If you have solar panels on your roof and the sun is shining, you might think you have power in your home even during a blackout. But that’s not how it usually works.
Oftentimes, a power outage is caused by a downed cable—maybe a car ran into an electrical pole, or a tree branch fell on a power line. If the power lines still have current, then the anything that comes in contact with those lines is in real danger. Curious kids, the neighbor’s dogs or the utility employees that come out to fix the problem could all be electrocuted. The electricity might start a fire, too. That’s why that when there’s a grid problem in your area, your power company shuts off the electricity as a safety precaution.
But if your home’s solar panels are generating power and attached to the grid, they are just as dangerous. The power coming from your solar energy system could hurt someone if it travels to a nearby downed line. That’s why your system is set to automatically shut down, too. Going without power might be frustrating, but it makes a lot of sense.
If you have a backup battery like the Enphase IQ, its electrical system will cut off your home’s connection the grid and start sending electricity to your home right away.
Watch a video demonstration of how the Enphase IQ8 Microinverter and Sunlight Backup work to help you avoid brownouts:
Avoiding a brownout
But just sending the solar energy from your rooftop to your home isn’t as simple as you might think. If the sun isn’t high enough, the sky is cloudy, there’s snow on your panels or you just don’t have a big enough system to power your whole home, there’s a good chance you’ll experience a brownout.
A brownout is when your home has some current, but not enough. For devices like incandescent lightbulbs, a brownout isn’t that big of a deal. They just run dimmer than usual. But for sensitive electronics, such as computers, audio equipment or HVACs, having the incorrect power running through the system can cause a lot of damage.
Keeping the lights on
Enphase’s Sunlight Backup system solves the challenges of shock hazards from downed power lines and brownouts from low power. This innovative system safely redirects the power of your solar panels away from the grid and into your home whenever there is an outage. It also regulates the power that is flowing into your home so that you can keep a few essential devices running while keeping the rest of your appliances safe.
When your local grid has an outage, the IQ system controller switches the way your home connects to the grid, ensuring that any current your solar energy system generates doesn’t pose any dangers for others.
At the same time, the IQ Load Controller adjusts the energy flowing into your home, sending it only to the devices you have selected as your essential load. The IQ8 Microinverter then manages the flow of power to help avoid brownout conditions if there’s not enough current to power everything. The Enphase app lets you control things when the sun is high any you might be able to add more appliances.
Of course, because an Enphase Sunlight Backup system has no battery, how much electricity you have in your home depends on how much power is generated by your solar panels. If the sun is down or it’s a very cloudy, rainy day, you may not have any power at all. But if the sun is shining, your Enphase Sunlight Backup system should be able to help with some of the essential things in your home.
It’s a great solution if you aren’t quite ready for an Enphase battery backup.
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