If you want to learn how to survive the next BIG power outage or how to never be left without power again, I will show what you need to protect your power and keep the lights on.
As heat waves across the nation put incredible stress on the electric grid, homeowners everywhere are having to live in the dark. Texas’ grid is no exception and unless you have a quality solar system with supporting back-up battery storage or natural gas generation, you will continue to experience grid failures, leaving you paying more for less reliable electricity. Solar panels and solar batteries, along with natural gas generation, is the key to keeping your lights on. Here is what you need to know.
The electric grid across the United States is over a hundred years old. Much of the equipment supporting the grid (transformers, wires, towers, poles and substations) are constantly under the stress of additional electricity load as people turn more to electric to power their lives.
My entire career has been spent in the energy sector, having worked for the largest electric utility in California and as a utility contractor for a national company, I can tell you firsthand that the grid has failed in the past, it’s failing today and it will fail in the future. As more people turn to streaming services, games and other electronics for entertainment, more electricity is required, and more stress is placed on the system. Utilities pay billions to repair the grid, invest in upgrading or repairing equipment, generating electricity, transmitting electricity over hundreds of miles and purchasing electricity from large electricity generation companies. These costs only go one way… up! In the meantime, your reliability factor (which is how reliable the constant access of electricity is when you flip the switch in your home) is going down.
What is driving these failures? It is pretty simple. When old equipment meets higher demand on electricity, the grid cannot handle the stress. Excessive heat, hurricanes and other weather events put additional stress on the grid, and it breaks. The Texas Tribune recently published an article warning against Summer 2021 blackouts, calling this Summer a potential “electricity crisis”. Even with Texas’ vast investment in solar and other sources of electricity generation, these power plants are failing. Another article they published last June, outlines just how vulnerable these power plants are to the stresses being placed on them.
We live in America, God bless us, and we are accustomed to having consistent access to electricity to power our lives (homes, cars, electronics, HVAC systems, etc.), but with the grid failing, customers are left still paying higher prices each year for electricity yet experiencing the type of low-reliability that is typical in less developed countries. T&D World, an industry leading association for the electric transmission and distribution market, criticizes the reliability of the United States grid as compared to our competitors in an article titled, U.S. Power Reliability: Are We Kidding Ourselves?.
The article states, “For example: “The average U.S. customer loses power for 214 minutes per year. That compares to 70 in the United Kingdom, 53 in France, 29 in the Netherlands, 6 in Japan, and 2 minutes per year in Singapore. These outage durations tell only part of the story. In Japan, the average customer loses power once every 20 years. In the United States, it is once every 9 months, excluding hurricanes and other strong storms.”
As a customer, when you go solar, either through purchasing your own system (solar panels, inverters, etc.), leasing a solar system or signing a Power Purchasing Agreement (PPA) with a solar company, you are now in charge of your own electricity production. However, simply going solar isn’t enough. Simply having solar panels on your home only saves you money, since you are no longer having to purchase electricity from a utility, but it doesn’t protect you from power outages. These solar systems are still tied to the grid (grid-tied systems), meaning they are connected to the grid and you will still lose power during a grid failure (outage).
Here’s the great news! There is a solution.
The solution is in electricity storage (electricity storage). When you choose to go solar, the best thing that you can do for your home and family is to combine that investment with installing a power back-up battery. There are tons of options out there for affordable, reliable, solar energy storage units. Many of these products are backed by some amazing and familiar brands:
- Sungrow SBP4K8 – Best small battery up to 5kWh
- LG Chem RESU10 – Best mid-size battery up to 10kWh
- BYD Premium – Best modular battery system
- Tesla Powerwall 2 – Best AC coupled battery system
- Powerplus Energy – Best off-grid battery system
- Redback Smart Hybrid – Best all-in-one solar battery system
- PWRcell Generac Power Systems – Best scalable storage system
These solar battery options vary in price, capacity, and warranties, but they will all provide you with great reliability, while further offsetting your reliance on the grid. The concept behind this technology is simple. Think of it like charging your phone or tablet device. During the day your solar panels are generating electricity. If more electricity is generating than what you are using on any given day, the excess electricity charges the batteries, creating a perfect standby system. When the grid fails, you still have access to power, but it is being drained from the stored-up electricity provided by the battery. When the sun comes up the next day, the battery recharges what you used during the outage.
Batteries do not just protect you from power outages, but they also help offset any additional electricity demand that you pull from the grid when the sun isn’t shining. This would be the case when you use electricity at night to watch your favorite shows, plug in your electronic devices to charge or turn on your lights. When you only have solar panels, you are still using the grid, but only a night when the sun isn’t feeding your solar panels with energy. Having solar batteries as part of your solar system help offset any demand or reliance that you have on the grid.
Solar panels and back up batteries do have their limitations. For example, you need to have a large enough solar system installed to cover (at a minimum) 100% of your households electricity needs. If the system is too small, you cannot generate enough electricity to offset your utility costs or charge your batteries, since there will likely never be an “excess” of electricity. At All Solar Texas, we recommend installing a system that will offset your household electricity demand by at least 110% (preferably 120%). A larger system ensures that you are always producing more electricity (on a 12-month average) than you are using, essentially eliminating your reliance on the grid. The same is true about batteries. Your battery connected to your solar system needs to have a large enough capacity to support the energy demand that you will be placing on it. Your home’s lighting uses much less electricity than your deep freezer or air conditioner.
Most large, high electricity demand appliances cannot be sustained by solar battery energy storage alone, which is why our company also encourages customers to install a battery with a large enough capacity to offset most of your electricity usage demands. We all want to be able to stream our favorite shows, have access to the internet and charge our phones during an outage, but we are much less likely to want to run the washing machine, dish washer, air conditioner and a vacuum at the same time.
If your preference is to be fully reliant on a backup energy supply that could run your entire home during an outage, then we recommend that in addition to solar panels you also install a Generac gas (natural, propane, diesel) generation system, which will generate the needed electricity capacity (depending on the needs of your home and the Generac system you select) to run all of your home’s appliances.
As I mentioned, the costs associated with both solar panels, solar back up batteries and, if preferred, a back up natural gas generator vary depending on your location, the equipment you select and the size of the system. However, one thing is certain, no matter what solar system or backup generation system that you select for your home you WILL save money long term, while also powering your home during an outage. Additionally, choosing to install a battery at the same time as installing a new solar system, makes the combination much more affordable.
If you already have a solar system installed on your roof, you can still purchase a back up battery and have it installed, but it will be at a slightly higher cost than if you were to have the installation completed as a package.
To get an estimate for a solar system, back up solar battery or even a natural gas generation system, contact All Solar Texas today. We will provide you with a free energy savings report and you will finally be able to protect your power, while saving money and adding value to your home.
To learn more about the general cost of installing a solar system and the factors you should consider, check out our article How Much Do Solar Panels (Solar System) Cost?
The electric grid is vulnerable, power bills are only going up, and customers will continue to remain out of power and in the dark, unless they do something about it. Customers that protect their power while saving money and adding value to their homes by investing in a rooftop solar system and a back up solar battery for their home. Although costs vary depending on the system size, capacity, and panel quality, you WILL save money long term. Homeowners save on average over a 20-year period $27,000 in energy costs (and that is including your initial investment in a solar system).
Check it out for yourself by contacting us at email@example.com or giving us a call at (800) 707-2259! We will provide you with a FREE solar calculator and an Energy Savings Report. Or, if preferred, you can enter your home address into Google’s online Solar Savings Calculator (Project Sunroof), where they will give you a rough estimate.