Trends in solar applications:
2021 Winter Storm
As Texas faces record low temperatures in February 2021, snow and ice make roads impassable, and the state’s grid operator has lost control of power supply, leaving millions without electricity.
The state’s top lawmaker has called for an investigation into the Texas Electric Reliability Commission as outages stretched from hours to days, and Texans are demanding responsibility for the disaster. The Texas Tribune reported the storm’s impact in real time
After a disaster, the lives lost are often reduced to numbers very quickly. It’s been months since the 2021 Valentine’s Day winter storm hit until the state released its official death toll: at least 246 from causes ranging from hypothermia to carbon monoxide poisoning; BuzzFeed News analysis said the number was actually around 700
Solar application trends:
Some parts of Texas are always sunny or windy, which could allow wind and solar to displace nearly all coal output, especially if wind and solar projects are located in locations that provide complementary outputs, Texas is still more Any other state burns more coal, emitting more sulfur dioxide and other pollutants.
While the transition is inevitable, we must move away from coal as soon as possible to improve air quality and health. “Solar energy we use to power society is one of the most important things we need to do.
Replace traditional energy
Several large coal plants in Texas shut down in 2018, and most of the remaining plants are operating well below capacity, including outages during the February 2021 freeze. By June 2020, only one-third of wind and solar projects already proposed to the Texas Electric Reliability Commission could replace nearly all of the state’s coal generation, the study found. Dozens of such projects have been built since June 2020, and the queue of proposed solar projects has doubled.
The key to wind and solar success will be expanding transmission lines connecting the windiest and sunniest parts of the state to cities. As ERCOT struggles to recover from the 2021 freeze.
Complementary siting of wind and solar farms could then reduce the need for natural gas and storage, eliminating the need for coal. Research shows that wind energy from West Texas tends to peak overnight, while South Texas winds peak during summer afternoons and evening sea breezes.
Together with daytime solar energy, these complementary sources can cover most of the year, but not all. “Even with complementary sites, there will still be hours of no sun and no wind,” Cohan said. “Historically, the main challenge has been air conditioning at full capacity in summer afternoons with occasional deep freezes.
Solar and coastal winds do well during peak summer, but there can be lulls on certain nights when we need something else to kick in. In.” Of course it’s only a matter of time before coal is phased out from the Texas grid.
No power company wants to run coal plants long-term because they are dirtier and more expensive than building wind and solar projects from scratch, and most utilities now plan to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, if not sooner.
Solar energy panel helps reduce danger from freezes and generate excess electricity
That’s according to a new report from an environmental nonprofit that if Texas harnesses all of its rooftop solar potential, or photovoltaic potential, it could help reduce the dangers of freezing and generate excess electricity to reduce demand for fossil fuels – Burning plants.
The report acknowledged the disadvantages of solar modules, such as the inability of solar panels to generate electricity at night, but noted that solar “does help meet 13 of the 20 peak load hours during the February 2021 Texas freeze. electricity demand”.
It also noted that solar power generation in Texas has grown 123-fold over the past decade, but most of its potential remains untapped. “A total of 6,349 megawatts of solar power was installed at rooftop or utility-scale facilities in Texas during the February 2021 winter storm,” the report reads. ”
Actual solar power, including utilities Scale and small, totaling about 780,000 MWh in February 2021, or enough to power 873,120 average US homes. “There’s untapped potential out there, but solar isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, so it won’t be the only solution to the Texas power crisis,” said Dave Tuttle, an energy researcher at the University of Texas at Austin.
The relationship between the grid and solar energy
However “it has the potential to help. And there are different solutions. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Of course it’s best combined with the grid, [solar panels] can help in multiple ways.
Assuming the grid is isolated and in different There are different failure points. At least you’ll have some service for people in case the pipes freeze, or other bad things happen in there. You might have a medical challenge of needing power for some reason.
So we can provide It supplies power and then when the grid tries to catch up, it’s easier for them to get them back online. This is an example. If you have solar pv on the roof and they are still connected to the grid and part of their grid is still working then it helps To lighten the load on other people, which may allow grid operators and other utilities to help restore more houses. So it can help in that regard.”
Solar power provides fixed cost and reliable power
Tuttle believes the main problem with solar is that the infrastructure is not suitable for some people, such as condos or apartment dwellers who don’t have the capacity to install solar. Homeowners have more freedom to use solar power, and homeowners with electric vehicles have more reason to use solar power, he said.
Ten years ago, he opted for solar, but still has traditional grid power from Austin Energy, enhanced by his rooftop photovoltaics. “It’s very economical. It’s hard to surpass the economics of the grid.
In fact, our electricity price is very low. Of course, we are not sure that if there is an energy crisis in the future, the electricity price will be very high. In terms of long-term economic benefits, it is relatively reasonable.
When you want to build your own microgrid or build your own system, you first need to own the house, have control of the roof. So it has a smaller population than the total population.
How do you do it when you live in an apartment or a condo “One way to reduce the price or cost of homeowners owning the batteries they need to create this microgrid is to use your EV batteries,” Tuttle said. So you already have a big battery already parked in your garage to power it. ”
The future will see more and more solar panel systems on rooftops in Texas, and even more wall-mounted solar systems. And the cost will only get better and more common. Another benefit is that if you do, then you’ll also have fixed-cost energy forever, so once you go solar, you probably won’t be going back.
So you’ll have fixed cost power, which is good too. You exclude volatility and volatility from the energy market because it is essentially a volatile market and will rise over time. At the same time, the people of Texas have felt that solar energy can really change the way Texas is powered.
It is possible to have a highly distributed generation and energy storage system that will mitigate and provide more resilient, fixed cost and reliable electricity everywhere. “