How to Tell If You Need Whole-Home Solar Backup vs. Critical Load

At Solar Bear Tampa, we know that each home has different solar needs. That’s why our friendly team of solar experts is always on-hand, ready to help you decide what your best solar options are. Regardless of which kind of solar setup you decide to go with for your home, a big part of what makes your solar-powered home effective around the clock, night and day, is your solar backup system. But there’s a difference between whole-home solar backup and critical load. 

Having whole-home solar backup means that when the power grid goes down in the event of a blackout or a storm, your home’s power switches over to an inverter, which is fed by high-powered solar batteries. This switch will allow your home to remain powered as long as there is charge in the batteries. Sounds pretty good, right? Whole-home solar backup is certainly a powerful tool but depending on how large your home is (and how much energy you use on average), this option can get pretty expensive. 

The other option is critical load backup. In essence, critical load backup works the same way as whole-home backup does, only instead of using battery power to run every single electric thing in your home, with critical load backup, you choose which appliances to provide power to in case of a blackout, so that you don’t run down your battery power so quickly. (And so that you don’t have to purchase giant, expensive solar batteries capable of powering the entire home). For instance, most people choose to apply critical load backup to appliances like their refrigerator (so that they don’t have to worry about food going bad during an outage), lighting, any well pumps your home may use, or televisions and outlets for charging small devices. 

Typically, appliances that use large amounts of power are ovens, stoves, laundry machines, and for that reason, they’re not usually considered critical load appliances. If you do want to maintain power to any of those appliances during an outage, you’ll likely want to consider using whole-home backup rather than critical load backup, since they’ll require the same amount of power to run on critical load backup anyway. 

If you need further advising on whether whole-home backup or critical load is right for your home, call Solar Bear Tampa today!