Yardley Voice – Going Green Solar Column – February 2013
by Mark Bortman
Don’t you just hate it when the power goes out? An outage of just a couple hours is no big deal, but the extended outages we’ve had recently sure are frustrating.
Is it only going to get worse?
In light of this, many people are looking for back-up sources of power. While generators have been the most common option, more people are turning to a quiet, environmentally friendly alternative: battery back-up.
Batteries, also known as an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS), have been used for years to provide constant power to sensitive electronics such as computers. Recently, these systems have been expanded to be able to power more and bigger loads.
The systems can be set up to work automatically and turn on in an instant. Best of all, if the batteries are paired with solar panels, you can harness the power of the sun to keep recharging the batteries!
A battery back-up with solar power system provides clean, renewable, emergency power when there are unexpected power losses due to work on local power lines, weather disturbances or power outages. The batteries used in these systems are not your typical rechargeable batteries. They are heavy duty, maintenance free, deep-cycle batteries designed for this application.
A big advantage of battery back-up systems is that they are very quiet. In addition, batteries can be “refueled” by solar power rather than diesel fuel, propane or natural gas.
Typically with the battery systems, we isolate the “critical loads,” the things in your house you want to be sure to run when the power goes out. Since the number of batteries required depends on what you want to run when electricity from the utility is not available, separating the critical loads helps limit the number of batteries and thus the cost of the system.
Think about an affordable back-up energy solution that can replace the need for fuel-based systems such as diesel generators. The solar back-up solution is low maintenance, long lasting and produces low cost renewable energy.
Next time the power goes out, don’t be left in the dark! And, as always, keep in mind that there are opportunities throughout your house to save energy and money – thermostats, light bulbs, insulation and more.