The United States, among other countries, has been hit by a series of powerful, deadly natural disasters. From hurricanes inundating the South to wildfires burning across the West, and blizzards blitzing Texas, many communities have been affected. Renewable energy expert Brad Chapman believes it’s smart for people to consider alternative energy resources.
“A natural disaster can quickly knock large power grids offline, and in some cases, it might take weeks to restore power,” Brad Chapman of Alliance Building Solutions in San Bernardino County notes. “If you’re connected to a microgrid or have your house plugged into alternative energy resources, you might still be able to keep the lights on.”
So what might an alternative energy source look like? Solar panels are perhaps the most obvious example. You can now set solar panels on your roof. Even if the local power grid is knocked out, you may still be able to get power.
Another option is a wind turbine. When you think of wind turbines, your mind might first be drawn to the massive turbines used by utility companies and governments. These turbines can power cities. You can also buy smaller turbines, however, that provide energy for your home.
“Picking the right alternative energy sources is greatly dependent on your location,” Brad Chapman of Alliance Building Solutions in San Bernardino County points out. “If you live in an area with a lot of sunshine, solar panels make more sense than an area with constant cloud cover. Likewise, if steady winds are the norm, wind turbines make sense. Combining sources is also smart.”
Often, a small set of solar panels on its own isn’t enough to power a house. Likewise, a wind turbine may not provide enough energy by itself for regular use. However, these systems may be able to provide enough energy for emergency use, perhaps keeping your house warm and your fridge cold.
Having a way to store energy is also important. Large battery systems can be set up to store electricity. So as night sets in and your solar panels stop producing electricity, you can switch over to battery power.
“Setting up an alternative energy system for your home takes a lot of work,” Brad Chapman says. “It’s smart to work with experts. And even if you have solar panels and wind turbines, you may want to keep a small diesel generator around to supplement your renewable sources amid a disaster.”
It’s easy to take for granted how important electricity is. When the power gets knocked out for a few hours, you might be annoyed that you can’t watch your favorite TV show. During a disaster, however, access to electricity may mean life or death.
“Sadly, if you don’t have access to electricity, you might not be able to keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer,” Brad Chapman of Alliance Building Solutions in San Bernardino County suggests. “You may not be able to run medical equipment either, or to keep your phones charged so you can access emergency services.”