Battery backup systems can be a great option for people looking for insurance against power outages. Add solar panels into the mix to recharge your batteries and you could have the fix for the power outage blues. However, before you prescribe a battery backup system to cure your ills, it is vitally important that you have an accurate diagnosis of the problem you want to solve.
In many ways, solar power and battery backup represent a reliable form of protection against the unforeseen power outage. A battery backup system operates in much the same way as an uninterrupted power supply for your home computer. The electrical equipment and appliances on your backup won’t even flicker and you wouldn’t even have to reset your alarm clock.
This instantaneous switching means that, for some equipment, a battery backup can be superior to a generator based system which must start and warm up before switching on. Even with the best natural gas generator you would still be in the dark for a short time if an outage occurred.
The trick to making battery backup work starts with planning. Where will you put the equipment? An interior space in a garage is usually best and if it’s near your existing electrical panel that's even better because you may need to reroute some circuits.
Think about the things that you really need to energize during an emergency and how long you want to use them each day. Next think about how many days you want to have these items powered up even if it was raining outside and you aren’t getting much recharge from your solar panels. The more accurate you are with this process the more satisfied you will be with your system because you will be less likely to experience your batteries going dead prematurely.
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A secondary charging source can be an attractive option and can increase the performance of your system while reducing its overall cost. This option is called a “hybrid system” and usually involves the integration of some sort of generator. Having a generator as part of your backup system may allow you to reduce the overall size of the battery bank and solar array while actually increasing reliability. With a hybrid system, when your batteries get low you can simply start the generator and run it until the batteries charge. Some systems and generators can even make this process automatic.