How Alternative Energy is cool savings in ERCOT’s summer heat
Most people would think that if Texas can’t handle the snow, we would at least be able to handle the heat, right? I mean if there’s one thing Texans are no stranger to, it’s the humidity and sunshine that comes with the summer time. So, if Texans have seen temperatures like this before, then why is ERCOT issuing warnings about energy usage and what does this mean for solar consumers?
WHO IS ERCOT? ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas) is a state-run, non-profit organization that is responsible for providing over 90% of electricity to Texans. Texas is unique in this respect because we are the only state within the US that has an organization like ERCOT. Electricity in other parts of the country is controlled by the federal government, and is divided into two grid portions that control eastern and western states. This grouping of states is advantageous because in situations like a state-wide blackout, energy supply can be transferred from other states in the same group to provide the blackout state with the electricity that they need. Texas residents, however, continue to face blackouts and close calls when met with inclement weather because they are unable to receive assistance from sources other than ERCOT.
HOW DO WE PUT THE “R” BACK IN ERCOT? In an effort to maintain grid Resilience , ERCOT recently issued advisory notices to all Texas residents asking us to reduce our energy consumption. Announcements have been sent out from multiple Texas energy suppliers asking their customers to take action as well. GEXA, an retail provider in Houston, advised their customers to turn up their thermostats, unplug or turn off unnecessary appliances, and avoid the use of large appliances like dishwashers and laundry machines during peak hours to reduce the amount of energy used and avoid a potential blackout.
But we’ve seen these temperatures before, so why are we getting warnings now? According to ERCOT officials, these notices have been issued due to the high demand of energy and an unexpected amount of power plants in need of repair. These notices have come to be a huge inconvenience to most Texas residents as many people are not willing to deviate from their typical electrical habits. However, in spite of these warnings, our solar customers are facing a different reality than most.
HOW DOES SOLAR SAVE IN THE SUMMER? Solar energy consumers are experiencing a much more relaxed summer in comparison to their on-the-grid counterparts. During the summer months, solar energy proves to be increasingly beneficial, especially in times in which energy from the grid is unreliable. By having solar panels, you are able to use sunshine to power your home and take your power back! In the event of a power outage, “prosumers” who have combined storage are able to disconnect from the grid entirely and maintain their power through a nanogrid (home energy system). Having solar panels is going to be pivotal for the comfort of Texas residents this season. Austin residents saw triple-digits this past week, and temperatures will continue to climb as we get further into the summer months. If ERCOT is already struggling to keep up with Texans’ energy demands this early into the summer, things will only get worse as temperatures rise and the demand for energy increases.
WHAT CAN YOU DO? If you do not have a home energy system, the best thing to do during this time is follow ERCOT’s advisory and reduce your energy consumption by turning off unnecessary appliances, turning your thermostat to 78, and monitoring your electricity usage. This will save you money and provide Texans a better chance at avoiding blackouts.
Another helpful thing you can do is research your location as a candidate for solar energy. Summers will keep getting hotter, and the role of ERCOT is not changing anytime soon. One of the best things for many customers is to invest in solar now, lock in your rate, then save money and stress in the long run. By investing in solar energy, you can take the power back for yourself and utilize alternative energy so that you can save money and avoid worrying about power outages during the times you need energy the most.