If you’ve lived in Florida for a while, you know that sometimes it’s not the storm itself that makes your life miserable—it’s being out of power for days or even weeks afterwards.
Generators are a solution, but they are noisy, hard to manage for some folks, and run on expensive fuel which can be hard to come by in the aftermath of a storm (raise your hand if you’ve waited in those long lines at the pump).
Solar can be an elegant solution for hurricane preparation, and Enphase just made it easier with the roll-out of their new IQ8 micro inverters. Let’s take a look at the solar options for hurricane prep.
Solar and The Grid
Before we dive in, though, there are some things you need to know about how the grid and solar play together—it’s not as intuitive as you might think. In Florida, residential solar MUST be tied to the grid, and when there’s an outage, it must automatically disconnect from that grid. This is a safety mechanism to prevent your panels from backfeeding a line and causing injury or death to a line worker. Very important!
But what it means for you is that, unless you have storage for that power (i.e. batteries), you aren’t making power during an outage, even though your solar panels are sitting up there on your roof ready to do it. Batteries are expensive, and many people don’t want to invest in them. Hence, the problem—historically, solar panels without batteries attached couldn’t do anything for you when the grid was down.
Enphase Offers First and Only Non-Battery Solar Back Up For the Same Price As Your Regular Electric Bill
But… all that has changed! The new Enphase IQ8 micro inverters offer something called Sunlight Backup, which provides limited power during daylight hours even while the grid is down. Sunlight Backup will power essentials like lights, fans, your fridge, and your phones. It’s the first system in history to allow off-grid solar usage during an outage without having to have batteries attached, so it’s a pretty big deal.
How did Enphase do it? They basically took the controller that isolates you from the grid and moved it from their battery to the micro inverter. Now, that functionality exists on your roof, allowing you to safely use a portion of the power you generate during the day without putting line workers at risk. It’s truly revolutionary! But it is limited. You’ll need to identify four 20-amp circuits that will be run during the day. This won’t include high-draw appliances like your air conditioner or water heater. But you will be making clean, green, beautiful power that will help keep you connected and comfortable as long as your panels are producing. No other system in the world can do this!
The best part? You can have the solar panels with the Sunlight Backup functionality for the same cost of what you are currently paying the electric company for energy alone. Free backup, anyone? Having the IQ8s on your roof also means you are ready for plug-and-play if you do decide to add Enphase batteries at any point in the future.
Solar Batteries and Generators
If you want or need more backup, including if you want to run your central air conditioner and/or to have power at night, you can add batteries to your system. We install a variety of solar battery options so that you can remain comfortable in your home even during an extended outage. Solar battery options are comparable in price to installing a whole-home gas-powered generator with these added benefits:
- you never have to pay for fuel (your fuel is the sun)
- they last four times longer
- there’s a 26% tax credit on solar projects through 2023 (22% through 2024), making it 26% cheaper than the generator solution for most taxpayers
Already have a generator? Or maybe you just love them and want one? Believe it or not, we can incorporate a compatible AC home standby generator into your solar plus battery system for that extra boost when load is high. It’s automatic—no need to flip any switches. Your home will run smoothly on solar and the stored solar power from your batteries, with the generator kicking on only as needed.
To talk to one of our no-pressure solar consultants, contact us at 833-288-4786.