Solar Power & San Antonio: DoD Perspective

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San Antonio Solar Prep Lessons to Learn from Military

Time to take notice that the United States Department of Defense (DoD) continues to take great measures to protect our security and the security of their bases worldwide from severe weather conditions for many years now.

As weather patterns naturally change, the protectors of our great nation are getting even more prepared for altering precipitation patterns and other harsh unforeseen conditions, and solar power plays a role in their noteworthy emergency preparedness. Given rising insurance costs and tumultuous San Antonio weather, homeowners in the San Antonio area should replicate military practices when it comes to energy continuity. 

This includes increased hurricanes, floods, and many natural disasters that stand to threaten military infrastructure and thus national security. Something we can learn from our soldiers in these changing times is to scope out appropriate preparations, solid equipment, and meticulous planning to secure our best resources in a time of crisis.

Electricity is one of those areas that, when affected, can completely spiral a precarious situation into sheer devastation. Functioning power and backup power keeps families safe, by ensuring we have access to our food, lighting, cooling, heating, as well as power for an electric vehicle when we have no access to liquid fuel. How we manage our future access to electricity now can either leave us powerless or POWERFUL.

Learning key tactics about how the military is preparing for increased uncertainty gives us insight into how we can take preparation for ourselves, our property, and our families when harsh weather arrives causing subsequent blackouts. Solar power not only supplies our DoD with the energy they need but also the backup power required for swift action in emergencies.

image source: https://theconversation.com/how-solar-power-can-protect-the-us-military-from-threats-to-the-electric-grid-83698

When major disasters strike, as Americans, we feel at ease that our cities, states, the federal government, and when needed, our military can take swift action to protect us from unfolding tragedies. However, what happens when our protectors are having the same issues we are? Nature is the 3rd biggest threat to U.S. military base electrical power sources. National security requires that our military always have access to power by way of backup power, and solar is a big part of that. 

It used to be that the military relied on distributed diesel-fueled generators. But what happens when access to necessary fuel runs out, or if access to these energy plants become temporarily unavailable? Temporary outages are unacceptable for security, which is why our military has decided to be more self-reliant through an alternative renewable power supply source, a photovoltaic system.

Solar energy gets energy directly from the sun, therefore does not need to be refueled, making it the ideal solution when times get tough. In fact, in the name of national security, Congress is requiring that the U.S. military update at least 25% of their facilities to generate their own energy from renewable sources.

National Security Policies Order Military to Generate Their Own Renewable Energy

The John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 5515) requires that the DoD anticipate the ongoing disruptive weather patterns and make sure that facilities are resilient and can withstand, respond, and recover from the effects of major disasters. As of late, President Trump has signed into law this military spending authorization that requires the DoD to protect and prepare for floods, storms and energy supply disruptions from severe weather conditions.

Since having a 100% reliable power source is a top priority during disasters, it’s our military’s duty to make sure they are secured, protected, prepared, and most importantly not reliant on one common power source that can fail. Solar power is the best option currently available, and this is just as necessary for residents to know as it is our military.

For residents, solar power has come to mean more than energy cost savings, it’s now the final option we have as homeowners to maintain precious electrical power in times of need. Especially as harsher weather and proximity to the San Antonio floodplain becomes a growing concern for which we have to plan. A quick look at SARA, the San Antonio River Authority, can give some insight into these proximity dangers.

Insurance Companies Taking Charge During Extreme Weather

As we watch destructive storms brew and overfill our rivers and streets, heavy concerns about flood insurance start weighing on our mind. Thoughts of coverage and recovery become the central focus when nature greets us. Although we know it’s preferable to be fully covered, what is expected to happen when destructive natural disasters become more frequent and destructive?

Insurance companies are now reassessing their own risk calculations to ensure that their premiums and policies can withstand the pressure of increasing payouts without having to seek reinsurance options in order to remain solvent after major disasters. This is why after major floods and hurricane events many insurance companies have altered their premiums in order to accommodate increasing unpredictability. Because now, even algorithmic models for risk are having a hard time recalibrating after each unpredicted disaster.

Ninety percent of natural disasters involve flooding and this increases near oceans and major floodplains, insurance companies are analyzing their flood insurance premiums accordingly. This isn’t to say coverage won’t be available, the takeaway here is that insurance companies are looking at how they structure premiums and issue payouts without becoming insolvent. To complicate matters FEMA has yet to solidify efforts that the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 (HFIAA) aims to solve for homeowners at risk for flooding.

This is where insuring with self-reliance comes into play. Insurance companies, much like the military, are focusing on heavy and severe weather conditions. We can learn from these preemptive moves and apply them to our own safety plans with high-quality equipment and backup options. We can take this as our lesson for implementing the best plans and laying a more secure foundation for the future.  

San Antonio Prepares for More Severe Weather

If the military can teach us one thing here, it’s that increasing severe weather patterns are a “threat multiplier” and we should be prepared for the worst-case scenarios when no one else is.

Map source: http://www.oea.gov/resource/2018-climate-related-risk-dod-infrastructure-initial-vulnerability-assessment-survey-slvas

It’s not just the military though, CPS Energy is also following suit in having backup energy equipment and a plan for future disruptions. In addition to retiring JT Deely plants 1 and 2 that supply the city with coal-fired power, CPS is also encouraging residents to move toward solar energy.

The city of San Antonio’s CPS Energy has recently broken ground to implement backup solar power storage that will aim to keep power more secure during major blackouts. CPS Energy is also working on being the best they can be, by relying on the sun’s natural energy. This is why we’re seeing residents of San Antonio quickly surpassing other cities in the speedy move toward solar energy with backup protection.

Much of San Antonio is in a floodplain and because of this, fears are growing alongside the unpredictable weather patterns. The City of San Antonio is predicted to continue adapting to the changing Texas climate, the increasing temperature averages, unpredictable precipitation patterns, heavy rainfall, and rapid floods. Extreme fluctuations in heat, precipitation and flash floods bring inevitable power outage issues.

Increasing summer temperatures are also a concern for blackouts to occur more often that also naturally brings rising energy costs. These changes in weather are becoming more unpredictable, yet the one thing that we all can count on is that these unusual weather patterns will continue to occur and that we must prepare.

Identifying the Most Reliable Solar Equipment

Solar energy is an investment in securing our own power and while we’re budgeting for this investment it’s wisest to consider the highest quality equipment for our investment. Of course, solar equipment can be made with more “affordable” materials, but this calls into question what affordability really means in regards to effective preparation.

Solar energy procurement is a wise move, but settling for cheaper equipment is not. Sometimes saving money in the long run, means choosing the better option that lasts longer and has better warranties. Settling for the cheapest isn’t the path to the most durable solar equipment and will often times cost more for repairs via a shorter lifespan, in the long run.

Assessing Quality for Solar Energy Security

#1. The Best Solar Equipment Options.

Having solar products with the highest efficiency grade means removing the worry from our energy security. We all want solar panels that will withstand the harshest storms, extreme heat, hail, and other weather conditions Mother Nature will throw our way. The Germans have mastered this level of quality in solar engineering.

High-grade, German-engineered solar equipment doesn’t compromise safety. There are many solar equipment supply options, many made in China. This can be a mixed bag of quality. There can be good equipment made from China, however, picking through and finding complete products that are entirely made from high-quality parts is still a very real concern.

There’s a running list of factors to check. Monocrystalline PV types are one of these quality factors to consider. They are the preferred choice over the cheaper, older, and more common, polycrystalline PV types. In addition, German solar engineering is where solar engineering perfection lies. The Germans have perfected the production and manufacturing of solar panels and equipment, which is why entities in-the-know that rely on access to power are focused on high-quality from brands like Axitec.

2. The shortlist of quality checkpoints include:

PV Type/Aesthetic – Mono-crystalline (as opposed to Poly-crystalline)

Engineering – Germany

Efficiency – Minimum 16.5%

Durability – Can withstand harsh heat, storms, hail, and wind

Warranty – covers at least 85% production for 25 years

#3 Custom Battery Backup for Maximum Energy Security

What happens when we can no longer rely on a utility company during blackouts because they are in the same boat as us? This is where a rechargeable home battery backup system for our own energy becomes vital. After all, you’re following suit with the U.S. military, metropolitan cities, and our current energy suppliers. The current leader in home battery storage is the Tesla Powerwall. The Powerwall allows us to be completely independent from the grid, or if you’re connected to the grid and it goes down the powerwall detects the outage under 1 second and seamlessly transitions to the backup without interruption. It’s the ultimate way to self-power our home, have back up power and have time-of-use load shifting for smarter energy management.

#4 Complete your Solar Security Plan

Planning for weather challenges includes many steps like buying flood insurance, switching to solar panels, and investing in a backup  system. Being thorough means not settling for less than superior quality when researching the best equipment.

A complete system will involve a quality inverter, which is the center of all functionality in your solar panels. It converts the energy from the sun into usable energy in your home. SMA Sunny Boy Inverters are another high-quality choice.

Reliability is the key to safety. Relying on energy and insurance companies to save us in times of need is only Plan A, but we’ve seen too many disasters to know that we need a solid Plan B, and that part is up to us.

Turning Disaster into Opportunity with Solar Power

In these high-risk times, it’s imperative to pick our own energy up by the bootstraps. Although these changes can be daunting, we’re at a very fortunate crossroads. Never has solar energy been more efficient, reliable, and durable.

While we plan for extremely volatile conditions, we have so many more choices for our security than we did 20 years ago. We can plan ahead for our families with stellar options on the solar market and feel relieved that we took matters into our own hands. It’s a wonderful thing and what’s more American than the act of self-reliance and protecting our families?

Get Your San Antonio solar quote for your home today, so you can protect tomorrow and the future it holds in the balance.

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