There has been a great deal of talk lately about grid failure, which may or may not result in the end of life as we know it. Ted Koppel even wrote a book,  Lights Outwarning about the possibility of a cyber attack that could wipe out the national power grid.  No matter which of the following hypothetical doomsday events occur: cyber war, alien invasion, solar flares, economic collapse, or a raging, un-dead pandemic, it is clear that most of us are woefully unprepared to survive without electricity. Around her, we noticed one thing missing from these doomsday warnings. A solution: Solar!

Sunlight gets converted to electricity differently than the way the grid supplies power to a house.  The grid flows energy in and out of your house allowing you to turn everything off or everything on.  PV panels, on the other hand, pour electricity in drips like a leaking faucet. If there is less sun, there are slow drips; if there is a lot of sun, there are fast drips.  If you turn everything on, the solar can’t keep up.  Appliances draw energy quickly, and solar ain’t quick.  That’s why you need batteries.
Solar can keep your lights on indefinitely, only if you back it up with batteries.  Grid-tied solar is designed to turn off during a power outage.   In an off-grid scenario, PV panels charge batteries from sunlight.  The batteries then power the house’s fluctuating electric needs.  Since solar can not fill those batteries quickly, off-grid (lights out) scenarios mean we can’t use electricity the same way.  A hair drier or a coffee maker can drain a battery very quickly.  It may take the solar all day to fill the battery back up.  However, there isn’t an easy equation to measure how many batteries you need to keep your home running.
In order for solar to correctly to meet your “lights out needs,”  it takes a little work and a new mindset to figure out what electric loads you consider critical.  Some people think the well and the freezer are critical. Others think the TV and the beer fridge in the garage are critical.  Others want to run the hot tub, disco ball, and the surround sound during the end times.  Batteries can power all these “critical loads.” The more the merrier ($$$$$$).  Most of us enjoy power on demand, so few of us consider what we actually need on a daily basis.
If you’re using power in your house faster than your batteries can be refilled by the solar panels, then you will run out of power.  Just like a generator, the power will only stay on as long as there is fuel in the tank.  Once the tank runs dry, your power goes back off.  Solar drips energy into the battery, hair dryers and coffee makers suck electricity quickly.  It’s a balance, use as much as you produce.  Fortunately, batteries can be added to solar systems at any time (except during the apocalypse).  How much money you’ll spend on a back up system will depend on how much energy you plan on needing and how long the the grid failure, blackout, cyber war, or zombie apocalypse will last.
The future batteries will be sleek, lithium ion, and affordable.  AMENERGY is among the few companies in New Mexico that has battery back up expertise.  We’re watching the new technology and will offer it as soon as it makes sense for our customers.   Stay tuned.
Call AMENERGY today at 505.424.1131 to learn more about how solar batteries, food storage, and preparedness can keep you safe in the event of a a slight case of the end of the world. Oops, I mean- ‘grid failure’.
Update- We are not that great at food storage or preparedness, but we can keep the lights on!