Friday, September 23, 2005

Free Solar

I was having a conversation with a recent Hurricane Katrina victim. She said that FEMA is either paying for generators, or reimbursing people for their purchase if they lost electricity for a significant amount of time. She wondered if a solar generator would be covered as opposed to one that ran on gas or diesel. Solar generators have several advantages. One being the obvious environment-friendly, tree-hugger factor, but a more practical one being that they don't need to be refueled. If your electricity is knocked out, chances are that you also don't have readily available access to open gas stations (as they are also closed due to power outages). Even if you do, who would want to buy gas when they can have free sunlight? Hurricanes typically draw up most available moisture and provide a few beautiful sunny days after they pass. The added value of the solar generators would be that you could still use them to lower your monthly bills after your normal electricity is restored. Since the common complaint about solar energy is that it is too costly to purchase initially, this may be a great time to get it for free. If you have friends or family affected by a hurricane, mention the idea.


Dave Justus said...

I would think that solar cells would be very unlikely to surrvive a hurricane. Additionaly, they are not quick to install like a gas powered generator is for powering you house, so they don't do much for you if you need a generating solution right now.

Solar power is a good idea for some places. Probably not a hurrican prone area though.

Cubicle said...

Of course if you got the goverment to pay for the solar and then moved to AZ next year, you would proably come out ahead.

Also i think the same thing could be said for wind power, though it would take longer to set initially than solar, if you moved to a state with plenty of wind it could pay for itself, espically if you did not pay for it.

Sandcastle said...

The solar panels would be the only thing that would need to be moved inside during a hurricane. The rest of the system could be left in place. Professionally installing them on a roof would take time, but you could set panels in your yard or anywhere else to start generating electricity. I still think it would be faster than trying to find an open gas station. And solar systems all utilize batteries, so you could store some power prior to the storm.