The powering of homes in climate change and blackouts through solar energy

This summer, over 1.4 million people lost power in New Jersey due to Isaias. A quite number of blackouts were experienced as a result of this less powerful storm. Many homes were left without electricity for several days to some extending to a week. The good thing is that hundreds of households powered their homes with solar energy generated on solar panels and stored in batteries. 

Investigations on what went wrong are underway led by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU). It is now high time this board acts accordingly and gives a helping hand to local clean energy technology to decrease electricity demand on the overall grid. By 2021, Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) plans to sell all its fossil fuel plants and focus on a more efficient, cleaner, and advanced grid. It is essential to note that this is the leading utility servicing owner in New Jersey and some sections of New York. Moving away from fossil fuels is one of the company’s important decisions aimed to help New Jersey in the 2050 100% clean energy transition. 

More than 125,000 solar panels in New Jersey are installed in businesses and homes, providing approximately 5% of the total state’s energy. A substantial number of batteries are also available to store energy when the grid is down, while other expensive utilities cannot fix that problem. As New Jersey is switching from fossil fuels to more affordable, reliable, and more resilient clean energy, other companies should follow the PSEG route. There are over 400 solar companies that operate in New Jersey today. The market is very competitive; thus, consumers benefit from low costs. 

Reduced power costs through community-driven solutions are beneficial to both communities of color and low-income communities. A new study showed that African-American homeowners spent utilities worth $408 more on average every year compared to white homeowners. Although investing in clean energy assets and grid maintenance plays a vital role in achieving climate goals, people should not fully rely on it. People need to be empowered with knowledge and options, which are beyond utility provisions. 

No doubt that battery storage and home solar can be ideal for raising power bills in New Jersey. New Jersey’s unemployment rate last month was at 8.2%; hence many people are still unemployed. This means that most people are not in a position to pay their electricity bills.

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