Home Energy Storage in a Crisis

During times of crisis, people often begin to consider whether they have taken the steps to prepare for a real emergency. We’ve been able to witness that with the recent COVID-19 scare that is sweeping the globe. But as we are struck by everything from pandemics to forest fires, you may be wondering if you not only have the food and materials to make it through whatever surprise comes your way, but whether you’ll have the energy. Literally.

To help you prepare, here are some ways you can make sure you have plenty of power to go around in an emergency.

Gas Generator

When people usually consider backup power, the first thing that comes to mind is a gas generator. These are easily accessible energy sources that can provide quick power in an emergency. But they do come with some drawbacks.

The first, and most immediately noticeable, is both the noise and the smell. While it will give you some power to keep on a few lights and stop your freezer from thawing, you will need to stick to an alternating schedule of turning off and reactivating your machine. They are loud and produce harmful gases that can negate a large portion of the comfort you get from having the power they provide. On top of that is the need for access to fuel and the cost of replenishing it.

Solar Energy System + Battery

A great alternative to a gas powered generator is a solar battery. This requires more upfront planning and investment, but comes with a lot of upsides. The first of which is convenience. Solar batteries activate instantly upon the house losing power. You might not even notice it happened. For a first-hand account of how solar batteries function in a crisis, check out the story of the McDonald family during the 2019 Kincaid Fire in California.

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Another plus is that a solar battery is both silent as it operates and creates no harmful gases. Because the system is automated, it is the easiest way to get power to your home in an emergency. In fact, after the initial set up, it’s effortless. On top of that, your solar battery can recharge with each new sunrise. So you don’t have to worry about a shortage of fuel to keep your system going.

Fuel Cells

Fuel cells can power small devices such as your phone and laptop, as well as larger things like a car. But they can also provide energy to your home. Fuel cells are often powered by natural gas, but are a much more expensive option compared to a standard gas-powered generator, costing around $4500 per kW instead of $800.

Wind Power

Another alternative with many of the same benefits as solar is a residentials wind-electric system. They look like a small version of the gigantic electric windmills you might see on a road trip, but they are built for the home. They provide electricity while staying quiet and producing no noxious gases. The challenges with this option is that residential wind power is not as widely available as solar, is less commonly paired with a battery, and isn’t usually included in zoning codes so it isn’t a legal option for many people.

When it comes to preparing for energy in a disaster, there are many options. The important thing is to take the time now to prepare so you have the best, most comfortable option for you in the future. Because, when things feel like they are out of your control, it’s nice to know that your energy still is.

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