Is your energy supply at risk?  Events in North Carolina show the danger of ignoring our energy supply, and how solar and battery storage is protecting homeowners.

One of America’s biggest threats remains energy security, as evidenced by recent events in Moore County, North Carolina. From the gas we put in our cars to the electricity running through overhead lines, we are usually reliant on others to supply one of the most important elements of modern life:  power.  It is unfortunate that what is most important, is also the most vulnerable.

It only took some gunfire to sabotage power for more than 40,000 North Carolina residents in December 2022, when outages in Moore County were suspected as “intentional vandalism.”  Vandals wielding firearms are suspected of causing a major power outage across Moore County that plunged tens of thousands of customers into darkness amid freezing temperatures, according to authorities. Evidence of sabotage was found at two key electrical substations following the massive blackout Saturday night, prompting the Moore County Sheriff’s Office to investigate the incident as a “criminal occurrence” and call in the FBI to assist in the probe.

There is evidence that the blackout is politically motivated.  This isn’t the first time electrical substations have been targeted with firearms. In February, three white supremacists pleaded guilty to a domestic terrorism plot to knock out power grids across the country by shooting rifles at them, which the Department of Justice described as an effort “to damage the economy and stoke division in our country.”

Blackouts are most often caused by mother nature, not human nature.  In recent years, power outages have been driven primarily by extreme weather events and have increased markedly, according to government officials.  The issue is so concerning that The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the Department of Energy (DoE) launched a call to action asking utilities and outage data companies to voluntarily share their data with the Outage Data Initiative Nationwide (ODIN) for better real-time, standardized, and transparent power outage data.

In Florida, Hurricane Ian knocked out power to more than 2.6 million customers in Florida – approximately 24% of the state’s customers. But one positive story emerged out of Hurricane Ian:  homes and communities with solar held up extremely well.  A Wall Street Journal article reports that neighborhoods that were powered by solar panels with backup batteries weathered the storm, keeping their lights on while millions lost power. At least three solar-powered communities near Fort Myers and Tampa made it through Ian without losing electricity. Some also had hardened electrical infrastructure, including buried lines and stronger power poles, that helped them weather the storm and its aftermath.  Read the WSJ article here

Because of growing blackout concerns, solar energy storage has become increasingly popular among homeowners. According to a recent SUNPOWER survey of more than 1,500 households, about 40% of Americans worry about power outages frequently. Among those considering solar for their homes, 70% said they planned to include a battery energy storage system.

With SunVault™ Storage installed by Southern Home Solar, you can set your own power preferences, monitor system operation and savings with intuitive software, and ensure seamless transfers from grid power to battery power and back.  And most importantly, the battery is always there in case of a power outage, getting refilled every time the sun comes up.

A recent study by Berkeley Labs is covered in the  CleanTechnica article “How Effective Are Rooftop Solar Plus Storage Systems In A Blackout? Berkeley Lab Has The Answer.”  The report examines how effective rooftop solar plus storage systems can be at keeping the lights on for a 3-day period in every county in the United States.  The report concluded that a 10kw battery system can “more or less back up power to limited critical loads that exclude heating and cooling.”  With more battery captivity, more loads can be backed up.  To learn more, find the article here. 

The future is even brighter. Electric Vehicles have the potential of not only disrupting the automotive market, but the home battery market, with the potential of bi-directional charging, where the car is charged by the home and can then also send power back to the home if necessary. It’s not here yet, and rewiring your house to allow an electric vehicle to charge via a rooftop solar system and power your home when needed can be expensive. You need a bi-directional charger to start with, and modifications to your home’s electrical panel to make it happen. But over time, as more people acquire electric vehicles, such systems may become quite attractive to homeowners.  Southern Home Solar will continue to offer our customers the most advanced technology and options to keep the lights on.