The recent extreme-even-for-Texas heat in Texas presents a dangerous situation, especially for those without electricity or air conditioning. If we remember back to the winter of 2021, the virtual opposite conditions — extreme storms and cold — led to an unprecedented situation where millions of people were left without power, heat, and even water.
Losing power wasn’t the only issue. Many that did have power through the whole ordeal faced enormous electric bills.
While this heat is no-doubt stifling and dangerous, we haven’t seen headlines around power outages and outrageous bills. Why not? One big reason is how renewable energy — of which solar is a big part — has stepped up to fill the demand. This has not only kept electricity prices largely in check, but has likely literally saved lives.
In this post, we’ll take a look at this latest “unprecedented” weather, see how renewable energy is helping, and learn how solar installers can continue to help prevent situations like this in the future.
During the height of the crisis in February, 2021, electricity costs rose to $9 per kilowatt hour ($9,000 per Megawatt hour), pushing many electric bills to over $100 per day — with one customer reporting an invoice of almost $17,000. And while electricity prices have risen at times during this heat wave, they’ve largely stayed under $50 per Megawatt hour (MWh) — compared to the regular rate of around $30/MWh.
So, what changed? Obviously many factors are involved in electricity pricing, especially in a deregulated market like Texas. But one of those factors — a major one, in fact — has been the ability of renewables to step in and provide extra power during the heat of the day.
According to this report from Axios, on June 28 renewable sources produced 31 Gigawatts of electricity to the grid, with solar accounting for almost 12 GW. This was not just a record, but a starting point. According to the essential Gridstatus.io, 4 of the top 10 renewable energy days have been in the past two weeks. (H/T Max Kanter.)
What more can the solar industry do?
To make sure their power stays on, and they’re not faced with outrageous bills, homeowners and businesses will be looking for even more ways to protect themselves for the next time
disaster strikes this now pretty typical weather occurs. This is where battery storage can provide a real boost, not only delivering power during outages and reducing dependence on the grid, but offering options for self-consumption when rates jump.
Improvements in solar storage technology have led more homeowners to consider storage as part of their solar installation — over 25% of solar systems will include a storage component by 2025, according to Mordor Intelligence. This trend is echoed in Aurora’s research, as more than 80% of installers have noticed increased homeowner interest in storage options.
Solar storage for self consumption resources
Storage is largely still sold for peace of mind: So homeowners know that they’ll be able to keep the lights — or a/c — on if the power goes out. However, suggesting solar storage without seeming insensitive or overly alarmist can be a fine line. Our 5 Minute Storage Sales Cheat Sheet lays out several ways to position storage to potential customers.
In markets like California (with NEM 3.0), Texas, and others where prices fluctuate between times of high and lower grid use, battery storage capacity can increasingly be used for self consumption when electricity prices rise. This is still a relatively new concept for many homeowners, though, and education is a major piece of the sales puzzle.
One of the best resources we have to explain self consumption to homeowners is our Battery Self Consumption Modeling feature. By showing the homeowner their costs and potential utility bills with and without storage, you can show them the potential benefits. Check out the example below to learn more.
It goes against the very definition of “unprecedented” to keep calling these weather events unprecedented. As the summer drags on, more heat records will likely fall. At the same time, more renewable electricity generation records will likely go with them.
This is just another reason for homeowners to consider backup power. Not only can it help them keep their house running when the grid goes down, it can provide financial relief for those times when energy prices spike.
Have questions about storage for self consumption? Schedule a personalized demo — or get the info right now by clicking the chat box at the lower right of the screen.