Thanks to climate issues, natural disasters and overloaded power grids, power outages have become unavoidable, especially for those living in California. California is so notorious for power outages that it has been recently crowned the “Blackout Queen” state in 2018 by Eaton’s Blackout Tracker research. This was thanks to over 4,297 blackouts within the last decade. With temperatures on the rise and the drain on the power grid constantly getting worse, it’s time that California residents gain control when it comes to their home’s electricity.
But the question is… how? Summer is already here with scorching temperatures and the opportunity for more natural disasters.
The answer is simple: alternative energy sources.
Homeowners are able to find some security by being prepared for the worst. Sometimes outages take out the power for a few seconds, but sometimes a natural disaster can wipe out power lines, leaving your home in the dark for days.
When your home is running on clean solar energy instead of relying on the power grid, you can store that energy in a home battery backup that powers you through a power outage.
Let’s find out more about California and power outages, and how you can be prepared when it happens.
California and Power Outages
With another summer heatwave this year, the possibility for more rolling blackouts in California is concerning. It’s been about a year since the last round of rolling blackouts, and now an urgent call has been made in July 2021 for electricity supplies from the state’s power grid operator, warning another shortage is possible.
While you can’t prevent power outages, there are a few ways you can use to prepare yourself. Here we present the most useful ways to prevent you and your home from complete disaster when an outage takes out your home’s power.
1. Surge Protection
If you have any electronics that you care about, it’s time to get yourself some surge protection. Surge protectors lower the risk of your expensive electronics getting fried when the lights go out. If you live in an area that is prone to power outages, or the season is ripe for storms, make sure to purchase enough surge protectors to power all the electronics you care about.
2. Power Outage Emergency Kit
In the case of a power outage, you could be lights out for seconds, hours or even days depending on the cause. Another thing you can do to prepare yourself for lights out is prepare your disaster kit. This kit will have at minimum a flashlight, bottled water, a first aid kit, and batteries. It could also include non-perishable food items, blankets, cash, and important documents. It’s a great idea to keep an extra pair of shoes or slippers near your kit as well, so everything is in one place for navigating a dark home. Make sure to prepare a kit for each member of your household, including pets!
3. Communication Plan
A family communication plan can help you and your family know exactly what to do during any emergency, not just during a power outage. And there’s even an official app from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)! This app allows you to record family emergency meeting spots, find shelters and disaster recovery centers, check off items in your emergency kit and more. In addition, you can also text FEMA to receive safety tips. Text PREPARE to 43362 (4FEMA) for monthly preparedness tips—or text SHELTER and your ZIP code to find the nearest emergency shelter.
4. Home Generator
You can get your home up and running when you have a home generator. These portable generators are a great backup plan for when the lights go out. However, there are a few reasons generators are old news. Let’s count the ways.
First of all, they’re pretty hazardous. You’ll have to keep your own arsenal of gas containers ready to use in your generator during an outage. Large amounts of gas can easily catch fire, and the more you have, the larger the fire if this does happen.
Second, generators are loud. Studies show that diesel generators could produce over 100 decibels of sound, depending on their size. This estimation falls drastically over the 50 decibel noise restriction placed on most residential neighborhoods. Not to mention when it’s whisper quiet in your neighborhood after an outage, your generator will be creating tons of noise pollution.
Generators are pollutants. Not only do they add noise pollution, they also add their fair share of air pollution. They emit large quantities of carbon monoxide, an invisible, odorless gas that can harm you, your family, and the environment. Generators also emit unhealthy particles into the atmosphere, including hydrocarbons and oxides of nitrogen. With a gasoline-powered backup generator, you’re producing massive amounts of dirty energy. Generators are also unregulated, meaning people hang onto them far too long, even when it’s unsafe to continue running them. When a generator is in poor condition, the emission is even worse.
In addition, generators can be destroyed if one is connected to the main power supply of your home when the power comes back, your generator could be “catastrophically destroyed.”
Read more about generators vs. solar batteries.
5. Invest in Solar Panels… and a Battery
One one of the very best ways to take control of your home’s power is to use the natural energy of the sun to power your home. This is especially true in California where you have on average 275 days of sunshine. California also has almost 6 hours of peak sunshine a day, which means your solar system can be producing excess power for storage when you invest in a solar battery as well. In fact, California started using large solar panel arrays to help fight the water and power crisis.
During a power outage, a battery system like Enphase Encharge and Tesla Powerwall is your ultimate defense against losing power. The stored energy from excess sunshine during the day can power your entire home or a choice few essential electronics and appliances.
Here are just a few benefits of having a solar panel battery.
- Lower electric bill
- Protection from power outages
- Maximize your solar panels
California and the Solar Panel Solution
Turning to solar energy as a solution is an easy conclusion considering California is not only the queen of blackouts, but also the reigning queen of solar energy. As of 2020, California currently ranks 1st in the nation in terms of total installed solar capacity at 28,471 MW. California also has the largest number of solar installs in the nation (over 1 million), the highest percentage of electricity generated from solar (over 22%), and comes in first place in national growth projection (SEIA.org).