What If the Power Goes Out?
By Gary Kvasnica
D.M.C.G. Executive Committee
There are a variety of reasons for blackouts and brownouts. Bad weather, high demand, reduced supply and the weaknesses of the interconnected national power grid are among them. The NERC (North American Electric Reliability Corporation) recently indicated that most of the US is at risk of a blackout this summer due to above average seasonal temperatures and drought conditions. What would you do if the power went out for an extended period of time?
If you are lucky enough to have a large built-in back-up generator and fuel source that powers your entire home, you are in pretty good shape. (FYI – if your home has solar panel system without storage capacity, it won’t work during an outage). However, not everyone can afford these expensive systems. So, what do you do?
A good option is a portable generator. They can be used to keep basic essentials like a refrigerator, some lights and cell phones working when there is no power. When it comes to portable generators, there are two main types.
Gas Powered Portable Generator
Portable gasoline powered generators are the most prevalent and least expensive. However, gas powered generators are noisy, need to be maintained and pollute the environment. Also, gas needs to be stored (safety issues), is getting expensive, goes bad and might not be accessible when the power goes out.
Solar Powered Portable Generator
These devices have a renewable source of energy that we have a lot of in Arizona - the sun. They don’t pollute or make noise and are easier to maintain. They are also significantly more portable than a gas-powered generator. This is really nice if you own a camper or are a snow birder... as you can take it with you.
Solar Power Options. There are a large variety of solar generators on the market. Before buying a generator, you must do your research. First thing to determine is what electronic essentials you want to back up. The more devices, the bigger the system you will need. You don’t want to buy a system and find out the hard way that it doesn’t meet your basic needs. There is a lot of information on the internet. You can also seek the advice of a professional.
Solar Tax Rebate. Solar powered generators are eligible for a Federal Solar Energy Credit. You can take 26% (2022) of the cost off of your Income Taxes. This makes a solar generator a more affordable option than in the past.