WHAT IS A ROLLING BLACKOUT?

California faced over 5,000 wildfires from January through August of 2020. The fires affected approximately 100,000 acres of land across the state and fueled extreme temperatures–the subsequent heat wave caused utility companies across the state to impose rolling blackouts that disrupted power to up to 250,000 customers. But what exactly is a rolling blackout? And how do they affect your home?

WHAT CAUSES ROLLING BLACKOUTS?

Rolling blackouts occur when a utility company decides to cut power to high-risk areas during prime wildfire conditions. The purpose of the rolling blackout is typically to prevent the risk of fire to areas of the electrical system facing extreme temperatures, high winds, and excessive dryness.

WHY DID CALIFORNIA HAVE ROLLING BLACKOUTS?

The last major energy crisis in California took place in 2001 when manipulative energy trading by Enron and other corporations caused statewide blackouts.

This year, the blackouts were caused by poor planning, inaccurate record keeping, and an unfortunate combination of a global pandemic and a heatwave. Utility companies had expected to get a certain amount of energy from renewable resources such as hydroelectric plants, but failed to take into consideration how the extreme temperatures would affect water levels at many dams. There were also issues with the accuracy of records detailing how much energy was being produced at various plants.

CAN I PREVENT POWER BLACKOUTS?

Ther are many ways to reduce your energy consumption in your home when a heatwave or other high-risk conditions exist, but the best way to prevent your home from being affected by blackouts is to become energy independent.

Installing solar panels allows you to harness energy from the sun to power your home–when paired with an energy storage system (AKA a backup battery) you’ll have the ability to store any excess energy your panels create to be drawn from when you need it most. If you’re interested in learning how energy independence can work for your home, contact HES Solar online or by phone at (619) 350-0032.

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NET ENERGY METERING 3.0 INFORMATION

Net Energy Metering 3.0 (NEM 3.0) is the incoming law created by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The new tariffs and fees will impact both residential and commercial solar systems built in California. 

As this notice is posted in November of 2022, the Proposed Decision from the CPUC outlining the proposed NEM 3.0 terms is expected soon. This comes after a year’s delay. Once the new agreement is finalized and passed into law, there will exist a designation of the deadline under which new systems will continue to qualify for NEM 2.0 rates. 

The new NEM 3.0 rates will be designed to lower the value of electricity during the daytime hours, when solar is producing, and increase the value of electricity during the evening hours, when solar homes and businesses purchase electricity. In short, NEM 3.0 will create a “sell low, buy high” proposition to new solar system owners. 

To Californians looking to install a solar system on their home or commercial building, the NEM 2.0 rates will be preferred. As of this post, the solar industry does not know the details of how different the NEM 3.0 rates will be from the NEM 2.0 rates. 

Please use the HES Solar website as a resource to learn more, and please take our offer to speak with an HES Solar Energy Consultant at no obligation.

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Robert Laverty

Senior Energy Consultant, Residential

Robert Laverty joined the HES team in the summer of 2018, bringing his ten years of solar design experience and his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Puget Sound with him. Robert is dedicated to finding solutions to help families produce and store electricity in order to reduce their reliance on grid power as well as help reduce their household’s carbon footprint. Robert’s experience as a newspaper editor as well as his involvement with the sustainability-focused Rocky Mountain Institute drives him to constantly seek out innovative ways to meet energy needs through renewable resources as well as helps him share those ideas with Southern California homeowners. When not at work or volunteering time with his church or community, Robert spends time with his wife and two sons or pursues his passion of fly fishing.
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