And thanks to global warming, our arid “Mediterranean” climate is becoming drier every year. As a result, hydroelectric power is becoming less reliable, making it harder (and more expensive) to generate electricity for communities throughout the SoCal region.
However, this dwindling of water-based power generation is helping to create new solar opportunities with every passing day.
But first a little background.
A Very Brief History of California Hydroelectric Power
California leads the nation in hydroelectric power. In fact, during the 1950s, the state generated more than 50% of its energy from dams. But with rapid population growth and increases in both the frequency and intensity of droughts, our reliance on hydroelectric power has shrunk dramatically (to about 20%).
And the situation is getting worse with each passing year.
In 2010, hydroelectric power plants generated 31.7 million megawatt-hours of clean electricity. In 2014, that number is only 14.7 million megawatt-hours – or less than 50% of what it was 4 years ago.
These numbers will only continue to fall as utilities and farmers battle over dwindling water supplies.
And just so were clear, the current drought is not an outlier. California went through a similar situation in 1976 and 1977. And then it hit another 6-year dry spell from 1987 to 1992.
The only difference between these earlier droughts and the current one is that we now benefit from a range of renewable energy technologies that were too expensive or underdeveloped in previous years.
How Utilities Are Battling California Droughts
State utilities are looking at a range of “stop-gap” measures to help meet rising demand for reliable electricity.
The most popular replacement option is natural gas – a relatively cheap and abundant energy source. But it is still a fossil fuel. Natural gas pollutes, and it destroys our health.
A better solution for California droughts?
The same “hot” sunshine that is making hydroelectric so unreliable can be used in other ways – namely for solar energy.
There’s no danger of the sun becoming less abundant. And unlike nuclear power (or even hydroelectric energy), solar requires almost zero maintenance. Once the photovoltaic (PV) panels are installed, it’s basically set it and forget it. You don’t even really need to clean the panels (it’s true).
Better still, solar power doesn’t pollute. It harnesses free energy from the sun to produce clean electricity for residential and commercial use.
And probably the best part of all – solar power has the ability to slash your monthly electricity bill. Some of our customers are amazed to discover that they have $0 utility bills every month. A handful even have negative electricity bills.
To learn more about how installing affordable solar technology on your rooftop can save you money and reduce your carbon footprint, schedule a free property inspection today. Our expert installation team will walk you through all the numbers and show you how solar can make you less reliant on your local utility company.
To schedule your free consultation, click here.