How To Prepare For A Grid Disruption With Your Solar and Storage System

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Why preparation matters for solar and storage systems

Recently, Hawaii has faced above-average weather conditions, leading to inconveniences and power outages. Individuals with solar systems enjoy an advantage, experiencing uninterrupted living even during grid disruptions. However, it remains important to have a plan and prepare in case of anticipated power outages. During storms, solar panel production may decrease, requiring adjustments in daily habits as homes become fully dependent on the solar energy system. Planning ahead can make the transition to this new energy production smoother.

Understanding Your Solar and Storage System

  1. Overview of solar panels and how they function
    – Solar panels convert sunlight into electricity through photovoltaic cells.

  2. Importance of storage systems (batteries) in conjunction with solar
    – Storage systems store excess energy for backup during power outages caused by storms.

  3. Benefits of these systems during storms or power outages
    – They ensure continuity of energy supply when the grid fails.

Grid Disruption Preparation

  1. Activate Storm Mode:
    – Enable the storm mode feature on your solar and storage system to prepare for potential power surges or outages triggered by severe weather conditions. Brands like Tesla and Enphase offer settings such as Storm Watch (Tesla) and Storm Guard (Enphase), specifically designed for this purpose.
    – Enabling storm mode can automatically switch your batteries to full backup, ensuring they are ready for deployment during a storm. This feature receives alerts from national weather services, allowing your system to proactively brace itself for an imminent outage. However, please note that storm mode may not activate in situations like known power outages, such as rolling blackouts.

  2. Adjust Battery Reserve for Known Outages:
    – In instances where storm mode won’t activate, such as during planned power outages, it’s advisable to adjust your battery reserve. While the average reserve is typically set at 20-30%, we recommend temporarily switching to 50% reserve capacity.
    This adjustment prepares your system to provide extended backup power during planned outages. By increasing the reserve, you enhance your system’s resilience to address longer periods without grid power.

  3. Pre-Outage Battery Charge:
    – Upon receiving storm alerts or anticipating a known power outage (e.g., rolling blackouts), make it a priority to fully charge your system’s batteries. This proactive approach ensures maximum backup power availability in case of extended outages. Consider implementing energy-efficient practices even before the storm hits to optimize your battery’s capacity.
    – If your home has an EV Vehicle, you may want to make sure your vehicle is charged before the outage occurs.

Using Your System During an Outage

1. Optimal Battery Management:
– Proactively manage energy to avoid critical depletion during outages.
– Avoid restarting a low-charge battery during storms to prevent incomplete recharging.
– Monitor battery levels, prioritizing essential appliances.

2. Monitor Charge Levels:
– Keep an eye on battery charge during outages to prevent rapid energy loss.
– Prioritize appliance usage, considering reliance on the battery backup system.

Enphase:
– Important: Overnight monitoring prevents shutdown; maintain sufficient charge for full sunlight recharge.
– 10% charge disconnects from backup; 2% charge shuts down, restarting when charging source available.

Tesla:
– Powerwall below 10% enters standby, triggers app notification.
– During standby, attempt hourly solar recharging; if energy drops >2.5%, wait for the next hour to try again.

Standard vs. Non-essential Appliances:
During a solar-powered outage, prioritize essential appliances for normal use. Minimize or avoid non-essential devices to conserve power and extend the outage duration. This approach ensures crucial needs are met while optimizing energy usage.

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Post-Storm Recovery and System Evaluation

Monitor Your Production Through Your App:

  • Assess the impact of the storm on your solar and storage system by monitoring production through your app. Ensure consistent energy output compared to pre-storm levels.
  • Our monitoring team actively assesses each system, enabling quick troubleshooting if any issues arise.

If you have any further questions feel free to reach out to our team for help.
808-460-6015 or info@independentenergyhawaii.com

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Status: The program is capped at 50 megawatts (MW), as of right now we are at 6.2 MW.

  • Currently customers who are accepted into the program will receive $850 per kilowatt (kW).
  • After the first 15 MW is filled, the next 15 MW of committed capacity will receive $750 per kW.
  • After the next 15 MW is used the last 20 MW of committed capacity will receive $500 per kW.

Customers that are not currently enrolled in the company’s Net Energy Metering (NEM) Program will receive a fixed monthly bill credit for energy exported to the grid for three years. The credit is an amount equivalent to the respective retail rate for electricity exported during the two-hour period. After these three years are completed any underlying interconnection tariff export rates, if any, will apply.

Customers who wish to participate with an existing solar system and are presently enrolled in a customer energy program (such as Net Energy Metering, and Grid Supply or others) will continue to receive full benefits from these programs. Up to 5 kW of new panels may be added under existing programs. There is no limit on the size of an individual customer’s battery.

If you would like to add more than 5 kW of additional capacity of PV, it is possible as long as you still adhere to a 2:1 PV to battery output ratio. These apply to any interconnection tariff customers!

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