How solar increases energy resilience for self-storage companies
Climate change is leading to extreme and aggressive weather patterns across the country and around the world. 2020 saw a record of 22 separate billion dollar weather and climate disasters in the US alone. These increasingly common natural disasters threaten the safety and stability of individuals, communities and businesses alike. They also present a unique problem for self-storage facilities that rely on reliable and resilient energy to maintain air-conditioned spaces that protect the personal effects entrusted to them by members of their local community.
As extreme climate events increase and worsen an already aging heat-based energy infrastructure, new solutions are needed to improve the resilience of communities and the businesses that serve them. Distributed solar power is proving to be groundbreaking in this regard. If you are a self storage facility owner and want to know how your business can use solar energy to improve the resilience of your facility, this article is for you.
Disadvantages of traditional power generation during natural disasters
To understand how solar energy can help communities and businesses improve their resilience in the face of increasingly frequent natural disasters, it helps to examine the weaknesses in the existing system.
The network is traditionally operated by power plants (usually Coal, natural gas or oil) generated in places far from the place of consumption. Long transmission lines transport the electricity generated at the central location to a local substation, where it is ultimately distributed to the users. Major disruptions (such as natural disasters) in the current centralized transmission system can cause a large portion of the grid to lose power, leading to widespread outages with serious consequences for local communities. The recent outages in Texas due to winter weather and California due to forest fires are examples of such system-wide impacts.
In such emergencies, fuel generators typically power critical infrastructure (ie, hospitals and fire stations). If the fuel required to operate these generators is not readily available in the affected municipality, it must be transported there. This significantly increases the response time in an emergency and further endangers an already ailing community. The stakes continue to increase the longer the failure lasts.
The cruel irony is that the increased greenhouse gas emissions caused by traditional power generation methods are contributing to rising global temperatures, which in turn increases the frequency and intensity of natural disasters. This topic is also tackled with decentralized solar energy.
How solar increases the resilience of grids and communities
Decentralized solar system in combination with storage has proven its potential, Strengthening network and community resilience in the face of natural disasters. In contrast to conventional thermal energy, which is generated at a central location far away from the end user, decentralized solar energy generates electricity at or near the point of consumption. This proximity is essential in the event of major network disruptions. It enables critical infrastructures to be supplied with power without the waiting time associated with restoring and commissioning an extensive network.
Facilities that have solar energy systems but no battery storage component can still suffer a temporary power outage. In order for systems to be able to continue to supply local power even if the rest of the network fails, they must be designed in such a way that they disconnect themselves from the network (or “island”) in the event of a fault. Not all systems have this capability. Even those constructed in this way sometimes need to be temporarily shut down for safety reasons, e.g. B. If utility workers are nearby. Regardless of this, decentralized solar energy helps to switch the grid back on more quickly, because The intelligent inverter technology has a faster frequency response than conventional thermal power plants.
How solar helps your self-storage facility better serve your community
Now that we’ve examined how solar energy can improve energy security and increase community resilience, let’s figure out where your self-storage facility fits into the picture.
Members of your community trust that your company will keep their stored items safe no matter what happens outside. Of course, your antique furniture or old tax documents certainly will Not Be at the forefront of an environmental emergency. But once the imminent danger is over and rebuilding efforts begin, these stored items become profound representations of a cherished sense of normalcy.
By adding solar panels to your self storage system, you can:
- Lower operating costs due to the lower consumption of solar energy compared to mains electricity
- Better keep your community’s property safe in the event of outages due to natural disasters
- Provide critical support to your community by improving the resilience of the network, especially in the event of natural disasters
- Reduce your facility’s contribution to the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to rising global temperatures and increase the frequency and intensity of natural disasters
Contact Pivot Energy today
Cooperation with a qualified solar developer like Pivot energy will help you to understand how solar, in combination with storage, can better prepare your self-storage system for extreme weather events. Investing in this increased level of willingness will improve your company’s ability to serve your customers and your community.