Tom and Mary don’t live on an actual island, but their home is just feet away from the Atlantic coast, lighthouse and all. And thanks to their decision to add clean backup power to their home, it’s now an independent “energy island,” collecting, storing and providing its own power.
Their beautifully-situated home on the New England coast has immense charm, but like many homes in the Northeast, it’s vulnerable to power outages. For years, high winds and winter storms would occasionally knock out grid power, leaving Tom and Mary’s home in the dark.
In 2017, they decided to go solar. But Tom and Mary knew that just getting grid-connected solar wouldn’t do anything to change their fate when the storms arrive.
“We always had two objectives: A fully automatic system that would route energy where needed without human involvement and a way to store solar energy for use during a power outage, avoiding the need for a noisy generator,” Tom said.
Because they didn’t want to add a loud, gas-guzzling backup generator to their soon-to-be-solar home, Tom and Mary decided on a Pika Energy Island and Harbor Smart Battery from Pika Energy. “More than anything, we needed a fail-safe in case of a power outage,” said Tom.
It didn’t take long for Tom and Mary’s newly-installed Energy Island to get its first test.
“Just four days after installation, the power went out for about two hours,” Tom said. “We were sitting having dinner. We did not know for a few moments that the grid was down and the battery was working – no flicker, nothing. It was pretty cool that it took a few minutes before we understood the bigger picture.”
The seamless backup power Tom and Mary experienced is thanks to the Pika Energy Island’s built-in detection of grid loss and automatic transfer of power to essential loads. And, because the system is so powerful, it covered so much of their electrical needs that they didn’t initially notice the loss of the electrical grid.
“During the outage we were able to test that the elements designated to be powered by the backup were indeed working, and they were,” said Tom. “We were able to monitor energy consumption during the outage, and adjust as we thought appropriate. This wasn’t just a good performance – it was 100% in terms of meeting our key objective.”
We were sitting having dinner. We did not know for a few moments that the grid was down and the battery was working – no flicker, nothing. This wasn’t just a good performance – it was 100% in terms of meeting our key objective.
Tom and Mary are excited to continue building on their solar-powered Energy Island home, expanding for their future needs. “As we monitor our energy consumption and generation we will probably shift away from more products requiring fossil fuels and toward products that can utilize solar-generated electricity,” they said. “We are already considering electric lawn tools, space heaters, and automobiles. Before long, we’ll probably be adding more solar panels and another battery for backup. With the system we’ve installed, we’ll be able to do that pretty easily.”