Our Net-Zero Future Posted on Mar 17, 2022
A growing number of people are transforming their properties and lifestyles to become net-zero carbon emission with their own solar and storage supplies capable of operating without the utility’s electric grid.
The list of reasons why people are going net-zero include:
- Independence from oil and gas companies and countries.
- Continuous energy supplies regardless of Public Safety Power Shutoffs or extreme weather events.
- Clean energy supplies that match energy uses.
- Significant financial savings from avoided electric bills paid to a utility.
- Reduced or no interconnection needs with utilities responsible for wildfires and rising electricity bills.
- Stylish lifestyle and technology choices.
California is a leading U.S. state for companies that invent clean technologies for net-zero emission properties. Perhaps for this reason, more and more Californians are going “off grid” with their own clean energy microgrids that do not need the grid for electricity or storage.
The types of clean technologies on the market for property owners who want to go net-zero are not only affordable, but also becoming a signature “cool” lifestyle that will undoubtedly expand across the U.S. Given the affordability of solar and storage costs along with the rapid advancement of clean technologies, a fully off-grid system, for example in California, is achievable for approximately $35,000 to $100,000 depending on energy demands and property specifics.
The process of retrofitting a property to become “off grid,” or capable of islanding from the grid, includes a different set of factors than for a property owner who wants to build a new home. The cost of brand new electric service, especially if undergrounded, for a new home can require hundreds of thousands of dollars. It often makes sense for these home owners to just invest that cost in off-grid energy and storage technologies at the start. For properties already connected to the grid, typically the owners first step is to add a solar and storage system to their property while maintaining a connection to the grid. Once set up with their own energy and storage technologies, the owners add a microgrid controller and swap out inefficient and fossil-fuel based technologies for electric ones. These retrofit properties have the luxury of keeping the electric grid as a standby option or deciding to disconnect entirely.
Typically, a net zero emission property that can operate without the grid has a minimum of the following technologies to meet its energy needs:
- Solar and storage system
- Electric heat pump HVAC
- Electric water heater
- Electric cooktop
- Microgrid controller
- Electric car
- Electric or pedal bike
- Electric pool heating system (if there’s a pool or hottub)
- LED lighting
- Electric landscaping tools
Net-zero emission properties operated by microgrid control systems will likely increase in technological sophistication and decline in overall cost on almost a yearly basis for the foreseeable future.
Since many of the clean technologies for net-zero retrofits are rapidly evolving, we will be adding value to the net-zero movement by interviewing a range of experts on the different types of clean technologies currently available and posting videos of our interviews in a new video section on our site. If you would like to participate in reviewing a clean technology, we will also be accepting video submissions that meet our guidelines. Stay tuned to join us, watch along and participate in our exploration of the clean technologies paving the way to our net-zero emission society.