How Does a Generator or Battery Backup Work?

Battery Backup for residential solar

A generator or battery backup system works with a solar panel array to provide power when the solar panels are not producing enough electricity, such as during the night or on cloudy days. This is especially important in Florida, where hurricanes and other severe weather events can cause power outages.

Here’s a basic overview of how the system works:

  1. Solar Panels: The solar panels are installed on your roof or in your yard where they can get the most sunlight. They convert sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity.
  2. Inverter: The DC electricity from the solar panels is sent to an inverter, which converts it into alternating current (AC) electricity that can be used in your home.
  3. Battery Backup System: The AC electricity can be used immediately, or it can be stored in a battery backup system. This system stores excess power generated by the solar panels during the day and releases it when needed, such as during the night or during a power outage.
  4. Generator: In addition to the battery backup system, you might also have a generator. This can be powered by natural gas, propane, or diesel, and it can provide power when the solar panels and battery backup system are not producing enough electricity. This is especially useful during prolonged power outages.
  5. Grid Connection: In many cases, your solar panel system will be connected to the local power grid. This allows you to sell excess power back to the utility company (a process known as net metering), and it also provides a backup source of power if your solar panels, battery system, and generator are not producing enough electricity.
  6. Charge Controller: This device manages the power going into the battery bank from the solar array. It ensures that the batteries are not overcharged during the day, and that the power doesn’t run backwards to the solar panels at night.
  7. Switches and Breakers: These allow for the system to be safely disconnected for maintenance and repair. They also protect the system from power surges.

Local regulations and utility company policies can affect how you install and use a solar panel system and backup generator, so it’s important to check these before you start your project.