Many of the most densely populated parts of the country also seem to be the most prone to natural disasters. It's ironic, though, that the climate is often a major selling point for these locations. However, it can be worrisome when things get too intense.
Providing steady electricity is a major hurdle for communities dealing with rough weather. It is common knowledge that the American grid structure is past its prime. A combination of the grid's advanced age and more frequent and intense weather extremes has led to widespread and lengthy power outages (as well as unexpected price increases).
Thanks to the improvements in solar-related tech, though, it is now possible for us to ensure power in the event of hurricanes, storms, wildfires, or other natural disasters.
How Portable Solar Panels Can Provide Power During Natural Disasters?
The idea of a generator is one that is easily understood, so let us use that as an example.
The generator can be compared to a battery, with gasoline being used as a means to ‘recharge’ it. Now imagine swapping the gas for solar power generated on your roof. Portable solar panels and batteries function in exactly the same way.
The battery collects excess energy collected by a portable solar system and stores it for later use. If extreme weather conditions like hurricanes, winter storms, or cyclones result in a blackout (which they normally do), residents can use their backup generators to fulfill their basic electricity requirements. Portable solar panels offer a number of advantages over their conventional fuel-driven counterparts.
For one, you can sync the solar panel system with your electrical supply so that it automatically switches on as soon as a blackout occurs. This is invaluable during extreme weather conditions where you can have any number of things to worry about.
With a solar battery system, you also will not have to worry about making it to the gas station in time and waiting in horrendous lineups (and hoping against hope that the gas station itself is not out of power). There is no need to constantly buy gasoline or endure the unpleasant fumes or smell of fuel-driven generators.
When compared to generators, the third major advantage is that you are contributing to solving the climate change problems that have increased the frequency and intensity of destructive weather over the last few years.
Instead of adding to the global warming problem by burning additional fossil fuels, you are powering your home and emergency backup system with renewable energy sources. It's a proactive measure to ensure the present and future well-being of your loved ones. It's your own personal source of power, independent of the grid and utility companies.
How Do Solar Batteries Provide Power During Blackouts?
As mentioned earlier, solar batteries help preserve any excess energy generated by your solar panels, making it available for later use. It is a liberating innovation since, like a mini-power plant, it allows you to stay powered even if there's a regional blackout.
Here is why a battery is an essential part of your portable solar kit:
1) Backup Power for Blackouts
Depending upon its size and capacity – as well as your electricity usage – a battery is vital if you want to keep yourself covered during blackouts.
Most batteries are designed to last at least 2-3 hours in case of an emergency; if you reduce your power usage to only the most essential appliances, the battery can last significantly longer.
2) Using Solar Energy Whenever You Need To
Through a battery, you can use solar power even during the night or on overcast days when sunlight is in scarce supply.
Batteries allow you to maximize your solar power usage, and, as a result, minimize your energy bill and your dependence on the National Grid system. You can charge your battery during the day when the sun is available. Then, post-sunset, you can turn the battery on and make use of the energy stored earlier in the day.
If you do not have the battery storage, you will have to depend upon the utility company’s power whenever there is no access to sunlight. Any excess energy produced by your portable solar panels will either be lost or returned to the grid and you may or may not receive credits against it.
3) Targeted Solar Energy Usage
Energy use spikes across the board in the afternoon and evening as people return home and begin using their lights, computers, and other electronics.
However, as you can expect, the best time to produce and store solar energy is the midday, when the sun is at its peak.
To use this in your favor, make use of the sun's power during the day by storing it until you can put it to good use in the evening. If you use solar electricity in this way consistently, you should expect your savings to increase dramatically.
Any access energy stored by the batteries can either be used every day after the sun goes down, or retained for an emergency event such as power outages caused by inclement weather.
Using Solar Power During Hurricanes
For people relying on continuous electricity, hurricane season might be terrifying. If you want to maintain living normally in the event of power losses, such as those brought about by storms and hurricanes, then portable solar panels and batteries are more than a worthwhile investment.
If the power goes out due to harsh weather, it could take quite some time before being restored. However, if you only use your essential electrical appliances –such as the communication devices and refrigerator – portable solar panels and batteries can last you quite a few days.
In the event of a hurricane-related power loss, it is important to ensure that no unnecessary items are plugged in and drawing power. This is particularly significant with the numerous "smart" appliances available today.
What if you own portable solar batteries and use them every day once the sun goes down (like in points 2 and 3 in the previous section)? Well, once the hurricane season is around the corner, you will have to stop using your stored solar power on a daily basis, and preserve it for any unforeseen power outages. If storms and resulting power outages are frequent where you live, you should usually always have backup power supply on hand.
Can Portable Solar Panels Endure Hurricanes?
Solar arrays need to be constructed to resist a particular amount of wind in certain locations. This number often hovers around 160 mph in Florida and 110 mph in Texas. The average across all of America is somewhat close to 140. Category 5 hurricanes can often produce winds of over 160 mph, and can sometimes damage portable solar panels.
Hail is another challenge. In the event of a hailstorm, your solar panels could be damaged depending on the intensity and size of the hail, but the likelihood of this happening is low. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) found that within four years of installation, less than 0.1% of solar panels were reported damaged.
Moreover, only one panel out of three thousand was affected when an unexpected hailstorm blew through the NREL's facility in Golden, CO. To put things into even more perspective, there were other reports of roof damage and broken car windows caused by the same storm. The standard for testing the durability of solar panels nowadays is one inch of hail falling at a speed of 50 miles per hour.
With solar panels, just like with any other product, you only get what you pay for. While some panels are designed to survive the high winds of a hurricane, others are much more vulnerable. A good way to determine the robustness of portable solar panels is to watch online testing videos, which are available for most solar system manufacturers.
You can use these simulations to determine which solar panels are best for your needs if you reside in a region prone to hurricanes and are interested in using solar energy as backup.
Preparing for Hurricanes
In the midst of hurricane season, many people struggle to distinguish between a hurricane watches and hurricane warnings. The former means that hurricane conditions (consistent winds of at least 74 miles per hour) are possible within the specified area.
A hurricane warning, on the other hand, indicates that you should wrap up your hurricane preparations and, if indicated by the officials, leave the vulnerable area as soon as possible.
Even if your area is just under hurricane watch, phenomena like hail, wind, and storm can still affect your portable solar panels. You need to be able to distinguish between a warning and a watch so that you can take the necessary precautions against the specific danger.
A number of measures can be taken to ensure safety in the event of a hurricane or any other natural disaster. Independent solar power systems are a worthwhile investment even if there is no imminent threat of a hurricane. Off-grid solar backup systems help you survive without having to rely on grid electricity which will be likely compromised under harsh weather conditions.
Solar lighting solutions can also enhance the security of your home during hurricanes. You can utilize solar lights as part of a post-disaster solution or to increase safety and visibility during hurricanes. When a natural disaster strikes, the last thing you need to worry about is losing power. If you have solar lights, you can keep on working even if the power goes out.
Avoid Weather-Related Power Outages With Solar
Solar panels, contrary to popular assumption, are extremely long-lasting. The cells themselves may be thin and delicate, but they are housed in a structure with very thick glass and a solid frame, making them safe from the effects of most natural disasters. Manufacturers ensure that the panels are sturdy enough to withstand the impact of hail, storms, winds, and other powerful elements.
If you commit the effort and time to adequately prepare for a hurricane, your portable solar panel system will remain safe and continue to supply your home with clean, renewable energy and can endure pretty much anything the weather throws at them.
If you are looking for a sturdy and lasting portable solar panel system to hedge against hurricanes, we invite you to check out our wide range of options. We offer a number of different types of portable solar panels, generators, and kits, and we can help you pick one based on your budget, energy requirements, and location.
To learn more about how portable solar panels can help you in hurricanes and other natural disasters, or to explore your options, please feel free to reach out to us.