Extreme Weather Driving Purchase of Residential Solar Systems

Published On
Sep 14, 2021

Extreme weather events and the long-lasting impacts on the nation’s electric grid and power supply are encouraging more consumers to purchase residential solar storage systems, according to CNBC.

Power outages were cited as a main reason that a third of homeowners are considering changing to solar energy, according to SunPower, a San Jose, Calif.-based solar company. SunPower’s Energy Sense Index, which collected a sample of U.S. homeowners with solar systems, homeowners considering solar and those not considering it, found that nearly two-thirds of homeowners with energy storage cited outages as a reason for their purchase. It also found “4 in 5 homeowners with solar and storage feel prepared to weather a power outage.”

By 2022, the home energy storage market is expected to reach $1 billion, according to Goldman Sachs. And by 2040, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) projects $620 billion in new investments for the energy storage market.

Requests for quotes on solar energy systems have skyrocketed during extreme weather events, according to SolarReviews.com, a site that provides information on solar power and localized estimates. For instance, between June 30 and August 6, the website experienced a 358% year-over-year jump in solar estimate quotes requested by California residents, when the state was experiencing intense wildfires and drought, according to CNBC. Between June 25–30, Oregon experienced record-high temperatures; SolarReviews.com saw a 919% increase in solar estimate requests compared to the same period last year. And between February 13–17, the site saw an 850% increase in quote requests in Texas, during the deep-freeze and multi-day power outages.

These extreme events are becoming more common and severe due to climate change, according to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. This year, increasingly devastating climate impacts have caused death, displacement and U.S. power grid disruption. Slow-moving Hurricane Ida and subsequent flooding left millions without power, record drought across the West and Midwest threaten energy production and more and a winter storm in Texas left residents without electricity or heat for several weeks.

When the electric grid fails, solar systems can still operate with on-site battery storage. These types of installations have been increasing since 2016, according to SolarReviews.com. Storage systems experienced high demand in the latter half of 2020, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. Large-scale battery storage costs have declined 74% since 2013, according to the EDF.

Solar energy systems provide an economic benefit to consumers and help lower greenhouse gas emissions. Solar and other renewables also provide a dependable source of energy. A 2017 draft Department of Energy study found that the reliability of the U.S. electric grid is not harmed by renewable power. New and better solar storage solutions also make it a reliable form of energy, according to Clean Choice Energy.

Though more renewable energy usage is critical, the country also needs to invest in grid reliability, Forbes said.

The Biden Administration plans to transform the nation’s energy industry and infrastructure. The administration and Energy Department announced a goal that solar energy should make up nearly 50% of U.S. electricity by 2050, according to the Washington Post. Currently, solar provides just 3% of the nation’s electricity. The new goal would scale up the production of solar panels to 45% over 30 years.

About the Author

Marlena Chertock

Freelance Writer

Marlena Chertock is a former editorial intern at Electrical Contractor magazine who now writes for the magazine as a freelance journalist. Her articles have appeared in The Washington Post, Marketplace, NBC News, News21, WTOP and The Gazette. Contact...

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