What Appliances Can a Solar Battery Run During a Power Outage?
Jul. 07, 2023
If you’re losing confidence in the electric grid and want a more reliable source of power, a home solar panel and battery system is a great option.
When paired with solar battery storage, solar panels can stay on during a power outage and provide backup power for your home. Once the sun goes down, stored energy in your battery can continue to provide power for your home during an outage.
But what appliances can be used with a solar battery, and how long will a solar battery last during an outage?
Solar Batteries Can Power Critical & Essential Loads
It’s possible to have enough solar energy storage capacity to back up your entire home, but installing that much storage is expensive and, in most cases, unnecessary. Instead, most homeowners choose to install enough backup power to run critical and/or essential loads.
Critical loads are those that can absolutely never be turned off. Life-sustaining medical equipment such as a ventilator is considered a critical load. Most critical loads can be powered by solar battery storage for long periods of time.
Essential loads are more subjective. An essential load can be anything that you consider essential to your family’s safety and comfort. Common examples of essential loads include:
- Wifi router
- A few outlets for charging phones
- Electric stove or microwave
The type and number of essential loads you have will determine how much solar battery backup power you need for an outage. A handful of small loads, like the ones listed above, can likely be powered with just one solar battery for your home, depending on the battery's power output. If you want to run larger appliances, such as an air conditioner, or back up your entire home, you will need several backup batteries.
Most solar batteries come with an app that allows you to control the flow of electricity from your battery. You can use your battery’s app to select the essential loads you want to keep on during a power outage.
How Long Will a Solar Battery Last During a Power Outage?
The amount of power a solar battery can hold is dependent on the size of the battery. Battery size is typically referred to as usable capacity, measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh).
Most solar batteries have a usable capacity of about 10 kWh, though there are batteries with higher usable capacities, which can power more loads for longer. Ten kWh is enough power to run the average refrigerator for about 14 hours, or a single LED lightbulb for about 1,000 hours.
Of course, you’ll probably want to power more than just one appliance or outlet during a power outage. You won’t be able to power your refrigerator for 14 hours on a solar battery if the battery is also being used to keep your lights on and charge your phone, for example. To get the most out of your battery, it’s best to stagger usage. For example, you may need to run your refrigerator consistently but can limit use of other electronics by only keeping your lights on or charging your phone for a few hours at a time.
In most cases, a fully charged battery will get you through the night by running the absolute essentials until the sun comes up and your solar panels can take over.
Solar Battery Installation in Massachusetts & Southern New Hampshire
Boston Solar can help you determine exactly how much battery backup you need to keep your essential loads running during a power outage. We install custom solar panel and battery storage systems that are designed around your specific needs. Our expert team has been empowering New England for more than 11 years and we are proud to be a leading local choice for solar panel installation in Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire.
Protect your home with a solar battery for power outages. Call 617-858-1645 or contact us to get a free quote.