The solution when the power grid goes on strike

Just under 11 minutes – 10.73 minutes to be precise – and thus 1.47 minutes less than in the same period of the previous year, we experienced supply interruptions in the power grid in Germany in 2020. This means that the outage time was lower than ever before. Still, for some, the power may go out in the most crucial minutes of the year. And the 10.73 minutes are, of course, only an average. Depending on the situation, it was significantly longer. But what can you do if the power is suddenly gone? The answer is PV and storage, connected via a so-called grid switch box or backup box.

What does grid switching mean, how does it work and when does it take effect?

A grid switch box or “backup” is a box that is located between the hybrid or battery inverters and the storage unit of the PV system. The electricity generated by the modules thus first reaches the grid switch box via the inverters and then the storage unit. On the other side of the box is the regular installation for the home and an output for the so-called emergency power supply. In the event of a fault in the distribution network operator’s network, this box now disconnects the grid network side. From this point on, the house is in stand-alone mode. This means that only the photovoltaic modules on the roof and the storage system in the basement supply electricity. Thus, a wide variety of consumers can continue to be operate using the provided output from the emergency power supply while darkness reigns in the neighborhood – and until mains power is available again. Depending on the type of box and the maximum throughput, energy consumers ranging from individual sockets to washing machines and stoves to wallbox car chargers can continue to be operated.

For a long time an underestimated luxury

Grid switch boxes have been around for a number of years. Initially, they were a rarely considered luxury item, as the cost of a PV system was already high – even without the box and a storage unit.  Thus, supply interruptions were accepted without question. However, times have changed, the world is becoming more technological and also more and more processes in the home only work when electricity is available. Today, a large proportion of newly built systems in the private sector in Germany are equipped with lithium storage and thus the market segment for grid switch boxes is significantly larger. We at IBC SOLAR have also recognized this and want to offer our customers the opportunity to obtain the right grid switch box for every application. Today, we have a variety of grid switch boxes in our portfolio for our popular inverter suppliers SMA and Fronius. Please have a look at our Online Store!

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