Hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes:

Three very good reasons to have easy renewable energy in your home.

Over a quarter of a million people lost power when Hurricane Harvey made landfall. Last week a tornado in Cape Cod left tens of thousands without power. The passing of a storm does not guarantee return of your electricity. Most who are affected by these mass power outages do not have or cannot afford backup generators and solar panels.  Plus, if high winds are part of the storm, solar panels may not be operational.

You want to camp out in your home, but you also need energy for your phones and tablets to get the latest news and weather reports. Perhaps we just stated the answer: camping. This is the twenty-first century. Who camps without electronics? For a moment, let’s pretend your darkened home is a recreational vehicle (RV).

RVs are cruising all over the American countryside. Just drive down any highway and keep watch. There are over 13,000 privately owned RV parks, and over 1,600 state parks that offer RV accommodations. On the other side of the coin are the boondockers. What is boondocking? It is quite simply camping in an RV away from all amenities. Sounds much like camping in your home after a disaster, doesn’t it?

Typically, boondocking RVs without rooftop solar panels used rigid, portable solar panels. They get the job done, and can often power everything needed in an RV. But they’re clunky, awkward to handle and HEAVY, weighing fifty pounds or more. For many senior travellers or homeowners, that much weight is a deterrent.  

But tech marches on.

There is a new alternative in town: a soft, flexible and very flat solar panel. There are several companies providing them. Just make a quick search on Amazon for “lightweight suitcase solar”. They look like an art portfolio case, and since the casing is just cloth and plastic, they weigh next to nothing. A panel set made by Renogy weighs under ten pounds. While they are flexible, they do not roll up.

Set up is easy:

  • Remove them from the case 
  • Point them at the sun
  • Attach the alligator clips to the battery terminals

That’s it. You’ve got power!

They won’t power the whole house, or even your fridge, but they will take care of any charging needs and perhaps fans and other small items. These lightweight panels vary in amps and voltage depending on the size and brand you purchase, but they are just as efficient as the super-heavy, hard-panel models. Folded and in their case, these panels will slip easily behind a sofa or bookcase. No one will know they are there, but you will have some peace of mind.

Natural disasters are becoming more and more frequent. Add these portable solar panels to your preparedness kit, and make camping in your home easier and more comfortable the next time one happens.

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