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Will My Solar Panels Work in a Blackout?



It’s a quiet evening and you’re sitting in the living room winding down from a full day when, all of a sudden, the lights go out. You flip the switch on the breaker and no luck, then look down the street and see all the lights are out down the block, too. It’s a blackout, and everyone in your neighborhood is without power until the grid is restored.

You might think having solar panels that power your home would exempt you from this problem. After all, you’re not fully reliant on the grid to get your electricity; it all comes from the sunlight hitting your solar panels. But during a blackout, depending on the solar system that you have installed, you might be left in the dark no matter what.

Do solar panels work in a blackout?

Most solar panels won’t work in a blackout. This isn’t because they are no longer capable of converting sunlight into electricity, but because of how most solar systems work. 

The majority of solar systems are grid-tied systems, meaning they’re still attached to the standard utility grid. This is so solar panel users can still receive electricity from their utility company if the solar panels fail to generate enough to meet demand and so they can sell excess solar energy to the utility company.

Most solar systems are connected to the grid via a solar inverter. This is a meter that measures and tracks the amount of energy generated and used by your home. Most solar inverters tie you to the grid, so if the grid shuts down during a blackout, your solar panels also stop generating and providing electricity to your home.

This is in part for the safety of repair workers, who need to know that busted electric lines are not carrying electricity from solar panels.

How to make sure solar panels work during a blackout

There are solar systems that aren’t beholden to the status of the electricity grid and which continue to operate even during a blackout.

A skyline silhouetted in front of a dark sky.

Solar panels and battery backups can help in a blackout, though only with specific equipment.

Lucas Knappe/EyeEm/Getty Image

The first option is an off-grid system, which does not require a solar inverter to connect you to the electric grid. Off-grid systems are often more expensive, in part because they can’t participate in some of the unique payment schemes that on-grid solar systems offer, like net-metering: selling solar energy back to the utility company in order to cover the cost of any additional electricity used. 

Off-grid systems also have one significant downside: There’s no backup plan if your solar panels fail or struggle to generate enough energy. On-grid systems simply take energy from the utility grid when needed. That means if your solar panels aren’t able to generate enough energy to meet the demand you’re creating, you just get your electricity the traditional way. Off-grid systems don’t have that option. So if they can’t generate enough electricity to meet your needs, you’re going to be in the dark.

Read more: CNET’s best solar companies for 2022

The second option to keep your power on during a blackout is solar battery systems, which allow you to store some of the electricity generated by your solar panels during the day and deploy it at a time when you need it most. Solar panels generate lots of energy during the middle of the day when the sun is high, but less during peak hours in the evening. A solar battery lets you stash that power and use it later, either to meet your needs during peak or even to take over completely when the power goes out.

A battery system does this by disconnecting your home from the grid at the moment of a blackout. This is called “islanding.” A few standalone inverters can do this without batteries, too.

Solar battery systems can be pricey, which is why many people opt not to use it. Much like the fully off-grid system, solar batteries are cost prohibitive and don’t benefit from the same pricing schemes that help mitigate the up-front cost that on-grid systems provide. But it’s a failsafe that will keep your power on when you need it. 

Solar panels are a great option for energy independence, freeing you from reliance on the fossil fuels that are typically used to generate the electricity that comes from the grid. But don’t assume that your home’s solar panels will keep your lights on. even during a blackout. You’ll need to invest in the right system to make that happen, and it can carry a significant financial burden to fully remove yourself from the grid.

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Overwatch 2 Beta Begins Tomorrow: Start Time and What to Expect



Overwatch 2 starts its second beta on Tuesday, June 28, for PC and console players. The beta begins at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT and runs through Monday, July 18. Sign-ups are still open for a chance to participate, and you can still get guaranteed access if you’re willing to spend some cash.  

The next beta will be our first look at Junker Queen, a new tank hero who first appeared in posters on the Junkertown map that was released in 2017. Fans have been hoping to play her ever since, and five years later, we’re finally getting the chance. The new beta also adds a new hybrid map, Paraiso. The developers have laid out their goals for the beta, which include testing server capacity and hero balance. 

Overwatch 2 is the sequel to Blizzard’s class-based shooter, featuring two teams of five players fighting over objectives. Overwatch devs announced in June that the game will be free to play and will launch in early access on Oct. 4. The first beta injected a frantic pace into the game, which was a welcome change from the slower, more grinding pacing that’s plagued Overwatch in recent years. The free-to-play PvP element will bring the game more in line with other competitive shooters, like Valorant and Apex Legends.

How to sign up for the Overwatch 2 beta

Anyone can sign up for Overwatch 2’s second beta, but it’s not technically an open beta. The game will add people gradually as it ramps up server capacity, and the first big wave of beta access will happen on July 5, according to the beta FAQ page. Even if you were in the previous beta, you’ll need to sign up again. 

Here’s how to sign up:

1. Go to the Overwatch 2 beta site.
2. In the top right corner, log in to your Blizzard Account.
3. At the bottom of the Overwatch 2 beta page, choose your platform (and region for PlayStation players).
4. Then hit Request Beta Access.

If you want guaranteed beta access on June 28, you can purchase the Watchpoint Pack ($40). In addition to beta access on day one, you’ll also get two legendary character skins, a unique player icon and enough digital currency to buy the first two battle passes.

How do I download the Overwatch 2 beta?

Blizzard hasn’t released details on downloading the second beta, but it should follow the same process as the first beta. Here’s how that worked:

1. Log in to your account and navigate to Overwatch on the game launcher.

2. In the bottom left, click the Game Version drop-down.

3. Select Overwatch 2 Tech Beta to install.

4. When the download is complete, hit the blue Play button to start.

Junker Queen spinning her axe

Junker Queen’s ultimate ability helps her close distance and end fights quickly.


Junker Queen abilities

The new beta finally gives fans a chance to play as Junker Queen, a hero we’ve all been excited about and/or thirsting over since she was first teased on the Junkertown map. Here’s what we know about Junker Queen’s abilities, from the Overwatch Twitter account:

New Hybrid Map: Paraiso

The beta also adds Paraiso, a new hybrid map that explores Lucio’s home, including the DJ’s Clube Sinestesia. As with all hybrid maps, players will start by attacking or defending a control point, and if the attackers succeed, players will spend the rest of the map attacking or defending a payload. 

An underground club with light-up floor

Clube Sinestesia is where support hero Lucio found fame as a DJ.


For more Overwatch 2 news, check out everything we learned from the Overwatch 2 reveal event.

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Icebergify: How To Create an Iceberg of Your Most Listened to Spotify Artists



Been on social media today? Seen those bizarre musical Icebergs floating around in your feed? You’re not alone. Screenshots like this have been doing the rounds today, particularly on Twitter. 

It’s all created via the magic of a website called Icebergify.

Using the data from your Spotify listening habits, Icebergify creates an Iceberg of your most listened to artists ranked by popularity. At the tip of the iceberg? Your favourite “mainstream” artists. Your Taylor Swifts, your Beyonces, your Drakes, etc. The further down you go, the more obscure it becomes. It looks a little like this…

If you want to see your own iceberg, you can head to the website directly. Be warned: it does require your Spotify log-in. 

The Icebergify website was developed by Akshay Raj, a freshman studying Computer & Data Science at Rice University. He says he has no plans to monetize the site or use the data collected — which is limited to your username, Spotify account ID and the top 50 tracks and artists listened to over the past few years. 

How does it work? It’s fairly simple. Icebergify takes your most listened to artists and sorts them according to popularity rankings. Streams, shares, saves, likes, and followers are all taken into account. This is why Beyonce might be at the top of your iceberg, but lesser known artists are at the bottom, beneath the ocean. Also worth noting: It seems like Icebergify is being flooded due to its surprising popularity. Head back later if it doesn’t immediately work.

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Apple’s First Mixed-Reality Headset May Sport New M2 Processor



Apple’s first mixed-reality headset could come with the company’s flagship M2 processor, just one of the “deluge” of new products the company is expected to unveil in the next year, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported Sunday.

The M2, unveiled in June, features redesigned central processing units and a significant memory increase, which would provide a significant boost to the much-rumored headset over the previous M1 chip.

The much-rumored headset incorporating both virtual and augmented reality environments is expected to provide a boon to the gaming industry. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said earlier week that the headset — expected to be announced in January 2023 — would be the most complicated product Apple has designed yet.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has been vocal about his excitement about AR. Earlier this week, he explained that the tech industry is still in the “very early innings” of this technology’s possibilities.

“I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities we’ve seen in this space, and sort of stay tuned and you’ll see what we have to offer,” Cook told China Daily.

Other products Gurman expects to debut in the next 12 months include four iPhone 14 models, three Apple Watch variations, several Macs with M2 and M3 chips, iPads, updated AirPods Pro earbuds, a fresh HomePod, and an upgraded Apple TV. 

Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Read moreApple AR, VR Headset Rumors: WWDC, Release Rumors, M1 Chip and More

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