Solar panels are cherished by homesteaders and others seeking to become independent energy producers, immune to becoming victims of chaos on a traditional electric grid. Unfortunately, many Californians are discovering that their own solar panels, usually connected directly to the state’s grid, are useless in a blackout.
The uncomfortable reality became apparent Wednesday as California power giant PG&E began powering down its grid in the face of extremely dry conditions that are turning the state into a tinderbox.
The energy company’s power lines were discovered by the state to have sparked destructive blazes, including the one that wiped the town of Paradise off the map.
To prevent another disastrous public scandal as winds began to pick up in the bone-dry state, PG&E simply shut down parts of its power grid. The ensuing blackout left hundreds of thousands in the dark, according to Fast Company.
Homeowners who installed solar panels connected to the grid are now finding that this means they are left in the dark, despite sunny skies and all the technology needed to harvest the sun’s rays.
Many who have the panels in place failed to realize that the solar systems are only used to feed the grid, a one-way energy transfer for which they are compensated on their monthly bills.
Only those with the foresight to install a system of inverters and batteries, and keep their own panels off-grid, are enjoying the benefits of modern civilization while other parts of California sit in darkness.
Those who own gasoline-powered generators may think they have the system beat, but they’re in for a shock when they see gas prices.
As Los Angeles’ KTLA-TV reports, gas prices in California are at a five-year high. On Wednesday, the statewide average was $4.13, a shocking surge in America’s energy renaissance.
Some reports have seen gas stations charging as much as $5.49 for a gallon of regular fuel.
Only in California… 👀 pic.twitter.com/7BiLAF8oHv
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) October 2, 2019
Along with the apparent supply-and-demand issue arising from California’s current crisis, the gas prices are also partly the result of the state’s “green” policies.
According to fuel data website Gasbuddy, California’s gas is already pricey thanks to its restrictive carbon taxes.
In addition, the liberal West Coast has roughly half of the refineries it did in the past, creating a major supply problem when the facilities have to shut down for maintenance.
Thanks to those factors, many have to deal with a lack of electricity at home and work, while paying a premium to drive between the two.
For those living in the green utopia of California, this should serve as a warning about going all-in on one “miracle” technology. While the benefits of solar are impressive, drawing energy from different sources insulates the nation and the consumer from the fallout of disasters.
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