Feb 7

Smart Meters: Opting Out Will Cost You!

Posted on Feb 07, 2012 under Uncategorized| Comments are off


Just over 2 months ago, I discussed health and privacy concerns relating to Smart Meters, which are being implemented in many areas of the United States, and worldwide. Many of the residents here in California’s Antelope Valley and surrounding areas requested to “opt-out” of Smart Meter installation, but were told they would be put on a “Delay List,” pending a California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) decision regarding an opt-out provision. (For information regarding health and privacy concerns, please refer back to: Smart Meters: What the Power Company Won’t Tell You, my December 1st post.)

So far, the CPUC has not ruled on the Southern California Edison (SCE) opt-out provision, which would apply locally, but last Wednesday a decision was announced which will affect approximately 12 million Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) customers in northern and central California. Many believe that this ruling will serve as a “template” for future decisions involving Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E).

The CPUC did in fact approve an opt-out provision for PG&E customers, but opting out will have a price. Customers who opt out will have to pay a one-time $75 fee, plus $10 monthly for the privilege of keeping their existing analog meters. (Low income customers would pay an initial fee of $10 and $5 monthly.) Needless to say, Smart Meter opponents are not happy, and I’m already hearing complaints from the local valley residents in anticipation of what’s coming down the pike. Indeed, why should we pay to “opt out” of something we never “opted in” for?

Apparently public concerns for health and privacy here do not have the same standing here as they do elsewhere in the world. In the United Kingdom, plans to install Smart Meters in every household by 2019 have been scaled-back. With about 400,000 installations in place so far, Charles Hendry, the energy minister, has responded to the “push back” by stating: “We believe people will benefit from having smart meters. But we will not make them obligatory.” According to the U.K.’s Department for Energy and Climate Change, the ambitious plan was shelved to avoid the program getting “bogged down” in lengthy legal disputes.

Perhaps a legal quagmire will be the result here in the U.S., but I suspect that we’ll see a hodge-podge approach, with a patchwork of policies; Smart Meters banned in some communities, and quietly accepted in others. Then there will be the so-called “fringe element”: those of us who choose to get off-the-grid altogether. Rest assured, regardless of which part of the patchwork you place your “nest” in, My Solar Backup Depot will be at your service.

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Jan 29

The Antelope Valley and Alternative Energy: A Tale of Two Counties

Posted on Jan 29, 2012 under Uncategorized| Comments are off



enXco’s Pacific Wind energy project: Kern County approved

  

The line separating Los Angeles County from Kern County runs directly through the middle of California’s Antelope valley, surrounded by the Tehachapi mountains to the north, and the San Gabriels to the south. On the front page of last Wednesday’s Antelope Valley Press, the newspaper reported that a decision by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors sends a signal that construction of wind turbines may be banned on southern hillsides of the valley. Thousands of the turbines, however, will occupy the valley’s northern slopes in Kern County. These wind turbines stretch from the existing wind farms near Tehachapi all the way to enXco’s new project, Pacific Wind, located about 6 miles north of AV Solar Ranch One. Construction on Pacific Wind, a 140 MW project, began in October, 2011. (Note: AV Solar Ranch One was the L.A. County project I discussed in my January 2nd post, AV Solar Ranch One: Solar on Steroids?)

enXco Pacific Wind Project

Pacific Wind, a 140 MW project under construction

Perhaps to many, these wind turbines look like small structures, but to get a sense of the scale of these things, check out the photo below of a truck hauling the lower section of a tower into the construction site.


Pacific Wind: a lower section of wind turbine tower in transit

It seems my views in opposition to wind turbines, as expressed in my January 2nd post, are being echoed by other residents of the valley. As I stated at the beginning of January, (Solar Ranch One’s operator) “First Solar claims that they ‘will utilize low-profile solar panels to preserve scenic vistas,’ which is one-heck-of-lot better than wind energy companies can proclaim, with their towering wind turbines defacing entire mountainsides!” According to the Antelope Valley Press article, residents have expressed concerns about “potentially negative environmental impacts the projects will have on wildlife and plant life in the area, as well as the effect on the rural landscape.”

Apparently, all the fuss has resulted in the L.A. County Board of Supervisors’ decision. Specifically, they have denied applications to construct a series of 200-foot-tall meteorological data collection towers, required for project studies. Two energy companies are affected by the decision: NextEra Energy Resources, and Element Power. NextEra’s project involves wind turbines, while Element Power’s plan encompasses both wind and solar, leading to speculation that the company may resubmit its proposal, presumably with new emphasis on the solar option.

As I’ve said before, my biggest objection to large solar and wind energy projects is the huge tracts of land they spoil. I prefer a decentralized approach to electric power generation, where south-facing rooftops are utilized for their sun exposure. Or perhaps, in rural settings, a few privately owned wind turbines scattered here-and-there. Of course, at My Solar Backup Depot we are big proponents of solar backup systems, and curtailing home owners’ heavy dependence the electric grid, nationwide.

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Jan 22

New Feature: Product Reviews at My Solar Backup Depot

Posted on Jan 22, 2012 under Uncategorized| Comments are off


Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In the weeks to come, My Solar Backup Depot will begin reviewing various solar backup systems and optional accessories currently available in the marketplace. Initially, solar backup systems from Earthtech Products and Solutions from Science (mysolarbackup.com) will be featured. Later on, additional products from Amazon Green will also be included. Pricing information and links to the vendors will be published, but when shopping, always remember to confirm pricing on the vendors’ sites, in case prices have changed. Particularly when viewing older (or archived) posts, prices tend to increase as time marches by; conversely, perhaps you’ll get lucky and snag a sale price which has come into effect since the post was written.  

I want to emphasize that the opinions offered here are my own, honestly given and based on the best information I have at the time of posting. From reading various forums on the subject of solar electric systems, I find that buyers are frequently disappointed when their system does not meet expectations. In my view, much of the disappointment stems from the combination of over-selling on the part of sales people, and poorly informed consumers. My intention with this blog is to alleviate at least half the problem by:  

  1. providing my readers a better understanding of solar system basics, and
  2. providing a shopping guide to help consumers differentiate one solar generator
    from another.

Note also that we make it our business to find the best deals for our readers: product links found in posts at My Solar Backup Depot are intentionally timed to take advantage of product promotions and sale prices, whenever possible. My hope is that regular readers of this blog will be able to make sound decisions when choosing a solar backup system, and benefit from the best possible pricing. And, of course, the ultimate goal is that every purchase meets or exceeds customer expectations, so future upgrades are driven by enthusiasm, and not just out of bleak necessity!

At My Solar Backup Depot, “blogosphere transparency” is promoted and encouraged. To that end, a current list of our market affiliations will always be maintained on our newly added “Disclosure Statement” page. To date, just the three companies mentioned above have made our list, but the plan is to review the broadest possible range of companies and products. Links to all listed companies’ websites will be available, along with links to any recommended products reviewed on this site.  

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Jan 12

To Backup, or not to Backup? That is the Question…

Posted on Jan 12, 2012 under Uncategorized| Comments are off

Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Here at My Solar Backup Depot, we obviously recommend and promote solar energy systems which are capable of providing backup power. In this post, however, we will consider both types of residential solar electric systems: those which include battery backup, and those which do not. Benefits and drawbacks for each configuration will be discussed, followed by the primary factors which affect the financial payback from any grid-tied residential solar system. 

The simpler grid-tie solar system configuration requires no batteries and a less expensive inverter. Since there are no batteries to charge, excess power generated from the solar panels goes straight back into the grid. But there is one big drawback: the sun may be shining on those solar panels, but when utility power goes out, you too, will be without power. That said, if your primary goal is to save money on electricity, and you are less concerned about losing power during outages, then perhaps this type of system is right for you.
 
The other method, of course, is one that includes a battery backup system. These systems are more expensive, but do provide backup power when utility power fails. Note, however, that a 5% drop in system efficiency can be expected. This is due to the energy loss which results as batteries are charged and discharged.
 
Naturally, these systems will be more expensive. Expect to pay 15% to 25% more for a system with battery backup capability. Some may shy away from this additional cost, but for those who live in areas with frequent power outages, the extra investment will bring with it a dependable power supply for the home. To keep costs down, most backup systems are designed to provide power only to a portion of the home’s circuitry. These circuits are normally chosen in consultation with the home owner.

Keep in mind that the payback from any solar system is highly dependent on where you live. Long term savings can be realized if your area has high electric rates, financial incentives, net-metering policies and good sunlight. A brief description of each of these factors follows:

High Electric Rates:  From 1982 to 2010, the average yearly increase of the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) has been 3.07%; the retail cost of electricity, however, tends to increase at a higher rate. With modern “tiered” rates, the precise increases are more difficult to calculate, but experts usually “conservatively” estimate annual increases at 5%. In some states, customers have watched average residential electric rates increase more than 10% annually. Specifically, from 2004 to 2008, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, and the District of Columbia all experienced a compound annual growth rate in excess of 10% (source: U.S Energy Information Administration).

Financial Incentives:  The U.S. Federal Investment Tax Credit (Residential ITC) is 30% of the solar system cost. Since 2009, and through 2016, there is no cap. (For the years 2006 through 2008 there was a $2000 cap.) This tax credit can be taken in addition to state rebates and tax credits, but these will vary state-to-state. Consult a certified tax advisor in your state to understand how the state incentives will apply to your particular situation.

Net-metering Policies:  Laws controlling net-metering vary state-to-state, and individual utility policies can vary. Under most net-metering laws, energy generated by your grid-tie solar system offsets electricity costs at retail prices.

Good Sunlight:  Sunlight is usually not a problem in the continental United States: most locations are within +/-20% of Miami’s sunlight level.

Again, at My Solar Backup Depot, we tend to favor the solar electric systems which include battery back-up, just for the peace of mind they engender, especially in “times of trouble.” Installation of a solar system in your home is an expensive proposition; careful consideration should be given to your individual (family) needs and priorities. Do your homework and consult with professionals. Make sure you’re specifying and ultimately buying a system that will deliver on your expectations. And finally, consider the financial factors outlined above, which will help you determine whether your system will pay for itself, as the years go by.

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Jan 2

AV Solar Ranch One: Solar on Steroids?

Posted on Jan 02, 2012 under Uncategorized| Comments are off

AV Solar Ranch One 

A 230MW solar project, currently under construction in the Antelope Valley of California.


AV Solar Ranch One, still in the early stages of construction, is one of many solar and wind energy projects proposed for the west Antelope Valley. Although AV Solar Ranch One was recently acquired by Exelon Corporation, a leading electric utility provider, the facility will be built, operated and maintained by First Solar. We happen to live near this facility, and I couldn’t resist snapping this photo on the way by, during our New Year’s Day outing.
 
This photo was taken from the corner of California State Route 138 and 170th Street West, facing NW. Pictured here is only a small part of the entire project. Solar Ranch One will be on an irregularly shaped tract of land covering both sides of highway 138, and both sides of 170th Street West, covering an area approximately 2 miles by 1-1/2 miles. Not so pretty is the prison-like fencing which is being constructed to secure the entire complex. Though polite, the security guard who came over to discuss “photography guidelines” with me did not seem pleased with my interest in the site.
 
I am a fan of solar energy, but I am not a fan of mega-projects like these. My biggest objection to large solar and wind energy projects is the huge tracts of land they spoil. At least First Solar claims that they “will utilize low-profile solar panels to preserve scenic vistas,” which is one-heck-of-lot better than wind energy companies can proclaim, with their towering wind turbines defacing entire mountainsides!
 
I prefer a decentralized approach to electric power generation. I much prefer seeing solar panels on south-facing residential roof tops; or in rural settings, a few wind turbines scattered here-and-there throughout the countryside. Of course, I am a big proponent for electrical backup systems, particularly solar backup systems, to decrease our sole dependence the electric grid, individually and collectively.
 
Investment in solar energy is a wise decision. In recent years, the cost-per-watt for installed solar has been dropping, while the cost of energy has been increasing. Throw in government incentives, and it’s not much wonder that individual consumers and energy companies alike are suddenly interested in implementing solar energy solutions.
 
I look forward to continuing the discussion of these cost benefits in the next post at My Solar Backup Depot. Feel free to submit your comments on the issues mentioned here, or any other issues relating to solar backup systems. To comment on a particular post, simply click on that post’s title, and scroll to the bottom of the page where it says, “Leave a Reply.”

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Dec 28

Solar Powered Generator Specifics: 25% for the 99%

Posted on Dec 28, 2011 under Uncategorized| Comments are off

Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Today, we will look at the basic requirements for a solar powered generator capable of meeting 25% of your normal household electrical needs. As you may recall from the last post, my solar backup goal for the masses, “the 99%,” was to provide a reasonable comfort level throughout a long power outage, lasting a week or more. My recommendation was to install a solar backup system capable of delivering 25% of normal power usage on a continual basis, “24/7.”
 
As mentioned previously, it is best to start with power usage figures from your own power bills. To account for seasonal differences, it’s best to look-up (or add up) your annual power usage in kilowatt-hours (kWh), and divide by 12 to get your average monthly usage. Next, calculate your daily use by by dividing 30 into your average monthly usage. Divide that number by 5 (U.S. average “peak” sun hours), and multiply by 1.5 to account for system losses. To this point, you’ve calculated the system size (in kilowatts) required to cover 100% of your electrical needs. Now just divide by 4 to get 25% of your electrical requirement, the size I have recommended for your solar backup system.
 
To get a sense of  what size system would be required for the average U.S. home, we will use national averages to illustrate here. As stated in the last post, the average U.S. household uses 11,496 kWh of power annually, or 958 kWh per month. Using these figures in the calculation described above, we arrive at a hypothetical system size of 2.395 kW, or about 2400 watts (W).
 
So a solar backup system with ten 250 watt solar panels would meet this 2400 watt requirement, and then some (since 10 x 250 W = 2500 W). Monocrystalline solar panels are recommended. This technology is mature, and these solar panels are the most efficient panels commercially available today.
 
A bank of sixteen 100 amp-hour deep cycle batteries will provide adequate energy storage. Sealed lead-acid batteries are recommended to reduce maintenance and avoid spillage. The batteries are 12 volts each, but they will be wired in “series-parallel” to create a 48 volt system. For this 19,200 watt-hour system, the 48 volt configuration will improve system efficiency (as compared to a 12 or 24 volt system).
 
To maintain proper system voltage, and prevent battery overcharging from the solar panels, an 80 amp controller will be required. A remote digital display for the solar control module will allow for system monitoring, and will store a year’s data on a removable Secure Digital memory card (SD card).
 
For a system of this size, a 4000 watt inverter is in order. This inverter would be large enough to handle short-duration 240 volt applications, such as a well pump, and selected 120 volt household circuits. Since the solar backup system will only be providing one quarter of normal power usage, careful consideration should be given to which circuits and outlets your system should supply, once in “backup” mode. Give special attention to those electrical needs which are not portable. Examples include: well pumps, furnaces, attic fans and refrigerators. Of course, a portable appliance can always be moved to a powered outlet, like a radio or laptop computer, for instance.

So where are the electrical priorities in your home? What are your “core” power needs? I hope my solar backup solution as presented here has provided you some “food for thought.”

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Dec 17

25% for the 99%… My Solar Backup System Sizing Advice for the Masses

Posted on Dec 17, 2011 under Uncategorized| Comments are off

Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In this post, we will explore what is required of a solar powered generator capable of maintaining a reasonable level of comfort for a longer power outage, perhaps lasting a week or more. To date, most of my solar backup advice has been geared toward making it comfortably through a typical short-lived power failure, and having the capability to keep a few bare essentials powered in a situation where the power will be out indefinitely.
 
The vast majority of power outages are relatively short events in the U.S. The average customer loses power for 214 minutes per year, in total.  Excluding major storms and hurricanes, power goes out, on average, just once in 9 months. This works out to an average power failure of 160 minutes in duration, or about 2 hours, 40 minutes.  For a power outage of this length, a simple battery backup system without solar panels would suffice, assuming that utility power returns before the batteries need recharging.
 
What we’re concerned with here, though, is how much power your backup system will deliver during an extended outage. In a perfect world, we would love to have our usual “limitless” supply of power, even when the power utility is down. But, at least for most us with limited means (say, “the 99%,” according to Occupy Wall Street) a solar system of this magnitude would be cost prohibitive. Remember, what we’re talking about here is a solar backup system. Unless you want to supply all of your power from the sun, and get off the grid altogether, the cost for a “full blown” system is probably not justified.

My solar backup system recommendation for “the 99%,” therefore, would be to aim for a system capable of delivering 25% of your normal power usage indefinitely, to get you through a long power outage. This will help keep the initial system cost down, while allowing for a reasonable level of comfort until normal power service is restored. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (E.I.A.), in 2010 the average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer was 11,496 kWh, which represents a monthly average of 958 kilowatt-hours (kWh). Taking 25% of these figures, a hypothetical system sized for the national average would be capable of providing 2874 kWh annually, or about 240 kWh per month. But it’s important to note that these are national averages. State-by-state average usage can vary widely, depending on what other resources are available, such as natural gas, for example. To illustrate, the Tennessee’s annual consumption was 16,716 kWh per household; Maine’s, only 6,252 kWh.

Rather than rely on national or state averages, however, it is best to understand the backup needs for your home. Simply review the usage figures from your own power bill, and divide by 4 to arrive at the 25% recommendation for backup power. This should serve as a starting point when shopping for a system that will provide a reasonable level of comfort for a sustained period, and avoid a long, “powerless” nightmare.

In the next post, we will dig a little deeper into my solar backup system specifications and expectations, as suggested here. Like I always say, “A chicken in every pot and a solar backup system on every garage.” (25% for the 99%!)

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Dec 9

Generate Your Own Power! My Solar Backup Solution, Step-by-Step

Posted on Dec 09, 2011 under Uncategorized| Comments are off

In this post, My Solar Backup Depot offers a step-wise approach to generating more of your own electricity. As a general rule: INCREASED generating capacity = DECREASED frustration during power failures!

The simplest backup system is a “stand alone” system, which never becomes part of the house’s electrical system. As the name implies, the system is self-contained: it generates and stores electrical power, and household appliances can be plugged directly into the unit. A portable system of this type was described in my earlier post, 1800 Watts… and I’ll Take My Solar Backup System to Go! Small, portable gasoline generators, which must always be operated outdoors, can also be “stand alone” units.

To take it to the next level, we’ll need equipment that will be integrated with the home’s existing electrical system. For this type of backup system, the first item that will be required is a transfer switch. This switch is essential, in order to disconnect the house from its usual power supply, the power grid, and connect it to an alternate power source. These switches can be manual switches, but fancier systems will utilize an automatic switch. (Consult with your local, licensed electrician here!)

With the transfer switch in place, gasoline, propane or diesel generators could be used to generate electricity, but the units are noisy, and expensive to run for extended periods. Nevertheless, these generators may provide a short-term answer for emergency situations.

When I first started generating my own electricity, I used a cheap, imported 5500 Watt generator, which cost about $500. In fact, it was our only source of electricity for 3 years, but I could only afford to run the generator for about 6 hours each evening. We lived on an acreage far from town, and off the grid, so noise was less of an issue. Note that some of the more expensive generators will run quieter, but they are still costly to run for extended periods.

So let’s suppose you have your transfer switch in place. To keep your initial costs low, you purchased an inexpensive gas-powered generator for backup purposes. You are are now prepared for a short term power failure, or a longer one if you can endure the noise and afford the gasoline. But when you’re ready to improve the efficiency of your system, it’s time to take the next step. Your next purchase should consist of deep-cycle batteries and an inverter/charger.

A “bank” of batteries should be purchased together (or within a short time-frame). Like a chain, one older, and weaker, battery could become the “weakest link” in your system. Also required at this juncture will be an inverter/charger. This unit will serve two purposes. Firstly, when power is required from the batteries, the inverter will change the low voltage direct current from the battery to the 120 volt alternating current you’ll need in your home. And secondly, the unit will maintain the batteries at full charge when outside power is available.

With the batteries and inverter/charger in place, continuous operation of the gas generator is no longer required. Now when you run the generator for a few hours a day, you’ll have power in your home 24 hours a day! This is because when the generator runs now, it will be operating at approximately 80% its of full-rated wattage. This results in much more efficient use of generated power. It will also result in less carbon build-up in the engine (a good thing!).

Now, the final step: It’s time to go solar! (Wind and hydro power generation are also options, but are outside the scope of this article.) The nice thing about solar is that you can always add more solar panels, one-by-one, as determined by your needs and your budget. And you will know you have enough panels when you no longer (or rarely) need to fuel up your generator!

So there you have another solution from My Solar Backup Depot: a common sense, step-wise approach to generating more of your own electricity, and always having a backup power supply.

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Dec 1

Smart Meters: What the Power Company Won’t Tell You

Posted on Dec 01, 2011 under Uncategorized| Comments are off

I stopped at a local convenience store the other morning, and got into a conversation about the local power company. I was told that they are installing Smart Meters in the area, California’s Antelope Valley, and that local residents had concerns. Many want to “opt-out” of the program, but they’re being put on a “Delay List” pending a Public Utilities Commission decision regarding an opt-out provision. The lady at the store gave me a copy of the local “Country Journal” that contained an article about Smart Meters, with boldface instructions telling how to get on that Delay List.

Later in that same morning, I was reviewing my email. I have joined several services which send me news tips (on subjects of my choosing), and the fourth item in one of these mailings referred to a story on Smart Meters, originating out of Maine. I thought, “Wow, The ‘Smart Meter’ subject has come-up twice in the same morning!” Naturally, my curiosity was piqued and I checked out the referenced article, Smart Meters Interfering with Home Electronics.

Of course, now I had to read the article. The story was from the opposite corner of the country, and they are reporting that Smart Meters are causing problems with household devices which use the same frequencies to transmit data.

I did a little more looking into the whole subject of transmitting data and what data the Smart Meters transmit. It turns out that the meters can transmit all kinds of data about your usage. They can tell what types of devices you’re running and for how long, and at what time of day or night. And that, of course, raises privacy concerns. I was quite surprised to find out that even the usage of old fashion “non-smart” appliances can be detected, let alone the “smart” ones (coming to an appliance store near you).

At this point I checked out “The Dark Side of ‘Smart’ Meters” on YouTube (see below). In this invitational presentation to the San Francisco Tesla Society consulting engineer Rob States explains how PG&E’s so-called Smart Meters work and why they endanger health and privacy. Regarding health effects, only one study in the San Francisco area is discussed, but the study’s findings are quite troubling. As stated in the video, many people are affected by “Electro-Hyper-Sensitivity” to radio waves; a significant 3% are “severely” affected, but 35% of the population is “moderately” affected by this sensitivity. And it turns out there can be considerable data transmission, since neighboring Smart Meters can “talk to each other,” in order to relay data to nearby cell towers.

So do you want to move toward generating your own electricity now?

I’m not an alarmist, but I do want to know the truth. I recommend a common sense and step-wise approach to gradually generating more of your own electricity. Smart Meters just add to the concerns I already had about being too heavily dependent on the power utility. In the next post, learn how to get started with another solution from My Solar Backup Depot.

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Nov 24

1800 Watts… and I’ll Take My Solar Backup System to Go!

Posted on Nov 24, 2011 under Uncategorized| Comments are off

In this article I am going to outline why I recommend an 1800 watt solar backup system as the perfect size for a starter system.

One big advantage of system this size is its portability. You can move the system if you’re going camping, or if you have a “grab and go” emergency situation. You will always have your power with you. The system really couldn’t be much larger than the 1800 watts suggested here, because you wouldn’t be able to lift it. The batteries, which are part of your solar backup system, weigh about 55 pounds, and that’s pretty much pushing the maximum for portability.

Cost-wise, I believe that these systems are a logical first step. The systems are typically priced in the $1500 to $2000 range, depending on equipment specifics. They are a cost effective way to get power to your household appliances. Another thing, most individual appliances you would need to plug in are rated for under 1800 watts. So even though you may not be able to run too many appliances at the same time, you will be able to run almost any appliance individually. Notable exceptions, however, include central air conditioners, heat pumps, electric hot water heaters, electric clothes dryers, electric ranges and electric space heaters. These appliances generally draw too much power for an 1800 watt system. Even when an appliance is rated close to the 1800 watt maximum, it will drain the system battery very quickly.

Used conservatively, however, your system will have adequate power to get you through a “typical” power outage of a few hours. This would apply even in darkness, when there is no way to recharge the battery from the sun.

If you were to have a disaster situation, where there is an extended power outage (say, for several days), the solar panel allows your system to be recharged daily, so you’ll have a limited, but continuous supply of power for essential needs. In a situation where the power has been out for a matter of days, this system will show its true merit, quietly absorbing energy from the sun. Keep in mind, with a (noisy) gas generator, you only have power as long as you have gasoline. And then there’s the fact that service station gas pumps won’t work when the power is out either! To make things worse, people tend to panic, buying-up supplies and fueling-up where ever they can find fuel. Shortages are the result. So using a gas powered generator for these situations is not recommended!

With solar power, you can pretty much count on the sun coming-up each morning, allowing you to generate electricity for 12 hours or so, depending on the season. And therein lies the magic of a solar backup system. Add portability to the mix, and you’ll be ready for just about anything, with my solar backup solution.

In future posts, I will cover larger systems and their benefits. I am not going to “pitch” specific equipment right now; at this point, my intention is to educate my readers in solar system basics. Looking forward, however, recommendations and links to specific products will be offered on this site. So until next time, take care and stay safe!

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