It is my understanding that when the grid goes down our newer solar PV panels will stop producing electricity. On one hand it makes sense because we don’t want people working on them to get electrocuted, but in the event of a prolonged power outage then what will we do?
Shown is a modified grain grinder running off of a 12 V panel to grind up some freshly roasted coffee beans. The coffee came out not too bad.
I suspect it is possible in the event of a collapse to disassemble those banks of panels remove them from being grid tied, and use them individually off grid to power at least some of our appliances.
Current panel prices are dropping to now under $100 for a 100 W panel. While it is very hard for someone like me on a fixed income to put out thousands of dollars for a PV roof, it is possible to buy a single panel from time to time throughout the year. And no you do not have to put up an expensive array on your roof, you can play with them in your yard off grid and use them to run many small appliances.
I have gathered about a dozen PV panels from various places, and while they are not tied into the grid I am finding that they are very usable. I use them to charge my 12 V lead acid batteries, to recharge my small but growing collection of old used lithium ion batteries, and can even use them directly to power 12 V and 24 V motors.
Below showing modified pasta maker running off a 12v motor and solar panel to make crispy crackers in solar oven. Need more salt…
Using panels direct you can Play with electrolysis, remove rust from old tools, make colloidal silver, in theory plate metals with other metals, and directly run fans, etc. I am working on making an evaporative cooler powered directly by solar panels which will use old computer fans as the air movers. This will include a small 12 V pump to trickle the water on to the cooler pads. It kind of makes sense to power a swamp cooler when the sun is shining, because that is generally when it is hot.