February 2022 will mark the 1-year anniversary of the major power outage in Texas, the culprit: a record-low temperature. When 2 million Texans households were left without power that day in the middle of a pandemic, Houston had a problem!
Snow and ice made roads inaccessible; the state electricity grid could not satisfy the demand in power of their locked down customers. “To govern is to foresee'': talking about foresight — the lack of it — has created a blackout on a disastrous scale.
A homeowner doesn't need a crystal ball to forecast marginally predictable weather crises to be prepared. — Yes, Summer can be hot, Winter happens to be freezing sometimes — Life happens; unparalleled catastrophic events happen, but this one ain't' it…
There are no pretensions of solving complex, trillion-dollar, infrastructural issues, but an attempt to zoom-in on a couple of potential fixes. Homeowners’ protection against “deregulation" can be answered at the individual level. If consumers electric rate protection sounds like too foreign a concept, one might have a quick change of opinion when hit by a 7,400% electricity rate increase. Indeed, some residents whose rates were tied to the “spot price” of wholesale electricity were bludgeoned by a $7,000 a month electric bill. For illustration, an electric bill received by a special education teacher in Bedford, Tx went from the average 12 cents per kWh to a staggering rate of $9 per kWh, which amounts to $250 per day for a 4-bedroom house. What can prevent this situation from cropping up again? Can an energy backup solution protect a home against power outages?
Solar energy and storage system
Energy storage systems made of an array of batteries produces power during blackouts. Here’s a two-prong option to consider for your home energy autonomy. On one side, the storage solution provides power during multi-day blackouts as solar roof panels recharge the batteries and deliver power. On the other, a system equipped with just an inverter allows homes to draw power, but will only produce usable power for a few hours per day. Keep in mind, this solution offers just 2 kWh of power.
Tesla Powerwall or LG Chem Cell can be configured to provide backup power for the entire home. Homeowners may qualify to have their batteries installed for free or nearly free, depending on incentives programs available. In addition, home batteries can also help save on the electricity bill during peak rate hour.
Some states provide up to $500 per kWh of installed battery capacity. Additionally, home batteries are also eligible for the federal tax credit. The batteries are covered under their usual 10-year warranty. If one chooses to go solar, the entire home solar solution will be covered by the regular 25-year performance guarantee. The world is less predictable than one would like to think; chaotic incidents with unpredictable outcomes happen. In times of uncertainty, something should stay affordable and predictable: a home steady supply of electricity.