Hey, did you know that today is Earth Day? So let’s talk about getting prepared by using one of our planet’s incredible eco-friendly (and free!) resources: the Sun. Gathering sunlight and turning it into power is one way to be prepared for a variety of electronic needs in an emergency.
It seems like the electricity goes out during almost every disaster situation, so it’s wise to have items on hand that will provide light and power when you need them. Solar power is a clean, quiet, and safe source of electricity. And, bonus: No gasoline or propane is required for solar power, so no flammable chemicals will be hanging out in your basement or garage.
How does solar power work?
Goal Zero, a company that makes solar power products, gives three steps on how the system works:
- Collect Power: As sunlight hits a panel made out of silicon, electrons begin to move in the material and it creates electricity. The silicon material can vary between different panels.
- Store Power: Once the electricity is created the panel can charge a battery for future use. This can be done with a large battery or a smaller internal battery in a cell phone or tablet.
- Use Power: You can use the stored power to run a variety of needed devices.
Remember that there are different sized solar panels for different needs. A portable panel that fits in a backpack may only produce 7-13 watts an hour. This can only power small electronics like radios, UV purifiers, tablets, or GPS units. Larger panels charge batteries used for T.V.’s, CPAP machines, or even a fridge.
What are some items that use solar power?
The Nokero Light: this light has a solar panel built into the top. You hang the light in a window or outside during the day to charge the internal battery, and a built-in sensor turns the light on when it gets dark. The battery can last 6+ hours between charges.
Voyager Radios: a built-in solar panel is one of several ways these emergency radios can be charged. The solar panel will still charge the radio as it plays important information during an emergency.
Goal Zero Nomad 7 and Guide 10 Plus: the Nomad 7 is a solar panel that can produce up to 7 watts per hour. It charges AA or AAA batteries in the Guide 10 Plus. The battery charger has a USB port that charges cell phones, tablets, or other hand held electronics (cool, huh?!).
Goal Zero Boulder 30 and Yeti 1250: the Boulder 30 is a larger solar panel that can draw up to 30 watts per hour. Multiple panels together can charge various units, up to a Yeti 1250. The Yeti is a large battery with enough stored power to run some fridges up to 48 hours per charge. This system can light your whole house—and it’s surprisingly compact, considering all the power it offers!
Click here to see all our solar-powered items. Have you used solar power before? What’s your favorite thing about it?