This is a quote I received from my question about a large discrepancy between what my system monitoring application reported to me and what Mid American Energy reported to me.I would be very interested to know how you go about doing running off solar when power goes out without use of batteries. I have solar panels and was told I needed batteries (which are WAY too expensive) if I was setup "on the grid" and wanted to use the power they were generating when electricity went out.
"Any energy produced by the solar and consumed simultaneously does not reach the meter and is not recorded on your Mid American bill. The only energy recorded or shown your MidAm bill is excess energy produced that can not be consumed internally at the time it is produced."
This pretty well sums up how it works. If the sun is shining and you're producing electricity at the same time you're attempting to consume it, you will be able to power your devices straight off of your solar panels. I think the key is that you must be disconnected from the grid, via a transfer switch, or else you'll just be dumping your electricity production back out onto the grid, above and beyond what you can consume before it goes. Transfer switches usually go hand-in-hand with backup generators, but you can have one installed at any time, and it gives you the option to add a generator at a future date, or just have the ability to disconnect from the grid and run off of solar on sunny days.
On a smaller scale, I have built a solar collector to heat my kids treehouse. It has a port with a computer fan in it that's attached to a small solar panel. When the sun's out, the fan is running. No batteries and not connected to the grid. Exact same concept.
I'm no expert on this stuff, so please reach out to local solar companies, like One Source Solar out of Ankeny. They should be able to provide much more detail than I can.