Home » Winter and Disaster Prep » Solar Power Plays a Vital Role in Disaster and Emergency Relief Efforts

One casualty of disasters is almost always power. With solar generators, electricity is always available.

Three major hurricanes in less than a month wreaked havoc to power grids. Many in Texas and Florida were without electricity for weeks, while Puerto Rico’s struggles to restore energy continues.

Island leadership, family members and charitable groups put out a call for help, with a special request for solar power sources, and Renogy responded by providing its Lycan Powerbox and Phoenix solar generators, according to Alan Yeung, marketing director of Renogy.

Without electricity​​​​​​​

While all disasters and emergencies are unique, one commonality is a power interruption, and an outage of any duration, whether hours or weeks, can be devastating. During an emergency, Bob Harris, emergency expert with GamePlan, advised assessing and addressing the most critical needs first. Medical and first aid issues come first, he said, followed by water and food. Peoples’ lives depend on having medical equipment running and food storage to avoid spoilage. Rescue teams need lighting. Having a backup solar generator is your best option to address these critical needs.

“In the relief and recovery stages, you absolutely need power,” Harris stated. “Having energy from solar is renewable and will not run out. You don’t have to depend on the grid.”

Sunshine, not gasoline

Although the default option has been gas-powered generators, they present their own issues in emergencies.

“The problem with gas generators,” said Yeung, “is two-fold.” First, they need to be refueled, and often in disasters, like in Puerto Rico, gas is in short supply. Second, they need to expel exhaust safely, which means you can’t use them inside buildings, limiting use. “With solar generators, you don’t have those problems.” Even if a cloudy day limits sunshine, there is enough solar energy generated for basic use. “As confident as we are that the sun will rise again tomorrow morning, you can be just as confident that a solar generator will provide you dependable clean power nearly anywhere, anytime,” said Yeung.

Emergencies happen anytime

Toby Evans, adventure racing organizer for The HMAR Series, travels to remote locations where having a power source available is necessary. He’s also found himself stranded because of weather. A blizzard can shut down access on Interstate 80 for days, he said. Because he carries a Lycan with him, Evans is never without a power source.

“A basic solar panel like the Lycan,” Evan said, “can be the difference between life and death.”

Sue Poremba, [email protected]

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