Texas blackout: Why solar is the most reliable energy

February 22, 2021 | 4min read

Texas was recently hit with the devastating winter storm Uri, forcing power outages throughout the state. Power outages have had a massive impact on Texans everywhere, causing them to face the dropping temperatures without electricity. Some power outages were controlled and enforced by utility companies to prevent damage to the grid that could cause extended blackouts. Most of the outages were caused by losses in traditional energy sources (natural gas, coal, nuclear energy) and overall grid failure. The Texas traditional infrastructure simply was not prepared for freezing temperatures. We cannot foresee natural climate disasters, but we can prepare for them. Solar is the most reliable energy in the event of a planned or unplanned outage. But you must also have batteries to take advantage of it.

If you have solar, you are still connected

Texas remains an early market for solar energy. It is a misconception that renewable energy failed due to the low temperatures. Both solar and wind systems can function in freezing temperatures. Generators and other fossil fuels are actually the first to be affected in cold weather. In 2011, Texas faced similar outages, urging the state to adopt cleaner energy practices.Overall, renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, did partially fail during the Texas snowstorm, but they only contributed to a small portion of the failure. According to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), Solar contributed to 2%, wind to 23%, while natural gas, coal and nuclear contributed 75%. Renewable energy sources still were able to provide about 25% of the state’s energy, and actually outperformed energy expectations this past weekend. Homeowners with batteries were better prepared for the outage. Batteries store excess energy for later use. During a blackout, grid-tied systems will lose power, unless you have batteries. 

Batteries keep your electricity going and your bills low 

Texas remains an early market for solar energy. Those who did not install batteries into their solar system were affected by the power outages. If you decide to make the investment of adding batteries to your system, you will be well rewarded during an outage. According to the New York Times and The Washington Post, residents are seeing record high electricity bills, up to $17,000 after the storm. Those that are on variable-rate power plans are seeing the highest bills because as demand increases, so does the price per kWh. When the winter storm began, demand surged and prices skyrocketed. So, what happens if you are on solar? Most solar systems are tied to the grid, and they must stop producing electricity when an outage occurs. This would leave your home without power. But, if you have batteries, you will have extra energy stored to continue powering your home. You can use the electricity stored in your batteries and avoid high demand rates. Your bill will be more predictable and you will possibly see great savings. The amount of electricity depends on how many batteries you have and their capacity. When deciding how many batteries to install, you can opt to only have enough to keep your home powered through the night, or for longer. Batteries are useful even when there is no climate crisis. After the sun sets and your panels stop producing electricity, you can continue to power your home with batteries. Texas electricity are subject to price hikes in times of high demand. Without batteries not only do you have to rely on the grid, but you have to pay a higher electricity rate. Batteries prepare you so you do not run out of power, even during an outage.

Solar panels is the most reliable energy source

According to a study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, out of 10,000 solar panels, only 5% experienced failure annually. Solar panels are installed to withstand a minimum of 140mph high winds. There are cases where they can withstand even more! For reference, the average tornado has winds between 40-100mph. Solar panels are also cold and snow friendly. Your system will continue to produce even in cold weather and light snow. This is because panels work on sun rays, not heat. Sun rays are still able to penetrate through cloudy skies. If a heavy snowstorm is able to cut your production, do not fear. Panels are created to evenly distribute heat. As soon as the sun comes up again, the panels will easily melt the snow away. 

Our 25-year production guarantee 

Freedom Forever guarantees that your solar system will produce the electricity we promise it will with our 25-Year Production Guarantee. If its performance is falling short, we’ll send someone out to fix it. With the Freedom Forever 25 year production guarantee, you get 25 years of worry-free power from the sun, it’s that simple.

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