No sun will mean no solar.
If the battery will not allow your solar panels to work during blackout, how long you can last without the grid will depend on how much power is in the battery at the time the grid goes down. It will also depend on what circuits you have wired to the battery and how much power you are using.
We suggest backing up your wifi. We know it’s not as important these days with great mobile coverage but backing up your wifi will mean you will be able to monitor your battery current state of charge and how much power you are drawing.