Last Friday a power cut affected nearly 1 million people in the UK. Trains ground to a halt across the country, and thousands of houses and businesses lost power. Most of us have been affected by power cuts at various times, and will continue to experience them from time to time. Power cuts are unpredictable, and disrupt our lives without any notice.
However, there is now a simple solution for both homes and businesses that can help you avoid the frustration and inconvenience a power cut causes: a battery!
Guess which house has a Battery in this blackout? [image courtesy vivivandeerlin]
How A Battery Can Help You in a Power Cut
Installing a battery is a good way to make sure you can power your house when the grid fails. Not all systems are the same, so this blog explains some of the most common ways to configure a battery storage system so that it becomes an emergency power system.
Take note that most solar systems automatically shut down if there is no power coming through the grid, so once a power cut occurs all electricity stops.
The Simplest Solution
This is to install an emergency standby socket that will only work when there is a power cut.
Power Diversion to a Standby Socket during a Power Cut
Pros: A low cost solution which does not affect your existing wiring.
Cons: In a power cut, you have to decide what to plug into the socket (and maybe find it in the dark).
The Automatic Solution
At the next level you can configure your system to let the battery power a sub-board that leads to specific circuits in your house. For example, the battery may be set up to keep your heating, lighting and your freezer on when there is a power cut. Special note – lots of people don’t realise that even gas central heating will not work without electricity!
Automatic Power Diversion to a Sub-Board powering Heat and Light during a Power Cut
Pros: When you get this installed you can choose which circuits in your house will automatically get power from the battery in the event of a power cut. The lights stay on.
Cons: A bit more cost initially as there is some special wiring to be done (but usually costs less than you expect).
Full House Mode
More sophisticated and larger systems can allow solar power to be generated even if the grid goes down. With an appropriately designed system, you can power your whole house through a power cut – you might not even notice there ever was a power cut!
An example of such a system is described in a previous blog here.