Essential Solar Equipment for Emergencies: Be Prepared for the Next Blackout
Here are some alarming stats for ya: due to severe weather events and natural disasters, utility company customers in the US experienced 1.33 billion power outages in 2020, up 73% from 2019. Talk about a fair-weather friend, right? The average duration of a power outage has also more than doubled.
So, it's safe to say it's time to look at reliable backup power, and we’re here to tell you that emergency backup solar power is the way to go. With an emergency solar kit, you can set up your backup system yourself and keep the lights on, even when the neighbors can't.
It may seem intimidating at first, but you can put your mind at ease by checking out our emergency solar power FAQs or downloading our Emergency Solar Power 101 guide to become an expert faster than you can say, "Your energy bills are overdue."
Why Solar is the Best Backup Power Source
Solar power systems are the most reliable power source because solar power relies on the sun, which last time we checked shines every day for free, everywhere. Unlike traditional backup gas generators, a solar system can operate without producing harmful emissions and noise, doesn’t require constant effort to refill its fuel, and isn’t as harmful to the environment.
The energy is stored in batteries, so you will have reliable power that keeps your appliances running even on cloudy days or at night when the sun doesn't shine. In extreme weather and emergencies, a solar generator can keep your home powered.
How Emergency Solar Backup Power Works
Power outages typically occur when there is a severe weather event or when the grid power is overloaded. Here's the kicker: having solar panels on your roof doesn't mean you'll have electricity when the power goes out.
Grid-tied solar systems are shut down for the safety of utility workers during power outages. They also don't produce electricity at night, so if you don’t have a battery to store excess electricity produced by the solar panels during the day, you need grid power to cover the dark times. If you want real backup power, you'll need to look at solar generators, the key to backup solar power.
A solar generator is essentially a portable power station that combines a battery, an inverter, and a charge controller in one unit. It can be charged via solar panels or by plugging it into an electrical outlet. Once charged, a solar generator can be used to power various devices, appliances, and tools. Some models also come with built-in outlets and USB ports for easy charging and use.
The solar panels convert sunlight into electricity that is passed through the charge controller and into the battery backup system, where it is stored for later use.
When you need to use the energy, the inverter will convert the electricity from DC power into AC or alternating current power, which is what most of your appliances use.
Another benefit is that they are portable, so you can move them as required, which makes a tremendous difference in an emergency.
On a full charge, solar generators alone provide temporary energy backup for several hours during a blackout, but when used to their full potential by being paired with some solar panels it can keep recharging indefinitely.
Essential Solar Equipment for Emergencies
When it comes to emergency solar power, there are some equipment and gear you need to have on hand.
As we said, your solar generator is an absolute must-have for any backup solar system. The size rating of a solar generator equates to how much power it can store in kilowatt-hours (kWh).
Solar generators vary in size and capability. The capacity of the battery should be enough to meet your needs during an emergency, anywhere from a few hours to a full day–if it lasts longer than a day, you can recharge it again using the other must-have equipment: your solar panels. A smaller generator is perfect for keeping a few things like your laptop and phone battery charged, but a complete home backup system requires a larger generator.
Solar generators are, well, they’re awesome. Unlike gas-powered generators, they are quiet and environmentally friendly. They can be connected to your electrical panel or move it around your home to plug in appliances wherever you hunker down to wait until the power comes back on. Don’t try that with a gas generator.
It's also worth saying that a solar generator isn't a viable full-time alternative to the power grid and can't power your entire home, but it can be suitable for certain off-grid applications, such as a cottage, camp, or tailgate party. They are low maintenance, portable, and with solar panels to charge the battery, so there's no need to buy fuel.
Solar panels (fixed or folding)
Here’s the other thing you absolutely need in your backup solar power system: solar panels. Solar panels capture sunlight and convert it into electricity that can be used to keep the battery of your solar generator topped up during an emergency situation.
Solar panels come in different sizes and types, but for emergency situations, smaller and more portable panels are recommended. Folding, portable solar panels are generally more compact, which means they produce less energy, but they are useful for powering devices on the move.
Nice-to-have Emergency Solar Gear
Of course, there are a few nice-to-have components that aren’t deal-breakers but would be great to have in case of an emergency, like:
You don’t need this, but if you’re ever subjected to an EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) you’re gonna wish you had it when your solar generator is bricked. An EMP shield can be a piece of technology you connect to your system or a protective case or “bag” designed to shield electronic devices from the effects of electromagnetic interference, You can use it to protect your solar equipment and other electronic devices during an emergency.
In the good-to-have category we find USB lights. USB lights and string lights are lights that can be powered by USB ports. They are handy in emergency situations where there may be a power outage, and you need a reliable source of light because you can plug them directly into your solar generator (although any lamp can do that) or any device with a USB port such as your laptop.
There’s a reason you’ve always been told to keep candles handy for emergencies, portable light where you need it is important. Because of your solar generator’s battery power, unlike candles these are lights that will never go out (or burn down your house.)
Battery kits include one or more batteries and a charger. You can use it to store additional power generated by solar panels or a solar generator.
A solar car charger can be extremely handy when you don't have access to power.
Want-to-have Emergency Solar Gear
Then there are a few things you might want to have in case of an emergency but don’t really need, like:
Appliances aren't always necessary, but they can be great in emergency situations where you need to keep your food or medicines cold. If the grid goes down for a looooooooong time, we might bump these up to nice-to-have or if it’s the end of the world as we know it (TEOTWAWKI) and the SHTF (we’ll let you figure out what that acronym stands for yourself), they could be considered essential. No bomb shelter should be without them.
If you really can't live without AC, then this is a great investment. A solar air conditioner can help keep you cool during those severe heat waves that can knock out grid power.
Solar Generator Kits
Solar generator kits contain everything you need to keep your appliances and other devices powered during a blackout, including solar panels and a solar generator. They also come with all the cables, connectors, and wiring you need to hook it all together, as well as detailed diagrams and instructions to help you do it all yourself.
It’s an all-in-one DIY backup power solution.
Solar kits are much more affordable than having a solar company tackle backup job for you. Even if you aren’t particularly DIY-savvy, you can easily handle the installation on your own. The benefit of doing it yourself also means you can fix your system in an emergency, if anything happens to go wrong.
Unless you are a mushroom, we can safely assume you don't like sitting around in the dark watching the ice cream in your freezer melt. And there's no reason to. Solar power can provide reliable, clean energy that will keep your appliances powered during an emergency.
At shopsolarkits.com, we have experts on our team who can help you find the best solar generator kit for your specific needs. Contact our team at shopsolarkits.com to get a quote and find the perfect kit for you.
Learn how to use solar power to be prepared for any emergency with our comprehensive guide to Emergency solar power.