A shortage of transformers has many builders waiting on the sidelines as houses sit vacant across the country. It’s another setback as the industry is still reeling from the supply chain issues caused by the pandemic.

“Coming out of the pandemic, we were experiencing significant shortages and delays in getting distribution transformers necessary to build communities,” Alex Strong, the National Home Builders Association’s senior federal legislative director, tells Builder. “I think that problem has only gotten worse. Frankly, we haven’t been able to catch up as a country.”

Distribution transformers adjust powerline voltages to a suitable level for homes. Without them, many newly finished homes sit powerless. The NHBA says that 80 percent of builders and apartment developers have reported a shortage.

The current shortage is but one concern. The industry fears that a proposed efficiency standard for distribution transformers could cause further delays.

If problems like these persist, builders and developers may start looking farther afield to build homes off the grid. With residential microgrids fueled by propane becoming an increasingly viable alternative, more builders will be able to put the power in their own hands. While microgrids are mostly used as a robust backup system, they have the potential to be a home’s primary power source. Between microgrids, solar, battery storage, propane backup generators, and community propane systems, homes have options beyond grid-supplied energy.

Read more.