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News Detail
2021-02-19
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Sungrow Response to Texas Storm

Millions of Texan households were without power due to the state's electric grid operator losing control during a massive winter storm. Residents were urged to prepare for more rolling black outs and reduce their energy usage. According to the Texas Tribune, the grid was designed for the high demands of use during the summer months for air conditioning rather than all year long.

 

However, due to the storm, residents were forced to stay at home relying on heating, creating a record amount of demand to which the state's grid could not uphold. Substations and transmission equipment were also mechanically impacted by the extreme temperatures-- physically freezing to a point of critical failure. They would not have been as drastically affected if basic preventive maintenance actions were built into operational cost models, but the private owners and boards of directors of many of these utilities failed to monetarily justify or approve these additional expenditures, instead favoring the bottom line. Most of the state's plants are run by gas, coal, or nuclear energy. The weather proved too much for most of these sources -- leaving many out of commission.


Despite being the second largest PV powered state, where gigawatts of Sungrow products are deployed, the resilience of solar is being downplayed. Most media outlets are not reporting on any other sources of energy, such as solar or solar + storage in the context of the Texas crisis. Sungrow Applications Engineering Manager, Nick Valcho stated,"Were it not for infrastructure failures, solar and PV+ESS plants would have continued to deliver power without interruption. We have the Sweetwater Project in Wyoming--where temperatures routinely fall well below zero. Moreover, extremely cold weather occurs more frequently in that state, as well as many other North American locations that have not been subjected to these types of outages due in large part to planning and proper hardware specification. It's all about foresight and investment in appropriate weather-mitigating features; the energy isolation mentality that thrives in Texas has also proved to be its Achilles heel in this instance."


Lack of planning allowed for such a situation to occur. Due to climate change, unstable weather systems are more commonplace---policy makers need to be prepared. Sungrow, like other renewable energy companies have reminded government officials and the private sector of the threats of climate change and its effects on state and federal infrastructure.



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| Sungrow supplied projects in Texas were largely unaffected , like this central inverter installation seen here |


While we are thrilled the trend is towards adoption of renewable energy, climate change denial still finds strong support within influential segments. Anticipating severe weather systems and temperature fluctuations is the first step in optimizing the grid for protection against extremities. In fact, Sungrow supplies gigawatts of solar technology solutions to regions with far more extreme climates. Regardless of the facts, many leaders quickly decided to blame renewables in order to drive a political agenda. One must look to our own supplied PV plants to figure out the truth.


Sungrow's Texas Field Service Supervisor, Ernest Lira, noted the resilience of Sungrow products allowed for minimal operational issues during this storm. “The PV plants are all operating. The minor issues that manifested are purely related to the project not being protected with winterized configurations,” said Lira.

 

"It's hard to understand how renewable energy, especially solar could ever be blamed. Sungrow has projects in Canada where winter storms are commonplace but due to the winterization of these products, they all remain operational," said Karsten Mall, Head of Sungrow North America.

 

"As an international company, we strongly hope that climate change and abnormal weather patterns are taken into consideration when building projects in the future. We are fully prepared to support PV and storage installations in all types of conditions," he added.


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Sungrow stands in solidarity with its employees and all people suffering in the Lonestar State during this time. In an effort to aid Texas residents, Sungrow is donating funds to the American Red Cross - Central and South Texas offices to aid in disaster relief.


If you want to help those in Texas, you can donate to some of the following charities:

Austin's Free Lunch Program

Austin's Pets Alive!

The Austin Area Urban League's #LoveThyNeighborTX campaign

18MW PV Plant in Dubai
Developer: Recurrent Energy
Owner: empra
EPC:Signal Energy
Capacity:205MWac
Model:SG2500U
Location:Fresno, CA
Commissioned in Q4 2017
Developer: Recurrent Energy
Owner: empra
EPC:Signal Energy
Capacity:205MWac
Model:SG2500U
Location:Fresno, CA
Commissioned in Q4 2017