What can I do to prepare for a utility power outage?

From winter storms to rolling blackouts, SunVault is a great way to keep the lights on when grid power goes out. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for an outage and get the most out of your system.

  • Prepare by selecting Reserve mode. Whenever you anticipate storms or blackouts, open the mySunPower app, tap the SUNVAULT tab, tap EDIT, and then tap SET UP RESERVE MODE. This ensures that your SunVault stays fully charged for the number of days you select, so that you have the maximum energy reserved going into an outage. When the outage occurs, you’ll be able to run appliances that are connected to your SunVault. Even with up to 26 kWh of backup power capacity, SunVault can’t run those appliances for extended periods of time.

  • Reduce by turning off large appliances and anything with a heating element. To help ensure that your backup power lasts as long as possible (until sunlight can recharge the system again), take a moment to think about which circuits you’ll actually need to use energy during an outage. If there’s anything you don’t need or aren’t using—turn it off. For context, a SunVault 13 kWh system might power your 60″ TV for about 3 days. But what about lights, water, the refrigerator, and the microwave oven—or charging an electric vehicle? All that wattage adds up. For a short outage it’s no problem. But if the outage lasts several days—or your solar panels are covered in snow or shade—you’ll drain backup power before you get a chance to recharge. So if it’s going be a while before your panels can recharge your batteries, conserve energy by powering down unnecessary appliances.

  • Stay aware by checking your mySunPower app or your SunVault LED panel. If WiFi communication is maintained during the outage, the HOME screen in the app will allow you to view real-time power use during the outage to help you see how much power you are using. From the SUNVAULT tab, you can track your state of charge (SOC—the SunVault power level). If communication is completely down due to internet or cellular infrastructure, please check the LED panel on the front of your larger SunVault enclosure to see the current SOC. The speed at which the LED lights move on the vertical bar is an indication of whether you are rapidly discharging the battery (fast sequence) or slowly discharging the battery (slow sequence).

  • Stay informed by signing up for your utility’s instant message service, if available. To gauge how long the outage may last, we recommend signing up for your local utility’s text messaging service, where available. This enables the utility to notify you in advance of any scheduled Public Safety Power Shutdown (PSPS). Typically, the utility will send you a text message at regular intervals indicating when they anticipate power to be restored. This information will help you prioritize how you use your SunVault during an outage. Please check with your utility for availability.

With these simple tips, you have the power to get the most out of your SunVault system and stay comfortable during the next grid outage. Be sure to check out more SunVault tips at www.sunpower.com/welcome-guide.

This short video also provides details about preparing for an outage: