Blog Post

Floridians Prepare for Hurricanes with Reliable Backup Power

During Hurricanes Michael, Irma and Matthew back in 2016-2018, many customers in Florida went without power for a full week or more. In 2017, Hurricane Irma left at least 6.7 million Florida utility  customers, an alarming two-thirds of all customer accounts in Florida, without power. While Hurricane Michael impacted fewer utility customers, cutting power from just 1.7 million residents across six states, 80% of the customers who were still without power on day nine of the hurricane were in Florida. Some Floridians didn’t have power restored until nearly five weeks after Hurricane Michael struck.

Florida power outages by county during Hurricane Irma

Estimated power outages during Hurricane Michael

With a 45% chance of above-normal tropical activity and six major hurricanes predicted for the 2019 season, James, a longtime Floridian, didn’t want to take any risks. “We’ve regularly lost power for several days during large storms and for a week or more during a hurricane,” James explained. Rather than deal with the hassle of continually refueling a generator for backup power, which often involved waiting in long lines at gas stations or convenience stores, James and his family had historically chosen to stay with friends or at a hotel during extreme weather events.

This year, James wanted his family of five to be able to continue with their daily lives during a storm or hurricane, like his neighbors, who for the last several years have successfully relied on their home solar+storage system during prolonged outages. He sought a reliable, safe, and long-lasting backup power system that could keep his entire house running, regardless of how long the power grid was down.

James was referred by his neighbor to Kenneth Trent, an experienced solar+storage installer with Save on Solar. Kenneth recommended James install PV panels and SimpliPhi AccESS energy storage systems. “I’ve installed SimpliPhi AccESS systems with solar energy for many homeowners in Florida and I highly recommend them because they don’t pose any risk of thermal runaway or fire like many other lithium ion battery systems on the market,” Kenneth said. “Not only are they the safest battery systems available, they’re also the most reliable. I really appreciate that they come with a 10 year warranty and that they were deployed by the U.S. military in some of the harshest environments throughout the Middle East with a zero failure rate,” Kenneth elaborated.

The grid-tied solar+storage backup power system Kenneth installed for James and his family consists of 14.7 kW solar power and three turnkey SimpliPhi AccESS energy storage systems, featuring OutBack Power, for a total of 42 kWh of energy storage. Each AccESS comes with four safe, 98% efficient SimpliPhi lithium iron phosphate PHI Batteries and two OutBack charge controllers. All equipment is housed within a NEMA-3R outdoor-rated AccESS cabinet and is pre-wired and pre-programmed for ease of installation and use. James’ system also includes an OutBack MATE3 and access to OutBack’s Optics RE software platform for remote system control and monitoring.

This home-based microgrid system powers septic equipment, well pumps, two mobile air conditioning window units, fridges, freezers, lights, outlets, a garage door, and a closet full of audiovisual equipment such as a security system and internet routers.

Significantly, without energy storage, electricity  generated from James’ solar system would not be accessible during a power outage. Utilities require grid-tied solar systems without storage to be shutdown during an outage as a safety precaution, fearing that customer-sited solar generation may inadvertently backfeed to the grid while it is being repaired.

Because of this, battery storage is a critical component to maximizing the investment and use of solar systems during power outages.  Energy storage creates security and resilience during catastrophic events, providing power when the grid fails. But it also creates savings on a daily basis by offsetting ever-increasing utility rates, such as Time of Use and Peak Shaving, when the grid is operational.  Solar + storage keeps you secure during bad times and saves you money during the good times. We celebrate James and his family knowing they will be secure with back-up emergency power during catastrophic hurricanes and storms – and that they can also safeguard their future with cost savings on utility rates every other day of the year.

Although initially installed to provide safe, reliable and long-lasting backup power, James is indeed  using his solar+storage system on a daily basis to drastically reduce his electric bills. He simply uses the solar energy stored in the AccESS units when utility rates are higher to offset his daily electric bill.

Never again will James and his family have to inconvenience friends or spend money on a hotel stay during a prolonged storm or hurricane-related power outage. They’re now able to continue on with their day-to-day lives for as long as the grid remains unavailable, as well as save money year-round, thanks to reliable, safe and long-lasting SimpliPhi energy storage solutions and solar energy.