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Rising Temperatures and Dry Weather Pose Higher Power Outage Risks

Australia is facing a looming dry and hot summer, which poses a higher risk of bushfires and power outages. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology has not yet declared an El Niño, but the World Meteorological Organization confirmed it over a month ago. Recent data from the Bureau suggests that there is a greater than 80% chance of higher temperatures than usual for most of Australia. These conditions are expected to lead to more frequent and intense heatwaves, bushfires, and droughts.

The soaring temperatures will result in significant air conditioning use, particularly during the hottest days, causing strain on the already fragile grid. This increased demand may lead to power outages in some areas. Power outages have been increasing in Australia since the mid-2010s due to extreme weather events. The afternoon and early evening are the most common times for outages, coinciding with homeowners’ return and usage of air conditioning.

The rising power prices in Australia have already impacted many households, with increases of up to 25% in some areas in 2023. To combat these high prices, many Australians are investing in rooftop solar and home battery systems. These systems not only reduce energy costs but also support the electricity network, provide backup power, and contribute to clean energy generation. Australia is already a global leader in solar PV systems, with millions of rooftop installations.

Solar systems can be installed as standalone systems or combined with battery storage for backup power. The latest solar panels offer impressive power and efficiency, requiring less roof space. Smart energy systems allow homeowners to control panel output and choose how to use the power, whether for their own needs or to export to the grid. New inverters, such as those from Enphase, offer reliable electricity and come with a 15-year warranty.

Solar-plus-storage systems are an attractive option for off-grid self-sufficiency and backup power during blackouts. Advances in battery technology allow for significant continuous and peak power output. These systems are particularly effective during the late afternoon and evening when demand is high. Enphase’s “Storm Guard” feature can automatically charge the battery in preparation for severe weather events and grid outages. The IQ Battery 5P also comes with a 15-year warranty, the longest residential warranty in the Australian market.

The Australian Fire Authorities Council has warned of an increased risk of fires as early as spring. With electricity networks already stressed, installing solar-plus-storage systems can ensure a continuous and reliable electricity supply to households. In the upcoming summer of 2023/24, Australian households have the opportunity to contribute to the solution of this pressing issue by keeping the lights on with solar-and-storage systems.

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ST Staff Writers
ST Staff Writers
Articles: 8013

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