After a long hard fight in getting my computer to get here, I’m back! My laptop is about to give up the ghost and its getting harder and harder to make it do what its supposed to do. However, my problems seem pretty irrelevent to those of the hurricane Sandy victems. I hear that beaurocracy is at its finest on the east coast and the thin veneer of society is in fact wearing off. As soon as the winds died down stores and homes were being robbed and looted. The gov’t won’t let non-union tree service companies help clear the trees off the roads and power lines in New Jersey. New York City is preparing for their marathon, bringing in food, water, generators, and security for the runners while the local residents are begging for needed supplies. Romney collected food and clothing for the east coast folks and the Red Cross refused it saying that they wanted money instead.
Hurricane Sandy reminds me why I want to prepare for hard times and live a more self-sufficient lifestyle. All of those people now begging had DAYS of warning to either stock up or evacuate. In New York City, most people don’t have guns to defend themselves from the criminals taking advantage of the crisis. I look at all those poor folks trying to survive and I think to myself WOW, I don’t want to be in their shoes! That’s why I prepare, so that I can be part of the solution, not the problem. Should a local situation arrise, I want to be in a position to help, not beg for help. Please keep the east coast in your prayers, the really need it.
Moving on to the subject, I have lived with solar power for the last couple of years and I think its pretty cool. I now own five small solar battery chargers, a boatload of nimh rechargeable batteries, and two large panels not yet in use. My parents have two smaller panels that they use. On even semi sunny days we generate enough juice to run our lights and laptops. For us, solar is worth every penny we put into it. However, some misconceptions about solar do exist.
Unless you have tens of thousands of dollars at your disposal to build a gigantic solar system, it will not run the electronics of the average American household all by itself. Our solar runs lights and laptops. Thats it. Solar power products are not cheap, so unless you just use solar to supplement your electric usage to keep the bills a little lower, you have to adjust your lifestyle to the amount of juice you generate like we did. Lol, for us solar was an upgrade. We had zero electric except for running the power tools with the generator before that. However, if we want to add things like a 12v fridge or put a 12v electric motor on the Maytag ringer washer, we will need more panels and batteries. The great thing about solar is that it can take the bite out of your electric bill and reduce your dependence on power companies. For those who live completely off the power grid, solar power is one of the best ways to generate enough power to make life a little more comfortable.
Solar is worth the effort. Just remember that they are not very efficient, some only generate at 20% efficiency. I hope someday that with newer technology, they will get more and more efficient. Many become dissappointed when their solar systems do not power everything or take out half their electric bill. We love our little system and don’t regret setting it up.