Tag Archives: solar power

  • 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

  • Last Saturday, March 30 was our Sport Solar Oven cook-off. We couldn’t have asked for better conditions. The skies were clear with plenty of sunshine and temperatures were close to reaching 70 degrees.

    All locations reported that the oven easily hovered between 200 and 275 degrees.  As in past weeks, we tried new recipes to try and challenge the capabilities of the oven. Here are a few of the foods we successfully cooked:

    Delicious meatballs (and a delightful carrot cake that isn't shown).

    2013-03-30_14-57-43_772 meatballs

    Chocolate cake! Yum!

    CarrotCake

    Tender pieces of roast cooked at two locations, and cheesy bacon bread (yes BACON!).

    Cheesy Bacon Bread

    Unexpected Mishaps

    The Sport Solar Oven at our Orem was hit by an excited shopper. The pot lid opened up, and the oven lost heat—not to mention roast juices that splashed all over in the oven. After cleaning up the mess, they still were able to heat the oven back up and finish the job. We’re happy to report that the oven is doing fine.

    What did we learn from the cook-offs?

    Here are a few of the lessons we learned:

    • Put the Sport Solar Oven on the ground in a place where it won’t get trampled, run over, or bumped!
    • Solar ovens actually work! After trying more than 10 different recipes, they all turned out delicious and fully cooked.
    • Always have another option to cook your food in case there is no sunlight. Our dutch ovens and charcoal came in handy on the stormy days. As long as you have sunlight, the oven is a perfect source of cooking for a small group.
    • The Sport Solar Oven will work in cold temperatures. We experienced below freezing conditions and we still cooked a variety of meats, desserts, and baked rolls.
    • Everyone should become familiar with their solar oven and know how to use them before an emergency hits.
    • Save on your power bill and have fun at the same time!

    As you can see, the Sport Solar Oven can cook just about anything, not just bread. Get creative with it and let us know what you cook in your Sport Solar Oven.

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: solar power, Sport Solar Oven

  • This post is part of a series showcasing real-life survival stories. 'Lessons Learned' is a way for individuals and families to share what they learned from living through a disaster. To read all Lessons Learned stories, click here. To submit your own story, click here.

    The Northeast Blackout of 2003 affected 45 million people, including my family. The blackout started on August 14. I was 13 at the time, with a 10-year old sister, 3-year old brother, and two older brothers who were 15 and 18. My younger sister had a blast swimming in our neighbor’s pool during this time, but I didn’t dare get in because I didn’t want to be covered in chlorine for days. As a pre-teen girl, the idea of not taking a shower for four days was mortifying. There was one day when it poured rain so hard that I was actually able to get in my bathing suit and take a quick shower in the rain.

    During the day we felt like we were roasting and wished we had something like a solar generator to power a simple fan. The nights were alright because it gave us a chance to cool off, but scary because everything was pitch black. Fortunately, my mother was prepared ahead of time with emergency candles, 72 hour kits, and a supply of food storage and water. The biggest thing we should have done differently is having moist wipes like the Ready Bath Basics, and a portable toilet. Luckily, our neighbors let us use their pool water to flush our toilet. We wished we had more water because we went through it so quickly. Many food storage products require water to prepare them, which is something we did not consider fully when deciding how much water to store.

    Natalie Haight

     

    Thanks Natalie, for sharing your survival story. You did a great job of pointing out essential items to have in an emergency.

    Luckily Natalie’s family could stay in their home and were able to survive with their emergency kit that included water, food, and lighting. Fellow preppers, storing water should be a priority for you and your family.

    Here are a couple lessons we gleaned from Natalie's story:

    • Store enough to have at least 1 gallon per person per day for 14 days. Store more to make bathing and toilet flushing more than a luxury. Click here to see Emergency Essentials’ water storage options.
    • Consider how you might keep your family cool if you’re struggling to survive hot summer weather. You might open all the doors and windows to create ventilation, but do you have netting to keep out insects? Click here to explore various survival scenarios.
    • Have a swimming pool.*

    What did you learn from Natalie’s survival story?

     

    *Tee hee hee. Juuust kidding.

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: food storage, emergency power, solar power, Emergency plan, water, water storage, emergency preparedness, Lessons Learned, Blackout

  • Yes, you can cook your food using the rays of the sun!

     

    With sunny days on the rise, now is a great time to consider alternative cooking methods, like solar ovens. We think the Sport Solar Oven is a great product so we’ve put it on sale. Here’s a post by our Regional Stores Supervisor, Rob.

     

     

    I doubted how well the Sport Solar Oven would work and I wasn’t alone. The most frequently asked question I get is, “does it really cook food?” usually followed by “so… how does it work then?”

    When I first used the Sport Solar Oven, in the summer, I went for the gusto with a full meal of dinner rolls, a roast, and potatoes. I put the oven in direct sunlight to preheat; within a short period of time the thermometer was at 300 degrees. I put the food in, and four and a half hours later I had fluffy rolls, a delicious roast, and soft potatoes. My doubts melted away faster than the butter on those rolls!

    The Sport Solar Oven will work any time of the year, no matter the temperature outside—you just need sunlight. We tried it out at our Northern Utah store on March 9. It was 35 degrees outside (thanks to the wind chill) and there was snow on the ground. It was mostly sunny during our cooking time, with some clouds.

    The Sport Solar Oven preheated to 275 degrees within 30 minutes, despite the cold conditions. We cooked roast with potatoes in one pot and baked rolls in the second pot. Just like my test during the summer, the food was cooked and ready to eat four to five hours later.

    So, how does a solar oven work? Basically the Sport Solar Oven acts as a slow cooking crock pot that can also bake, generally reaching between 250 and 280 degrees. More specifically, the oven is lined with a dark-colored metal that absorbs the heat of the sun. A clear lid maximizes the direct light and also helps keep the heat in. Optional reflectors compensate for low sun (during winter, fall, and spring). The pots are black, which helps absorb energy as heat. (A similar reaction can occur in your car on sunny days. You may notice that dark materials, such as the steering wheel, are hotter than lighter colored surfaces.)

    What if there is no sunlight? Unfortunately, if there’s no sunlight you won’t be able to use the Sport Solar Oven. If the sky is overcast or hazy, the oven won’t heat up quickly or fully.

    Why don’t I just use the stove with charcoal all the time? Plan for all situations, but if you have sunlight, why not use it? It’s a natural and free source of power. You’ll have reserved your other fuel sources, like charcoal, for times when you don’t have other options. If you prefer to cook with fuels like propane or charcoal, or if you’re looking for a backup to your backup, click here for some good options.

     

    Every Saturday this March, we will be testing out other recipes in our solar ovens at our stores. If you live in Utah, stop by and see the Sport Solar Oven in action. If you don’t live in Utah, we will be posting pictures and giving updates here on the blog so check back each Monday!

     

    Have you had success with your solar oven? Do you have additional questions? Let us know by commenting below.

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: solar power, Sport Solar Oven, charcoal, propane, sun, rolls, roast, potatoes, Rob

  • Goal Zero Solar Power

    Hey all!

    Emergency Essentials got a mention on Twitter (thanks @AndyBenge!) that turned into a conversation on Goal Zero and their Solar Kits.

    You should know, right off the bat, that I’m in love with solar power. I think it’s the greatest concept in town and can’t wait for the technology to get to the level where it’s uber affordable and we’re all using it. Till then, there’s always Goal Zero (which is actually really well priced).

    I can’t get over how cool the Goal Zero Sherpa 50 is. It’s super portable which makes it great for camping trips, backpacking, and mobile outdoor photography.

    Here’s a Goal Zero video that says it all in less than a minute.

    Goal Zero Sherpa 50

    -- Steph

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: solar power, Goal Zero, chargers, batteries, photography

  • Many of you have been asking how you can help those affected by Superstorm Sandy. Well, here’s a way we can all help out:

    Emergency Essentials has teamed up with Goal Zero to promote their ‘You Buy One, We Give One’ relief program. Goal Zero will match every purchase—dollar for dollar—with relief in the form of Goal Zero solar recharging kits.
    All Goal Zero products count toward this program. So if you’ve been thinking about buying a solar power pack, solar panels, or even some lights or speakers to go with your existing Goal Zero products, now is the time. You’ll not only get the products you need and want, but you’ll help restore power to those who need it most.
    Hurry! Program ends November 15th.

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: hurricanes, solar power

  • New Yorkers gather around power strips to charge cell phones
    in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

    Superstorm Sandy left millions of northeasterners without power, some of whom may have to wait more than a week before it’s restored.1 Lack of power to charge important electronic communication devices like cell phones, smart phones, and laptops are among the many problems caused by the lack of electricity.

    Many people in affected areas are relying on generators to keep their cell phones and laptops charged, and Wi-Fi hotspots or businesses with Wi-Fi to stay connected to the internet. One major carrier has set up mobile charging stations around New York City2 and local officials in other affected cities have set up designated charging stations. Throughout these cities, people can be seen huddled around generators  Wi-Fi hotspots.
    New Yorkers gather near a building with 
    working Wi-Fi.


    It’s no surprise that communication is a high priority in the aftermath of this major disaster. For those who know where to find power and internet service, it’s possible to stay connected. But many people are still without phone or internet service. To make sure you

    always have power for your electronic devices, here are some items you may want

    to add to your emergency kit:
    The GoalZero™ Nomad 7m Solar Panel is a small, portable folding solar panel capable of charging devices through USB or 12-volt cables. This can charge a cellphone, smartphone, mp3 player, and other small devices. It also has an optional 12V car charger adapter. The 7-Watt solar panel charges a cell phone in 1-2 hours. It’s 6” x 9” x 1” folded and 19” x 9” x 1”

    unfolded and weighs 13 oz. If you had to evacuate, you could easily carry it in

    you emergency kit.




     
    The GoalZero™ Guide™ 10 Plus Power Pack allows you to charge NiMH AA batteries from a USB power source or from
    the sun in as little as 1.5 hours using the Nomad 7 solar panel. It’s about the same size as a cell phone, so it’s easy to carry. You can use this Power Pack to charge a cell phone 1-3 times if the pack itself is fully charged. You can use the included rechargeable batteries to power other battery operated items.

    It even has a built in LED flashlight that can run up to 20 hours  on a full charge.
    Goal Zero™ also makes larger solar panels and power packs, some powerful enough to run a

    refrigerator. Whether you use a smaller unit to charge your cell phone, or a larger one to power appliances or medical equipment, you’ll be better off in a major disaster if you have a way to stay powered up and  connected. 


     

    1 CNN Wire.  “'A loss for everybody': Communities start cleanup afterSandy.”  31 October 2012.   CNN.com. Web.  Accessed 1 November 2012.


    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: hurricanes, emergency power, solar power, communication

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