The recent devastating wildfires in California have triggered an important dialogue between policymakers, economists, residents and the tech industry. One of the key components of reducing the number of wildfires and improving homeowner odds of survival when one occurs is an integrated solar + battery storage system.
Better yet, this technology also aids in the global mission of minimizing carbon emissions, and even saves money for each household. According to UC Berkeley Research Associate Meredith Fowlie1, the expansion of solar + battery storage tech would act as a catalyst to policy change enabling a more rapid state-wide (and, more ambitiously, nationwide) transition to renewable energy.
How can we help prevent future wildfires and be better prepared to survive if one suddenly sweeps into our neighborhood?
The answer: battery storage. Also known as energy storage or solar batteries, this technology is what makes renewable energy sustainable and efficient, and can saves lives in disaster situations. Home energy storage systems offer both a strategic and a tactical value proposition in the wildfire narrative.
From a strategic perspective, utility companies will be more willing to preemptively de-energize power lines in fire prone areas when they know the impact on the customer has been greatly reduced. Having a battery backup system in the home assures both the homeowner and the utility operators that brief outages will not be materially damaging to every home.
From a tactical perspective, it can also help mitigate the homeowners risk when a fire breaks out. Many homes lose power at the start of a wildfire. With limited access to phones, TV, charging stations, heating, and refrigeration, it becomes difficult to navigate an escape route (or even check the status and location of the fire). Having back-up power to turn on lights at night to grab possessions, find car keys, or even raise a garage door to escape a flame front can make the difference between survival and disaster.
After the fire is out, it likely has impacted local utility power infrastructure, which may not be repaired or replaced for weeks. A home solar + storage system assures the homeowner of a continuous supply of electricity throughout this period.
The icing on the top of this cake is that a solar + storage system reduces a homeowner’s monthly energy costs in the short and long-term. The greater the shift towards green energy and energy storage, the greater peace of mind for our families, future generations, and our pockets.
Battery technology is gradually being recognized for the true value it creates both in the large scale utility grids and in our homes. In the wake of the California wildfires, power outages, property damage, and loss of human life have led to serious discussions on climate change, energy policy, and the role that battery storage can play. When combined with solar panels, it’s a highly cost effective solution for California homeowners.