What we learned during a cold spell (about hybrid-grid living)
In the last 48 hours, we went off grid (unplanned) at least 10-12 times. Only 3-5 of those outages lasted more than an hour. We were lucky to have our battery back up every time (except for the first outage in the wee hours - more about this below.)
During the first lengthy outage, we were asleep; so, we failed to turn off the electric heaters. In every outage after that one, we never spent another minute without electricity and we never had another time we needed to fire up the generator even during multi-hour outages - now that we know what to turn off when we're on battery.
Here is what we learned about the grid, solar energy, and battery packs in the last 48 hours:
Set up your system to alert you when the grid fails. We missed this in the wee hours of Thurs night/Fri morning. Our electricity went off for several hours while we slept, starting around 10pm Thurs intermittently and complete outage at midnight until 10am. We had electric heaters on, so the battery only lasted about 3 hours. The good news? The battery worked seamlessly! While we slept, we didn't even know we were off grid! If we had it setup to alert us, we could have turned off the electric heaters. Then we would have still slept nice and toasty under quilts and turn on the propane heater when we woke up...
Set up your generator to autostart. My husband had to go out in the cold on Friday morning to start it.
The grid may have extra capacity, but that doesn't keep trees from falling on lines. It doesn't keep old distribution equipment from failing. If you live on the extreme end of the grid's distribution system, you are fragile no matter how good the system is. (think of the twig at the very end of the longest, most stable branch of a tree.)
Same post on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ztownley/posts/10159758520759280