CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – When deep frost hit Texas in February, gradual blackouts were needed to prevent a statewide power grid outage.
It left many people, many in the coastal bend, without power for days as the temperature in their homes plummeted.
Earlier this summer, ERCOT – The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the group in charge of the grid – urged Texans to save electricity, warning that a similar situation was possible as demand peaked with rising temperatures. .
A couple in Corpus Christi, who lost electricity for four days during the frost, were determined to prevent this from happening again in their home.
“It was terrible,” said Miriam Leavell. “I really don’t wish this on anyone, and with the heat it will be just as terrible.”
The solution she and her husband Gordon came up with was to install a solar power system in their house.
They hired Solar Power Integrator, a local company, to install dozens of solar panels on the roof of the back of their house, so they couldn’t be seen from the street.
They provide all the energy the Leavell house needs while the sun is shining.
At night, the system has batteries that the panels charge during the day.
“If the power goes out again, we won’t worry,” Gordon Leavell said. “So we are very happy. We are very happy that this is done.”
The Leavells are certainly not the only customers of Solar Power Integrator.
“We were criticized by phone calls,” owner Gianluca Ferrario said of the days after the freeze.
Once they have it in stock, his teams will install a generator at the Leavells’, completing the system and allowing the couple to disconnect from the power grid if they wish.
They will pay around $ 250 per month for the system, which they say is about the same as their electric bill, but without worrying about losing electric service.
“I really believe in this technology, and I have it at home,” Ferrario said. “All of my clients are really happy. In my opinion, this is the way to go for the future.”
If there are power outages this summer, the Leavells plan to share their solar power.
A neighbor whose house has a generator allowed them to spend time there during the February blackout, and the couple say they will reciprocate if necessary.
“If the power is cut this summer, people will not survive this heat,” said Miriam Leavell. “So we’re going to be here and we have an open house for people from our neighborhood to come and sit here.”