How can I conserve energy during a power outage?

Power is the electrical load drawn by your appliances, lights, computers, and other plugged-in equipment. You decide what your power priorities are. You’re a solar energy producer after all, changing the way your home and our world is powered.

During a power outage, we recommend conserving energy by reducing your loads:

  • Prioritize the necessities: refrigeration, lighting, and communication hardware (such as internet routers and modems).

  • Turn off or reduce use of appliances or electronics with a heating element (such as induction cooktops, hairdryers, and toasters) for the duration of the utility power outage.

  • Turn off lights in unused rooms (it’s helpful to always do this anyway).

SunVault has a maximum power delivery level of approximately 7 kW instantaneously (this value may be substantially higher when the sun is shining). Should your immediate power requirements exceed this level, SunVault operation may suspend and require a reset in order to re-enter backup operation.

Additional things you should consider to help you prioritize your energy decisions and power use:

  • Base loads. Most homes consume between 300 and 700 W (0.3–0.7 kW) to power electrical equipment that runs continuously. These loads include such equipment as refrigerators, electronic equipment, and security systems. Check out your home’s base loads during times when your electric usage is minimal, perhaps late at night, while your household is asleep by tapping the ANALYZE tab and then tapping POWER in your mySunPower app. This will help you to gauge how much your home consumes while you are not actively using power. To reduce your base loads, consider energy efficiency upgrades such as LED lighting and home weatherization.

  • Lighting. Times have changed. Energy efficiency is the name of the game today, and light-emitting diode (LED) technology typically offers the lowest power requirements to serve your lighting needs. Most LED light bulbs draw just 4–10 W depending on their size and application. While these are relatively low energy users, we recommend still turning off the lights when you leave a room. You can use that energy later (or sell it back to the grid)!

  • Ovens, dryers, and dishwashers—Oh my! These appliances typically have a large power draw when in use. For example, an electric oven may consume 500 W (0.5 kW) during its heating cycle. Given that, we recommend not using these appliances during a utility grid outage. Use the microwave instead of your conventional oven when the utility is down and your home is running on stored energy from your SunVault.

  • Electric vehicles. As many of us transition to electric vehicles (EVs), our home energy needs change dramatically. Most EVs have 60–90 kWh batteries, which is many times larger than a typical residential energy storage system. In order to charge these large EV batteries in a timely manner, many drivers will opt to install a Level 2 (non-trickle) charger, which may draw 7–15 kW when charging. These are, by far, the largest loads in a typical home. Although Level 1 EV chargers may be backed up by your SunVault, due to the high-power draw, and in order to avoid overloading the system or depleting the batteries too quickly while on a charger schedule, Level 2 EV charging circuits may not be backed up by SunVault.