The biggest power outage solution is simple: find a system that won’t fail when you need it. Texas is no stranger to solar power, with close to a million households already running on solar (second only to California), and that number is only increasing. You might not consider solar in a situation where cold weather is the issue, but solar panels function effectively in the winter, and battery systems can store solar power for a situation exactly like this. Your preparation can begin and end with solar.
Having the combination of solar panels and a home battery installed can give you an alternative to the electric grid when you need it and set you up for energy independence in an emergency situation. The energy collected from your solar panels is channeled into your home battery, keeping it charged for just such an occasion. The home battery then essentially acts as a generator, allowing you to use electricity in your home by drawing it from the battery. The most popular models of home batteries are the Tesla Powerwall and LG Chem.
Rob D., a Freedom Solar customer with a Tesla Powerwall, was one of the lucky residents who avoided the effects of the recent Texas outage during the storm and its aftermath. A resident of Northwest Houston, Rob has 22 SunPower solar panels that have a capacity of 7.98 kW, offsetting 99% of his usage. He had this to say about that harrowing week: “Couldn't even tell when the grid was off or on! [My] app says we were without power for over 60 hours last week! Neighbors were coming over to charge their phones. Our gas furnace worked fine on the Powerwall . . . Even on the cloudiest days, our panels still made enough energy to actually run the house without drawing down the battery.”
On top of the protection his family received in the midst of the storm, Rob took note of a detail that makes solar the best energy solution as utility prices rise throughout Texas. Over the course of 2020, their total utility spend was an estimated $100. And on their last bill from TXU, the utility company actually owed Rob $80.
In the new age of working from home, energy independence is even more vital than ever. When 4 million Texans lost power during 2021’s winter storm, businesses ground to a halt. Backup power for offices has now become a huge priority for many at-home workers throughout the country. If every home and business had been equipped with solar power and home batteries, those disconnected, panicked days would have looked wholly different.