One thing most people don’t consider when having their emergency kits prepared is power. You need some sort of power for radios, tv’s, computers, phones, cooking, etc. Yes, having additional fuel, be it charcoal or fuel containers, for your grill is an excellent choice for an emergency kit, but those will not power up a radio for you. Wait, you say, I have batteries. Ok, what will you do once those batteries have worn down? How much, exactly, do you intend to spend on an arsonal of batteries anyway? Rechargers won’t work without power.
Solar power seems to be catching on as a viable choice for power needs for every day households. This is a good idea but very expensive for the average family to impliment. A small solar generator and small solar powered items are within the rhelm of affordability for most folks and just a good idea to help you out in a pinch of no power due to whatever causes it to go out.
What you’ll need:
1. A solar panel.
Do a search for solar stores online and you’ll find a huge array of sizes and wattage panels. For an emergency kit, you’ll only need about 13 watts. You are not powering your entire house, just a few basic needs.
2. A battery.
Not a car battery. You’ll need a marine battery or perhaps a golf cart battery. These are built to withstand charging and draining over and over and over while car batteries are not designed for such usage.
3. An inverter.
These also come in so many sizes that it can be confusing. For a radio and perhaps a 13 inch television 400-800 watts is appropriate. Ideally, an inverter with standard plug ins and a 12 volt plug in is best if you have any 12 volt appliances.
Putting your solar panel into the sun, use the battery clamps (those similar to those you use to jump start your car, a good panel will come with these) to charge. Once charged, disconnect from the solar panel and connect to the inverter. Again, the inverter should have the clamps like the solar panel. From this set up, you can use the inverter to power up the items you need. Depending on where you buy your items, this generator should only cost about $200.
Other items of interest:
Solar items are really taking off. From the old days of the solar calculator, we have come a long way. There are solar powered radios, solar powered battery chargers, solar lights. Having some of these in addition to your generator would make life a little more comfortable during a power outage. From powering up batteries for the Game Boy to keep the kids entertained to using solar powered drive way lights to light your dark home, the choices and alternatives are becomming more varied and certainly fit into our lifestyles.
Having a solar generator is a source of security for you and your family. Integrating solar into your emergency kit will put you ahead of the curve from those who don’t have this process readily available. Don’t keep the information to yourself though. Pass this on to all of your friends and neighbors. A prepared neighborhood is a safe neighborhood.