How Solar Power Will Keep You Safe When Electricity Can Not
Despite forecasters informing people of incoming storms days or even weeks before striking, it’s virtually impossible to predict exactly how much damage will be done. In the time it takes people to prepare for an impending disaster, a storm could already have arrived. The results of under preparedness can be devastating. In 2016, the US experienced a record 15 natural disasters, totaling nearly $46 billion in damage. And this number only accounts for those particular events, not even taking into account the ones that just impact local communities. However, even the ones that don't make national news can be enough to leave homes and businesses without electricity or running water for weeks. Homes on the grid are more susceptible to being left in the dark if generators and power lines are knocked out by lightning, high winds, or floods.
That’s where solar power comes into play. As an energy source based completely off of sun light, solar energy is incredibly reliable, whether a thunderstorm is just passing through, or if someone finds themselves caught in a hurricane. In any given situation, emergency preparedness comes down to insurance of safety, and no energy source ensures this better than solar.
Naturally, the most common problem people run into when their generators fail is a lack of light functionality. With almost every home being totally dependent on electricity to light their homes, homes are susceptible being without light for extended periods of time in the case of a power outage. Solar LED lights are a simple and cost-effective way to avoid this issue. The simple task of exposing the light’s panels to sun is all that’s necessary to ensure illumination when nothing else is available. Not only that, but the charge provided by the sun allows them to work even when the sun is not present, such as at night, when people need them most. LED lighting in particular are known to last as long as 15 hours without being exposed to sunlight.
Along with lights, homes often lose hot water and even the ability to pump it if enough damage is sustained. This makes showering, dish washing, cooking, and using the bathroom a remarkable inconvenience and, for some water-dependent activities, altogether impossible. Fortunately, there is a wide variety of solar powered systems that can easily prevent this situation. Solar powered water heaters are very versatile, coming in multiple sizes and being able to perform as either emergency solar gadgets only or as permanent fixtures in a house. The smaller heaters are perfect for heating just enough water to carry out day-to-day tasks such as showering and cooking. However, larger and more complex ones connect to a house’s water tank and provide solar powered hot water year around. Both are reliable options in power outages and can provide in both the immediate future and the long-term.
Communication is more important than ever during any sort of emergency, be it a weather related or not. In order to have continuous contact with authorities and inform loved ones of your status, a working cellphone and a radio are musts. Solar powered phone chargers have become popular devices in everyday life, making them an even more convenient piece of an emergency kit. The panels of the device harness the sun’s energy and provide it to the cell phone, allowing accessible communication for hours even after being disconnected from the charger. There are radios that work in a similar way, but in place of a charger they sustain a charge through their own solar panels.
Debatably, the most important device of any when preparing for an emergency, solar powered generators can provide the energy necessary to feel almost any electrical device. Electric generators power everything from televisions to refrigerators, and everything in between. Solar energy can carry out these same functions and also continue to work at times when electricity would fail. As with water heaters, solar powered generators can be small and used for simple household appliances, or larger varieties can be provide substantial energy to power refrigerators or cooking stoves. The compact generators are often small enough to be carried to wherever needed.
It is remarkable how simply having the right tools in an emergency can determine the success of someone riding out a storm. Whether being kept in storage and only used when needed, or acting as an essential element to a home’s daily functions, solar powered devices can make a world of a difference in the lives of people caught in dire situations. In fact, possessing these can make the situation not dire at all. Go solar, be safe, and live sustainably!