Renewable. Sustainable. Natural. These are some of the words that come to mind when thinking about solar energy. Here’s a few more: Reliable. Independence. Resilient. Sound familiar? Though these words may not commonly be associated with solar energy, they should be! Energy resilience is an exceptional capability of solar energy that benefits you, your community and environment.
You may be thinking, “what exactly does that mean?”. I’ve got you covered! Let’s get into the meaning of energy resilience, how to attain it and why you should consider going solar.
What is Energy Resilience?
Energy resiliency refers to how quickly your home can restore power when the grid is down. Power outages are an example of a lack of energy resilience. They indicates your home is connected to an unreliable grid and has no resources to turn the power back on. Having resilient energy means your energy source can quickly adapt to the situation at hand and continue to power your home without the grid. Most people experience energy resiliency through generators – but generators on their own have unfavorable drawbacks.
Currently, there are increases in the frequency of extreme weather conditions (hurricanes, snowstorms, and wildfires), people working from home, and large population growth that affect the efficacy of aging grid structures. This means that the frequency and longevity of power outages will continue to increase.
Fuel-powered generators are a common backup option, considering they can run anywhere from 12 to 500 hours! But, leaving a generator to run for long periods of time is costly, and may require maintenance after a few days of consistent usage. It can also be very noisy, and will emit harmful gases such as carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, and hydrocarbons. This can affect the health and safety of your family and the environment.
This means that, though they are common, generators on their own can be harmful and disruptive. So, what other options are available to you?
Solar + Storage: Energy Resilience Made Clean
Solar + storage systems are one way to experience energy resilience without adding excess weight to the grid or the environment. To better understand energy resilience as a feature, let’s discuss the solar + storage system and how it compares to other solar systems you may already have or are considering.
There are 3 common residential solar systems you can decide to implement into your home:
- Hybrid (solar + storage)
Solar + Storage
Solar + storage is the most resilient option, as you are connected to the grid and can store solar energy for when it’s necessary. This system will require solar panels, a hybrid inverter, a battery, and a charge controller – unless you want to have an AC-coupled system, which is a little different. After the sun’s rays are absorbed by your solar panels, the direct current (DC) is regulated by the charge controller, which allocates energy to the battery or the hybrid inverter. The hybrid inverter works in conjunction with your solar panels and the grid to power your home during the day, through any conditions. The battery is the “storage” part of your Solar + storage system. So, when the grid is down, you can rely on energy stored in your battery (and sometimes, a generator) to keep your power running.
In an off-grid system, your solar panels are generating your power all the time. Because you won’t have the grid to rely on when the sun doesn’t shine, your system requires batteries (a lot of batteries), charge controllers and likely, a generator. A generator is necessary here to take some weight off your solar system and wallet. Though in a solar + storage system you may not need a generator, off-grid systems require lots of backup power due to the complete absence of the grid.
Finally, the grid-connected system. Simply put, your solar panels absorb DC electricity to be converted into AC electricity by your hybrid inverter, which helps power your home. Solar panels often produce more energy than can be consumed, so any excess energy can be sold back to the grid. This is also an option in solar + storage systems. Then, during the night or through cloudy conditions, the grid will supply your home’s energy.
There we have it! Energy resilience can be experienced best through the solar + storage option, as you have power from the grid in addition to battery storage when the grid is down. Depending on your location, any of these three systems would be optimal to power your home – but if you want a clean, resilient energy source, solar + storage is the way to go.
Why Does Energy Resilience through Solar Matter?
Energy resilience is an integral aspect of solar + storage capabilities. By making the switch to a solar + storage system, you’re providing yourself with independence and confidence in knowing that any external forces weighing on the grid won’t affect the power in your home.
Energy resilience through solar may simply be the ability of your power to bounce back when the grid is down. But you are also contributing to something much greater: a clean, sustainable future where we no longer have to rely on fossil fuels to power our homes, communities, and businesses.