Here at Soltaro, we answer many questions about blackout protection. In particular if Solar Batteries are any good for load shedding.
With so many different brands of batteries it can be a little confusing. We want to talk through the essential facts about blackout protection, solar and how they function in a power outage or blackout situation.
A rolling blackout can be referred to by other names such as load shedding or rotating outage. It is an engineered power shutdown by the grid or power company over a set period. They will usually stagger the outage over localised areas in differing areas or regions over a period of days. Staging these blackouts are a response to extreme demand and not popular. Such measures are taken as a last resort to avoid total blackout when demand for electricity outstrips supply. They are also used as a response to extreme circumstances such as weather phenomenon. It is used in South Africa as a coping mechanism for an electricity network that struggles to cope with demand.
This seriously inconvenient method leaves many South Africans without power for many hours over a set period. Daily life and businesses are badly affected. Computers, lighting and refrigeration stop functioning and, in some cases, small businesses are forced to stop trading.
South Africa understands that their previous reliance on non-renewable energy sources is no longer viable. The need to seriously invest in renewable sources of energy is the only route to stop further major disruption.
Unlike load shedding or rolling blackouts, an electricity blackout is caused when there is a total loss of power. The balance of power generation and consumption must be balanced and when out if sync it can cause a power outage. In many cases this is caused through severe weather such as storms, lightning or floods. Even motoring incidents where an electricity pylon or pole are damaged can cause blackouts. Weather extremities, hot or cold, can negatively affect our electricity grid as can events such as bush fires, where public safety is a concern.
If grid tied with no battery, Solar Panels do not work in a blackout or load shedding situation. During an outage the power grid is thought of as a giant battery. When the ‘back up source’ of power is irregular ie; during a blackout. Your Solar PV system is unable to stabilise the supply of power. This could potentially damage your appliances or equipment. As such, your Solar inverter is set to protect from such damage and isolates itself from the network by shutting down.
If you pair your Solar PV with the right storage battery, then your Solar will continue to generate electricity during an outage. The inverter switches power from ‘grid’ to ‘battery’ it can regulate the power supply irradicating the instability that would usually cause a grid tied Solar system to shut down.
Yes, unlike standard grid connected solar inverters. Soltaro AIO2 has an Emergency Power Mode. This utilises your panels and batteries during a blackout to charge the battery during the day. At the same time, it can supply power to run your house day and night. Much depends on how much energy your house uses and how much capacity your batteries have. However, your AIO will continually operate during a blackout. Soltaro have a market leading power output for our Emergency Power Mode. Almost double that of other systems on the market meaning you can run more off your home and charge batteries faster.
Countries like South Africa have a real need for this type of renewable energy. Not only because of grid instability but also to counteract the seriously rising cost of electricity.
Regardless of the type of blackout you’re like to endure, solar plus battery storage provides the solution. Protecting yourself and your home power is crucial. Especially so for more vulnerable households or small businesses.
There are so many other reasons to look at battery storage other than blackout protection. Lower bills and supporting a more sustainable future through renewable energy sources are also a strong driver.
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