As the weather gets more extreme, it is crucial to make our energy infrastructure more resilient against climate change. Heatwaves, hurricanes, and unpredictable weather are causing problems for many people in the US. Climate disasters are also a burden on the state’s electrical grid. However, solar energy has shown its reliability during extreme weather conditions. Solar and storage systems provide safety and stability to the communities. These systems are also helping Americans’ energy infrastructure to work better against the effects of climate change.
Let’s see how a few states are taking the lead in using solar power to become more resilient.
Texas Electricity Grid is Solar Connected:
This summer, Texas had a devasting heatwave. It got so hot that the usage of air conditioning increased, due to which the need for electricity goes up. People were worried that Texas might not have enough electricity. But Texas added more solar and battery systems to its electrical grid, due to which the prices of power didn’t go up.
In the last two years, Texas doubles its solar capacity by adding 9.7 gigawatts of solar. Texas also put in 1.8 GWac of utility-scale storage projects. Even when the temperature increases, solar and battery systems still provided 30 to 40% of Texas’s electricity.
Florida’s Solar Resilience System:
In the Southeast, hurricanes are very destructive, especially when the water in the Gulf of Mexico is very warm. During hurricanes, winds and rain can damage the electricity infrastructure and power lines. This can leave families without electricity.
For instance, Hurricane Ian hit southwest Florida last year and left 2.6 million people without power. However, the Babcock Ranch near Fort Myers runs on solar power. When Hurricane Ian hit, their 700,000 solar panels and backup batteries kept giving power to all 2,000 homes. Because of solar and battery systems, Babcock Ranch could recover quickly.
Innovative Microgrid of Puerto Rico:
In 2017, Hurricane Maria was disastrous for Puerto Rico. It destroyed homes, businesses, and the energy infrastructures on the island. In some places, people didn’t have electricity for almost a whole year.
This year, Casa Pueblo, a group in the mountain town of Adjuntas, launch a new community-owned solar microgrid. They already start to give power to more than 350 homes and businesses. With the new power system, the community will be able to power 14 more businesses. However, in case of power outages, the community has backup power for almost 10 days. According to locals, this power system is a great example for the rest of Puerto Rico.
The Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico examples prove that solar and storage systems are important for climate resilience plans. The solar and storage projects make the electric grid more reliable, protect families during extreme weather, and help communities become more resilient.