Solar systems are designed to push excess energy back into the power grid, so customers can receive credits for the electricity they don't use.
However, this can be an issue if the grid is down: if there are workers repairing it, wires that they think are shut off could become live and dangerous. There are two different ways to prevent this issue:
1. Automatic Shutdown
Most solar systems include an automatic shutdown mechanism that will turn the system off in the event of an outage. This includes systems with consumption battery configurations, where your battery is exclusively used for minimizing grid power usage.
The downside to this option is that you'll be without power during outages. However, if you already have a generator or portable battery like our Power Bank, you'll be able to weather the outage until the grid (and your system) are back up and running again.
2. Grid Transfer Switch and/or Batteries
It is possible to ensure your solar system keeps producing and providing power to your home during outages: a grid transfer switch. A grid transfer switch will disconnect your home from the grid, allowing your system to run autonomously.
Project Solar systems use Enphase equipment, and Enphase offers an integrated transfer switch with their System Controller that will allow your system to produce power for your home.
This process is called "Sunlight Backup", and doesn't include any solar batteries, but cannot provide power during the evenings, when your system isn't producing. Because there aren't any batteries, the energy cannot be stored, and needs to be utilized right away.
Additionally, Sunlight Backup can only provide power to a few outlets at a time, which means it isn't usually very cost effective.
Most customers interested in blackout protection choose to install an integrated backup battery instead, like the Tesla Powerwall 2 or Enphase IQ 5P. Our backup battery configurations include a System Controller, and can provide more reliable backup due to their ability to automatically store power for later use.
To learn more about Sunlight Backup or battery options, check out the following articles:
-What is Sunlight Backup?
-What Are My Battery Options with Project Solar?