Customer question: Why can't PV inverters work when the grid is down?

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    Curtis Community Moderator

    👍 Good Stuff!

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    Louise Bentley

    I read this topic with some concern as I too have the same expectation. For most of us in the US, we spent the $ on solar exactly so we could have power when/if the grid goes down. I contacted my Inverter support, and they assured me that my specific PV installation and components WOULD continue to operate if the grid should go down. I am now getting ready to do a grid-down test on it.

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    Greg Smith Community Moderator
    Early Adopter

    Louise Bentley that is the result of a bad salesperson. No PV inverter in the world can operate when the grid goes down without this extra equipment. Keep us posted on your test!

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    Louise Bentley

    Greg, thanks for your input. And sorry I meant to say I confirmed with my Inverter help desk. They said this when I asked them about this topic. 

    “As long as your Tigo transmitter is powered on a critical load backed up power source your pv should work when grid is down with our units.”

    I think what he means by “critical load backed up power source”, is batteries, and I do have batteries that are part of my whole home solar system.

    I did read specs that say my Inverter uses the: “Group 1 method of anti- islanding based on the definitions provided in the list below defined in Sand-8341, July 2018:
    Group 1: Frequency Shift with continuous positive frequency feedback.”

    whatever that means…..

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    Louise Bentley

    I completed the grid down test on my solar system. It was a beautiful thing to see! 
    Nice sunny day for it too!  It all continued working as I had hoped.  We have hybrid inverters, not sure if that was the difference, but the issues Greg was talking about above did not affect my system.

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    Greg Smith Community Moderator
    Early Adopter

    Congrats on your test! That hybrid inverter made all the difference. I should have asked more about your system, but I only read solar in your comment and assumed you have a regular solar inverter that will not operate on its own when the grid goes down. Your inverter is called a grid-forming inverter and, when paired with a battery, will create power when the grid is down. And you are so right- I was the only one in my neighborhood when the power went out last year, and it was a beautiful thing!

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