August 18, 2020

Helping California conserve (and produce) energy during high demand periods

California Fire Code Updated to Allow More Residential Energy Storage Capacity

While Enphase may be a global company, we are proud to be California based with 150 employees based in Fremont and Petaluma. This week’s heatwave and the return of wildfires across California makes us acutely aware of our role in assisting customers and the public with energy conservation and production, especially when it is needed most.

This past weekend, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) – the major utility across central California – was forced to conduct rotating power outages in response to the extreme heat. These outages will likely continue at varied times this week as grid operators struggle to deal with high electricity demand. A total of 16 million people may be impacted by PG&E power outages, including our California-based employees.

On Monday morning, PG&E sent an email to their customers entitled "Helping California Conserve Energy". They were compelled to explain how the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) dictates shutting down a certain percentage of the grid when demand exceeds supply. Here is an excerpt from their email:

Unfortunately, the possibility of rotating outages will remain with us—and even increase—throughout this heatwave as high electricity demand continues to put pressure on the state’s energy infrastructure. This condition is not unique to PG&E. It is impacting other electricity providers and almost all their customers across California.

- Pacific Gas and Electric Email to Customers (August 17, 2020)

What can I do in the short term?

PG&E’s email to customers offers good advice on what you can do to help conserve electricity during periods of high demand. These recommendations boil down to reducing your electricity usage during the day while demand is the highest. Here is what they recommend:

  • Reduce your power usage every day through Thursday, August 20, especially from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Adjust your air conditioning thermostat to 78 degrees or higher, cooling your home to below normal levels in the morning and reducing your air conditioning during the afternoon hours
  • Use a fan instead of air conditioning
  • Draw your drapes and window coverings
  • Use large appliances less
  • Turn off unnecessary lighting
  • Run your washing machine, dryer and dishwasher earlier in the day instead of the afternoon or evening.

What can I do in the long term?

The unfortunate situation is that higher annual temperatures and heatwaves in California are now commonplace. And that’s in addition to the impacts of Public Safety Power Shutoffs in response to California fires.

You can actually prepare for the next power outage by installing solar and energy storage for your home. Enphase’s recently released Ensemble system allows homeowners to easily generate, store, and control energy in a single, all-in-one smart home system. It is not only reliable, but safe and powerful as well.

Having Encharge at your home protects you from outages and also helps the California electricity grid by adding a new source of electricity production to meet demand.

As customers of PG&E, we appreciate our utility communicating the situation so that we can prepare accordingly. As a company whose mission is to advance a sustainable future for all, Enphase would like to add to PG&E’s message. More specifically, we would like to encourage Californians to conserve and produce their own energy. You can start that journey by evaluating Ensemble, the only all-in-one system for seamless and automatic backup power from Enphase.

Questions? Contact us. We’ll help you build your system, today.
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