Texas is hotter than balls right now, and it’s not just the state’s farmers and wildlife that are paying the price for it: Last week, the state set a record for electricity usage that led to its grid operator paying a whopping $3,000/MWh for peak electricity. To give you some perspective on this, $3,000/MWh translates to $3/KWh, or 40 times the $0.08/KWh a resident of that state normally pays for electricity at home.

When your utility wants you to conserve energy on hot days, it’s not just because they want to avoid blackouts — it’s also because at peak demand times, electricity gets auctioned off to the highest bidder, which can sometimes lead to crazy-inflated prices.

The real tragedy here is that if Texas had a German or Chinese-style incentive for its residents to install solar panels, it could save itself enormous amounts of money on sunny summer days, when high demand is matched by high output from solar panels. China offers $0.15/KWh to grid-connected solar projects … or about 20 times less than Texas was just forced to pay to avoid a brownout.

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