Customer economics for on-site renewables are compelling in California, the author writes. Barry Cinnamon is CEO of California’s Cinnamon Energy Systems. I’m writing this in San Jose under a Mars-like red sky, with light ash occasionally falling and a faint smell of smoke in the air. Solar output has been down by 60 percent even though the fires burning are at least 50 miles from here. Some people say this is the new normal. In all likelihood, things will get worse as we experience more extreme weather events and sea levels rise from melting ice sheets. Many people in California are literally powerless since our utility infrastructure is failing to keep pace with the effects of climate change, magnified by our society’s increasing electric power needs. Fortunately, with currently available solar, battery and heat pump technology, every building under two stories with a sunny roof can be a net generator of energy — essentially carbon-negative. Moreover, with grid-connected batteries, buildings can easily provide the resiliency that our grid needs during power shortages and blackouts. Altruism aside, generation is less expensive than conservation for existing buildings. It is more cost-effective to add solar and storage than to improve the efficiency […]

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