How Residential Solar Reduces Utah Heat Wave Grid Impact
Summer is coming, and Utahans know what that means — heat. Electricity usage explodes each year as the Beehive State starts warming up. Air conditioning is a must for those hot months, but as electricity usage increases, the strain on the electricity grid increases too. The grid is where most homes get their electricity.
What does it all mean for Utah residents? Will going solar help?
How Heat Impacts the Grid
Why would solar help the grid? First, we need to understand how heat impacts the grid. It affects both the infrastructure and your energy prices.
Too Much Strain Can Cause Brownouts
The first thing to know is that high demand can cause the power grid to collapse. Think of the grid as a tank of water. When you run the sink or shower each has high pressure, but when you run both the pressure drops; decreasing the water flow to one or both.
In a similar way, too much drain on the grid can cause it to short out. Why?
Why Do Brownouts Happen?
A brownout occurs when too many sources pull electricity at once. The combined drain may be more than the grid’s capacity. When that happens, the grid reduces the amount of power drawn. This situation is known as a brownout because lights dim when it happens. Sometimes an intentional brownout will occur to stop a blackout.
Air Conditioning Is a Major Consumer of Electricity
Air conditioning is one of the main sources of electricity use during the summer. Climate control also tends to be used during specific parts of the day. When all the air conditioning systems turn on at similar times, the grid experiences extra strain. That strain can cause a brownout.
How Solar Panels Can Reduce Grid Strain
The best way to make sure you aren’t affected by a brownout is to install solar panels and battery backup. Adding solar can reduce the electricity your home pulls from the grid during peak hours. Installing battery backup can further insulate you by allowing you to continue using power during an outage.
Going Solar Means Less Electricity From Your Utility Company
The main way going solar helps during Utah heat waves is by cutting down grid strain. Solar homes no longer pull energy from the grid during those hot summer days. And if you also have a home battery, like the Tesla Powerwall, they also cover energy used when you get home from work.
How Less Electricity Consumption Helps During Utah Heat Waves
Less electricity being consumed by your home means more electricity for other homes. The more electricity there is for other homes, the less strain the grid is put under. The less strain the grid is put under, the stronger it will be during those hot Utah summers.