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Will Solar Panels Work During A Power Outage?

Solar power during power outage

Up until recently, the answer was no. Homeowners with solar panels had no access to electricity during a power outage.

The good news is, thanks to the introduction of hybrid battery technology that’s all about to change.

Let me explain…

Most Australians have grid-connected solar systems installed in their homes. That means their solar panels only work when the electricity network is functioning.

If there’s a power outage these homeowners will
still lose the lights, the fridge and other appliances

You have to scramble around in the dark like everyone else. You can’t wash your clothes, use the dishwasher and if you have medical equipment that needs electricity, it’s downright dangerous.

Thankfully, that’s all about to change!

Finally, Australian homeowners have a potentially cost-effective solar system to keep the lights on during a blackout…

The solution? Modern solar battery
systems like the Tesla Powerwall 2

Solar battery systems have come a long way in the past few years.

They used to be bulky, expensive and hard to maintain. So they were only worthwhile for people in isolated areas.

But now the newest models can economically store electricity generated by solar panels, so even if there’s a major weather event that knocks out the power for days, you don’t have to live by candlelight - or shower in cold water.

The Tesla Powerwall 2 is the undoubted market leader when it comes to giving you peace of mind during a blackout event

The system is legal and safe. It includes all the hardware you need to automatically supply power in the event of an outage.

And if necessary, multiple batteries may be installed together using a special mount. This arrangement can provide enough capacity to power the average Australian household for several days.

You will potentially never have to
worry about blackouts again

This is only the beginning!

Another advantage of the Tesla Powerwall 2 is that you can potentially save money on night time electricity too.

You see, up until now even if your solar panels produced twice as much power as you need during the day, you still had to pay for electricity when the sun went down. This was a rip off, especially for people living in sunny areas.

But the Tesla Powerwall 2 has double the capacity of the original Powerwall - 13.2kWh of usable energy storage. This is more than enough to power most homes through the night.

This benefit alone can reduce your bills by thousands of dollars every year -- enough to renovate your home, go on holidays, or maybe even upgrade your car.

Not only that, the Tesla Powerwall 2 is beautifully designed. It is streamlined, sleek and stylish. Plus, it is rated for indoor or outdoor use in the harsh Australian climate. There are no live wires or unsightly vents - and the lithium ion battery requires minimum maintenance.

You can even monitor your electricity usage from your iPhone or Android device!

How much money can the Tesla Powerwall 2 save you?

It depends…

Everyone’s situation is different and the amount of savings will depend on your actual individual circumstances.

However, case studies suggest that the Tesla Powerwall 2 can reduce your mains grid electricity bills by as much as 80% based on standard system installation in a capital city…

The upfront costs varies... but it is possible to get the system installed for as little as $35 a week on an interest free loan.

Plus, there’s whatever value you want to put on being able to power your home in a blackout.

Many Australian households are itching to buy solar batteries to escape the stranglehold of the traditional power companies.

If you would like to find out how to join them, contact us today.

The sooner you get a good battery system, the sooner you’ll start saving on electricity bills and improving energy efficiency.

​Click here to discover how much you can save with batteries now

32 comments so far

  • Wal 3 years ago

    In a "Grid connect" and "Solar" system, can you explain to me how current can travel from grid, and at same time current from solar can travel back to grid.....no one can explain in simple terms to moi.

  • Gina 3 years ago

    I have 6 panels and a Tesla battery installed recently. We just had a grid outage in the middle of the day yesterday, how come we had no power too? What am I missing? The system is working all right, battery gets charged and we use it at night. It was very sunny and not a freaking light bulb was on. I turned off everything from the outlet except for the fridge. Still no light.

  • Peter 4 years ago

    Hello. Is there financial help from the Federal Government to fund users initial costs? Peter

  • george amaro 4 years ago

    I currently have solar panels and get a rebate from energy Australia at 6c/kilowatt. I live in Pagewood Sydney 2035. Can you get a better deal for me?

  • Lance 4 years ago

    I still don't understand the practical reason why, when suffering a power outage through daylight hours, my solar (5 kw system) cannot operate to supply power to the house. Is it "fixed" to become inoperable for safety reasons or it an inherent result of the "smart meter" set up to ensure the power companies maximise profits (pay me 0.6 cents, charge me 0.30) I'm in a rural area so no alternative supplier.

  • Faye 5 years ago

    We have not been paying much for electricity since we put a 1.5kw solar in 2011 but in 2014 the electricity bill started creeping and at the end of 2015 our bill blew up to $800+ We did notice that after 2 black_outs the solar system registered Isolation fault. As 70 y.o. pensioners we are not savvy about such terminology and did not report the problem to Origin straight away. Perhaps it is our fault but I think service providers should send maintenance people to check on such installation at least once a year to assist us.Charge us a fee. How would we know? Who really cares about the environment? Do they expect us to climb the roof to check? And when we called, the answer was push this number, then another number, then wait in a queue, listen to music or ads, then wait again, then someone from India replies, until the right person cajoles us, tells us off for not reporting ASAP, and that there is no existing defect in what they installed, etc, etc in short, just pay the bill, someone will come to repair but prepare for hidden charges!

  • scott ryan 7 years ago

    First AU can go green within 20 years and the EU can go green the same way of even cars and trains like this. Well we can all go green and fast to.............With in 15 to 20 year. First would be doing this, then doing the bottom Idea and way. The carbon tax in Australia was stupid.....And more then like works the same in the EU. Australia made a big biz $5 billion dollar tax, and that tax paid for the public and the cost of carbon. The power companies only spent $80 million pa on green energy, and the tax money wasted. What's the point of making a $5 billion dollar tax, and only putting up $80 million dollars worth. That's like giving someone $5 billion and they hand you $80 million... A big w t f. You make a tax of $5 billion again, you own the solar plants and buy $5 billion worth pa every year. A takeover of the power market will be in the making. You can see the AU green within 20 years and can cut the cost of living. You charge $5 billion pa and will make billions pa to buy even more green energy tech. Within 17 years AU will be 100% green and you run the market saving the public 30+% = mass money. After 5 years the income would be big, so each year after the 7 year mark, the Gov would buy $8 - $9 billion dollars worth. Au would be green in around 15 years or so. You can do about 1 million houses cost about $5 billion dollars. You have to take into account old and poof people only use F all power. As some people need $10k systems, old people only need $2.500 systems / amount of green power. You must also remember each house doesn't need a solar powerbox meter that cost $1,000s. That means the solar panels will do each house for the $ they cost. So it works out and old will need much less and young will need much more.. The best part here is that millions of houses already have green power in AU. We would next be looking at an electric hot water and an oven scheme to cut the cost of living taking away another bill and connection fee. Gas cost more than power now, and will 2 fold once the Gov does this. We are talking about first home grants giving people Electric hot water and oven systems and cash. We are talking about getting the people to buy electric systems. We will cut the cost of power, get rid of a bill, and go green. The EU ans AU governments have know idea how to do the job right the first time. The EU can make cars green and car motors would be cheap 2 make 2. We would have 2 put strips under the center of the roads. It would work like a electric tooth brush. A electric tooth brush can be wet and turned on, but even if you touch it, nothing happens. Cars and trains can be powered by solar panels now. First the city's would be done. China needs to do that ASAP. Well a tooth bush charger and brush is water proof and is also eletric shock proof...Even if water is on it, It will still charge even if water is on it.....without zapping. I think its only when therm 2 make contact, that Here is a video showing how it works. 1:15 start at. At the end it says cars can be done 2. So here is a link that show's how it works. watch at 1:15min to the end. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmbdKZMyHXw A country with nuclear power could become very clean very fast 2. It would not take 3 years to make a electric motor for a car, it would take months. You would think it would take a year to lay it under the city roads first. So we can go green now and can even start making all cars and trains green. Also train tracks can be the power supply now, as it will not kill anyone away more. We can use 90% less metal now instead of having ugly metal cables and poles about the trains. AFTER YOU WATCH VIDEO LINK. If the phone company's are not doing it, a court can rule its a waist of money and technology so on, and a court can grant the tec to be used by another company. 2. People can't be killed if they touch it now. Its like having a trademark and your missing out on a market. A court will grant the tec to a different company if they are not using it or stalling it. Australia can 100% go green within 15 years. Trains can be made 10% green and so can cars. Clearly we would split the solar panels with wind turbines. Need power at night time 2....Summer time.

  • Rob gray 7 years ago

    Solar power is great I use it and a 2kva gen when travelling, can't wait to see the advances in hydrogen and I'm very disappointed aust isn't leading the way in energy technology, shame on short sighted politicians.

  • Steven Marcos 7 years ago

    How will you be using solar energy Kat in the dark if you are grid connected ? Most people in Australia use much more than a 5kw system (that is the biggest you can have with rebates. Wa gets 8c per kWh and are charged 23c so even if you don't use any power in daylight hrs you still are being ripped off.) Anyone using power mostly at night is not going to benefit greatly with a new system unless it is 1 for 1. After being in charge for faults and system problems for a Australian solar company over 3 years I see a lot of misleading information that should be checked more often.

  • Phillip 7 years ago

    I have a 4.56 kW system grid connect, and I was lucky enough to got it when they were offering .66 cents buy back. But for those of you that missed this let me put to you a simple question. If a 5kw system was installed to your house today and it's cost was say $5000, then it's a good investment. Let me explain. A 5kw system is more than enough for most of us, if you use it during the day. Let's say that your power bill is $200 a month as mine was, but because I have solar I no longer have to pay for my power then I am saving $200 per month, this adds up to $2400 per year. Now what bank will give you a return of $2400 on $5000 per year that's almost 50% interest. Even if you recoup only $100 per month that's still a return on investment of $1200 per year

  • john 7 years ago

    Reading the comments I see there are a lot of misconceptions. HOSPITALS, at least in my state, are required, by law, to have backup batteries with more than enough capacity to power the hospital until diesel generators can start up in case the grid fails. These must be tested for capacity weekly. What's wrong with keeping these batteries charged with solar energy? The fact that "grid-connect" solar panels turn off when the grid fails has nothing to do with safety although that might be a side benefit.. Before power-line workers touch anything, they disconnect it from everything. Solar panels generate Direct Current (DC). The grid is Alternating current (AC). "Grid-connect" inverters overcome this problem by simply connecting the solar panels one way during one half a cycle and the other way during the other half a cycle. They MUST have incoming power from the grid to synchronize themselves. They are, in fact, nothing more than synchronized switches. This often leads to voltage spikes that don't bother fridges or most of the switch mode power supplies in TVs or computers but I don't think fluro lights like them much. Since installing solar we tend to blow these 2 or 3 times more often.

  • John 7 years ago

    Reading the article I see that "grid-connect" is a different story to "grid-connect". I think the second reference should read "off-grid". "Off-grid" is much more expensive because you have to store energy and because it is more compicated. I do have a technical background. With a national grid with QLD, NSW, VIC and SA (and TAS) all interconnected, when it is sunny in Brisbane, SA users can use the power to heat their homes. When it is sunny in Adelaide, QLD users can power their air-conditioners. Even if we do retain full power production capabilities from fossil fuel, every joule of energy produced by solar power will reduce the amount of fossil fuel that needs to be shoveled into a furnace.

  • The Mus 7 years ago

    Installed a 3kw system 6 months ago. $4,400. Run the pool during daylight hours and have the hot water system on a timer, to run during the day only. Even though we only receive 8c back whilst paying 30c per kw, our bill is under $200. Not bad for a family of four.

  • Brenden 7 years ago

    As Power Outages are quite common in storm season I use a back up generator that for witch i have sockets wired to a isolation switch in the switch board so that when I am running on generator power i have flick a switch in the power-board to connect in to the generator to the house circuits, once this is done the system power is isolated from the street power line so no power from my side goes back up the lines to electrocute workers, but it also means my solar panels are active again assisting the powering of the house and causing less of a drain on the generator.

  • Eljay 7 years ago

    A bit more research should have been undertaken before writing this article, while the basics are reasonable you have to look at what is currently under development as well, for example it is expected that battery costs will halve within the next 2 years, one of the options is the Tesla 85Kwh battery that will not only power your house for 3 days but will also fuel your EV for around 800 Klms, it takes around 4 hours to charge from Solar (free fuel) but can be fully charged from a industrial recharge station in about 10 Minutes and there is also Hydrogen fuel cells to be considered, new developments here mean you will soon be able to produce your own Hydrogen at home, fueling both your car and your home electricity generator, this technology may well put an end to solar, the advantage being that the Hydrogen is produced from water which is available to everyone, the technology has been around since 1941 but has never been deployed. The bottom line for solar or whatever renewable one chooses to go with is that for the majority it's not about saving the planet, it's about lowering the cost of energy, nobody has considered that these savings will then be spent elsewhere within the community, and keep in mind that the majority have no issue with baseload power being produced by utility companies but in fact see a future for clean Nuclear, what most people really want is affordable energy. There is no future for coal, while it is a must right now the new clean coal generators need to burn 33% more coal for the same power generation and economically will never pay for themselves resulting in even higher power bills. What we need is better planning that gives a good deal to everyone not just maintains profits for old dinosaurs that need to be buried along with their old ideologies.

  • Bruce 7 years ago

    I have used solar power since 1975 - cost a mint for a 25 watt panel. The past 25 years used solar continually; 10 years on a boat - batteries only, and 15 years travelling using an inverter for 240V. . The 'travel' system is now used domestically. An electrical background and understanding power usage is a benefit in prolonging battery life; the secret is keeping the voltage up and NEVER leaving the batteries in a less than full charge for long. Always get at least 8 years out of sealed lead acid batteries. I run a 3kw continuous -9kw short load for motor starting which has a 70 amp charger; 10 panels totalling 800 watts, age from 1996 to 2010. This system is isolated from the main grid but used in daylight hours for kettle, toaster, griller, TV, electric chainsaw, 2 HP chipper, all power tools ...Costs; last panel 120 watts, $92.00 delivered (ebay); Kipoint pure sinewave inerter 3000/9000 watts $465 delivered to mid Queensland, batteries 3 x 120 Ahr AGM $275 ea ... last grid power bill $176.

  • Ray Morgan 7 years ago

    @JM Brookes -- Nobody is suggesting that hospitals ever rely on Solar PV as a sole source of power today. Seriously, absolutely nobody. Having said that, as battery technology improves it more than likely will happen one day - as for your paranoid fears of what happens when dusk comes along and there is no wind, and the batteries are flat, that's where the diesel generator kicks in. Sound far-fetched? Go to a remote farm in Outback NSW or QLD. They're already using this type of setup and have been for years.

  • Alex 7 years ago

    Louise you hit the nail on the head. The eastern sea board of Australia has the longest interconnected grid network in the world stretching over 5,000 km. stretching from Port Douglas in Queensland to Port Lincoln in South Australia and across to good old Tassy. The grids were never originally designed to be connected together and most of the networks are aging and requiring expensive upgrades. The scale of take up of PV grid connect solar has seen many transformers on the network reaching saturation causing voltage rises, in some cases to a point where the grid connected inverters are shutting down due to over voltage. Yep the biggest charge on most power bills is the cost of transmission. The length of the grid network makes it vulnerable. There have been numerous cascading blackout around the world since the US’s blackout in 2003 when a tree struck a power line in Ohio and safety breaker operated too slowly. . Shame, Shame, Shame on this government for scrapping the carbon tax and the mining tax. Future Australians can look forward to escalating fuel costs, climate change and a land raped of minerals.

  • RJ 7 years ago

    The cost of batteries for a stand-alone, grid-connect solar power system are not expensive when the economics are done thoroughly. However, the cost of a suitable inverter to take advantage of batteries these days can be quite high. Our inverter originally cost $7,500. The latest equivalent is about $9,000. We have one of the first solar power systems installed in Australia in 2001. It cost (then) $33,000, of which $4,500 were for batteries ... somewhat less than 14% of the total. In that time period, we have had essentially free electricity and the rebates for the sale of the excess has paid for our rates, both water and land. Best of all, when the grid starts to fail on those super-hot summer days, we still keep cool, do the washing, cooking and so on, without interruption, by running on battery (for up to three days). The manufacturer-guaranteed battery life of our system is fifteen years, so they don't need replacing often, at all.

  • JM Brookes 7 years ago

    Interesting to see who would book their kids or themselves into a hospital for major surgery if that facility had no grid connection and depended on solar or wind power. Guess all operations would stop at dusk unless the wind was blowing at the right speed. How many solar panels would industry need to fire up electric blast furnaces without a base load power source ?

  • Glendon 7 years ago

    Hello Folks, My wife and I have 5Kw grid connect solar system to off set the increase in our elelctricity usage. We also live in the middle of a North Queensland city. I also have 2Kw of panels and strorage that i use to run my salt water pool. It has been a win for our household that we are adding storage and panels to be able to operate our A/C units in our loungeroom and bedroom. It wont be long before the electrical entities are charging a line rental to all customers similar to Telstra and the City Councils for water. As the the electricty charges increase i will look to the inverter on the grid connect and run this back to storage and get off the grid.

  • john g 7 years ago

    1. our grid is reliable because it relies on fossil fuels 2. disregarding the billions of dollars wasted in solar and wind installations, the power companies still need to maintain 100% fossil fuel capacity in order to maintain a reliable supply. 3. therefore convincing people to install solar panels on their house on the promise that they get paid triple when they discharge to the grid is a total rort and cheating on everybody else. 4. isn't it interesting that 'renewable power' is mostly supported by people with no technical background and no technical understanding, including lots of housewives?

  • What I hate 7 years ago

    I hate the smart meters .. Before SM , your solar panel fed your house first , well in the sense that if you produced more energy than you used , it turned your meter backwards .. ( Wasn't that nice ) Now with smart meters the meter does not turn back but rather measures current in and current out .. So you pay so much for current in and a get payed a fraction of that for current out . So smart meters effectively RIP the consumer off something serious .. With the old meters , you literally offset use by having solar panels .. But obviously the electric companies didn't like that . Neither did the Government for some reason . So is it Government by the people for the companies now ? Or is it Government by the people for Rich People ? Either way , some where along the way Government has broken down , it no longer works as it should .. Perhaps its time for average joe six pack to vote out the Labour and Liberal parties as neither seems to be working for the average Australian any longer ... Perhaps we need a completely new political system where politicians can be held accountable for their actions , just like everyone else in society .

  • Sandra 7 years ago

    In South Australia, we very few blackouts (aka that ugly USA non- word 'outage') due to the high level of solar installations. So while it is not possible to be the only house in the street with power by installing solar, you are more likely to be one of all the houses in your street who have power 24/7/365.

  • Finance 7 years ago

    Robert William Long, Long loans took my application fees for $4950.00 and do not hear from him. I lost my application fees with Robert and deposit for the house. Reported to Fairtrading and ASIC, they can not do anything. He operates in Sydney and Melbourne. His Web adress is www.longloans.com.au and can be contacted on 0451028896

  • David W-S 7 years ago

    I don't think you explained why. This is the explanation of why the solar cells disconnect when the mains power goes off. Mains power is alternating current (AC). The inverter supplied with the solar cells transforms the direct current (DC) from the solar cells to AC. That is why it is called an inverter. When your inverter starts up it has to synchronize with the mains AC. If it connected directly, the inverter AC could be 180 degrees out of phase with the mains AC. This would effectively be a dead short circuit on the mains power. This would result in a loud explosion and your inverter would go up in smoke. The inverter has to synchronize the DC from the solar cells before it connects the solar power to the mains. If the mains power goes off the inverter must immediately disconnect the solar power so that it is definitely off before the mains power comes back on. The inverter can only adjust the phase of its own output, it has no control over the phase of the mains power. This is basic electrotechnology.

  • DJ 7 years ago

    If your batteries are lead acid type, you will need to replace therm every 4 years or so (just like in your car). The inverter, every 5 - 10 years depending on the quality of the unit you bought. The panels, every 10 - 20 years depending on the quality, maintenance carried out, number of cockatoos chewing on parts of them etc. They can also have a detrimental effect on your roof stucture, depending on type of roof & how & with what it was constructed (installers tend to be sparkies not carpenters/builders). I have also seen frame mounted versions on rooftops (to increase the northerly & westerly aspects) which in a storm have the potential to act as a sail, adding extra roof loading. It is much easier to maintain if it is ground mounted (but most would not have either the room or enough unshaded area). This is not to say they are not viable, its just that many only mention the original outlay of such systems & as anyone who owns a car can tell you, thats not the end of the story. If you intend to be off-grid, then get yourself a backup gen set (& test run it every month or so) as well, because while the normal power company will be there to sort out a supply problem in short order at no cost, a suitable replacement inverter can take weeks to obtain, especially in rural areas & you will be paying the bill for the diagnosing & replacing.

  • Jake2701 7 years ago

    Moderate household without special energy saving measures have average consumption around 800W-1000W. At average 6.5 hours full sunlight (Melbourne) 5kW-7kW panels should supply enough energy to supply 24hr needs. 200AH 300V bank of batteries should give reserve for span of 10 cloudy days. Batteries, if you buy them at right place will cost you $3000. Off grid 30kW converter $1500 (you can have power to run air-con, stove and 200A welder), solar panels at $ 0.50/W another $2500. So, for less then $10,000 you can be off-grid, system will re-pay itself in less then 4 years, and you don't have to worry about black-outs.

  • Mark 7 years ago

    Hi, Actually the reason that grid-connect users have no power during a blackout is so that they do not electrocute line workers. All grid-connect inverters must by law shut down during a black out. Cheers Mark

  • Peter Brett 7 years ago

    Re your paragraph: "Off-grid solar – a solution in blackouts? If you have a grid-connect system, it’s a different story. " Do you mean "Grid-connect & off-grid" or what? If your home can separate form the grid and run independently you're in good shape. BUT you need batteries and they are expensive (not "may be").

  • Ross 7 years ago

    Hi Kat, Unfortunately, under the heading of Off-Grid Solar, the first sentence reads 'If you have a grid-connect system...' I'd also like to see more about storage options for off-grid systems, there are choices other batteries. I agree with you on most of the battery issues but with recycling of lead acid batteries at nearly 97% they are not too unkind on the environment and surely someone is developing better alternatives. Regards, Ross

  • Louise 7 years ago

    Power outages may be rare, but disconnections for network maintenance are very common - we have had about five 6-hour stints without power this year. Being able to use the electricity generated from our solar cells would have been very useful! The silly regulations that created the 'gold-plated' grid have many ramifications, not just the 51% of our electricity bills that are levied to cover the cost of the often unnecessary 'upgrades'. The Senate Inquiry into electricity prices even mentioned a $30 million substation that was not even connected to the grid because it wasn't needed! It's a real shame our pollies couldn't have addressed the real problems, instead of making scapegoats of renewable energy and the carbon tax.

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