SOLAR POWERED FUTURE
Every hour, enough energy from the sun hits the Earth to power it for an entire year. Let that sink in. Many states have already begun to consider how we could limit emissions from the building sector. California, for example, implemented a building code as of January 1, 2020 that requires all new construction homes to have solar photovoltaics (PV) as an electricity source.
Solar photovoltaic materials and devices convert sunlight into electrical energy, with each PV producing about 1 or 2 watts of power. Solar Star is one of the largest solar farms in the United States, producing 579 megawatts of energy, spreading out over thirteen square kilometers and consisting of 1.7 million solar panels. It is expected that the solar-generating capacity in the US will grow by 21.5 GW in 2022. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory, 46.1 gigawatts of new utility-scale electric generating capacity is to be added across the US in 2022, half of which is solar. Although California has been taking the lead in solar innovation, most of these planned solar additions for the year of 2022 will actually be in Texas (6.1 GW, or 28% of the national total). Texas, already leading in most wind energy capacity, is catching up in utility-scale solar capacity as well.
As solar energy is to become half of the new electric generating capacity in the US, it’s important to understand the benefits and how we can integrate this innovation into our building. With the Winter Storm Uri disaster last year in Texas, now is a good time to assess energy resources and upgrades. Renewable energy, according to energy experts, is key to making Texas’ electricity more reliable in 2022. A combination of the pandemic’s effects in conjunction with the deadly winter storm have accelerated efforts in the state to produce clean energy and make the grid more reliable. Gavin Dillingham, Vice President of Research for energy with the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC), stated in an interview:
“One of the key areas that we really think people are paying attention to, or should start paying attention to, is more grid flexible buildings, better understanding the interaction between energy consumption in buildings and how the buildings can actually serve and help support the grid through energy efficiency, of course, so whether weatherizing residential properties, but also improving the efficiency and operations of commercial spaces. And so better understanding the interactions between our buildings and the grid, and that dynamic between supply and demand, is really an area that’s going to continue to grow and expand quite a bit and complement the deployment of solar plus storage.
One of the projects we are finishing up now is with the DOE (U.S. Department of Energy) Solar Energy Technology Office that provides micro solar plus storage. And so these are 1,000 watt systems – so fairly small systems – but they can provide basic necessities during a short power outage, one to two day power outage. And so in lieu of, say, a natural gas generator or a gasoline generator, you can have these systems on site and they can provide some pretty significant benefits in that regard. A lot of people can’t afford right now that whole house (solar) system, but these smaller ones can at least provide the basic necessities.”
Aside from having control over your electricity and producing clean energy, another advantage of home solar is the increase in home value. Solar panels can raise a home’s value by 4.1%. In some cases, choosing solar energy can even qualify you for tax breaks and cash incentives. For example, if you live in Austin, you can get a rebate of $2,500. You may also be eligible for Austin Energy’s Value of Solar Tariff, which pays you $0.097 for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) your solar panels can generate.
Solar energy is quickly becoming a no-brainer as it becomes more affordable and accessible. If you are a homeowner or looking to build with solar energy check out the link below for more information on Texas Solar Incentives. If you are just looking to see how you can survive the next Texas winter storm or blackout, perhaps consider investing in a Home Solar Battery. It’s rechargeable, reliable energy you can count on when you need it most. One thing is certain, we are on route to powering through any unreliable energy grid with a solar powered future.
Find out more info about the Home Solar Battery here:
Find out more information on Texas Solar Incentives here: