The “Pineapple Express” storm that hit Northern California early Thursday morning left many residents with unreliable power and in the dark. High winds and drenching rain caused substantial power outages to more than 80,000 people, closing schools, major train stations, and businesses throughout the rest of the week.
This recent storm in California is just the latest in what feels like more and more frequent power outages that are affecting tens of thousands across the globe, especially communities in densely populated developed areas such as Hawaii, California, New Jersey, New Zealand, and South Africa.
The University of Lincoln warns that there is an “urgent need to address instabilities in the supply of electrical power to counteract an increase in the frequency and severity of urban blackouts.”
An urban blackout can be caused by many factors. It could be due to a natural disaster, like California’s “Pineapple Express” storm, or it could be caused by aging infrastructure amid an increased demand for electricity in densely populated areas.
Whether the outage was caused by Mother Nature or by infrastructure, the results are the same—thousands of people are faced with unreliable power to the grid and left in the dark.
So what can you do?
Many homeowners and businesses are starting to invest in solar as a way to combat high electricity costs, but later experiences buyers remorse when they realize that this alone doesn’t protect you from a blackout. When there is a disruption in the grid, your solar system will automatically disconnect from the grid to protect against islanding. This leaves you and your family in the dark.
However, if your solar system were equipped with a reliable backup power system, you would be able to store power to your batteries. In the event of a power outage, you would use the energy stored in your batteries to power your critical loads such as refrigerators, sump pumps, lights, home security and some outlets to charge your mobile devices without a glitch. This type of system is typically called a backup power system.
If you have already invested in a solar system, you can retrofit your current grid-tie solar system with backup power so you can store energy to your batteries for later use when the grid is down.
SolarCity and other residential solar system integrators in the USA are already helping homeowners in California keep their lights on during power outages with energy storage solutions.
Imagine watching a movie on Netflix with your family, only to discover that all of your neighbors are in the dark, except you. Or being able to operate your home office or small business transactions, while others are disconnected.
So whether you choose to install a new backup power system for your home or business, or retrofit your existing solar system, you are safeguarding yourself against future power outages because let’s face it—no one wants to be left in the dark!