During the first half of September 2022, California endured record-breaking heat waves. Experts marked the event, saying that California experienced life-threatening temperatures. The California Independent System Operator (ISO), who oversees the state’s electrical grid’s operation, reacted by initializing a special “Flex Alert.” This alert asks residents to conserve energy by increasing their air conditioning thermostats to 78 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, turning off lights and appliances, and refraining from charging their electric vehicles.
Heat waves like this are typically caused by a phenomenon called a “heat dome,” an area of atmospheric pressure trapping hot air in one place – in this case, over California. The still air continues to heat up from the sun as the days continue. The Delta Breeze is not strong enough to affect the phenomenon. Until a stronger breeze clears the dome away (like an atmospheric jet stream) or the dome decays on its own, the heat not only persists, but often increases. Heat dome formation is often influenced by La Niña (ocean surface water cools so less water evaporates into clouds) and jet stream migration (no local air is moved around by the jet stream, so it all settles in place).
Along with this, California has also endured a megadrought for the past number of years. The reduced amount of seasonal water provides fertile ground for wildfires that have razed the California countryside, increasing air pollution and heat. Many water sources like rivers and reservoirs are at low volume levels and still decreasing. Some of those water sources provide hydroelectric power for the state’s electrical grid. If the water level lowers to a point where it can no longer spin the turbines, electricity is not generated (also known as dead pool status), further exacerbating the problem high electrical demand.
Solar Panels are Part of the Solution
California officials are implementing different ways to help adjust to the heat. That’s one of the reasons the state promotes more photovoltaic installations. Solaron is happy to install the best solar power system available today: the Equinox system from SunPower. It’s clean, it’s efficient, it doesn’t rely on water, but relies on the sun – which we get plenty of in California, especially during a heat wave. It also allows empty roofs to gain functionality, and it can even increase your property value. What’s more, you can send your surplus electrical energy to the grid to keep your neighbors’ air conditioners running, and thanks to net metering, you get rewarded for doing so!
Installing solar power systems might not cool things off directly, but it provides the power needed to run California. The more solar power systems that get plugged into the grid, the more we all benefit. Are you ready to do your part? Give Solaron a call for more information, or use our online form to schedule a free solar analysis for your home.