Installing a solar roofing system is a great way to save thousands on your electric bill. But savings aren’t the only benefit to installing a solar system: they can also come in handy in case of emergency. At Simply Solar, we’re proud to be the #1 solar installer in San Francisco and the greater Bay Area, so we’re here to explain how solar roofing can help you survive a power outage.

How Solar Panels Work During a Blackout

Solar roofing allows your home to generate power independent of the power grid. So at first blush, it seems like you should be immune to a blackout, right? Unfortunately, it’s a little more complicated than that.

Most solar power systems are called “grid-tied” systems, which means your solar panels and house are still connected to the electrical grid. This is necessary because most homeowners still need to supplement their solar panels with power purchased from the grid during the nighttime, and it also allows you to sell excess power back to the grid for energy credits.

However, a traditional grid-tied system means that if the power goes out, your solar panels stop working, as well. This happens for two reasons. First, your solar system is programmed to constantly adjust the voltage and current to keep your panels operating at maximum efficiency as the sun changes – but those electronics stop working during a power outage. Even more importantly, it’s critical that electrical lines are completely free of current during a power outage to ensure that any workers are safe. Connecting live solar panels to the grid during a blackout would send a current down the lines, potentially endangering workers.