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Blackouts: By the Numbers

Aug 13, 2019

Blackouts happen when damage occurs to an electrical grid, causing total power loss to an entire electrical network. These power losses can affect neighborhoods, cities, and even entire countries. For many of us, power outages are usually a mild inconvenience. But recent events across the globe have shown us that they can also pose a devastating blow to communities and result in a total shutdown of basic infrastructure.

If it seems like these sorts of blackouts are becoming more common, it’s because they are. 

And the numbers show it.

Why All the Blackouts?

Aging technology is one of the leading contributors to power failure. Most power grids rely on old systems, with almost 75% of U.S. transmission lines more than 25 years old. This is considered nearly ancient for electrical technology, and ever-increasing electrical use puts a lot of strain on these outdated systems.

  • Weather is another well-known cause of outages. Lightning, ice, heat and winds are common culprits of energy disruption. Between rising global temperatures and increased energy consumption during summer, power outages are nearly doubling every year as aging grids strain to meet increased peak demand.
  • Natural disasters can be one of the scariest and most pressing instances of power loss. Typhoons, hurricanes, earthquakes, and wildfires are all capable of disrupting any community’s power grid. Losing power due to natural disasters can have dire consequences because people lose access to food preservation, climate control, communication, and medical equipment.
  • Rolling blackouts — sometimes there just isn’t enough energy to go around. To fix this, utilities may shut off access to power for designated periods of time to avoid widespread power loss. In developing countries, this may occur daily. In areas like California, it’s used as a last resort to avoid total system collapse in times of extreme energy consumption.
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Be Prepared. 

Blackouts can occur at any time — and for nearly any reason. So it’s important for you and your family to be prepared and informed in case your home suffers from a power outage.

Moving Forward Through Innovation.

Today’s energy industry is committed to meeting the issue of blackouts head on. Power analysts are innovating the ways we use power through a combination of solar panels and batteries, easing our reliance on current power plants. 

Enphase is helping to lead the charge — by providing homeowners with the ability to battle blackouts. With Enphase Storage backup battery, energy overproduced by a solar system is stored for future use in case of a blackout. Enphase also plans to introduce Ensemble technology by 2020. With Ensemble, homes become entirely grid-agnostic, able to draw power from their system without needing constant access to the utility grid — making sure a household is never left in the dark, even during a blackout. It’s all part of our commitment to future innovation, to make sure blackouts no longer have so much power over us. 

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