Green energy is crucial to maintaining the planet’s climate as fit for human life, but it can also help in a short-term pinch. What should you know to prepare? Here’s how solar power can mitigate the impact of extreme weather events and climate change.
First things first — when natural disasters strike, you and your family need safety. However, authorities can take days or weeks to restore power to storm-stricken areas. It took Puerto Rico 11 months to reconnect everyone on the island to services after Hurricane Ian struck in 2017. Most modern minds can’t contemplate going that long without power.
Although they are pricey, a solar generator is something every family needs for peace of mind. Systems with sufficient power to run big appliances like refrigerators can cost thousands of dollars between panels, batteries and inverters. However, many people find smaller systems with enough juice to run a few devices get them by during extreme weather and natural disasters until they regain power. Best of all, solar has decided advantages over typical gas and propane-powered generators.
Many portable solar generator kits are easy enough to set up, even if you only have a little DIY experience. You don’t have to worry about burning yourself with chemicals or snagging your clothes in fast-moving machinery. Installing the generator is typically as easy as plugging things in.
Fossil fuels risk causing a fire, which you don’t want to worry about when you’re trying to rebuild. When you have a solar generator, there’s a much lower risk of the device causing a blaze.
You probably won’t feel like worrying about your carbon footprint when you’ve just experienced a natural disaster. However, solar generators don’t release emissions and contribute to climate change far less than gasoline. Additionally, the air around you will be cleaner, which can help your immune system fight off illness while you’re already stressed.
Anyone who’s ever gone camping knows gas and propane generators can give you a headache in no time. When you get seven or eight of those puppies going side by side at a KOA, there’s nothing peaceful about the great outdoors.
You don’t have to gauge your reserves to ensure you have enough gas to get into town and restock on fuel. When your energy comes from the sun, you don’t need to rely on the grid. Furthermore, fuel pumps rely on electricity to function, so you might not be able to get gas at all once the service station’s backup generator runs out of juice.
Access to a portable solar generator or a full solar system can be a boon during natural disasters or extreme weather events. However, these products aren’t impervious to nature’s wrath and have other downsides you must consider when prepping.
You might think you’re in good shape if you’ve already converted your home to solar, pocketing some sweet government incentives and increasing your ability to weather life’s storms — literally. However, how tall is your ladder?
Even a Category 1 hurricane — the least severe — can have wind speeds up to 93 miles an hour, which is more than enough to blow your panels right off your roof. They could also sustain damage from flying objects or tree limbs crashing through your ceiling.
Most home systems remain connected to the grid, meaning your power still won’t work after an outage. Many have an automated shutdown system to prevent them from sending power back along damaged wires. All that energy goes nowhere unless you have a sufficient battery backup to store it.
Many DIYers buy solar equipment as they can afford it, adding capacity as they go. However, even the best panels won’t do much without the battery storage to keep that energy safe until you use it. Those building such off-grid systems must also ensure their inverter is adequate, as many undersize theirs to increase production efficiency.
If you have a sufficient independent battery backup for your home system, you’re probably good to go. Even panels that become damaged have cells that still work, although they will produce less power.
Otherwise, you’re best off getting a solar generator for natural disasters and extreme weather events. Here are a few options to consider:
Why is climate change fueling more frequent severe natural disasters and extreme weather events? Rising global temperatures increase the number of hurricanes and wildfires while making droughts more common, affecting crops. Sea level rises increase flooding and warm air increases evaporation, meaning more rain and snow.
Reducing emissions is key to reducing global warming and slowing climate change. Scientists warn humans must slash emissions by 60% by 2035 to limit global warming to 1.5° Celsius. Solar power produces no emissions.
It might seem like your individual efforts mean little in the greater scheme, but each person who makes the switch inspires further change. Research shows households contribute 72% toward total emissions and each family that converts to solar helps decrease that percentage.
If you’re a prepper making the switch, do so wisely. You’re investing greatly in your family’s future security should natural disasters or extreme weather events affect you. Ensure you have an adequate battery backup to keep the lights on — or the refrigerator running — during extended outages.
Solar power offers the potential to mitigate extreme weather events and natural disasters in several ways. On an individual level, investing in this technology helps to keep you and your family safer during these scenarios. As a collective, switching to solar will eventually decrease the number of severe storms influenced by human behavior, preventing harm to all.
Consider switching to solar power or investing in a portable generator. You could increase your peace of mind and do your part to prevent extreme weather events.