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Solar Plus Storage Could Save Lives in Low-Income Households

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Solar plus storage could be the key to reliable electricity access for low-income households that are particularly vulnerable to severe weather events like Hurricane Sandy, Greentech Media reports.

“For the thousands of people in affordable and public housing who were stranded in their homes during Superstorm Sandy because the electricity went out and backup diesel generators failed, there may well be new technology solutions to protect them from future power outages,” writes Lewis Milford, President of Clean Energy Group and a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

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Solar plus storage “could well be the safest, most dependable power source” for people who depend on electricity for life support systems, elevators, or adequate heating and cooling, Milford reports, citing a recent Clean Energy Group report, the first public analysis of the technology for affordable housing.

“Solar PV combined with battery storage systems could keep the power on during outages, replacing the outdated backup diesel generators that failed miserably during Sandy’s prolonged power failures,” he adds. “Clean, resilient power is a necessity in a world frequently impacted by severe weather.”

Although storage plus storage has made huge progress in a short time, Milford says most of the activity has focused on large, private, commercial customers. “The challenge now is to bend the technology trend for solar-plus-storage systems to serve public needs,” since “vulnerable residents and those who depend on critical public facilities don’t have time to wait for improved technologies to trickle down to their communities.”