Solar For Back-Up Power
Results of long-term power outages
When long-term power outages occur, your temporary emergency power supplies will eventually all run out of gas – or battery power, as the case may be.
This includes all your flashlights, your lanterns, your cook stove, your ice chest or refrigerator, the heater and the radio in the car, your cellphone and tablet, your laptop. (We’re assuming you have a hand-crank radio, so you’ll still have some access to outside news.)
Burning wood the only option?
Eventually, you will be down to burning wood just to keep warm. You’ll need to burn more if you want to boil water, make coffee, heat formula – and still more to wash dishes or clothing, to shave or wash your hair.
Washing clothes will likely be out of the question, as will any kind of sophisticated cooking. (Do you even know how to make “buried beans” or bake biscuits from scratch using a Dutch oven? Do you even have a Dutch oven?!)
The point is, when long-term electrical power outages occur, the only reasonably reliable source of power might be a solar system.
The typical residential solar system is NOT the answer. In fact…
The typical residential system, mounted on the roof and tied into the grid, will NOT be able to run your home appliances if the grid goes out. In fact, these systems are designed to switch off immediately so as not to endanger utility workers who may be out there trying to fix whatever has gone wrong.
For an emergency, you may want a grid-tied system (that can be switched on or off) or a system that is completely off the grid.
Even though prices for solar have come down drastically, an emergency system will still be an investment, probably starting at around $1,000 and easily going up to over $7,000. Be sure you get what you need. Some questions to ask:
- How much electricity do you use now?
- How much electricity would you need to power just the minimum number of appliances (We’re talking emergency, remember)?
- How much sunshine (peak sun hours) can you anticipate in your location (latitude)?
- How many panels will you need for maximum efficiency?
- What are the best panels for your needs and how/where will you mount them?
- What about battery banks to store electricity (for use at night, or when the sun isn’t shining)?
Keep tuned for more information on solar systems, and other solar-powered solutions. We track them all the time, and with 10 years in the energy efficiency business, we feel we’ll be able to get “the real scoop” for you. In the meanwhile, you can check our earlier report about portable solar equipment.
Your Emergency Plan Guide Team
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