US Power Stations Under Attack – How Portable Solar Panels Could Be Your Best Bet in Case of Emergency

Alarm has been raised as a result of a series of attacks on electrical plants in the states of Oregon and Washington that occurred on 10th December, 2022. These attacks have brought to light the vulnerabilities of the electric grid system in the United States.

These assaults are quite similar to the attack on the power stations in North Carolina, which caused the electricity to be cut off for over 40,000 people. The North Carolina authorities, however, are yet to provide any information regarding a possible motive for the attack.

The recent assault involved at least six attacks, some of which featured firearms and caused households to lose power.

The four utilities in the Pacific north-west whose equipment was targeted have stated that they are assisting the FBI with their investigation. The agency is yet to publicly state if it is conducting an investigation into the incident.

It is yet unknown who is responsible for the attacks; nevertheless, experts have cautioned about extremists discussing the possibility of interrupting the electricity grid of the nation, for quite some time.

How Portable Solar Panels Can Help With Unexpected Power Outages
attack on US power stations

Attacks on the US electrical infrastructure can significantly affect the supply of power across the country. A portable solar panel with solar power backup can help you hedge against such unanticipated power cuts.

Solar power backup is an essential part of a solar power system, which helps it keep running irrespective of the situation.  

Having a system that can provide electricity for you and your family at all times – especially in unforeseen events like the attacks on the US power stations – is something you can ensure by having a backup power system.

How Does Backup Solar Power Work?

During the daylight hours, the battery stores any excess solar power so as to to help you become independent of both the sun and the electricity grid. 

This occurs because the solar inverter, which is the piece of hardware that changes the direct current (DC) power output of a solar panel into alternating current (AC) so that your home can use it, is set to switch automatically to battery power in order to run crucial loads.

These loads can include the lights, internet, television, refrigerator, and the various power outlets throughout your house, regardless of whether it is day or night.

By smartly using your backup power and only powering the devices or appliances you need the most, you can significantly increase the lifespan of this power supply.

Generally, portable solar panels come with these backup batteries. Portable solar systems can continue to operate normally even when grid systems experience outages or interruptions.

Types of Backup Solar Power Batteries

Not every solar battery is created equal: some are meant to be grid-connected; others are not.

Hence, the kind of battery you pick will depend upon your saving and energy goals.

Below are the main types of backup solar power batteries:

DC-Coupled Off-Grid Batteries

These batteries are frequently utilized in a wide variety of applications, including recreational vehicles and remote properties. 

Generally, they come pre-assembled with inverters that automatically transform DC (Direct Current) power into AC (Alternating Current) power.

AC-Coupled Off-Grid Batteries

Although these batteries provide the same fundamental purpose as their Direct Current counterpart, the conversion process takes place before the current reaches the batteries.

AC-Coupled Grid-Tied Batteries

These batteries are by far the most common option for home battery storage requirements.

Since these batteries come with a built-in inverter, they are excellent choices for both retrofits as well as new PV (photovoltaic) installations.

You must remember that grid-tied connections typically require solar permits and authorization from utilities.

DC-Coupled Grid-Tied Batteries

These batteries make use of inverters that are either hybrid or multi-mode, and are able to accept loads of voltage.

DC-coupled grid-tied batteries are usually very small, which is one of the reasons homeowners choose to use them. That said, these batteries are not the optimal choice for use in applications that are not connected to a grid.

What Are Backup Batteries And How Do They Work?

Backup batteries serve as safeguards for portable solar systems. 

The purpose of these batteries is to ensure that your home and business continue to function normally in the event of a power failure by avoiding disruptions caused by inoperative grid-connected systems.

What Are Backup Solar Generators And What Do They Do?

Backup generators are generally more powerful than backup batteries

Even if the electricity from the grid goes out, energy-intensive components in the home – like the heating and cooling systems – can continue to be powered by backup generators.

With a generator, you can access a significantly greater quantity of power than you can with a backup battery system.  In most cases, generators are responsible for producing power, while batteries only help store it.

This ensures that a home or a business will have uninterrupted power supply even in the event of a grid collapse.

In case of a power outage, all you need to do to start a portable solar generator is push the ‘on’ button. You can also program a generator to turn on by itself; thus ensuring that your electronic devices continue to function normally even if the power is cut.

Both commercial and residential buyers frequently find that owning a backup generator gives them a sense of relief and stability.

How to Choose a Solar Battery

A battery is comparable to a hard drive which is backed up and primed for use.

When your portable solar panels or the electrical grid is functioning normally, the battery will serve as "cloud storage" for the energy you have generated. 

You will only ever receive power from it once your hard drive has reached its maximum capacity.

That said, not every solar battery is designed to be connected to the grid.

There is a wide variety of configurations available, and the one that you select will ultimately be determined by the energy and cost reduction objectives that you have set for yourself.

Another factor to take into account is the DoD (Depth of Discharge). 

This is the amount of power that has been depleted from the battery as a percentage of its total storage capacity.

If a battery has the capacity to store 10 kilowatt-hours of solar energy, a DoD of 80% indicates that you can, reliably, derive a maximum of 8 kilowatt-hours of electrical energy. 

You might find it helpful to consider this situation in terms of a computer.

The standard amount of storage space for modern computers is 500 gigabytes.

Nevertheless, a percentage of the total drive space will already be occupied by the operating system as well as any pre-installed programs.

As a rule of thumb, the greater the depth of discharge, the greater the amount of solar power a homeowner is able to store and use on their property.

If you are looking for a backup battery for prolonged power outages, you should aim for a DoD of at least 95 percent.

What Are The Benefits of Using Backup Solar Power?

Using backup solar power offers a number of advantages.

Here are some of the reasons why you may want to consider backup solar power:

Cost Savings

These systems are usually eligible for various tax incentives. Other than that, they help you avoid paying peak utility rates by allowing you to draw power from batteries during the day when rates are at their highest.

Besides, you can also store electricity for nighttime usage during the day, which enables you to lower your overall energy bill.

Minimal Maintenance

A lithium-ion battery is not only safe and reliable, but also requires little to no maintenance.

Uninterrupted Power Supply

This is perhaps the most important advantage in the context of this blog: a backup solar power system ensures electricity supply even during power outages or grid interruptions.

Power Usage Data and Insights

You can go for a monitoring platform that is hosted in the cloud and provides you with a user-friendly application. You can install this application on any electronic device in your house and keep an eye on how and how much electricity you use in a given time period. In other words, solar backup options come with measurable ROIs (Returns on Investment) and, unlike conventional fuel-based generators –can pay for themselves.

How Long Does The Power From Portable Solar Panel Batteries or Generators Provide Last?

If you plan to use a backup solar system during power outages, it is natural to wonder how long the system will keep you covered.

Well, the answer to this depends upon your home, and the type and number of devices that the backup system powers.

By using the solar backup system solely for essential supplies like refrigerators and lights, you can extend its useful life and allow it to supply uninterrupted power for a greater amount of time.

Should I Go For Backup Solar Power?

Well, strictly speaking, you probably do not NEED backup solar power.

That said, without backup solar power, your portable solar panel system will be essentially useless in the event of a blackout, since it will not have any stored solar energy to draw from. In other words, a solar panel system without a backup source of power will only be useful for as long as the sun is shining.

How To Choose The Right Solar Backup Battery

Due to the fact that every home and homeowner is unique, it can be hard to find a battery option suitable for your specific needs.

However, the following checklist will make this search considerably easier for you:

Capacity

How much available storage space do you require?

Larger batteries have the capacity to store more solar electricity; but, naturally, the cost of purchasing these batteries may be higher.

Despite that, since larger batteries help offset a greater percentage of electricity bills, they are generally appealing to homeowners.

Cost

Solar backup options are almost always more expensive than traditional ones. However, it is important to think in terms of the long-term savings and cost reductions associated with solar systems.

Portable solar panels and batteries deliver high ROIs and can more than compensate for the higher initial cost.

Design

Your portable solar system is an extension of your residence. Since this is how consumers feel, producers have begun supplying their portable solar systems in aesthetically appealing packages and containers.

This allows homeowners to seamlessly blend their solar backup systems with the rest of their house.

Protect Yourself Against Unexpected Power Cuts
attack on US power stations

The evident vulnerability of the US power stations has further contributed to the rising demand in portable solar backup power options.

If you are looking for portable solar panels and batteries to keep you covered during power outages, we invite you to check out our wide range of options. We offer a number of different kinds of portable solar panels, and can help you pick one based on your power requirements and budget.

To learn more about using portable solar panels for power outages or explore your options, please feel free to get in touch.

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