After solar, this is big money decision about controlling home power

A customer inspects a Tesla Motors Inc. Powerwall unit inside a home.

Ian Thomas Jansen-Lonnquist | Bloomberg | Getty Images

After a summer of extreme weather and wildfires and now during the peak of hurricane season, the power going out again is becoming familiar to more Americans. That means it may be a good time to consider a home backup power storage system.

The pervasiveness of extreme weather and climate change, local utility reliability and cost may all factor into this financial decision.

“Backup power may be warranted depending on regional factors and geography as well as the state of the infrastructure there,” said Benjamin R. Dierker, executive director of the Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure, a research and educational organization, in an email. 

In coastal areas, for instance, considerations include the resilience of storm or sea walls, the quality and capacity of drainage infrastructure and the electrical grid’s hardiness, he said. In other areas, extreme weather conditions like high winds, tornados and ice may cause falling trees or downed lines — a risk that’s significantly mitigated if there are buried utility lines rather than overhead lines, Dierker said. Pre-emptive shutdowns, due to extreme weather or other factors, can also be a consideration.

As of Sept. 11, there have been 23 confirmed weather/climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each to affect United States, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information, which has a graphic that shows the locations of these disasters. These events included two flooding events, 18 severe storm events, one tropical cyclone event, one wildfire event, and one winter storm event. 

Here’s what consumers need to consider about home back-up power options:

Appliance needs during power outages

A good first step is to think about the most important appliances you are running on electricity and how long you might realistically need them to run in the event of an outage, said Vikram Aggarwal, chief executive and founder of EnergySage, which helps consumers compare clean home energy solutions.

If you have minimal backup needs, a small portable fossil-fuel generator or battery could suffice, which can cost a few hundred dollars. But if you want your home to operate as normal, you’ll want to consider whole home options.

Location can be a factor since in some areas, the power goes out infrequently or for only short periods of time. In some states like California, Texas and Louisiana, however, it can be a whole different ball game. California consumers, for example, can get an up-to-date sense of outages in their area to get a sense of what their risk may be.

Fossil fuel vs. battery power

If you’re not opposed to fossil fuel-powered options, there are several categories to consider based on your power needs. For lower power needs, a portable generator, which often runs on gasoline or diesel can cost a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. There are…

Read More: After solar, this is big money decision about controlling home power

Leave a comment

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Get more stuff like this
in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.