The Australian power grid faced a significant threat from wildfires. However, the situation could have been worse if not for solar and storage solutions. Australians needed electricity more than ever during these extreme heat events, straining the power grid. As a result, experts have suggested solar power and energy storage as simpler and cheaper options to address the issue. This article explores how California can learn from the Australian experience and the benefits of solar and storage solutions.
The Strain on the Australian Power Grid
The extreme heat events in Australia put a considerable strain on the power grid, causing power outages for nearly 100,000 customers in 2018. To address this issue, operators have been pushing Australians to take part in demand response programs, which pay customers to cut their energy use when the grid starts getting overloaded.
The Role of Solar Penetration in Australia
Following a harsh bushfire season, Australian authorities considered putting power lines underground to prevent fires caused by wooden poles and poorly-insulated lines. However, a study suggested that solar power and energy storage could be a simpler and cheaper option. Installing solar power and home batteries can eliminate the risk of electrical outages at a fraction of the cost of underground grid restructuring.
Solar + Storage: A Reliable Power Source
The combination of solar panels and home battery storage systems can provide blackout protection and backup power using the renewable power from the sun all year round. Solar and storage solutions are seen as the best answer to fire conflicts in Australia and other fire-prone regions like New South Wales and California.
California’s Opportunity to Learn from Australia
California faces similar issues with power outages and wildfires, and it can learn from Australia’s experience with solar and storage solutions. According to S&C Electric’s data, 25 percent of their customer base experienced monthly power outages with the current power grid system. One underused resource is the distributed network of home batteries, particularly in California.
The growing network of solar batteries in the residential sector could become an essential component of a smart, distributed grid with proper planning and participation. Cooperation between homeowners and utility companies can help make power systems more secure.
The Future of Energy Resilience
Homeowners don’t need to wait for a large-scale shift in the power grid to achieve energy security. In-home solar-plus-energy storage systems are already a viable, economical option for those seeking energy security. By investing in solar and storage solutions, homeowners can protect their homes from grid outages while contributing to a more sustainable and resilient power system.
The Australian wildfires have highlighted the importance of solar power and energy storage as reliable and cost-effective solutions to address power grid vulnerabilities. California can learn from Australia’s experience and invest in solar and storage solutions to improve grid reliability and prevent power outages during extreme heat events and wildfires. This approach not only benefits individual homeowners but also contributes to a more resilient and sustainable power system for the entire community.