It is terrible what is happening to people in Texas and other parts of the country where this super cold snap has caused power outages and freezing cold temperatures in their homes.
But it is also a reminder that we need not be reliant on the grid. In fact, we should figure out how to reduce our reliance on the grid when things like this happen.
Until recently, that generally meant a generator that is powered by oil or gas. And that is still a good thing to have when the grid becomes unreliable.
But there are also new ways of doing this with solar and batteries.
A fully electrified home, heated and cooled with energy-efficient heat pumps, would consume on average 20kWh per day to heat and cool the home in a moderate climate. Rooftop solar could produce that or more on most days on sunny days.
A home that is fully electrified and has rooftop solar could operate off grid many days. Adding a battery means that the home could also operate off grid at night.
And when the grid goes down, the combo of solar, battery, and a heat pump could allow a home to stay warm (or cool) for as long as necessary.
I have been drawn to this model of resilience and have been working towards it personally for a while now. I think what is happening with the weather out (Read more…)