Tag Archives: solar power

  • 3 Emergencies in the past 30 days that needed solar power

    At the beginning of March, a pole fire caused a 7-8 hour power outage for many residents of Orem, UT—one of which was me. As my husband and I scrambled in the dark trying to find our spare flashlights, I quickly realized that we were not as prepared as we should have been.

    Over the past month, other similar emergencies have occurred across the country that resulted in the loss of power. In these specific situations (as well in other emergencies) solar power could have helped ease the tension of the crisis. I know it would have for me! Solar power helps you remain self-reliant in the face of a disaster. Prepping you and your family with solar power can give you the tools and skills you need to help your family get through an emergency much more comfortably.

    Check out these three emergencies that happened in the past month where those affected could have benefited from storing a solar power option.

    Power Out for a Million

    In early February, winter storm Nika spread across the Northeast dropping snow and ice, and knocking out power for an estimated one million people—some were even left without it for days.

    Read the rest of the story here.

    In these icy conditions, a reserve of solar power gear would have helped many people power appliances, and tools for communication. You can charge your cell phone (how will you let loved ones know you’re okay?), your laptop, radio (to keep in touch with news updates), and other electronic devices using solar power.

    Tools such as the Yeti 1250 Home Essentials Kit give you all the tools you’d need to power multiple devices at once. However, if you’re looking for a basic setup to get started, you can add items like the Switch 8 (a compact, portable power pack to power up any device via USB) and a [Nomad 7] solar panel (or other panel) to your emergency gear.

    Possible Attack on the Power Grid

    A 2013 attack on an electric grid near San Jose, CA has many now wondering whether they’d be able to survive a long-term power outage. Since our society relies so much on power, an attack on the power grid could be devastating.

    Read the rest of the story here.

    If the power grid went down, you’d be left to your own devices to light, heat, and cook in your home. Are you prepared to power your own home for weeks or months on end? In this situation, solar power could help keep your family’s perishable food cold, keep the lights turned on in the dark, and provide you with a way to power portable heaters.

    In a long-term emergency, which an attack on the power grid could certainly cause, all you’d have to do is gather sunlight during the day to provide power for your family at night.

    Staying Toasty in Texas: No power? No problem!

    In early February 2014, a gas leak required companies to turn off the natural gas supply for most of North Texas—leaving many without a way to heat their homes on a day when temperatures sat abnormally below-freezing.

    Read the rest of the story here.

    Keeping a portable heater on hand will help you stay warm during heat-related emergencies. But not all portable heaters run on propane. Some portable heaters are electric which wouldn’t be as helpful during a power outage…unless you’ve prepared with solar power. Solar power can provide you with the power you need to run a portable electric heater so you can stay warm.

    You could also try adding a portable heater like the Mr. Heater Portable Buddy which gives you safe, reliable propane heat indoors. No need for electricity at all!

    Why Solar Power?

    Adding gear such as the Yeti 1250 Home Essentials Kit can help you survive an emergency power outage. With the Yeti 1250, you get 1250 watt-hours of power so you can run multiple devices at the same time. Think about powering your laptop, cell phone, or microwave all at once. Having solar power can not only give you power for light, but for communication, cooking, and more.

    The Yeti 1250 Home Essentials’ Kit is ideal to use in a long-term outage such as the one that left a million people across the Northeast without power, or even for a possible attack against the power grid.

     

    This kit includes:

    • 2 Boulder 30M Solar Panels to help you collect power
    • 1 Yeti 1250 —an emission free, solar power generator.
    • 4 Light-A-Life’s to disperse your stored power as light. These lights require low energy so your power can last longer when you need it to most. Light-A-Life’s have been rated for 20,000 hours of use.

    Are you a solar power advocate? What do you use solar power for?

    --Kim

     Editor's Note: The Staying Toasty in Texas event did not encompass the whole region of Northern Texas. The city of Jacksboro was the main town invovled.

    Sources:

    http://www.weather.com/news/commuter-conditions/winter-storm-nika-latest-news-20140203

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: solar power, emergency preparedness

  • Ukraine and Your Gas Bill

    how has conflict in the Ukraine affected Natural Gas transport?

    Have you been following the situation in the Ukraine? Skirmishes on the other side of the globe seem far from our everyday worries, but some parts of the world are already considering possible far-reaching effects.

    At the top of the list is Europe’s energy supply. Roughly a quarter of Europe’s natural gas comes from Russian oil fields. Most of Russia’s pipeline transport routes cross Ukraine on their way to continental Europe. Though experts claim Europe’s reserves are in good shape, and fears of shortages or price hikes are premature, European newspapers like Britain’s Telegraph are already reporting increases in the price of oil and gas.

    Some of you might remember oil and gas shortages in our own country in decades past (is anybody going to own up to remembering the 1970s?). And within my own kids’ lifetime, we’ve seen energy prices fluctuate frighteningly. But along with shortages, embargoes, and depletions, we’ve also seen a fairly miraculous proliferation of energy technology. Just a generation ago, for example, the cost of solar power for consumer use was extremely high. Today, the average prepper can buy a portable solar generator for less than the cost of a laptop.

    Chances seem good that Ukraine’s troubles won’t affect your gas bill—but Ukraine isn’t the only country with troubles! Could you power your home if your utilities were disrupted? Do you have the tools you need to wash clothes, heat your home, or to cook? Have you considered storing fuel? Or maybe you’re looking into generators. Whatever your own energy solution, be sure to do your homework.

    Storms and wars aren’t likely to stop. But that doesn’t mean we have to sit in the dark!

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: solar power, warmth, emergency preparedness, generator, emergency warmth

  • solar-bridge-london-network-rail.jpg

    For a city noted for its fog and drizzle, London’s newest distinction may seem like a bit of a head-scratcher. According to Smartplanet.com, the London is now home to the world’s largest solar bridge.

    The Blackfriars Railway Bridge is a Victorian era structure that lies somewhere between the Thames, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the Tate Modern. This bridge has undergone massive reconstruction that took five years of planning and construction and is part of a £6.5 million renovation. The Blackfriars re-opened this year with a new roof of over 4,000 solar panels.

    The panels will produce 900,000 kilowatt hours annually, which will cover half of the energy needs of the electric railway station housed under the bridge. This use of solar power will even make a neat little dent in the city’s fuel consumption. Sustainablebusiness.com describes the innovative (and quite dramatic) engineering that went into the project. They point out that “a city doesn’t have to be in the tropics to take advantage of solar energy.”

    You and I can harness the same power on a much smaller scale. As solar technology continues to develop, it becomes increasingly accessible. Our own site features solar powered products providing light and communication. And if the sun’s power can help run a city that rarely sees it, maybe it’s something we should be thinking more about.

    --Stacey

    Photo Courtesy of SmartPlanet.com

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: solar power

  • Roscoe Bartlett living off the grid

    If you live in the city, there are many luxuries to enjoy—power with the flick of a switch, grocery stores or shopping malls less than five minutes away, constant communication with everyone via cell phone, internet, or radio. So . . . could you ever find yourself living off the grid?

    After 20 years on Capitol Hill, Congressman Roscoe Bartlett has taken himself completely off the grid, retreating to a secluded property in West Virginia. We came across Politico Magazine’s article via Instapundit and, whether or not you agree with Bartlett’s political views, we think there are some interesting things he’s done as a prepper that make this article worth reading.

    Bartlett lives without a phone, without a link to outside power, and without municipal plumbing. He has developed quite a few skills that will help him if he gets into an emergency.

    For the past few decades, Bartlett spent his free time up at this property, prepping it for the day he’d go off the grid. He built five cabins by himself, then wired solar panels and ran pipes from freshwater springs to each cabin.

    Living completely off the grid, he rises at dawn six days a week in order to maintain his power sources, food, and way of life. He spends about 10 hours a day cutting logs, gardening, and doing other tasks around the land.

    “People ask me ‘Why?’” Bartlett said in an interview with Politico Magazine. “I ask people why you climb Mount Everest. It’s a challenge, and it’s challenging to think what life would be like if there weren’t any grid and there weren’t any grocery stores. That’s what life was like for our forefathers.”

    Read more of Roscoe Bartlett’s experience living off the grid (and why he chose to do so) in the Politico article, “The Congressman Who Went off the Grid

    What changes would you have to make to your lifestyle if you went completely off the grid? Would you do it?

    Photo Courtesy of Politico Magazine

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: emergency power, solar power, skills, Survival, emergency preparedness, off the grid

  • Green Gadgets from 2013

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    Green Green Gadgets: The Goal Zero Yeti 150 can give you a quiet portable way to power your life

    It seems like advances in technology are coming along at a faster pace than ever before. According to The Next Web’s article 9 of the best green gadgets from 2013, there have been “. . . quite a few green gadgets that made waves in 2013, many making headway in terms of solar technology uses and energy conservation.”

    Featured among products like a bamboo keyboard and a Bluetooth Plant Monitor is the Goal Zero Yeti 150 Power Pack. This solar generator can power lights, phones, tablets, laptops … almost any device that’s USB powered. The Yeti 150 can charge in six hours from the wall, or in 15 hours using a Boulder 15 Solar Panel.

    Using solar power not only lets you collect power during a crisis, but helps save you from the bulk, noise, and toxic fumes that come from traditional generators. Power packs such as the Goal Zero Yeti 150, Goal Zero Yeti 400, and the Goal Zero Yeti 1250 give you a quiet, portable way to power your life whether you’re camping, living off the grid, or getting through an emergency. Don’t get caught off guard during a power outage.

    Learn more about solar power with our Insight article, “Solar Power: Clean, Quiet, and Safe” 

    To read more about the other green gadgets that came about in 2013, check out TNW’s article, 9 of the best green gadgets from 2013

    Has solar power ever helped you during an outdoor adventure or in an emergency?

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: solar power, preparedness, emergency preparedness, Goal Zero, green technology, generator, Yeti Solar Generator

  • iStock_000011013432XSmall_generator

    A portable generator is a pretty handy accessory to have in your emergency preparedness supplies. Imagine trying to save your refrigerated and frozen food from going bad when the power is knocked out during a hurricane or thunderstorm. If you have a generator, you can restore power so you can keep your appliances running.

    However, as North Carolina’s WRAL news team suggests, “buying a generator is only the first step—you also have to keep it in working order with proper installation, storage, and maintenance.” If you don’t take the time to store or maintain it correctly, it may “bug out” when you need it for an emergency.

    Dave Trezza of Consumer Reports offers a few suggestions for using your generator safely and correctly:

    -          Buy at least a 5,000 to 7,500 watt generator with a 240-volt outlet

    -          If your generator is hooked up improperly, it could be a fire hazard

    -          If the generator is too close to your home, you could be at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning

    -          Change the gas in your generator every 6 months; a generator will not work well on old gas

    -          Generators can use 8-22 gallons of gas a day

    For a more in-depth explanation on Trezza’s suggestions, read more of the article “Generators Need Maintenance Work in an Emergency.”

    It sounds like “traditional generators” require a lot of work and could be potentially dangerous. This is why Goal Zero developed the Yeti 1250 Solar Generator kit for your emergency preparedness supplies.

    The Yeti 1250 provides a silent and indoor-safe source of power— you don’t need gas to run this generator! There are no fumes emitted or fuels to store, protecting you and your family from carbon monoxide poisoning. This also means there are no dangerous moving parts, making it safer to have the Yeti near kids or pets. The Yeti stores 1250 watt hours of power to run multiple devices. It can charge your smartphone up to 100+ times and can run 12 v lights for up to 400+ hours of use.

    If you don’t think that you’ll be the best with keeping up maintenance on an outdoor generator, consider turning to the power of the sun.

    --Angela

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: solar power, preparedness, emergency preparedness, Yeti 1250 Solar Generator

  • There’s just one week left to participate in our Goal Zero Solar generator kit offer.  From now until August 14th, when you buy a Goal Zero Yeti 1250 Solar Generator kit, you will receive an extra Boulder 30 solar panel ($240 value) for free!

    The standard kit includes the Yeti solar generator and two Boulder 30 solar panels. For the next week you'll get that extra solar panel for free—so you can draw power from the sun 50% faster!

    Goal Zero Yeti Special Offer

    Having an extra solar panel means that you can power your electronic devices—cell phones, tablets, laptops, or lights—faster from the sun in less time. Using a solar generator will also help you to save on your power bill.

    To learn more about this great deal check out our post, “Special Offer!! Yeti 1250 Solar Generator Kit

    And if the Yeti 1250 sounds cool, check out Goal Zero’s awesome rechargeable flashlights, lanterns, and speakers for your Ipod or laptop, all powered by the sun!

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: solar power, Goal Zero, yeti 1250

  •  Fallen Power Line

    Last night and this morning, the Tulsa, Oklahoma area got hit with some pretty strong winds and lightning. This morning more than 100,000 customers had no electricity— and it could be several days before power is restored. Read more here.

    What have you done to prepare your home and family for a power outage? Here are some items we suggest you have on hand for those “so-rainy-and-blustery-it-knocks-out-the-power” kinds of days.

    Emergency lights and Flashlights

    Candles

    Lanterns

    Light sticks

    Solar Power

    Battery or solar-operated fans to cool down

    An indoor-safe heater that doesn't require electricity

    Hand and body warmers

    Wool blankets

    Emergency bivvy or sleeping bag

    Games or other entertainment to help pass the time and keep young children calm (make sure activities are easy to do by lantern or candlelight)

     

    When was the last power outage in your area? How long did it last? Were you prepared ahead of time?

     

    Emergency Essentials 100 hour candle

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: emergency power, solar power, warmth, power outages, emergency preparedness, Blackout, emergency light

  • iStock_000018415962XXLarge

     

    On July 6th, 2013, the Solar Impulse—a solar powered airplane designed by Swiss engineers, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg—completed a trans-American flight that departed from San Francisco and landed in New York’s JFK International Airport.

    The Solar Impulse is the first airplane that can travel day and night without using fuel.

    This 3511 mile journey took a total of 105 hours and 41 minutes, flying at a speed of about 31 mph. The plane made stops in Dallas, Phoenix, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C. before completing its last leg of the trip to New York. The only issue that the Solar Impulse faced was an 8 foot rip on the fabric of the left wing. However, this rip was not deep enough to end the trip.

    So, what’s the next goal for the Solar Impulse?—travel the world by 2015!

    To see the Solar Impulse in Action and to get updates on the progress of their 2015 world tour, check out the Solar Impulse website

     

    It’s no secret that advances in solar technology are on the rise. Amazing feats in solar technology aren’t just stopping at the Solar Impulse:

    • College students in the Netherlands recently unveiled a solar powered family car that fits four passengers and runs through solar energy

    • In June, AT&T launched a pilot project, installing several solar powered cell phone charging stations in New York, using Goal Zero technology.

    • Researchers at the University of California are studying various ways that we can use solar energy to its full potential. Check out info on solar windows, better batteries, and secondhand daylight

    And if you’re interested in using solar technology, check out how solar energy could make your everyday tasks like cooking, powering your home, and even showering . . . a little bit easier using the Sport Solar Oven, Solar Spray Portable Shower, and Goal Zero products.

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: solar power, solar energy, solar technology

  • field of grass and sunset

    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:

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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!

    Goal Zero Yeti

    Click here to see all our solar-powered items. Have you used solar power before? What’s your favorite thing about it?

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: emergency power, solar power, Goal Zero

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