The hurricane season of 2017 shaped up to be one of the worst on record, with more than just a few states being seriously affected by widespread destruction of critical electric power infrastructure. Hurricane Maria alone has caused damage totalling upwards of $95 billion dollars, making it one of the most catastrophic storms to hit the area in decades. These natural disasters are hard enough to recover from when it comes to safeguarding the lives of the people affected, but it’s even more difficult to go about the task of restoring power to where it is needed most (hospitals, elderly care facilities, etc.).
That’s why solar power is now being used as a ‘temporary’ bridge solution for areas that have been impacted the most by this season’s storms. Of course, this isn’t anything new: during the recovery effort after Hurricane Hugo in 1988, solar was first used as a way to temporarily provide power to consumers during the time it took for municipal power companies to restore needed equipment and deliver regular, sustainable power services. Since then, a combination of solar power and diesel generator fleets have worked in tandem to deliver critical power for those in need, even if that power is only temporary.
So what is the benefit of using solar versus diesel gensets during disaster recovery? First of all, diesel generators need fuel to provide electricity. This fuel is costly to procure, as most disaster areas are already in short supply of fuel after a damaging storm. Also, the generators themselves are very heavy, and require freight transport over highway roads in order to bring them on-site where they are needed. Solar power generation equipment, however, is pound-for-pound lighter than diesel generation equipment, and there is no fuel required for them to operate.
Another less obvious benefit to using solar versus diesel generators is the scalability of solar power. Local requirements for power after a disaster can be as small as 100 watts, or as large as multiple megawatts (as in the case of Puerto Rico recently). Considering these varying needs, solar power equipment can be provided in suitcase format, trailer format, container format or even full arrays.
The professionals at Urban Solar work hard every day to bring solar power to communities who need it most – whether that means adding critical infrastructure to existing businesses or homes, or simply supplementing power with a renewable source and driving down electricity costs. To learn more about how you can benefit from solar power generation, contact us and inquire about our completely free energy assessment. We take the mystery out of solar so you can enjoy the benefits without the worry.