Jay Thomas

by NATiVE Solar Consultant Jay Thomas

Solar and electric vehicles are not new these days, and there are many reasons to consider switching away from traditional methods of powering our homes and transporting ourselves from A to B. One of those reasons has nothing to do with “saving the environment” OR “return on investment” (ROI), rather it has to do with personal energy security.

I was born after the gas crisis of the 70’s, but anyone who lived through it surely remembers the long lines at the pump and the uncertainty over not just fuel prices, but the ability to even obtain it.

Recently, after Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas Coast in 2017, fear and confusion spread through social media and created a run at the pumps right here in Austin, when local supply was just fine.

Whatever the reason may be, it’s good to know that you will be able to drive your car and not have to worry about fuel or being able to get gas at the pump in an emergency, and that’s where the Secure Power Supply comes in.

The Secure Power Supply is a spare electrical outlet, and a feature on newer versions of the SMA Sunny Boy line of residential grid-tied photovoltaic (solar) inverters.

What most people don’t realize is that without batteries, current regulations require a residential grid-tied solar array to shut down in the event of a power outage from the electric company.

However, if you happen to own an SMA inverter with the Secure Power Supply feature, you can access up to 2,000 watts of AC power, at up to 12 amps, as long as the sun is shining, and this feature works without any batteries.

While this feature will not power your home during an outage, it can run appliances during the day like your fridge, computer, cell phone, etc. and you can even get clever and charge batteries during the day (like uninterruptible power sources, or UPS backups) to maintain some basic leve of power at night as well.

Taking this one step further, if you have an electric car (any kind, it does not matter which, and this even applies to plug-in hybrids) you can even charge your electric car during the day.

This means that in the unlikely event of an extended power outage and/or gas shortage at the pumps, having an electric vehicle and solar on your roof with an SPS-enabled inverter from SMA means that you can drive indefinitely in this situation.

Sure the charging is much slower than a Level 2 or higher charging, it means that while others will be stuck in line at the pumps, you can be driving past them focused on more important tasks.

If you’d like more information on this feature or have any questions about solar for your own home, please contact Jay Thomas today for a free quote.

Here’s to making your own power!