thermometer showing rising temperature due to heat wave

This summer, Texas has experienced an extended heat wave, causing residents to run their air conditioning more than usual. With the record-shattering heatwave came a surge in energy demand. Experts voiced concern about the ability of Texas’ electrical grid to meet the unusually high demand. However, the grid has remained remarkably stable. Likewise, prices have also yet to see any substantial spike. The consensus attributes these successes to integrating new solar and battery storage technologies into Texas’ power grid.
An impressive 9.7 gigawatts of solar power has been integrated into the Texas power grid in the last two years, doubling its solar energy capability. This is more than any other state in the nation. Texas has installed an additional 1.8 gigawatts of large-scale storage projects, significantly enhancing the availability of clean energy.

Amidst soaring temperatures in the triple digits and instances of energy grid disruptions, renewable energy sources have risen to contribute 30 to 40% of Texas’ power requirements during peak hours. Despite the persistence of heat waves, solar systems continue to be among the most effective resources for enhancing the dependability and foreseeability of the U.S. electrical grid.

In the Southeast, hurricanes are among the most dangerous forms of extreme weather. The rising temperatures in Gulf waters are intensifying the impact of these lethal storms. The infrastructure of electricity and utility lines is often severely compromised when a hurricane makes landfall, leaving many residents exposed and vulnerable for prolonged periods. Just last year, Hurricane Ian tore through southwest Florida, leaving 2.6 million residents without access to power.

However, during the onslaught of Hurricane Ian, Babcock Ranch, a community outside Fort Myers, remained relatively unaffected due to its reliance on solar power. Its impressive 700,000-panel solar array managed to maintain an uninterrupted power supply for all 2,000 residences even amidst the raging storm. The utilization of solar power enabled Babcock Ranch to recover swiftly and has now emerged as a great model for constructing robust solar systems that can withstand adversity. The community hosts an annual summit for builders and developers interested in learning how to construct more resilient and sustainable neighborhoods, showcasing Babcock Ranch’s successful blueprint.