Home, Business & Grid Resiliency


Inside this Article

Residential System: The Rectors’ passive-solar, energy-efficient home, with a 6.48 kW PV system and battery backup, weathers power outages with grace and comfort.
Residential System: A Conext XW6048 inverter and eight Rolls Surrette S-550 flooded lead-acid batteries provide more than 10 kWh of backup at 50% depth of discharge.
Residential System: The recently added 3.3 kW of PV capacity help charge the Rectors’ Chevy Volt for more sustainable transportation.
Commercial System: The Same Sun storefront with a 4.1 kW PV array awning.
Commercial System: The Pika X11400 Islanding Inverter with Pika/Panasonic Harbor Smart “Flex” lithium-ion batteries provide 11.4 kWh of usable backup.
Commercial System: The custom PV awning serves two functions: providing shade for the lower windows and generating energy.
Commercial System: The Pika Energy inverter display showing backup power being used during a grid outage.
Utility System: Aerial view of entire array.
Utility System: Here, 3.9 MWh of lithium-ion batteries provide load balancing and emergency backup for municipal services.
Utility System: The storage system is housed in a climate-controlled shipping container at the Chocksett Road substation.
Utility System: Critical services, like the police station and emergency dispatch, are backed up by the system, which can detach from the greater utility grid during outages.


By Justine Sanchez

According to Eaton’s Blackout Tracker—United States Annual Report 2017, the number of people affected by utility outages more than doubled from 2016 to 2017, from 17.9 to 36.7 million. The report details the causes of these blackouts—from large-scale disasters, such as hurricanes and wildfires, to much smaller incidents, involving bees, bears, and chickens. But no matter what the cause, the events illustrate the vulnerability of our grid to outages.

Impacts of power outages range from being inconvenient to life-threatening. Outages at home may result in dark nights, lost communications, and, depending on the climate, overheated occupants and spoiled food, or frigid rooms and frozen water pipes. For businesses, power loss can mean significant lost revenue, whether due to unsellable spoiled products or lack of operating phones and computers to process orders and shipping. Utility outages can jeopardize the operations of hospitals, schools, fire and police stations, and even water systems and wastewater treatment plants.

Having a PV system—whether that’s on a home or a business’s roof, or out in a field—doesn’t necessarily provide protection against losing power. The majority of PV systems are batteryless grid-tied that rely on utility power to operate. Grid-tied solar-electric systems are great for reducing utility bills and generating clean energy, but unless there are batteries integrated into the system, they will not be able to store solar energy for backup during utility outages—even during sunny weather.

These articles illustrate how battery-based PV systems for residential, commercial, and utility-scale markets are addressing resiliency for each of these sectors.


Comments (2)

solarKings's picture

What about Enphase Energy's upcoming IQ8 Ensemble? Microgrid with no batteries necessary. It will be revolutionary.

Greg Smith_0_0's picture

It's nice to see other companies take SMA's product ideas and implement them for disaster resiliency. The SMA Secure Power Supply was balked at by a few companies, but like every great idea, the scoffers come around.

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