Californians Learning That Solar Panels Don’t Work in Blackouts

The title is clickbait but they are more reasonable in the copy.  From this article:

That’s because most panels are designed to supply power to the grid -- not directly to houses... So systems are tied into the grid, and the vast majority aren’t working this week as PG&E Corp. cuts power to much of Northern California to prevent wildfires. The only way for most solar panels to work during a blackout is pairing them with batteries.


My understanding is grid tied solar would happily power houses during blackouts but,

  • the grid tie watches the grid and pumps out the same specs (Hz, voltage) as the grid.  Reminds me a bit of how our charge controllers need to see battery voltage to know the nominal voltage of the bank

  • grid ties aren’t allowed to pump power into a dark section of grid to avoid electrocuting worker bees doing their job

  • a sensor that allowed the house to be taken off a dark grid could allow 120v/60Hz power to still be generated for the home.