California just declared a state of emergency due to a heat wave.
In the coming days, some Californians could periodically find themselves in the dark.
Due to the heat wave currently hitting the state, the local authorities have declared a state of emergency. This means that power will be shut off in some places from 1 to 2 hours at a time.
California was already under a flex alert until 9 p.m., where consumers were urged to reduce electricity usage. And some business and industrial customers have power turned off under their agreements with utilities, as TheStreet’s Tom Bemis wrote here.
Much of California is under an excessive-heat warning for the next four days. Sacramento, the capital, could break records; same for downtown Los Angeles. Temperatures reached triple digits in much of the state, surging to 113 degrees F. or more in many interior locations, during the Labor Day Holiday.
‘More Solar + Batteries Needed’
The heat wave, which began the last week of August, is remarkable for both its ferocity and its duration, said the California Independent System Operator, which manages the state’s electric distribution network.
Every day that the heat drags on, the risk of power failures increases. Scorching temperatures seep into the concrete over time, making it increasingly difficult for buildings to cool. And the more power plants run at full capacity, the more likely they are to fail.
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla (TSLA) – Get Tesla Inc. Report, the maker of electric vehicles and solar panels, says California has a solution to limit the consequences for its population. This response is for him to get more solar panels and the batteries that go with them.
“More solar + batteries needed,” the richest man in the world tweeted on Sept. 6. Musk had lived in California until last December, when he moved to Texas.
“Batteries are great at dealing with peak demand,” added Musk, commenting on a post that California raised the alert level for its power grid as blackout threats grew.
Solar panels are said to be practical for producing and using green and local electricity. This enables their owners to depend less on the electricity grid, since they provide themselves at least part of what they consume.
Autonomous Solar vs. Traditional Photovoltaic
If you have traditional solar panels, which work with an inverter, then your photovoltaic system goes into standby each time the power is cut, experts say.
During these periods the solar energy produced can no longer be injected into the power system. If the inverter isn’t functioning to transform direct current into alternating current, no electricity is produced.
But If your photovoltaic installation contains a battery in addition to the inverter, the battery stores energy, which you can use in the event of a power failure.
This electricity can be used when your panels are not working (at night, for example), or in the event of a power outage. Autonomous solar kits work with such batteries and can therefore be used during such outages.
To ensure safety and security, traditional photovoltaic systems do not work in the event of a power cut. Only autonomous solar kits equipped with batteries do.
The prospect of power outages underscores how vulnerable grids have become to extreme weather as society switches from fossil fuels to renewables.
California has aggressively shut down natural gas power plants in recent years, leaving the state increasingly reliant on solar farms. which shut down late in the day as electricity demand peaks. At the same time, the state is experiencing a severe drought, undermining hydroelectric generation.
The fight to keep power flowing in the state is also complicated by wildfires near Los Angeles and San Diego that threaten transmission lines and power plants, though there have been no major outages so far.