We haven’t seen the worst of it yet!
This is the phone message that tens of thousands of southern California homeowners received last week, myself included. “This is SDG&E with an important message. Due to high energy demand across the state, it may require rotating electrical outages. Please be prepared with your emergency plan.” Five minutes later my entire neighborhood went dark.
Wait, what?!?! I’ve got 5 minutes to get to my home or business and activate my emergency plan??? And do I even have an emergency plan to activate??? And if I do happen to have a plan, what if I can’t get back to my home or business for hours, or worse, for days or weeks to put my plan in action? Will my food rot? Will perishable medical supplies spoil? Will business assets and data be lost? Will critical business equipment fail and crash? Will my pets die? With my security system disabled how will I protect my family, business and possessions?
As the owner of 180 Solar Power, of course I have an emergency plan, but 99% of homeowners do not. I talked about this in my recent blog titled What Has The COVID-19 Pandemic Taught Us So Far?, and I’ve written several other articles, and published social media videos on the topic.
Fortunately, last week’s power outages only lasted a few hours, but the fact of the matter is that you cannot risk not having emergency backup power in this day and age, any more than you can risk not having emergency food and water supplies stored for your home or business. If you doubt me, try this little experiment as a test run. Tell your family that you are going to shut off the main breaker on your house, and you and your family are going to live without electricity for an entire week. Tell them they are not allowed to recharge their phone, tablets or computers at work or anywhere else. If they drive an electric car, tell them they are not allowed to drive it for a week. Literally no electronic devices or appliances for just one week. And don’t forget to empty your refrigerators & freezers first because the smell of rotting food is putrid.
So what will you eat that week? No cheating with take-out food, because in a real power emergency all restaurants will be closed. How will you cook whatever food you happen to have on hand? How long will the batteries on the flashlight last; one night, maybe two? Then what? No cheating and going to the store to buy more batteries because in an emergency the stores would long be sold out of batteries, and candles, and propane, and any other kind of fuel; to say nothing of being sold out of food….and toilet paper. Then what? How will you receive urgent public announcements, and communicate with loved ones in the outside world? How soundly will your family sleep with the home security system disabled, worried that every crack and creak they hear in the night is a potential home invader coming to do them harm? No electricity for a week; how long would your family last? And how about your business? Can you afford to arbitrarily close the doors and take the phones off the hook for a week? Think about it, and then think about it some more.
I challenge you to do it, and see what happens, but you won’t because you know it would cause to much misery for your family, and you know the economic impact on your business would be too severe.
The problem is that as technology has evolved our society has become more and more dependent on electricity and electric devices and appliances. Every year more electric cars hit the roads. The number of TVs, cell phones, tablets, and computers per household grows. Larger and more encompassing home security devices are deployed. More smart home systems like Nest are installed. More refrigerators, freezers, and wine fridges are being added to people’s homes. And the list goes on and on. Businesses too are more computerized and automated with electronic devices than ever before. As a result, the strain on the nation’s electric grid has never been greater, and at the same time the grid is aging and becoming more fragile.
In fact, it’s at the point now that when everyone runs their air conditioning at the same time, the grid cannot generate enough electricity to cover everyone’s demand. Which is exactly why the utility companies were forced to enact the rolling blackouts that the majority of southern Californian’s experienced last week. On top of that, when there is even a threat of high winds, many utility companies shut down huge swaths of the grid as a precaution, because it’s inevitable that old crumbling powerlines will come down and spark massive wildfires that would cost them billions of dollar. It’s only going to get worse over time, and I haven’t even touched on the threats of major long-term black outs that will be caused by natural disasters, or malicious cyber-attacks, all of which are inevitable.
So what’s your emergency plan? The best plan is to install an emergency battery backup system. That, paired with your solar system, will create a renewable, self-sustaining, micro-grid that can power and protect your home or business indefinitely until grid power is restored, whether it takes days, weeks, months or even years, and it will engage automatically whether you’re on site or not. And as an added value, when it’s not in an emergency backup mode your battery can be programed to discharge its power each day between 4 and 9 pm (or at any other time depending on your rate schedule) to help minimize the utility company’s PEAK RATE charges. Thus, providing you with a return on your investment every day.
Don’t wing it, and don’t ignore it. Be responsible by having a specific emergency plan in place to protect your home, family and business. Contact 180 Solar Power for answers, and to get a free quote for an emergency backup solution for your home, business or church. 180 Solar Power is Local, Trusted, Proven.
How much of my power needs can my systems provide when it is being fully used and the sun fails to shine completely for days as it sometimes does? In the winter the days are shorter thus the sun doesn’t shine as much so I’d guess the system doesn’t produce as much electricity in the Winter as it does in the Summer months.
Hi Mr. Hilderbrand, this is a commonly asked question, so thank you for posting it here! Each storage system is custom designed to the property owner’s specific needs and budget, so the answer to this question varies. But in general, systems are designed so that they can fully recharge the batteries in one and a half to two hours on a sunny day, and about 3 to 4 hours on a cloudy or rainy day. Please contact our office to schedule a short consultation and receive a customized quote for your property, and to answer any other questions you might have. The consultation is completely free!