The wildfires raging in California and ensuing power outages are creating new demand for solar energy alternatives, as many residents aim to become less reliant on the state's power grid. EnergySage, a website that helps consumers search for solar providers, found people actively shopping for solar products in PG&E’s (PCG) service area has more than doubled in the last few weeks.
“Since the first shutdown happened in the PG&E territory, we have noticed a significant increase in demand for not only solar, but also storage energy systems,” Vikram Aggarwal, EnergySage Founder and CEO, told Yahoo Finance’s “The Ticker” this week.
PG&E provides electric service to roughly 16 million people around northern and central California and intentionally cut power to millions of customers in order to avoid live wires falling during hurricane-like winds.
Aggarwal notes interest in solar energy increased during previous catastrophic weather events, like Hurricanes Harvey and Irma back in 2017. “When you lose power, people start thinking more about resiliency and make their decisions more on emotions rather than just pure economics,” he said.
Alternative energy options are also becoming more popular in California, as a new requirement set to take effect next year will force new homes to have solar power.
“Almost a million homeowners have solar on their homes, and a lot of these homeowners are now thinking about adding battery storage systems to their solar energy systems,” Aggarwal said.
McKenzie Stratigopoulos is a producer at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @mckenziestrat