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Will My Solar Still Work in Cairns Power Outages?

Living in Cairns, QLD, we’re no strangers to the challenges of severe weather. From cyclones to tropical storms, power outages can be a frequent occurrence. If you rely on solar energy, you might wonder how your system will fare when the grid goes down. Let’s dive into what you need to know about solar panels and power outages, and how you can ensure a reliable power supply even in the worst weather.

Solar Panels and Power Outages: The Basics

In a nutshell, standard solar panels will not work during a power outage unless paired with a battery system. Here’s why:

  1. Grid-Tied Systems Shut Down for Safety: Most solar systems are connected to the grid, meaning they rely on grid power to function. During an outage, these systems automatically shut down to prevent backfeeding electricity, which could endanger utility workers repairing the lines.
  2. Battery Storage as a Solution: Installing a battery system can keep your home powered during an outage. Batteries store excess energy generated by your solar panels, which you can use when the grid is down. This setup gives you peace of mind, knowing you can still use essential appliances, keep the lights on, and maintain comfort for your family during a blackout.

And now’s the perfect time to give a huge shout out to Sonnen for their exceptional solar storage and battery solutions. We’re flooding the Cairns market with these top-notch solar batteries this year, just keeping up with the soaring demand. Keep your home powered and secure with Sonnen’s solar storage batteries, supplied and installed by myself and my team at Hielscher Electrical Cairns! 🔋🌞

Ask me how Sonnen are able to deliver quality batteries in Cairns at such affordable prices compared to Tesla and LG Batteries!

Brenton Hielscher,
Managing Director and Toolbox Author
Contact Hielscher Electrical and Solar now for a FREE onsite assessment and quote. Start saving today! 💰💡

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Backup Options for Power Outages

Apart from battery storage, there are a couple of other options to keep your home powered when the grid fails:

Generator Changeover Switch

If you already own a generator, consider installing a generator changeover switch. This device allows you to switch your power supply from the grid to the generator seamlessly, ensuring that you can run specific appliances during an outage. Here’s how it works:

  • Easy Integration: The switch connects your generator to your home’s electrical system, allowing you to power selected circuits.
  • Flexibility: You can choose which appliances or parts of your home to power, such as the fridge, lights, or medical equipment.

PV Point

Another innovative solution is the PV Point, a feature that allows a single appliance to draw power directly from your solar panels during the day (when the sun is shining). While it’s not a comprehensive solution, it’s perfect for keeping critical appliances like your fridge running. The PV Point typically supports up to a 3kW surge, enough for basic needs.

Insurance and Safety After Severe Weather

Cyclones and severe storms can significantly impact your solar system. It’s crucial to ensure your system’s safety and efficiency post-storm, and this is where your insurance comes into play.

Storm and General Insurance Claims

Following a severe weather event, insurers often send out licensed electricians to inspect and assess any damage to your solar system. This assessment can happen immediately after the storm or even up to two years later for events such as large hail or micro-bursts. Here’s why this is important:

  • Safety First: Licensed electricians will check for any damage or safety issues, ensuring your system is safe to use.
  • Professional Inspections: It’s safer to have professionals conduct these inspections rather than attempting to assess the damage yourself.
  • Hassle-Free Process: At Hielscher Electrical, we are more than happy to perform these inspections on behalf of your insurer, saving both you and your insurance company time and effort. Just be sure to get permission from your insurer first.


To sum up, while standard solar panels alone won’t keep your home powered during an outage, adding a battery system, a generator changeover switch, or a PV Point can provide much-needed backup. And remember, after severe weather, it’s always best to have a professional assessment of your system to ensure its safety and functionality.

Remember, if you’re considering any of these backup options or need an inspection post-storm, feel free to reach out to us at Hielscher Electrical. We’re here to help you stay powered, safe, and informed.

For more information on solar power solutions and backup options during outages, contact Hielscher Electrical today by clicking the link or call us on 07 4033 0521 to speak with one of our friendly staff. Let’s ensure your home is prepared for any weather that comes our way! 🔋🌞

Sources, Reference and Further Reading

For more insights into how solar panels work during power outages and the benefits of battery storage, check out my earlier post:

  1. Panasonic’s been a great resource for home solar systems in storms【​ (Panasonic USA)​
  2. EnergySage’s explanation of solar panel behavior’s pretty cool【​ (EnergySage)​
  3. Sunrun’s insights on the importance of battery storage matches my view and opinion【​ (Sunrun)​
  4. AustralianSolarQuotes.com.au’s pitched in a little on this one too 【​ (AustralianSolarQuotes.com.au)
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