During a blackout, most solar panel systems will not work, and this can often present a significant challenge for homeowners who rely on solar power. However, this is not because the solar panels themselves are unable to convert the sun’s energy into electrical power. Instead, it’s because of the way that solar panels typically function within a larger electrical system. Here are some reasons why solar panels may not work in a blackout:
Most solar panel systems are grid-tied, which means they are connected to the larger electrical grid of a typical utility. When the power goes out, this grid shuts down as a safety precaution.
Solar panels require an inverter to be able to convert the DC energy that they produce into AC energy that can be used by typical household appliances. When the grid goes down, inverters are required to also shut down as a safety precaution.
Solar panels are designed to consistently produce electricity throughout the day when the sun is shining. At night, without the assistance of an energy storage system, the panels themselves are not able to store any of the electricity that they produce. This means that they are entirely dependent on the grid to provide power when the sun isn’t shining.
In summary, while solar panels are a great means of generating energy, they do not function without a supporting electrical grid. A solar panel system must be paired with a battery backup or similar energy storage system to provide power in the event of a blackout. Otherwise, homeowners with solar panels must rely on traditional electrical sources to power their homes during periods when the grid is down.