Why California Has Blackouts - How do You Survive with a Solar Generator?
California Rolling Blackouts and Brownouts
California residents, especially those in southern California, are no strangers to terms like “California rolling blackouts” and “brownouts in California.” They have been happening quite frequently lately—and those reasons have nothing to do with fires and earthquakes. After a group of key state agencies investigated, they specified three main reasons why the California brownouts and blackouts have been happening.
- Increased demand and extreme heat. There was inadequate preparation for the extreme heat that comes during the hot summer months.California always experiences unprecedented widespread heat waves each year, which drive up demand due to increased air-conditioning use. Hence the power grid is being strained.
- Renewable energy supply. California relies heavily on renewable energy, including solar power and hydropower. The solar supply decreases at night. In the early evening hours, those sources could not provide adequate power.
- The power plant breakdown. Because of the heat wave, multiple California power plantsincluding gas-fired ones, partially broke down, making energy supplies tighter.
According to CAISO, the peak power consumption on Tuesday hit 52,061 megawatts, exceeding the previous high of 50,270 megawatts on July 24, 2006. While no rolling blackouts were ordered by the operator, three Northern California cities saw brief power outages. As of 2:00 am PT on Friday, nearly 7,000 customers in California were without power, according to PowerOutage.us.
In these years, the residents have been saddled with the heavy burden of trying to get by without electricity for long periods of time. It could take years before everything is dialed in the way it needs to be, but until then, the population of California will need to find ways to deal with losing power from brownouts, blackouts, and rolling blackouts.
(You might be asking, “What is a rolling blackout?” A rolling blackout occurs when state agencies and power companies choose to temporarily and strategically turn off power to various regions. This is done to prevent the system from being overloaded, causing actual catastrophic damage, and thereby affecting a greater swath of the population.)
But I have solar panels in my California house, so I’m fine.
Unfortunately, this will not be the case. See, in California, most homes with solar panels are not equipped with a system that can store or generate power independently. Your power supply does not come from the panels themselves but still comes from the utility service grid, just like your next-door neighbor who does not have solar panels. So when the power goes out for your neighbor, it goes out for you, too.
So what’s the point of solar panels on top of a house? It’s all about energy credits. What happens is, the solar panels transmit the power they generate back to the grid. The solar panel owner will then get credits as reimbursement. Solar panels are not used for powering your house, they are used to save money on your electricity bill.
In other words, a blackout is going to affect you, even with solar panels on your roof. To lessen the effect of a blackout, it is a smart move to invest in some kind of generator so you can keep your appliances running, your computer plugged in, and your mobile devices charged up. Between gas generators and solar generators, the smart choice is the latter.
Protecting You and Your Home with a Solar Generator
When the inevitable loss of power hits your home in California, wouldn’t it be nice to have access to power? This is where surviving a blackout with a solar generator can make all the difference. Solar generators and their technology have advanced to a point where they are very powerful with extremely fast recharging capabilities. Let’s go over the biggest advantages of owning a solar generator, especially in California.
- Clean power from INSIDE your house
First and foremost, the biggest advantage of a solar generator vs a gas generator is the fact that you can keep and run the generator inside your home. Besides being a noise nuisance, a gas-powered unit will give off toxic fumes when running, because it’s burning fuel. Instead, the gas generator will need to run from outside your house, and extension cords will need to be run from outside to indoors. A solar generator runs without those fumes and without any noise.
- No fuel storage necessary
Another huge plus for solar generators is they do not need any type of fuel. They are recharged by solar energy and gasoline is not necessary. Storing gas on-premises can be dangerous and gas eventually goes bad or runs out. You’ll have to drive to get more fuel.
- Convenient unlimited energy
As mentioned above, eventually you will need to go purchase more fuel for your gas generator. Plus, there is the inconvenience of checking the fuel level of your generator. These are non-issues with solar generators. And you won’t run out of solar energy for recharging—unless the sun goes out.
- Multiple outlets and outputs
If you invest in a top-quality solar generator, you should have access to a multitude of outlets, USB ports, and more. This way, you won’t need a bunch of power strips to plug In your various equipment. For example, the Growatt INFINITY 1500 comes with up to 12 output ports to power all of your various devices simultaneously.
- Multiple recharging options
Some solar generators give you other recharging options besides just solar panels. Continuing to use the Growatt INFINITY 1500 as an example, the unit can be recharged via a wall socket in two hours. It can also be recharged from your vehicle.
All Your Power Needs from a Portable Solution, prepare for California Rolling Blackouts
With the California heat, it’s imperative to keep your food cold, your body temperature down, and your electronic devices charged and ready. During a blackout, you would not be able to achieve these things. That’s why having a solar generator makes surviving a California blackout feasible. If the power goes out, your solar generator goes to work. Plug in your refrigerator to keep your food from spoiling, hook up your USB cables to charge your phones and tablets, keep your workflow “flowing” by powering your work laptop or computer, and light up your “powerless nights” by plugging in your table lamps. Finally, keep cool with electric fans or warm up with small space heaters so your climate is agreeable, even without electricity from the grid.