Source: Solar Power World
At the beginning of May, areas of California lifted restrictions on solar and storage installers, deeming them “essential workers.” With the majority of the state’s homeowners under stay-at-home orders during the pandemic, the necessity of reliable home power has become abundantly clear. As California prepares for wildfire season and Public Safety Power Shutoffs that will leave many in the dark, renewable energy solutions that include home battery backup systems are more important than ever to keep homes and businesses safely powered.
The California Public Utilities Commission requires that electric utility companies develop and submit plans to reduce the risk of fire ignitions caused by overhead facilities located in high fire-threat areas during an extreme wildfire event. Utility companies are faced with the challenge of protecting the stability of the power grid, while also taking into account the safety of their customers and employees. Damaged power lines or transformers can lead to loose power cables or explosions that are extremely dangerous, making it necessary to completely shut off the power so that firefighters, police department personnel, and other safety crew members can safely work to control any resulting wildfires.
PG&E, one of the largest natural gas and electric companies in the United States, has adopted the Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) plan as part of their Community Wildfire Safety Program. In an extreme fire hazard situation, it may be necessary for PG&E to disconnect the power lines that serve that area. The PSPS program applies for all electric lines that are located within high fire-threat areas; however, customers located outside of these areas should still plan to take precautions.
If the power lines affected by a wildfire are at the distribution level, then the impact on the grid should be minor. However, if the area includes transmission lines, the impact on the industrial, commercial, and residential sectors in a large area could be dramatic, with the possibility of affecting millions of customers on the PG&E power grid.
Power outages can result in substantial losses in both the commercial and residential sectors. The best way to prepare for contingency situations is to have a readily available backup power resource. Solutions like fuel-powered backup generators only work during the contingency event, and are dependent on a fuel supply that could run out before power returns. As an alternative option, battery-based solutions integrated with renewable energy can protect against both unexpected and programmed shutoffs.
Continue reading the full article here: https://www.solarpowerworldonline.com/2020/06/preparing-for-wildfire-season-with-solar-storage-in-the-wake-of-coronavirus/