It’s been a busy past few weeks for the energy industry – last week, EnergySage attended the largest energy trade show in North America, RE+ (formerly SPI), and this week we have a lot to update you on while we’ve been out! We’re welcoming you into Autumn with an energy news roundup covering a brand-new study published by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), as well as a key California climate package recently signed into law by Governor Newsom.
LBNL releases first-of-its-kind study about backup power
This week, LBNL, in collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, published a report evaluating the reliability of solar-plus-storage systems during long-duration power outages. We at EnergySage were excited to serve on the technical advisory committee for this study as experts in residential solar and storage and are happy to share some of our favorite recommendations if you’re shopping for storage based on the study’s findings:
Choose a 10 kilowatt-hour (kWh) system for basic backup power: if you’re not too concerned about backing up your entire home and just want to backup key appliances like your refrigerator, computer, internet, lights, and other low-power devices, you should feel confident with a 10 kWh storage system (which is the average size of storage systems quoted on the EnergySage Marketplace). LBNL found that across the country, a solar-plus-storage system of this size supported basic loads fully over a three-day outage.
Aim for a 30 kWh system to support more complete backup: let’s say in addition to the basic loads listed above, you want your storage system to support heating and cooling during an outage. According to the study, a 30 kWh solar-plus-storage system can support 96 percent of critical loads throughout long-duration outages, on average. LBNL found that a system of this size could have supported critical loads for the majority of homes in seven of the 10 historical outage events they analyzed (like hurricanes and recent winter storms in Texas) – but this primarily depends on the cloud cover associated with the outage (i.e., the ability of your solar system to recharge your battery during the day).
Location matters for long-duration backup power: unfortunately, if you live in an area that’s particularly cold during the winter or hot during the summer and want your storage system to support electric heating and/or cooling during outages, a 30 kWh system might not cut it – especially if your home isn’t properly weatherized or your heating/cooling system isn’t very efficient.
LBNL’s publication of this study comes just as Hurricane Ian, a Category 4 hurricane, leaves 11 million people without power in Cuba and could soon lead to similar outages across Florida. Similarly, Puerto Rico is still reeling from the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona, with about 345,000 people still without electricity 10 days later. If you’re interested in exploring various solar batteries on the market to support your backup power needs or just avoid paying high electricity rates during peak hours, check out this article about the best solar batteries available.
California passes major climate legislation
California is often seen as a leader in clean energy (in large part due to its plentiful sunshine and high electricity prices) and Governor Gavin Newsom recently signaled a strong commitment to maintaining this status by signing into law some of the most ambitious climate commitments in the country. As part of the California Climate Commitment, a $54 billion investment in climate action, these measures will help accelerate California’s transition away from fossil fuels and towards a clean energy future. According to the Office of the Governor, over the next 20 years, the legislation will:
Create four million new jobs
Reduce air pollution by 60 percent
Reduce California oil consumption by 91 percent
Avoid $23 billion spent in pollution damages
Reduce fossil fuels for buildings and transportation by 92 percent
Reduce refinery pollution by 94 percent
The bill package sets a legally binding goal for California to reach carbon neutrality and an 85 percent reduction in emissions no later than 2045. It also creates targets for the state to reach 90 percent clean electricity retail sales by 2035, 95 percent by 2040, and 100 percent by 2045. If you’re interested in being part of California’s clean energy transition (and saving $ as electricity prices continue to spike due to inflation), check out the EnergySage Marketplace to compare quotes for solar systems.