Solar panels and batteries should power our future

One way to prevent future strains on the power grid is to remove demand, and this could be done by using solar panels and batteries

Much of the U.S. lost power last week. In Texas, grid operators were forced to impose rotating blackouts throughout communities to prevent a full failure of the power system. The winter storm wreaked havoc across a large portion of the continental U.S., from the Pacific Northwest to the Northeast and even as far south as the Texas gulf coast. The weather may have been unprecedented, but a changing climate may result in more storms of this scale.

As a result, the nation’s power grid may very well be under threat. Temporary solutions such as rotating brownouts or blackouts and an increase in the production of natural gas, are not long-term solutions. One way to prevent future strains on the power grid is to remove demand, and this could be done by using solar panels and batteries.

Solar panel technology has come a long way over the past decade. Panels are now more efficient and less unsightly. And, most importantly, their cost has decreased to the point that solar panels are now cheaper than fossil alternatives.

Companies like Tesla are producing solar panels that integrate with back-up battery power, making it possible to power a home solely on solar energy.

The government should increase subsidies for both solar panels and battery tech, making them even more accessible to a larger portion of the homeowner population. This would include additional subsidies for lower-income residents and minority neighborhoods, who often experience additional hardships. Combined with requirements for new housing and office developments, solar panels can more easily become a larger source of energy. This would vastly reduce our reliance on the power grid.

If more Texas residents—along with those in other states in the South and East struggling with winter weather—had solar power as a main source of electricity, power grids would be less strained and many would have kept power, sourced from solar panels backed up by batteries. And it’s now easier than ever to imagine—and to create—a nation that utilizes solar power to its fullest potential.


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