Harnessing the sun’s awesome power has become quite the craze as of late. And why wouldn’t it be? In some states, having photovoltaic panels can help you be eligible for a 30 percent federal tax credit. Moreover, in states such as Florida and California, the combined federal and state tax credits may reduce your expense by as much as 70 percent when all is said and done.
How Does It Work?
We have a finite amount of fuel sources that can be stored for post-disaster and long term preparations. Therefore, using solar powered equipment is an ideal investment for renewable energy for long-term SHTF preparations. As the sun’s rays hit the solar cells on a photovoltaic (PV) panel, the power is transferred to a silicon semiconductor. The power is then changed into direct current (DC) electricity and then passed through connecting wires to finally enter a storage battery.
A solar power system has three components:
- Solar panel(s)
- Charge controller
Before you begin purchasing solar powered equipment, take a moment to consider what you want powered in your home and how many watts of power it will require. Do you want something that will keep batteries and laptops charged in a short-term disaster? Or are you considering something more permanent? Once you have this in mind, build a system to support your needs, and eventually invest in equipment to expand upon this initial investment.
Types of Solar Equipment
Solar Panels If you are considering purchasing some supplies for a solar power system, consider starting out with a basic set of photovoltaic (PV) panels and then add additional items to the existing set up. For $500, you could purchase a solar set up with a 50 amp hour battery.
There are three types of photovoltaic power systems for you to consider:
1.) Stand alone – Stand-alone power systems install easily for all types of standard or remote power needs. Adding a backup battery will assist in uninterrupted power during utility blackouts or outages.
2.) Grid-tied – Can be set up to provide minimal interruption power (automatic failover) to your home or retreat in the event of a power failure.
3.) Grid-connected but with stand-alone-capabilities – To sell power back to your utility yet still be self sufficient, use a grid-connected but stand-alone-capable system. With this type of system, you can add an inverter to enable you to charge batteries for cordless tools, or even run a laptop or radio.
Online stores such as eBay and Amazon are valuable resources when purchasing these items. To learn more about the equipment required to create a solar paneling system, click here.
Solar generators offers great advantages over the gasoline and diesel ran generators. For starters, they don’t produce dangerous fumes, run quietly, are energy efficient and do not require fuel to run them. And if that was not enough, they can last 25 years or longer. Although these can be costly, there is no additional costs to run the generator. And for that matter, who says that a solar generator can only be used during disasters? Run your solar generator regularly in order to keep your electricity bills down.
Mobile solar power systems would be ideal for bug out bags or for someone who believes that mobility is a priority when the SHTF. For a smaller investment, foldable solar panels would be a good consideration and have the capability of charging small devices. Ensure that you know how many watts the panel will provide you. Most flexible solar panels that are 35 watt or greater will provide you 6-volt of power, so you will have to buy 2 and wire these in a series to make 12-volts. There are even large solar panels connected to trailers for remote living. Manufacturers are even creating these mobile systems with a Lithium-Ion battery. Lithium technology is favored by manufacturers for its light weight and robust power capabilities. This type of solar set up can be purchased online at www.MobileSolarPower.net. Bear in mind that these systems can easily be stolen, hence the word portable solar power systems. So it should be placed in a secure, well guarded area.
Solar battery chargers are ideal for SHTF planning. Some battery chargers use trickle charging, and can be somewhat time consuming. To expedite the process, many preppers buy two or three chargers. However, there are solar chargers that can be connected to a photovoltaic panel and can make a huge difference in recharging batteries and for that matter, providing small scale lighting. Ensure that your solar battery charger can charge a variety of battery sizes and has smart capability. A smart charger will not overcharge your batteries. Some solar battery chargers are waterproof and would be ideal if you are bugging out by boat, or by foot. The AccuManger 20 battery charger is a smart charger and is decently priced. Keep in mind that depending on the investment you make, some chargers require additional equipment such as an inverter to convert the energy or a solar panel with a deep cycle (DC) battery.
Parts of this article were adapted from James W. Rawles’ How to Survive the End of the World As We Know It