I’ve been wondering for years what it would take to keep my grid-tied PV array up and functioning in a grid-down situation, and that question seems a little more urgent these days, though I don’t have any reason to believe the grid would actually be going down for any length of time any time soon.
My grid-tied PV array, like all legally set up arrays these days, will only stay functioning if it sees that the grid is still up and functioning because it has anti-islanding functionality built in. I’d be happy with a manual solution, but an automated solution would even be better. We have 2 electric vehicles with a combined total of 46kW of storage capacity but we don’t have a battery bank other than that. We have a 1000 watt inverter that we could attach to the accessory battery of our 2016 Nissan Leaf, which would allow us to plug in 2 extension cords and pull some power from both the 12 V accessory battery and the traction battery, which is 30kW.
This is a video on youtube that demonstrates a product branded as ‘Setec’ (never heard of them before, seem to be from China) that will pull electricity out of an electric vehicle and provide some minimal power for your house.
The Setec vehicle-to-load device is a product from China (so not sure what availability is right now) which will pull electricity out of a Nissan Leaf (in the US, model year 2013 or newer), Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV or Mitsubishi i-Miev with a CHAdeMO port, but it does nothing to keep the PV array up and happening. According to a website that seems to be associated with that product, the cost for that device is $4,000 USD, which seems to include shipping to the 48 states in the U.S.A.
My idea is that I would manually disconnect our home’s service panel from the grid in a grid-down situation, connect a small battery bank to our service panel that would fool the two 5000 watt inverters connected to our PV array into thinking that the grid was still up so the solar panels would still produce electricity when the sun was shining, and connect some sort of diversion load to dissipate any excess electricity that the electric cars couldn’t store and that the house wasn’t using. I don’t want to ruin my inverters, or burn down my house trying to do something that I obviously don’t know enough to do.
If anybody has any suggestions, I’d love to hear about them!