The Utility is Down and the Sun is Up – You’ve Got Power (Without Batteries)!

January, 2014


As previously discussed, there are now numerous options to have safe, secure power when the grid is down.  In the past, this was essentially considered an “all-or-none” option – either you had the grid with no solar or you had solar and batteries with no grid.


The solar world continues to evolve.  For many in the solar world, the big news over the last several years has been the lower cost of solar panels.  However, we’re also seeing a remarkable evolution in the technology that connects to the grid and provides power when the grid is down.  A remarkable example of this is SMA’s new residential inverter line.


The Sunny Boy TL-US line includes a Secure Power Supply that provides daytime power in case of grid outage.  The technology provides up to 1,500 watts through a circuit to a dedicated outlet adjacent to the inverter.  This allows relatively smaller loads to be powered during a power outage.


This is a great option for a homeowner who is connected to the grid that has periodic outages but doesn’t want the additional costs associated with a battery back-up array.  This grid-tied technology also operates at maximum efficiency, whereas batteries will typically decrease the system’s efficiency somewhat.


Another important feature that’s included in this inverter line is also demonstrated in other cutting-edge central inverters.  This is something called dual maximum power-point tracking (MPPT).  Why does this matter?  This allows increased production and additional design options for your solar array.  Because there are dual inputs into one inverter, there can be one part of the solar array on one roof and another part of the array on another roof with a different orientation – and they both produce at their maximum capacity without affecting the other.  In addition, the dual MPPT design also decreases shading effects on a solar array, allowing more use of your roof and maximizing your solar investment.