Battery to turn on panels during outage?

Gato

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Nov 3, 2021
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Newbie here in SoCal (SCE) in the process of adding solar to my house. Did not buy a battery and getting micro inverters so no SPS option. Wanted to eventually set up some kind of emergency system in case of an outage. Would it be possible to buy a stand alone battery (like Bluetti) that outputs AC and use it to trick my panels into thinking the grid is up so they would turn on?

I guess I could just use the Bluetti as a standalone system maybe with a small solar panel and directly connect any thing I want to keep running, but it’s capacity is very limited.

What is the easiest and cheapest option for emergency backup system?

Thanks!
 

MurphyGuy

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Your inverters probably won't run with the Bluetti, and if they do, the Bluetti will probably start smoking. Heck, judging from some of the things I've seen about Bluetti, it might start smoking on its own anyhow.

What you want to do is to purchase a battery inverter capable of AC Coupling and some batteries. SMA Sunny Island inverters can do it, as can Outback Radian and I believe Victron as well. The inverter will run on batteries and cause your solar to start making power. Excess energy from the solar will be used to charge the batteries.

That said, if you have natural gas, your best option is really a small generator that runs on the natural gas.
 

JWLV

One Million Dollars!
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If you are grid-tied, then there are no approved ways to run your house on solar when the grid is down.
Grid tied is just that, tied to the grid. If you went with a Powerwall, then that's a different story. Adding a Powerwall after installing a grid-tied system would be far more expensive than if you got the Powerwall in the beginning.
 

Ampster

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If you are grid-tied, then there are no approved ways to run your house on solar when the grid is down.
Grid tied is just that, tied to the grid.
To clarify, it is not whether you are grid tied but limited by the nature of Grid tied inverters. I am grid tied but have a hybrid inverter that is able to AC couple with my Grid Tied micros to run them when the grid is down. That is also what a Tesla Powerwall does. It is not a matter of turning on the panels, as thw OP asked, The panels are dumb DC devices that will produce power when the sun shines, They need an inverter to turn that DC energy into usable AC/
 

wattmatters

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That said, if you have natural gas, your best option is really a small generator that runs on the natural gas.
Generator
I thought California was introducing a prohibition on small ICE engines, including generators?

Would it be possible to buy a stand alone battery (like Bluetti) that outputs AC and use it to trick my panels into thinking the grid is up so they would turn on?
As other have said, this is a bad idea. For a number of reasons, small things like not burning down your house and killing people.

If you are grid-tied, then there are no approved ways to run your house on solar when the grid is down.
Yes there are, it just requires a battery system/inverter which can automatically isolate the home system from the grid and then via frequency control take over management of the solar PV system's output so as to keep the micro grid in balance.

Wanted to eventually set up some kind of emergency system in case of an outage.
Define what your actual emergency need is. What are you wanting to power? How often, how long, how much?

Without that being scoped it's not really possible to recommend something.
 

wattmatters

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And I am sure there will be massive legal battle to come.
Why? Seems a natural progression for improving air quality. Like banning smoking in indoor public venues or the removal of lead from petrol. Standards move on, same applies to emitters of particulates and other pollutants. Europe are banning the sale of new ICE vehicles from 2035.

Here there are legal cases against governments for failing to take such action.
 

Hedges

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What is the easiest and cheapest option for emergency backup system?

As people said, a generator.
Gas goes bad, diesel goes bad more slowly, propane is forever, natural gas (if piped to your house) is unlimited (unless you live in Texas).

It comes back to the first advice given to people here: Do a power audit.
After you decide what you want to power, and for how long, you can select a suitable system.

12V battery kept floating with AC charger?
UPS?
portable or standby generator?
Solar "generator"?
Battery/PV inverter system (possibly fed by your existing grid-tied PV)?

I did the last option, which is the most expensive. I put in GT PV almost 20 years ago, battery backup last year.
I was able to run the A/C during last summer's grid outages when there was a hot spell.
All depends on what you want, and how deep your wallet.

What brand/model micro inverters are you getting?
Some support integration with grid-forming battery inverters, some do not.
 

NPhil

Freezing in the dark non-enthusiast
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Apr 23, 2021
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Why? Seems a natural progression for improving air quality...
It's a reasonable speculation that there may be lawsuits, because, while it may seem reasonable to you and the governor of California, there are those of us who don't think it at all reasonable to ban small engines, for many reasons. BTW, I'm not sure it's reasonable to ask that "question" in this forum.
 
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