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Could solar panels be used to jump start natural disaster recovery?
Posted by: Dennis S
Date: September 30, 2017 01:57PM
I don't know enough about the science of them to know their capabilities.
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Re: Could solar panels be used to jump start natural disaster recovery?
Posted by: bfd
Date: September 30, 2017 02:18PM
If you're thinking about restoring electrical, probably not. Certainly stand-alone solar installations and battery power could help, but getting all of that into a disaster zone wouldn't be easy. Many of our worst disaster zones involve lots of standing water, so adding electricity to that mix would not be a first and best solution.

Since current solar technology seems to still be tied to the grid, that would also have to be repaired before anything could help individuals. Fire, flood, earthquake - they all take out the local electrical grid.

At best today, personal solar might be enough to power a radio, cellphone, a light, a TV or even a small cooler, but it would not be enough to make much of a dent in the overall problems that many face during the recovery after a disaster. Even if many of the surviving homes had solar cells, most would still be hooked into the grid, so there's no independence. If they had a semi-independent system and stored the excess energy in batteries, that could help. But that's not currently what's happening in lots of places except those few who are totally "off the grid".
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Re: Could solar panels be used to jump start natural disaster recovery?
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: September 30, 2017 02:54PM
If Puerto Rico is like most 2nd/3rd world islands, there are many people living off the grid with solar and wind generators. Once you get off main routes, you are essentially on your own for power and water. That was true even 20 years ago after Mitch went through the Bay Islands of Honduras. The biggest issue that my associates faced were smashed solar panels (a 100mph coconut does damage).



“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.”
-- François de La Rochefoucauld
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Re: Could solar panels be used to jump start natural disaster recovery?
Posted by: Dennis S
Date: September 30, 2017 03:15PM
bfd,

Sorry my question was not specific and was even off-track. I really meant to ask about family dwellings that needed refrigeration for food and medicine, radio and TV for news, and for charging phones. Could they be rationed to one per block to start with, with a designated Block Captain to monitor the news, charge phones, and store insulin?
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Re: Could solar panels be used to jump start natural disaster recovery?
Posted by: Filliam H. Muffman
Date: September 30, 2017 03:24PM
A local off grid network requires a battery system to provide voltage regulation. Tesla is shipping Powerwall batteries to Puerto Rico.



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Re: Could solar panels be used to jump start natural disaster recovery?
Posted by: Surfrider
Date: September 30, 2017 04:12PM
Bring Elon Musk in, he has some visionary ideas.

This is a chance for PR to jump into the 20th century.
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Re: Could solar panels be used to jump start natural disaster recovery?
Posted by: Ken Sp.
Date: September 30, 2017 04:23PM
Quote
Surfrider
Bring Elon Musk in, he has some visionary ideas.

This is a chance for PR to jump into the 20th century.

Great idea-Elon Musk already is implementing, sending solar and batteries to disaster area. If only SpaceX could drop them in from a rocket. This may be a better solution to restoring the grid that traditional power stations since they can be set up much more locally.
[www.teslarati.com]

FYI-They are very far along on the world's largest battery at a wind energy installation in Southern Australia. From start to completion in 100 days!
[electrek.co]

During the hurricane evacuation, the Supercharger network held up better than gas stations and Tesla pushed a software fix, to give the 60KWh batteries extra range until October 1
[electrek.co]
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Re: Could solar panels be used to jump start natural disaster recovery?
Posted by: billb
Date: September 30, 2017 07:30PM
jump start - temporary which would require the same generator you might have.
which do you think is cheaper and easier - a generator and fuel or solar panels and battery arrays ?

The process of restoring power is the same there as here. Systematically and methodically , line by line, neighborhood by neighborhood. It's a lot of copper to restring.

"Many months to restore power to everyone" doesn't mean everyone will not have power for many months, it means it may be many months until the very last person that is out gets restored. Someone, somewhere is always last.



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The doorstep to the temple of wisdom is the knowledge of one's own ignorance. -Benjamin Franklin
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Re: Could solar panels be used to jump start natural disaster recovery?
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: September 30, 2017 09:05PM
Quote
billb
jump start - temporary which would require the same generator you might have.
which do you think is cheaper and easier - a generator and fuel or solar panels and battery arrays ?

Generator AND fuel.. If fuel is not available then the generator is useless, and right now lines for a couple gallons are hours long. That is where a few solar generators could prove useful, along with a community size distiller. We are not talking about powering the who neighborhood - just a select few appliances. Refrigeration for medicine, recharging station, a few other items. That would be enough to hold things together until help arrives.

A couple I knew on Roatan live off the grid. They used a single solar panel to charge a 12 volt battery every day - that gave them enough power to run a TV and DVD player in the evenings. They had wood stove, and a solar distiller for water. All they lacked was refrigeration (which they could have had with a couple more solar panels or a gas refrigerator, but they didn't feel it was needed)



“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.”
-- François de La Rochefoucauld
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Re: Could solar panels be used to jump start natural disaster recovery?
Posted by: Speedy
Date: September 30, 2017 09:33PM
I used to haul utility poles. Floods and tornadic wind were not big issues so I imagine most in Florida are already back on the grid. Trees are the main culprit in taking down power in winds.

Ice was a big deal. Everything came down, snapping poles and conductors; sometimes covering hundreds of square miles. Even the steel towers would occasionally come down. For one particularly nasty Nebraska storm we emptied the pole yard (in Minnesota) of thousands of poles and after that we went to utilities where we had earlier made deliveries and picked up those same poles to take to the ice storm area.

And as I brought in poles, I would pass caravans of line trucks coming from utilities everywhere. Obviously not really practical in Puerto Rico.



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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Re: Could solar panels be used to jump start natural disaster recovery?
Posted by: billb
Date: October 01, 2017 05:04AM
The biggest problem PR has right now is aid is stacked up sky high in Ports and it is only trickling out.
They don't need more ships bringing stuff, it has nowhere to go. Only 20% of the truck drivers can work as they can barely drive anywhere.



The Phorum Wall keeps us safe from illegal characters and words
The doorstep to the temple of wisdom is the knowledge of one's own ignorance. -Benjamin Franklin
BOYCOTT YOPLAIT [www.noyoplait.com]
[soundcloud.com]
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Re: Could solar panels be used to jump start natural disaster recovery?
Posted by: billb
Date: October 01, 2017 05:07AM
Quote
Ombligo
Quote
billb
jump start - temporary which would require the same generator you might have.
which do you think is cheaper and easier - a generator and fuel or solar panels and battery arrays ?

Generator AND fuel.. If fuel is not available then the generator is useless, and right now lines for a couple gallons are hours long. That is where a few solar generators could prove useful, along with a community size distiller. We are not talking about powering the who neighborhood - just a select few appliances. Refrigeration for medicine, recharging station, a few other items. That would be enough to hold things together until help arrives.

A couple I knew on Roatan live off the grid. They used a single solar panel to charge a 12 volt battery every day - that gave them enough power to run a TV and DVD player in the evenings. They had wood stove, and a solar distiller for water. All they lacked was refrigeration (which they could have had with a couple more solar panels or a gas refrigerator, but they didn't feel it was needed)

Puerto Ricans can afford these solar generators they will use once in a lifetime ?



The Phorum Wall keeps us safe from illegal characters and words
The doorstep to the temple of wisdom is the knowledge of one's own ignorance. -Benjamin Franklin
BOYCOTT YOPLAIT [www.noyoplait.com]
[soundcloud.com]
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Re: Could solar panels be used to jump start natural disaster recovery?
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: October 01, 2017 05:52AM
Quote
billb
Quote
Ombligo
Quote
billb
jump start - temporary which would require the same generator you might have.
which do you think is cheaper and easier - a generator and fuel or solar panels and battery arrays ?

Generator AND fuel.. If fuel is not available then the generator is useless, and right now lines for a couple gallons are hours long. That is where a few solar generators could prove useful, along with a community size distiller. We are not talking about powering the who neighborhood - just a select few appliances. Refrigeration for medicine, recharging station, a few other items. That would be enough to hold things together until help arrives.

A couple I knew on Roatan live off the grid. They used a single solar panel to charge a 12 volt battery every day - that gave them enough power to run a TV and DVD player in the evenings. They had wood stove, and a solar distiller for water. All they lacked was refrigeration (which they could have had with a couple more solar panels or a gas refrigerator, but they didn't feel it was needed)

Puerto Ricans can afford these solar generators they will use once in a lifetime ?

The original proposal was for a single location, not every home. It would make sense for it to be at a storm harden location. The idea is to give people a place to safely store medicine (like insulin), charge phones, etc, and other such necessities. This is not a every house solution - it is one unit to service X-number of households (or a geographic region in more rural areas).

Yes, you could do the same with a gas/diesel generator - but that requires an ongoing supply of fuel to be transported to it. That is not always practical.



“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.”
-- François de La Rochefoucauld
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Re: Could solar panels be used to jump start natural disaster recovery?
Posted by: Racer X
Date: October 03, 2017 12:36AM
I got the Plug-In Prius, so after the looming Zombie apocalypse, I can charge the car from solar panels, and the car will be near silent. tongue smiley
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