As one hurricane after another barrels through normally sun-soaked regions of the world, I can’t help but wonder at the potential role of photovoltaics in disaster response. In many cases, once the winds have died down, grid damage is one of the major hurdles to overcome.
However, it seems the situation might be more complicated than simply having solar panels installed on the roof. In news coverage after Hurricane Irma impacted Florida, two different situations arose. In Gainesville, one customer was able to rely on his newly installed PV system to ride out the grid recovery period, while it appears customers in other areas of Florida with a different utility company are prohibited from using their solar panels in the event of a grid outrage. This is because the grid-tied systems would be feeding into the lines, creating a hazard for linesmen out working on the grid.
The coverage I saw did not address onsite storage, and was also focused on residential customers. If you are in Florida or Texas and have PV generation at your facility, how did you ride out the recent storms? Were you able to rely on your solar system for backup power? I'd love to hear from you, either in the comments below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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