I discussed in Part 1 the many reasons why preppers need to think more long-term about providing reliable electric power. Whole-house generators provide great short-term backup power, but most have a limited fuel supply. The interesting thing about being a "prepper" is most preppers don't want anybody to know they are one! If the standard procedure for turning on your flashlight includes pounding 10 times on a table top, removing, then reinserting the same old batteries, and finally staring blankly into the unlit bulb, then perhaps it’s time to rethink how well you are prepared for the next power outage or emergency.
Most of my past articles described solar systems that included a battery or batteries to store the collected solar energy. There are a number of refrigerators and freezers now available that can be powered directly from a 12-volt DC battery and with a little extra effort, these cooling appliances can be powered by the sun. I recently designed a solar-powered pumping system for a local farmer wanting to pump water from a lake up to a watering trough for cattle in a distant fenced field. These solar applications made economic sense because the location was too remote to run a long power line. Practical Preppers consultant Scott Hunt says it’s smart to have multiple systems for generating electricity from different sources.

Solar: Hunt says that houses should be built facing south with pitched roofs, so that they can be outfitted with solar panels.
Hydroelectric: Setting up your own micro-hydro power plant, using a stream on your property, is an idea that’s been around for a long time. No doubt many fear they will be ostracized by friends and neighbors, whose only knowledge of preppers is based on "hit-piece" documentaries spotlighting only the extreme fringe elements of the preparedness movement. There are many types of solar power systems with battery backup that can be connected to the utility grid. But in a crisis situation in which electric generating plants went offline for an extended period, preppers would need to generate their own juice to keep the lights on and their refrigerators and computers running. That way, you’ll remain up and running even if the wind dies down or the Sun goes behind a cloud—or the nation suffers an electromagnetic pulse attack, which not only could wipe out computers and communications, but also solar power-generating technology. On the downside, wind power may require climbing a tower occasionally to keep your equipment maintained. Prepper author James Wesley Rawles points out that a lot of sophisticated survival gadgetry will be useless if the batteries run down. However, technically speaking, a “grid-tie” system refers to a solar power system that transfers all of the electrical power generated directly back into the local utility grid and does not have a battery bank.

However, these luxury land yachts have one major disadvantage over the RV world of earlier years—they require large amounts of electrical power to operate. Fortunately, there are multiple technologies available to tap into natural, renewable energy sources and generate electricity, ranging from wind, solar and hydroelectric power to generators powered by biomass fuel. Remember that you’ll need to equip your system with an inverter to convert the DC current generated by the solar panels to the AC that your appliances will need.
Prepper expert Matthew Stein, author of the book When Technology Fails: A Manual for Self-Reliance, Sustainability, and Surviving the Long Emergency, advises that you can avoid overtaxing your resources by planning your energy use on a daily basis. You can observe the weather and see whether your solar battery is fully charged, and then plan which appliances you can run that day.

Outdoor survival kit
Maryland emergency evacuation routes
Storm survival guide


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