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What’s the Deal With California’s Electricity?
March 29, 2019
The power grid in California seems to have its back against the wall after a rough couple of years. With multiple devastating wildfires each year throughout the state and a constant battle between utility companies and grid-hackers, there seems to be a feeling of uncertainty revolving around the utilities we Californians take for granted.
So, what is the state of our electricity, and what can you do as a homeowner here in the Sacramento area to reduce your risk of an unexpected outage or unnervingly high energy bills?
The “Current” State of PG&E
As the folks at PG&E put 2018 behind them, there is an expensive list of updates to be made to California’s outdated power grid. With over 5 million customers, the stress from electricity demand and the desperate need for wildfire protection has forced PG&E to make serious infrastructural changes.
Unfortunately, all signs point to that added expense being passed on to the consumer. Plus, these changes to the grid will require planned outages — and a much lower threshold for turning off the grid to prevent additional damage in the case of an unexpected wildfire.
The fate of PG&E is unclear at this point. After PG&E filed for bankruptcy protection, the New York Times reported that the city of San Francisco is looking at the possibility of a public takeover, and the complications of a bankruptcy negotiation begin.
Energy Independence: Taking the Power Back
So what can you do to ensure your energy independence here in the Sacramento area? In short: act now.
At Brower Mechanical, we have spoken to many concerned homeowners throughout Rocklin, Roseville and Folsom who are looking to invest in solar energy for their homes. And though solar energy is one of the most important investments you can make to ensure your lights stay on for decades to come, true energy independence is achieved by reducing your energy demand through increased home performance and by considering battery storage or a generator to protect your home from unexpected outages.
“Go Small” Solar
In a recent post about energy independence, we discussed the “reduce before you produce” concept. In essence, the less energy your home demands on a daily basis, the smaller the solar photovoltaic (PV) system your home will require. This cuts down on the initial cost of your new solar installation, which is why at Brower we like to say “go small solar!”
Reducing the energy usage of your Sacramento area home begins with an energy audit to determine which areas of your home are harming overall energy efficiency. After your energy audit, you will receive a list of updates which may include:
- Insulation upgrades
- Proper air sealing
- Re-sizing of ductwork
- Energy efficient heating & cooling equipment
After you’ve reduced your energy usage through these home performance upgrades, Brower can work alongside you and your family to design the perfect solar PV system and battery storage or generator system so you can keep the lights on.
As the solar generation comes to fruition here in California, one of the misconceptions we deal with as the solar experts here in Sacramento is the idea that a solar PV system will keep your lights on in the case of an outage. A traditional solar array is connected to an inverter (to prepare your raw solar energy for home use), and then connected back to the grid. This is to ensure you have electricity while your panels are not generating power, like overnight. For grid tied systems like this, safety laws require that the power is shut off to the entire system when the grid goes down unexpectedly. So, in the event of a blackout, a solar PV system will not keep your lights on!
In order to achieve true energy independence in the wake of California’s electrical uncertainty, a battery storage system should be included in your solar plans. Battery storage systems take all of the excess electricity that your solar panels generate and save it for later use. This is called an off-grid solar system.
You can also protect your home from an unexpected power outage with a backup generator. These emergency appliances can be installed in-line with your current electrical supply and will detect when the grid goes down. Backup generators use fuel to generate emergency electricity and require a supply of natural gas or liquid propane.
Affording Energy Independence
When you partner with Brower Mechanical in your journey toward California energy independence, we will make sure you are paired with the best rebates and incentives available and tailor a financing plan just for you. Did you know there are thousands of dollars available for homeowners who electrify their homes? Or that the federal government is offering huge tax savings for those that install a solar PV system on their homes before the end of 2019?
Brower Mechanical has your energy independence needs covered from start to finish. So don’t wait for your local utility to raise your energy prices or turn the switch off. Experience the freedom towards energy independence today!