Small generators are not as good as solar power for emergency preparedness (part 3)
This article is part three in a three part series. You can find part 1 here.
It all sounds pretty scary. I’m probably going to die, right?
Solar storms, EMP, hackers, sabotage – yes, those are scary things. Going years without electricity is even scarier when you think about it. With a long enough outage, you could lose access to indoor plumbing (water and sewer), medical care, the Internet, the phone, and even having food on the shelves at the local store. The generators powering all of this end up running out of fuel, and if the trucks can’t get fuel (refineries and gas stations use electricity), no one gets anything from the stores until supply chains can adapt or recover.
So, yes, electricity will obviously only be a small part of any plan that your family would need to prepare for it. Food, water, shelter, and other things all need to be planned out, but those are beyond the scope of this article. Loan.gov, the official US government disaster preparedness information site, recommends the following for major disasters:
- If you can, set aside items like soap, hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, disinfectant wipes, and general household cleaners that you can use to sanitize surfaces you touch regularly. . After a flood, you may not have access to these supplies for days or even weeks. Keep in mind the specific needs of each person, including medication. Don’t forget the needs of pets. Get extra batteries and chargers for phones and other essential equipment.
- Being prepared allows you to avoid unnecessary excursions and deal with minor medical issues at home, easing the burden on emergency care centers and hospitals.
- Remember, not everyone can afford to respond by stocking up on essentials. For those who can afford it, shopping for essentials and stocking up slowly in advance will allow for longer periods between runs. This helps protect those who were unable to obtain essentials before the pandemic and must shop more frequently. Also, consider avoiding WIC-labeled products so that those who depend on those products can access them.
In other words, your starting point is to prepare 2 to 3 days of needs with a basic kit you can use indoors or take with you in case of evacuation. Then start preparing for longer periods without basic needs, little by little, depending on your household budget. Try to choose canned foods with a longer shelf life and incorporate them into your normal household meals to keep things fresh. You can also pick up boxes or buckets of food with an even longer shelf life, specially for emergency food storage if you have extra cash.
It’s also fun to engage in useful emergency hobbies like ham radio, wilderness survival, and camping, and if it’s legal where you live and aren’t there. are not personally opposed to guns. It’s also good to work with people in your community and local authorities on these things to make sure everyone is doing better in an emergency.
So, no, you don’t have to die if something really horrible happens. Just do what you can here and there to slowly prepare.
Take care of electrical needs without a gas generator
Home solar and battery installations have a lot of big fans, and many of those fans will enthusiastically tell you all about getting solar panels, a Tesla solar roof, or a Tesla Powerwall. I’ll get to that in a minute, but I think it’s best to start small. Not everyone owns their own home, and not all homeowners can afford to do all of these.
I would recommend starting with portable power plants, also known as solar generators. These battery banks can be recharged from any source, including solar panels, car lighters, or a wall outlet in your home. The little ones can also charge from any USB-C charger. In an emergency, you can keep one loaded in your house and ready to go. Personally, I don’t recommend leaving them plugged in 24/7 as a solar flare or EMP attack could grill them across the grid. Sitting unplugged, they should be safe.
Most of them can be taken with you in the event of an evacuation, and even the smallest can power essential medical devices like a CPAP machine overnight.
Here are a few that I have reviewed here at CleanTechnica:
Joyzis BR-300 portable power station: up to 300 watts, with a 300 watt-hour battery. Normally $ 279, but there is a special on them until December 21st where you can get them for as low as $ 150. Features that set it apart: integrated lantern and wireless charging plate.
Jackery Explorer 300: good for up to 300 watts, 300 watt-hour battery. $ 299. Features that set it apart: small size, better display than Joyzis, compatibility with other Jackery solar panels.
Jackery Explorer 1000: Up to 1000 watts of power, 1000 watt-hours of battery. $ 999. Can power some devices, like refrigerator, small heater, small air conditioner or toaster oven, but it is bigger and heavier.
Jackery Explorer 1500: This is the biggest I have personally tested and used in an emergency. $ 1599. CleanTechnica Kyle Field took a closer look at the unit here. It can do 1800 watts continuously, but can only do so for about an hour (1500 watt-hour battery). This can power microwave ovens, heaters, saws and many other high-consumption devices, or run smaller things for a long time.
With any of these, you will need solar panels to recharge them during long blackouts. Jackery models work best with Jackery solar panels, but there are also aftermarket panels that can charge them. Personally, I use a 60 watt foldable solar panel with my Jackery Explorer 300 because I wanted both to fit into my backpack with my radio gear.
My recommendation is to take a large one for your home or to carry in a car, and a small one to carry in a backpack in case of an evacuation.
Another great option is to use an EV as a power supply. After all, an EV has a huge battery, right? I did it in the blink of an eye by connecting my Nissan LEAF’s 12 volt battery to a cheap inverter. The LEAF is supposed to deliver up to 3000 watts this way, but I’ve read that Tesla vehicles can deliver up to 2500 watts. Some electric and hybrid vehicles come with their own built-in inverters to provide you with 120 or 240 volts for a home or job site, which also makes them a great option.
When it comes to home solar storage and battery power to power your entire home indefinitely, this is something you will need to work with professionals on. But not all home solar battery systems are designed to withstand something like the Carrington event or an EMP nuclear disaster. The solar panels and the batteries themselves will not be damaged by such things, but the long wires coming from the utility company and the wires feeding solar power into the house are points of vulnerability.
Protecting yourself from these threats is possible. Heavy-duty inverters are available and you can have EMP protection installed (this would protect against solar flares as well as nuclear attacks) on the lines coming from the utility company. It is also good to have shielded wiring used to connect the solar panels to the inverter and batteries, properly terminated and grounded to direct the solar flare or EMP energy away from your home and safely. in the ground.
No Doom & Gloom required
If there is anything you should take away from this article, it shouldn’t be pessimistic. Renewable energies give us hope. Before we had solar power and battery technology today, you were really at the mercy of the utility company in an emergency unless you had a generator and fuel. With solar power and batteries, you can keep your family safe and comfortable for years to come. This is something we should be excited about and happy about!
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