Spain’s Sun Tax to be axed

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Sun tax, Spain, Off-grid, solar panels, tax, grid

Is the sun finally setting on Spain’s controversial “sun tax”?

In October 2015, Spain’s Council of Ministers approved a controversial tax on those using electricity produced by their own solar installations. However, a new government says solar panel owners could soon see the back of the so called sun tax.

What is the sun tax?

This legislation causes those with self-consumptive photovoltaic systems to pay the same grid fees as those without solar panels. This covers the power contracted from an electricity company. But they also have to pay a second “sun tax” which means solar panel owners pay for the electricity they generate and use from their PV systems, even though it doesn’t come into contact with the grid.

There are other facets of the legislation which also caused more outrage. Photovoltaic systems up to 100 kW are not able to sell any excess electricity they produce. Instead, they must “donate” the extra to the grid free of charge. Systems over 100 kW must register if they wish to sell the extra electricity. Community ownership of PV systems, of all sizes, under this legislation is prohibited. Not only this, but the legislation is retroactive; meaning installations prior to the introduction of the tax must comply. If the conditions are not met, then the PV system owners are subject to a penalty fee of up to €60 million ($64 million). To put this in perspective, this is twice the penalty of a radioactive leak from a nuclear plant. Unsurprisingly, this caused outrage.

Exceptions to the tax

There are some circumstances where the tax does not apply. Fear not off-gridders, this tax is only for those connected to the grid. If you run an off-grid system then no grid tax needs to be paid at all. Installations smaller than 10 kW are also exempt from paying the second sun tax. The Canary Islands and the cities of Ceuta and Melilla (Spanish territories in Africa) are also exempt from the second tax. Mallorca and Menorca pay the second sun tax at a reduced rate.

The Spanish government defended the legislation by saying the fees contribute to overall grid system costs. However, the Spanish Photovoltaic Union (UNEF) pointed out how uneconomic the new law was. Their spokesperson stated, “Each kWh imported from the grid by a self-consumer will pay double the tolls compared to a kWh imported from the gird by another consumer.”

Change on the horizon

The current legislation is an unnecessary burden placed upon solar consumers who want to be more economical and environmentally friendly. This has been recognized by opposing political parties and other unions and consumers. The political party which initially brought in the sun tax is now a minority. Therefore, there is now the opportunity for all opposing parties to remove this expensive and impractical legislation.

In January 2017 a law proposal was registered in congress, beginning the process of the sun tax removal. The urgent changes to the legislation listed in the document include the right to self-consumption of solar energy without charge. Along with this, several consumers should be able to pool their resources to share a self-consumption facility to help tackle poverty. Plus, the proposal also adapts the sanctioning regime to avoid the multi-million euro fines, becoming more realistic. Finally, the importance of renewable energy as an appropriate instrument to help reduce environmental impact of electricity production has been recognised. Alongside, the role it can play in strengthening energy independence for Spain. The President of the UNEF, Jorge Barredo, said of the proposal, “it is a very important step in defining a different and more favourable regulatory framework for self-consumption.”

The law proposal has outlined a period of 3 months for the legislation to come into action.

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Hawaii community begins development

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Hawaii, Development, Off-grid, Solar, batteries, minigrid

Fancy being off-grid here?

Hawaii has always been one of thebest places in America for off-grid living and now Work has begun on a hgh-end, 410-home, off-grid housing development located on Hawaii’s Gold Coast. The Hawaiian entrepreneur behind the project, Brian Anderson, believes it is set to be the first off-grid community development of such magnitude. Anderson told Bizjournals, “When considering how to power our community, I felt it was our responsibility to create something that would benefit future generations through the use of clean and safe renewable energy”.

The Ainamalu project is located in Waikoloa consisting of 350 homes and 60 condos. The buildings will have solar roofs and be hooked up to Blue Planet Energy’s Blue Ion Battery storage systems. These batteries are ferrous phosphate and so don’t contain any rare minerals. This means there is an abundant and conflict free resource available to produce them. Coming with a 15 year performance warranty, the batteries have a 100% discharge capacity. Blue Planet Energy was set up by another Hawaiian entrepreneur Henk Rogers.

Perfect for Solar


Driest in Hawaii

One of the driest places in the state, Waikoloa has less than 11 inches of rain per year, plus being located close to the equator it is perfect for solar energy. The solar and battery storage will create a micro-grid for the community. In addition, there will be a large energy storage system. Therefore, the community will have energy security. If residents use more energy that what their home produces, then they can obtain more from this supply. This would be for a fee below the average utility price. The technology for the micro-grid is called “Hee” after the Hawaiian octopus. This is due to the system’s ability to handle the distribution of energy throughout the many arms of the community.

The homes will range in size from 1,625 to 2,800 square feet on a 15,000 square foot lot. Residents of the community will have access to a private beach club, including pool, water slide and concessions on food. The layout of the community will also mean parts of the project can be used for vacation rentals. Prices for the homes are set to start at $750,000.

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Battery Farms – Legal issues and opportunities

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Collins stnading next to his lead acid batteries

Energy storage is a HUGE business

You’ve heard of Server Farms where vast numbers of computers house information served onto the internet? Well get used to Battery Farms – where huge arrays of batteries store solar or wind energy and serve it to local homes and businesses. States like Hawaii, which has to supply all its own power are investing heavily in the idea.

Federal and state government mandates and incentives, combined with technological advances, have dramatically increased renewable energy sources during the past decade. Variable renewable energy sources such as solar and wind have demonstrated great potential for meeting electric power demand but remain limited from a grid integration standpoint due to intermittency when the sun is not shining or the wind is not blowing.

As a result, state governments and independent system operators are placing increased emphasis on utility-scale energy storage systems and several states, including California, have adopted mandates and incentives for rapid deployment. While several different storage technologies exist or are in development – including pumped hydropower and thermal storage – increasing focus is on battery storage systems to meet energy storage needs. As with any energy project, however, utility-scale battery storage projects present land use, permitting and environmental and health and safety issues, and developers need to anticipate and address these issues to successfully meet project development timelines and goals.

Emerging Trends in Energy Storage Development

California led with government-mandated renewable energy goals, enacting AB 32 in 2006, which requires 33 percent of the state’s retail energy to be from renewable sources by the end 2020. Other states have followed suit. Hawaii, a state that is “off the grid” and entirely dependent on its own generating capabilities, has adopted the most ambitious goal to date, with 100 percent of its electricity to be supplied by renewable sources by 2045.

Renewable energy sources like solar and wind turbines have the potential to meet the demand for energy in many states and throughout our nation. These are variable energy sources, however, and electricity from fossil fuel combustion and other energy sources must be used to provide base load to balance the grid, as demonstrated by the California Independent System Operator’s well known “duck chart.” Last year’s massive leak at California’s Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility underscored the need for alternatives to reliance on fossil fuel generation and led to California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) Resolution E-4791, ordering the expedited procurement and development of energy storage resources in the Los Angeles Basin.

As a result of these policy and economic forces, there is increasing emphasis on developing and implementing energy storage systems, both “behind the meter” and on a utility scale. Once again, California has led the way with enactment of AB 2514, which calls for 1.3 gigawatts of energy storage capacity from the state’s three large investor-owned utilities by 2020, and adoption of legislation earlier this year accelerating and expanding deployment of energy storage systems. Oregon and Washington have similarly enacted legislation to promote energy storage capacity and, just four months ago, Massachusetts became the first East Coast state to adopt an energy storage mandate.

Energy storage technologies are not entirely new. Pumped hydroelectric storage facilities have been used for decades to supplement generating capacity during peak energy demand, and a number of evolving mechanical, chemical, and thermal technologies are in use or development. Due to its ready availability, however, the principal focus to meet current energy storage needs is on battery energy storage systems (BESS), and lithium ion-based systems in particular. These systems offer very fast response times and high cycle efficiencies, can be used for utility-scale as well as residential and commercial applications, are relatively easy to deploy, and continue to experience a dramatic drop in costs. There is little doubt that utility-scale BESS are and will in the near-future continue to be the technology of choice to meet energy storage requirements in California and other states.

Utility-scale battery farms or energy storage projects present great opportunities for developers, investor-owned utilities, and state governments to meet renewable energy goals, make better use of solar and wind resources, and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. However, as with any energy project, consideration should be given to land use, permitting, and environmental and health and safety issues in formulating effective strategies for development of utility-scale battery storage projects.

California Permitting Issues and Strategies

Development-related concerns for utility-scale BESS projects include site consistency with land use and zoning laws, worker safety, security and community safety measures, hazardous waste management and disposal, potential impacts on species and habitat, visual impacts, storm water management, and coordination with generation and transmission facilities. As with any new project-based technology, the myriad of issues relating to BESS projects are still evolving. Nonetheless, below we highlight some of the key emerging considerations.

There are three distinct permitting regimes that may apply in developing BESS projects, depending upon the owner, developer, and location of the project.

For BESS projects developed or owned by the state’s investor-owned utilities, the projects are subject to CPUC jurisdiction under General Order (GO) 131-D. GO 131-D governs permitting for utility-owned infrastructure including the potential need for a Certificate of Public Necessity and Convenience (CPCN) or Permit to Construct (PTC) and related environmental review pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). For BESS projects approved to date, the utilities have invoked an exemption from GO 131-D qualifying such projects as “distribution” facilities falling below applicable 50 megawatt (MW) and 50 kilovolt (kV) thresholds, thereby avoiding CPCN and PTC compliance and associated CEQA review. While the utilities must still coordinate with local authorities regarding land use matters and obtain non-discretionary construction and operational permits, so long as the project qualifies as utility-owned and meets the applicable GO 131-D exemption thresholds, permitting can be streamlined.

For BESS projects not qualified under GO 131-D, permitting jurisdiction is dependent upon the location of the battery fatms, typically either on private, federal or state land, and governed by the applicable governmental agency with jurisdiction over that land. The majority of BESS projects falling outside CPUC jurisdiction to date are located on private land and subject to the applicable county or city zoning and land use ordinances and, if necessary, associated CEQA or National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review. The analysis of any required discretionary permits and approvals in each instance is highly fact-specific, depending upon the zoning of the relevant parcel(s) and the permitted and conditional uses under the applicable code for that zoning designation. Co-locating BESS facilities with the solar or wind generating source may streamline the process and provide economic advantages. Additionally, in some instances, BESS projects may fall within permitted uses for electrical substations and transmission and distribution facilities, thereby avoiding discretionary review; in other instances, BESS projects may be allowed as conditional uses requiring a conditional or special use permit and triggering associated CEQA or NEPA review. For those projects located on federal or state land, jurisdiction will fall under the jurisdiction of the applicable agency and its associated permitting regime (e.g., the Federal Land Policy and Management Act for BESS projects falling under Bureau of Land Management jurisdiction).

Where BESS projects trigger discretionary permitting and CEQA or NEPA review, there are a variety of means for proponents to address compliance ranging from a Negative Declaration to an Environmental Impact Report (EIR), Environmental Assessment (EA), or Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). In instances where the project is associated with an existing power generation project, an addendum or supplement may be tiered off existing CEQA or NEPA documentation, as was the case with the Campo Verde Battery Energy Storage System project in Imperial County based on co-location with a previously-approved 140 MW solar project.

Given the relatively small footprint of typical BESS projects or any kind of battery farms, and location closer to urban load centers, the environmental and natural resource issues emerging to date tend to focus on technology-specific impacts including fire risk, noise impacts and hazardous materials transportation, use, and disposal. That said, depending on the location and scale of such projects, many of the typical environmental and natural resource impacts encountered in developing other energy projects may come into play, including potential protected species, cultural resource, and hydrological impacts.

Conclusion

Deployment of battery farms, whether they are utility-scale BESS projects or other kinds of battery farms, can be expected to rapidly increase in California and other states that have adopted renewable energy goals. These projects present great opportunities for developers, investor-owned utilities, and government to meet these energy goals and make better use of variable solar and wind resources. Developing strategies for addressing land use, permitting, and environmental and health and safety issues early and effectively will facilitate the cost-efficient and successful deployment of utility-scale BESS projects.

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Help Stop The Tax Hike On Solar Power. PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION.

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Government ministers are about to approve a huge tax hike on solar panels that will have a devastating impact on the industry. Sign the petition to push back.

Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus Review: Power in a Pinch

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Behold, the Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus in all its glory, but is it really all folks state that it is cracked up to be….?

Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus

Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus

Before we get into this, straight from the Goal Zero website.

With the Guide 10 Plus Recharger and Nomad 7 Solar Panel you have a portable, rugged charging kit as adventurous as you are. Charge AAs from the sun or any USB port, then power your phone, MP3, GPS, or perk up your tablet in a pinch.

Let’s cut to the chase here before I get into my detailed review.  This thing is indeed great for power in a pinch but can be a chore, might not even be necessary for the simple weekend trip.  Obviously we are not talking SHTF here because if that were the case, are we truly concerned about charging cell phones when the entire grid is down.  Overall I’d have to say at this price point (around $100) it’s affordable, if you spend more than a few days out in remote areas it can be a nice to have item but don’t go out of your way to snag one up.

I spend a good amount of time out in the wilderness but never for more than a few days at a time (for the most part).  In those instances I usually leave my electronic devices off because…there is no cell phone signal.  I do carry a Delorme InReach Explorer on my person but the battery life of that device is more than sufficient for a 2-3 day trek.  For me and what I do the Goal Zero is a nice to have but also not a necessity.  I could hang it off my pack as an insurance plan knowing that power would always be there, no outlet needed, but again I’ve yet to run into an instance where I NEEDED power.

The Experiment

Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus Hooked Up

I charged up the Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus to full power (indicated by the green LED on the device) and connected it to my cell phone which was sitting at 17% charge.  16 mins into this the battery pack was showing red, no more charge and my phone was up to 24%.  Interesting.  I then plugged my phone into the wall and 1 hour and 2 mins later it was at 76% (I had to leave).  I set the Goal Zero back out on the deck to recharge.

Indicating Red Quickly

Round Number 2

I decided to give the Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus a second chance later in the day after letting my phone battery drain and the GZ battery pack charge.  My iPhone was at 15% when I hooked up the GZ device, it only took 15 mins for the green light on the battery pack to turn amber (30% charge on my phone).  It did last significantly longer this time, running a full 1 hour and 25 mins before turning red (no more charge) and bringing my phone up to 87% charge.  Decent but not exactly earth shattering.

Final Thoughts

As previously stated I suppose one would benefit from having this device versus not having it for longer periods out in the wilderness.  It will limp your small mobile devices along but isn’t exactly a power plant, nor was it probably designed to be.  If you are the type to take a weekend trip I suggest making sure you have a full charge on your phone and bringing along a small power pack which will probably give you 1-2 full charges, less space than the solar panels and more effective.  If you are the type to spend more than a few days out there, you probably already have this and have figured out a way to make it work.  Personally I was a bit underwhelmed but hey, solar is…solar.

 

Solar Gadgets for the Homestead

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Written by Alexis Griffee on Survival at Home.

Often times solar power is viewed as a highly desired, yet unaffordable option to the farmer and homesteader. While a full solar system may not be in the budget for everyone, there are still numerous ways that solar can be an asset to your farm, without breaking a budget! Due to the huge interest in […]

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Solar TV: Entertainment Everywhere

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Solar Power, TV, Off-grid, Africa

Even in a remote location, the Solar TV can connect to satellite channels.

Living off-grid but want to keep dumbing down?

Cello Electronics have introduced what they claim is the first LED solar powered TV. With a screen size of 22 inches, the TV is still reasonably compact and so would fit well in an RV, hut or tiny home.

A built-in rechargeable battery and patented “Smart Energy Management System” ensures up to 10 hours of running time from a single charge! A smart antenna receives signals through a DVBT2 tuner giving the viewer HD quality. But if you’re located somewhere really remote where there is little or no TV signal, the built-in satellite tuner can still pick up satellite channels. This allows for TV entertainment, wherever you may be.

This unit can also play a more central role in powering an off-grid home. A 2.0 USB port can not only charge phones, but can also act as a connection or power source for other compatible devices. Not only this by connecting a flash disk to act as storage, the personal video recorder feature can be used. That’s right; this set offers the ability to record a show or series to watch when it’s more convenient for you.

A complete out-of-the-box solution:

The Solar TV package costs $300 and includes the TV, solar panel and antenna. All that needs to be done is to set up the TV with the solar panel (in a suitable location of course) and you’re good to go. A review of an “out of the box” opening can be found here.

UK based Cello Electronics launched the Solar TV at the third Solar Africa Expo in Kenya, last year. A large proportion of the African population do not have access to reliable electricity from the grid. Therefore, a TV that works completely off-grid offers a solution. Knowing that the $300 price tag could be a big barrier for poorer regions in Africa, the company set up a pay-as-you-go scheme. PAYGOTV allows the consumer to pay only for the TV they are watching by purchasing a code entered via the remote control. This also opens up a new market for customers that don’t have their own TV but have access to one in the local community.

Brian Palmer, CEO of Cello, recalled how it all started, saying in a press release, “Could we make a TV that was capable of working off-grid?” Seems the answer is, yes they could!

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DIY Portable Solar Power Unit For Camping Or Emergencies

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DIY Portable Solar Power Unit For Camping Or Emergencies Having electricity is a huge convenience, even if you’re camping. Not only can it charge electronics you can use for critical equipment, it can make things more comfortable. Having a small power unit can help you run an emergency radio, run the lights around your camp, …

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Best Beats Unplugged

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Music, Festival, Off Grid

It is not often that large events can call themselves self sustaining. But two upcoming music festivals on two entirely different continents are bucking the trend and doing just that – going off grid.

Introducing Off The Grid Melbourne Festival in OZ and Camphill Village Music Festival in South Africa. Two very different but self-sustaining events. Off The Grid Melbourne is taking place on 21/12/16 at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Arts in Melbourne and Camphill Village Music Festival on 25/02/17 at Camphill Village near Cape Town. This will be the third music festival for both events, which have been getting bigger and better each year.

The Melbourne festival will be powered entirely through solar energy. Panels will be connected to a battery bank, which is rigged up to the sound system. This ten hour event will have music, food and plenty of dancing, with not a single piece of waste going to landfill. The company behind this festival, Finding Infinity, aim to make Melbourne a completely sustainable city – one renewable event at a time. Artists playing at this event include home-grown Australian Andras Fox and the eclectic, high energy No Zu.

The Camphill Village Music festival is a slightly different affair, but no less energetic. This festival helps to raise funds for Camphill Village, a community home to 90 intellectually disabled adults who aim to live self-sustaining lives. The farm includes a dairy, bakery and cosmetics shop, whose products are sold in the Cape Town area. Partnering up with Rays of Hope helped Camphill take the first steps towards living with no reliance on the grid. The dairy is now entirely solar powered, taking the community one step further to complete self-reliance. The festival will bring the whole community together and create a great atmosphere, with the sounds of Rockers Bootleggers, Albert Frost and the soulful Majozi keeping everyone dancing long into the night. Being located approximately 40km from Cape Town, there is the option to camp overnight – so the party really can go on all night long.

 

Both events are set to be real showstoppers, proving that you don’t need to be on the grid to have a good night out.

 

More information for both events can be found here:

Off The Grid Melbourne               –              http://www.offthegrid.global/

Off The Grid Camphill Village      –              http://www.camphill.org.za/camphill-village-music-festival

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Man Sentenced To 6 Months In Prison For Installing A Wind Turbine In His Own Property

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Man Sentenced To 6 Months In Prison For Installing A Wind Turbine In His Own Property! Besides securing your home and stockpiling supplies, finding an alternate source of energy is one of the most important parts of prepping. The day may come where there’s no grid to plug into even if you wanted to.  Solar …

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GRID DOWN Part 2 Solar Power!

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GRID DOWN Part 2 Solar Power Bobby Akart “Prepping For Tomorrow” Audio in player below! What do you know about living with Solar Power? On this episode of Prepping For Tomorrow we have a technical expert on solar energy joining American Preppers Radio aka “Prepper Broadcasting”. If you have ever thought about solar power or even if … Continue reading GRID DOWN Part 2 Solar Power!

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9 Ways To Harness Solar Energy

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What would happen to you if the power grid went down? Would you be in a panic as the batteries in your flashlight and radio slowly die, or would you have all the electricity you need to run your devices until power is restored? For a very long time, solar panels and solar-powered devices were […]

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Point Zero Energy HomeGrid™ 5000HD Solar Electrical Generator

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I’m a pretty jaded type. I don’t often get excited, but I was all “a-tingle” when I got word of what was heading my way for review.  Most of my reviews are of small items, handheld radios, machetes, hand axes, not 200 lbs. of high-end, high power solar generator.

Needless to say, I was as giddy as a little school girl.

You see, any serious prepping plan needs a foundation based on sustainability. You need to work from a sustainable supply of anything to hold your own, whether it’s a supply of beans, bullets or banjo strings. This applies especially for electricity.
The ultimate goal is to live comfortably “off grid”.  Unless a life of a wilderness mountain man with flint & tinder is your bag, if you want electric lights, air conditioning & internet, you’ll need a powerful electrical generator.

The HomeGrid™ 5000HD Solar Powered Generator.

Just like it’s name, this solar-powered electrical generator is made to supply a entire household with clean, continuous electricity, for totally off-grid living.

Four heavy boxes arrived from Point Zero Energy by ground freight, with two large deep cycle 12V DC batteries, the inverter/generator unit, unit base, cart wheels & handle. Plus two pairs of solar panels, with two 100 watt panel built into sturdy frames with hinged supports & carry handles. Total capacity of the included solar panels came to 400 watts. Also included, was an assortment of parts including a heavy duty battery charge controller, three heavy-gauge jumper cables & connecting cables for the solar panels, along with an illustrated manual & instructional DVD.

Assembly was straight forward… the generator  bolts to the flat metal base with welded axle for the two wheels. At each side of the generator sits the two 12VDC batteries, on top of the generator a heavy duty handle is bolted on. Everything can be pushed around like a hand truck. The two batteries get wired in series to the generator to supply 24 Volts DC. On the front face of the Inverter/Generator are four 110VAC outlets, two USB outlets & One 220VAC outlet. There’s also a power & standby toggle switch and an LED Display that shows battery status & output voltage.

With the large capacity deep cycle dry cells & heavy duty inverter, the Homegrid™ 5000HD is capable of 5000 watts of continuous 110 & 220 AC Power, and a whopping 22,000 watts of peak surge power. Read that again…TWENTY-TWO THOUSAND WATTS Surge power.  Meaning the generator can easily power multiple home appliances simultaneously including refrigerators, freezers, microwave ovens, and cooking appliances. It’s pure sine wave power output will safely run power tools, electronics, and medical equipment.

A “Mac-Daddy Cadillac” Solar Generator, perfect for off-grid living. Two things make it deliver… Massive Dry Cell Batteries with tremendous capacity & a robust DC/AC inverter, built to take tremendous demand. The 220 Volt output, wired to a household circuit breaker system can give household appliances clean dependable electrical power day & night.

For my test, I plugged into my house transfer switch circuit, specifically to isolate my home off the Utility Company power meter, (and avoiding back feeding). There was no noticeable difference to the house load. The TV worked fine, my computers booted up, lights came on through the house, the refrigerator & microwave ran without a hiccup. Even my water well, with it’s 220V AC motor did it’s job. Then I ran some power tools… my chop saw & band saw in the shop, they all cut wood with no telltale difference in performance.
Overall, the power draw on the generator was usually less than 2500 watts, most often less than a thousand watts. It was when the refrigerator compressor came on, or when the well pump kicked on that power surged. Throughout my test, the generator was loafing along, operating well under capacity all day & even all night. One exception though, my house AC unit wasn’t in the transfer circuit. When I wired up my transfer switch, I didn’t include it in the circuit so I couldn’t put it to test. Still, the AC is rated to draw 1500 to 3000 watts when operating, the HomeGrid™ 5000HD has the capacity to handle the load.  Through the night there wasn’t much demand, just the few lights I had on, my computer & TV, and the refrigerator… altogether, no more than 1000 watts. By next morning, the battery status indictor showed less than one quarter depletion, and within the first hours of daylight, the system had regained a full charge by the solar panels.

Using the 400 watt solar panel array, the generator’s batteries can easily be topped off throughout the day letting the system handle the heavy lifting alone only during the night. The generator can also accommodate a second 400 watt array as well.  Typically the deep cycle battery service life offers 7 to 8 years of reliable service.

Granted, my review was a weekend of use test, and in the long term, my energy demands would widely vary from day to day & seasonally. However, with some reasonable budgeting on the amount of power use, the Point Zero Energy HomeGrid™5000HD could give me a totally off grid existence right out of the box. Just by adding additional batteries & solar cells, the well of electrical power I’d have on tap would be far more than my modest needs. The great news is the HomeGrid™ 5000HD is easily expandable & PORTABLE.

My only gripe isn’t really a gripe at all.
I was staggered by the weight the Point Zero Energy HomeGrid™5000HD.  Although designed & built to be portable, you’d be smart to have a couple of stout helpers to pitch in moving the generator & battery unit. By myself, it was a task. The solar panels are not a problem, but you certainly work up a sweat horsing the generator unit & batteries around. Imagine taking a hand truck and deadlifting a small refrigerator up some stairs.  Again, this isn’t really a gripe against the gear, more it’s against my own lack of strength. The weight is actually a good testament of the sheer ruggedness built into the unit. Point Zero Energy isn’t building wimpy gear here, it’s high quality, high capacity & highly reliable power generation equipment. It’s well worth the sizable investment to insure safe, reliable, & dependable electrical energy to live totally off-grid, yet still enjoy modern electrical appliances in your household.  Until Doc Brown & Marty McFly shows up with a Mr. Fusion home reactor, the Point Zero Energy HomeGrid™ 5000HD is anyone’s ticket to an off-grid lifestyle. Now that I’ve experienced life off-grid, I’m striving for more.
Pay a visit to Point Zero Energy’s website to learn more about the complete line of HomeGrid™ Solar Powered Electrical Generators.

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How To Use Solar To Boost Your Survival

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Today it’s all about how to use solar to boost your survival. Yes, use solar for survival. You don’t need electricity to charge the flashlight I’m highlighting in this post.  All you need is the sun shining outside to collect the power.  Goal Zero asked me to do a review on the Goal Zero Torch 250 USB Power Hub and Flashlight below. Here again, these opinions on that particular item are my own. I purchase Goal Zero items all the time because they are the best solar items I can find available, literally for camping, hiking and for survival situations. It’s all about solar, friends. No fuel or batteries needed. I have given some of the original Goal Zero flashlights to family and friends for Christmas. This new Torch 250 has more features and awesome ways we can use it for survival. It’s all about light for survival, at least for me.

Here’s the deal, if we lose all power are we prepared with at least some flashlights, at the very least? Oh, and don’t forget the batteries if your flashlights need them. Well, some flashlights do not require batteries at all. Here are some suggestions for flashlights and some other items that can be powered with solar, yay for solar. I do not like the dark, I have so many flashlights.  I would love to ask you how many flashlights do you own? Do they all work and do they need batteries? If you have a power outage for an extended time do you have some GOOD flashlights that will work?

These Use Solar:

use solar

Can you see how large this solar panel is? It’s twice the size of the old style (which I still love and use all the time). You can use this one as a flashlight, floodlight, or red emergency light! It has a built-in charging cable, solar panel, and hand crank. You can recharge it anywhere, anytime! You will have power for emergencies and activities. This would be a great emergency flashlight in your car, at the office or at your bedside.

use solar

It has an integrated USB port that will charge phones and boost tablets to stay connected. It has a long lasting lithium battery. It now has a metal feature to hang it on a hook, tree or whatever. It has a flood light, red light, and spotlight. I highly recommend getting several of these. You can’t go wrong with Goal Zero products. I promise. Goal Zero Torch 250 Flashlight with Integrated Solar Panel

use solar

Okay, now onto this Goal Zero Solo Flashlight. I purchased two of these. I never buy just one of anything. I wanted one for the living room window and the window by the back door. Goal Zero 90109 Solo V2 Solar Flashlight I took the Solo flashlight out of the box and placed the solar panel towards the sunshine. I am ready for any power outage or a trip outside at night with my very own flashlight ready to go with me, no batteries needed. The solar charge lasts for 2-3 hours. SOLD!!!

It’s a dependable, bright flashlight that has builtin solar panel and long-lasting internal battery. Never have a dead flashlight again. Use solar, it rocks!

Thanks again for the big or little things you are doing to get your family prepared for the unexpected. May God bless you and yours!

My favorite things:

Goal Zero 41022 Guide 10 Plus Solar Recharging Kit

Goal Zero 32001 Lighthouse 250 Portable Battery Charger USB Power Hub and Lantern

Goal Zero 32002 Light-A-Life Mini LED Light

Prepare Your Family for Survival: How to Be Ready for Any Emergency or Disaster Situation

The post How To Use Solar To Boost Your Survival appeared first on Food Storage Moms.

How To Recharge Batteries With Solar For Survival

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I have been wanting to know how to recharge batteries with solar for survival for many years! I will tell you this, here in Southern Utah, our regular non-rechargeable batteries seem to go bad within six months. Some may make it to a year, but only if we are lucky. I have been looking at this unit from Goal Zero for some time. Goal Zero contacted me to see if I would do a review on this awesome Guide 10 PLUS Solar Recharging Kit!! I have purchased so many Goal Zero items over the years and this was truly a gift to me. These opinions are mine and I can’t wait to tell you how great this item would be for everyday use, but especially after a disaster or unforeseen emergency.

I knew I was going to write a review on this Goal Zero solar recharging kit, so I asked my Food Storage Moms Facebook readers what they use AA and AAA batteries for to power their family friendly items I could share on my website. This is so exciting for me because you would never have to buy batteries again if you recharge these rechargeable batteries in this Guide 10 Kit. Here’s the deal, you can charge this Guide 10 PLUS Solar Recharging Kit in your car (12V), with solar, and with a USB cord that’s included. This statement is from Goal Zero and I quote, “Go-anywhere, rechargeable battery pack keeps handheld gear going strong. Pair with this durable solar panel for endless power.”

Here are my fabulous reader comments:

Tami:
some flashlights use AA and some radios,

Molly:
My stove timer uses double AA batteries.

Nancie:
Some older cameras use AA’s. Most clocks use them. Little hand-held fans that people take to sports events probably use them.

Phyliss:
Portable radio in my “Hurricane Box”

Samantha:
Toys! Nothing like Christmas morning and finding out that you have no batteries!

Molly:
Face scrubber, Cordless phones, clocks, Spinning toothbrushes, Remote-control cars , my coffee bean grinder, my travel alarm clock,

Tonya:
We go through a ton of AA batteries for the Wii remotes (burned out the rechargeables after awhile) – I think the only other thing in our house that we use them for is all the darn clocks (I like clocks, we have a lot of them…)

Maureen:
Computer mouse, computer keyboard, camping lanterns, radios. This one probably doesn’t count because it took 2 AAA — thermostat.

Elizabeth:
My son’s leap pad, kid’s nightlight, our weather radio, flashlights

Chris:
Hand-held GPS units use them

Chris:
My walkie-talkies can use them

Chris:
We sold can openers powered by AA

Robert:
The hose end timer we use in the garden runs on AA. Handheld ham radio uses them for backup. Rechargeable AA in solar yard lights.

Elaine:
Blood pressure meters(the cuff ones)

Patricia:
Caller ID on my landline phone, electronic tuner (for tuning musical instruments), metronome, all sorts of remotes (AA and AAA), emergency weather radio.

Patricia:
Those little gadgets for charging a cell phone in an emergency.

Patricia:
My carbon monoxide detectors. Some smoke alarms.

Recharge Batteries:

I quote from Goal Zero: “With the Guide 10 Plus Recharger and Nomad 7 Solar Panel you have a portable, rugged charging kit as adventurous as you are. Charge AAs from the sun or any USB port, then power your phone, MP3, GPS, or perk up your tablet in a pinch.

  • Q: What batteries can be used in the Guide 10 Plus?
  • A: Any AA or AAA* NiMH batteries can be used and recharged. We do not recommend other types of batteries. 4 same-sized batteries MUST be charged at once, but not all batteries need to be empty.
    *AAA cells are sold separately and come with an adapter to use with the Guide 10 Plus.
  • Q: How do I charge the Guide 10 Plus?
  • A: From Solar: Use Goal Zero Nomad 3.5 or Nomad 7 with solar charge cable for fast charging. From USB: Use any USB power source, such as a computer or any Goal Zero power pack.
  • Q: Is the Guide 10 Plus waterproof?
  • A: No, but it is weather-resistant. Care should be taken to shield if from direct sunlight and the elements. Unexpected rain storms probably won’t harm it.
  • Q: How is the Guide 10 Plus protected?
  • A: Usage is plug-and-play. The built-in battery management system prevents overcharging and over-discharging of batteries. The USB output will only supply the amount of power needed.”

You can see the solar panels above, the batteries in the case (the kit only comes with four AA batteries). But it also comes with an AAA battery charger container that can be used as well. I purchased some extra AA and AAA batteries so I could be ready for anything!!!

I hope you can see the plugs below for USB, 12V, Guide 10, and a place to chain other solar panels that are compatible: Compatible Solar Panels

recharge batteries

The batteries below are the ones I bought so I can have a few extra batteries to recharge as needed. You can see the left side are AA’s and the AAA’s are on the right. Keep in mind you can only recharge ones that are NiMH batteries that can be used and recharged. Please note you cannot charge regular type batteries.

recharge batteries

I hope you think about all the items you use AA and AAA batteries for and save your money to buy a way to recharge batteries instead of buying new ones. If the stores are closed after a disaster, we will need batteries, lots of batteries! May God bless your family for being prepared for the unexpected.

My favorite things:

Goal Zero 41022 Guide 10 Plus Solar Recharging Kit

Goal Zero 11407 AAA NiMH Rechargeable Battery 4 Pack with AAA Insert for Guide 10 Plus

Goal Zero 32002 Light-A-Life Mini LED Light

Goal Zero 90109 Solo V2 Solar Flashlight

The post How To Recharge Batteries With Solar For Survival appeared first on Food Storage Moms.

Dusty solar panels 30% less efficient

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Solar panel with finger writing

Clean panels are better panels

We always knew dirty panels don’t work as well as clean ones – now we can put a number on it.

Newly published research by Engineering researchers from Kathmandu found that a dusty panel gathers 29.8% less energy if they are not cleaned for 5 months in dry weather – we are surprised it is not more.

The findings in Elsevier-published Solar Power magazine studied “soiling and its effect on performance of solar modules in regions with a high deposition of dust and low frequency and less intensity of rain.” But some areas with abundant rainfall may also suffer from high dust deposits in the dry season. Kathmandu, with its peculiar environment conditions, suffers high air pollution and minimum rainfall during the dry winter. The study measured the effect of dust on PV modules taking into account meteorological variables for Kathmandu .

During the study period of 5 months, the efficiency of a dusty solar module left to untouched decreased by 29.76% compared to a similar module which was cleaned on daily basis.

Dust deposit density on the uncleaned PV module accounted to 9.6711 g/m2 over the study period. The research also showed that dust accumulation is concentrated on the lower half of the PV modules with a consequent risk of hot spots which could eventually lead to permanent module damage.

The research was carried out by Basant Raj Paudyaland Shree Raj Shakya of the Institute of Engineering at Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu

The post Dusty solar panels 30% less efficient appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

How To Make Bread When You Lose Electricity

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It’s all about how to make bread when you lose electricity today. This is an updated post I wrote a few years ago. I have done a post using a Sun Oven before, but today is different. I am showing you how to use a Goal Zero YETI 1250 to grind whole wheat flour and mix the bread. This is truly what I call a cartwheel moment. This is when I get so excited that something is so awesome! I used a NutriMill L’Equip Wheat Grinder and a Bosch Bread Mixer using my Goal Zero YETI 1250. The Goal zero YETI 1250 has 1250 Watts of power. I can charge the unit in my car, the power outlets in the house, as well as charge them with my Goal Zero Boulder 30 Solar Panels outside using the sunshine that’s free.

Here is a post with all of my bread recipes complete with PRINTABLE recipes: Bread recipes by Food Storage Moms. Here is a link to show you how to use a Solar Oven to bake bread:  Sun Oven to bake the bread

When I go up to Salt Lake City, Utah I always go and visit the employees at Goal Zero in Bluffdale, Utah. They show me how this unit works with this and that. I love to know how things work, I mean really work. They are so patient with me because I want to be able to show my readers how to use their solar power units. My very first Goal Zero Solar Power Source purchase was the 350-watt unit. I can light up an entire school gymnasium with the 8 GZ lights I have. You would be amazed at how much those lights can put out.

Next, I wanted the new YETI 400 when it came out. Here’s the deal, you can “chain” some of them together to give you the watts you need to power up certain small appliances you have. I love showing people how things work so they can be prepared for the unexpected. This is the first of many Goal Zero posts I will be demonstrating over the next few weeks.

The Goal Zero YETI 1250 Solar Power Source unit was easy to put together, making the unit more moveable. It basically had two wheels to put on a type of rod/axle and put the screws in. Next, attach the handle. Easy peasy. Right out of the box it was ready to use.

When You Lose Electricity:

1. NutriMill L’Equip Wheat Grinder which has: 1200 WATTS NutriMill Classic 760200 High Speed Grain Mill, 1200 Watt, 5 Cups Per Minute

lose electricity

All you do is plug in the item you want to use in the solar power unit, making sure the Goal Zero unit’s wattage matches up with the proper wattage you need to make the item you want to operate run properly. Today I used the Goal Zero YETI 1250 because the wheat grinder has 1200 watts.  It worked great. I actually ground about 16 cups of hard white wheat. No problem. It hardly used any of the stored solar power. Yay!

2. Bosch Universal Bread Mixer which has: 800 WATTS Bosch MUM6N10UC Universal Plus Stand Mixer, 800 Watt, 6.5-Quarts with Bowl Scraper and Cookie Paddles

lose electricity

I plugged in the Bosch Universal Bread Mixer in the plug outlet on the front and turned on the bread mixer. I ran it for ten full minutes (my whole wheat bread recipe). No problem. After finishing the wheat grinding and the bread mixing (14 cups of whole wheat flour) I had only used 20% of the solar power. Yep, that is a cartwheel moment. I am totally self-sufficient. I can grind my wheat by hand as well, but I wanted to know I could use my FREE solar power. How easy, no instructions…just plug it in and it works. I will tell you this….I keep all my Goal Zero Solar Power Sources charged at all times with power surge suppressors to help protect them like you would your other valuable appliances. Gotta love solar! Thanks to Goal Zero for their great innovations/products! Who would have guessed you could make whole wheat bread using solar power?

I’d like to hear from my readers what appliances / household products you’d put to use if you had the Goal Zero 1250 Solar Power Source. I am so excited to know I can make whole wheat bread even when the power is out. WooHoo!

My favorite things:

Goal Zero Torch 250 Flashlight with Integrated Solar Panel

Goal Zero 14101 Luna USB LED Stick Light

Goal Zero (21013) Switch 10 USB Recharger and Solar Panel Multi-Tool Kit

Water Storage Containers – WaterBrick – 8 Pack Blue

The post How To Make Bread When You Lose Electricity appeared first on Food Storage Moms.

Solar Generators Vs Fuel Generators

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In the past 10 years, many companies have tried to develop a new way of powering our lives. Most of them have placed their bets on solar energy. Sun provides so much energy in one minute that it can power the entire Earth for one year. Learning to harness that energy would bring so many changes, starting with the cost of electricity bills. But are solar generators the future, and can they replace fuel generators? Which one is better and provides more energy? Let us break it down and judge them based on their performances.

“Free energy”

The concept of free energy is pretty simple. Sun is there for a reason, and we might as well utilize some of its energy. There are plenty of reasons one should install solar panels: they will generate so much energy in the upcoming years that you will never have to pay for electricity again. Yes, they can be a bit expensive to start with, but the prices of solar panels are dropping every year and very soon they will be available even for the “common people”.

Solar generators rock!

These little wonders are very simple to use. Just place them somewhere safe, and let their photo-voltaic (PV) panels do all the work. The PV panels will transform the sunlight into electricity and send it to be stored inside the batteries to be used later. Once the batteries are full, the inverter will take direct electricity (DC) and convert it into alternative electricity (AC). If you are up camping in the wild, you can use these and get all the electricity needed for powering your favorite gadgets, charging your phone and even some more complicated devices. On top of all that, they are Eco-friendly and will not release any chemicals or gases. Your home value will skyrocket and if you ever decide to sell it, buyers will offer more only for the solar panels and generators.

Their performance compared to fuel generators

Yes, fuel generators are known to produce electricity a bit faster, but they require much more to start with. They require fuel to power the generators without which they are useless. In case you go out of fuel, you will also be left without electricity. Another downside of fuel generators is that they create a lot of pollution by releasing chemicals in the air. They are portable just like solar generators, but their function depends on having enough fuel to power them.

Preppers choose solar power

Since the technology is developing so fast, preppers can now safely rely solely on solar power. Designs such as goal zero yeti 400 generators have proven to be more than enough to power an entire house in case something “unexpected” happens. There is a chance that one day, something bad may happen to the world. It could be a nuclear strike, a zombie apocalypse or a virus outbreak. If that occurs, electricity will be almost unaffordable and the only remaining source of energy will be the Sun. So we might as well prepare?

Time to go solar

If you haven’t done it by now, do it as fast as you can. It will most likely be the most reliable source of energy in the near future and it will save you a lot of money if you invest now. With solar panels and grids set, you can become completely energy independent. Yes, there will be days when the clouds will cover the sky and you will collect less energy, but the Sun as we know it won’t leave us any time soon.

Verdict: fuel generators are old fashioned. Yes, they also collect and produce energy but free will always be better than the one you have to pay for.

The post Solar Generators Vs Fuel Generators appeared first on American Preppers Network.

The Ultimate Guide To DIY Off Grid Solar Power

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The Ultimate Guide To DIY Off Grid Solar Power What would you do if the lights went out…for good? Sure, we don’t need electricity to survive, but how many things have you forgotten how to do without it? What skills did your great-grandparents utilize to live without technology? There are some things that simply cannot …

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5 Things You’ll Need in an Emergency

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5 Things You’ll Need in an Emergency

Unfortunately, there are variety of disasters or that could strike at any moment. It is smart to be ready for am emergency by stocking a variety of important staples while prepping. Some of the most critical items are the most overlooked and taken for granted, so here are five essential things ready to go in case a major crisis happens.

Items for Cleaning and Sanitation

Staying clean and sanitary is something people often take for granted and forget when preparing for a disaster. It is entirely possible for plumbing to get destroyed during a disaster, so keeping cases of garbage bags for human waste is essential.  Bleach and other cleaning supplies like brooms, mops and towels should be stocked up on too.

Items for Cold Weather

Extra bedding and enough clothes to layer up is crucial. These are another set of items beginning preppers tend to forget about. Dying of exposure is a reality in certain climates, and winter can be very unforgiving. The bedding will come in handy on a cold night, and layering clothing is a great way to combat the cold when moving around during the day.

Firearms

As controversial as they may be, guns are something every prepper should have to defend what they worked so hard on building. A long range rifle can quickly turn into a necessary tool for hunting, and pistols can go a long way in deterring burglary and stopping harm in its tracks. Needing something for defense from looting and rampant crime is an unfortunate reality.

Access to an Abundant Water Supply

It is essential to have five years’ worth of drinking water available, and the best way to fortify property with enough water is to make sure it has access to an onsite well or cistern. Contact a well company like Candescent Well Service, LLC to begin your preparations. Be sure to have plenty of purifying tablets and an emergency water filtration system as well.

Sources of Light

Electricity is a luxury. If the power goes out for any amount of time or reason, then alternative sources of light need to be available for use. Matches, lighter fluid, candles and batteries are the backbone for a good kit. Alternative energy tech has gotten more advanced too, so items like solar powered chargers can be added as well for common battery sizes.

These are just five of many key things to have available if disaster strikes. Focus on making sure there is a versatile set of supplies for survival. There are different types and degrees of devastation, and it is best to be ready for anything. Having enough of a variety could be what separates life and death following a terrible event.

 

Guest Post by : Dixie Somers

The post 5 Things You’ll Need in an Emergency appeared first on American Preppers Network.

The Continuing Rise of Solar Energy

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The Continuing Rise of Solar Energy

Written by: Adam Torkildson

solar-energyRecent surveys show that 90 percent of American households are in favor of using clean energy. Fossil fuels are seen to be a finite, dwindling source of power for America. Finding alternatives to imported oil and dirty coal are imperative. Solar energy, especially for the household, has been around for some time. But it is just now coming to grips with enough innovative technology to make it very manageable on almost any conventional budget.

 

The background

Solar power, or to give it a fancier name — photovoltaic systems — takes sunlight and turns it into electricity. Solar panels are usually placed on the roof — and the newer ones are thin and black and can be layered with roof shingles for a very pleasing aesthetic look.

The cost of a decent solar power system in the past has been prohibitive for many homeowners — somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 thousand. But new technology, combined with state and federal incentives and creative financing practices have brought the price down and put photovoltaic paneling within the reach of most households.

 

Before you commit to solar power . . .

Look at your electric bill first to make sure it’s worth the time, effort, and expense to install. Smaller households may not save very much with solar power. As a rule of thumb a 3 kilowatt solar power system will produce about 4 thousand kilowatts of electricity per year (the household average is 10 thousand per year), while a 5 kilowatt system produces around 7 thousand kwh per year. An even bigger one, at 10 kilowatts, will give you over 12 thousand kwh per year — maybe enough to sell electricity back to your utility company if they are buying.

 

Does your roof get much sun?

How much sun can your roof get? Are there any obstructions, such as trees or taller buildings that put your roof in shade for more than a few hours each day? If so, solar panels may not be the best idea for your home. The best place to put solar panels is on a roof that is facing south. You can view a solar resource map for your area at National Renewable Energy Laboratory. This will give you a good idea of how much sunshine your area gets on an annual basis.

 

Don’t fiddle on the roof!

The smaller the roof area, the less solar power you can get from it. Also consider if you have dormers, chimneys, and other roof bric-a-brac that eats into the flat surface that solar panels need. To be worth the investment, you need about 500 square feet or more of solar paneling area on your roof.

 

What is your home’s energy rating?

Homes built within the last 20 years are usually pretty energy efficient. Add to that energy efficient appliances and good insulation, and a solar panel system makes a lot of sense for your domicile. Older homes and appliances tend to eat up a lot of electricity, and solar panels just may not make that much of a difference for the price you have to pay to install them.

 

Financing the deal

Before you begin worrying about the price of installing solar panels, think first of the long term benefits to you. One, a solar panel system will add good value to your house (and in many states it is a tax deduction just like your mortgage). Two, it obviously cuts down on your electric bill and can even make you self-sufficient when it comes to electricity.

You can even lease a solar panel system, instead of buying it outright, for a manageable monthly payment. Most leases run 20 years.

For a complete listing of government rebates and licensing fees in your area, use the government website Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE).

 

Use a professional

If your neighbors, friends, or associates at work have had solar panels installed ask them for a review of the company that did it. Otherwise, use a resource website like BestCompany.com for reviews of installation companies in your area. Most installation companies will be glad to meet with you personally and give you an estimate after looking over your house.

The post The Continuing Rise of Solar Energy appeared first on American Preppers Network.

Peppermint Forty2 Pro+ 1000 Solar Generator

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During a SHTF scenario, you will run out of gasoline, diesel, propane, and natural gas supplies will be disrupted, but sunshine, well the sun is not going away anytime soon. Some might say a volcano or comet strike can create so much ash and dust that the sun will be blocked, so what good is a solar generator then. Well if you are convinced either of the two will happen soon, then so be it, but for everyone else, you can still rely on sunshine while every other energy source is long been depleted.

I was never sold on solar generators, because I had it in my head that they were cumbersome, not powerful, and you needed solar panels that had to be placed just right, and if you had to move the generator, well what a hassle that would be. Well, I thought all this until I tried The Forty2Pro+ that is.

Solar panels on your roof or on poles scattered about your property is a welcoming sign to those not prepared for a crisis. Not to mention, what if you have to leave, or evacuate for an extended or even for a short period.

I wanted a power unit that did not require that I mount solar panels on the roof or on poles, and one I can take with me at the same time. You can’t in most cases, carry your standard solar generator with you everywhere you go.

With this power unit, you get portability, and absolutely no noise unlike fossil fuel powered ones, and you have enough power to get the job done. Carry it to where you need it, open it up, plug in your devices and the lights literally go on.

No need to carry multiple cases and then have to make several trips. To carry the all-in-one unit you can use either the built-in handle or the shoulder carry strap, which is sold separately. The unit can be carried by one person, and no set up is required. When done, simply close the case, and move on. It is designed for off-grid use, so it can stand up to the rigors of camp life, emergencies at home or along the trail. Toss it in your vehicle and don’t worry about it getting wet, it will be ready to use when needed.

I do need to mention the weight and the fact there are three different sized units. You choose which one serves your needs the best. The weight of the smaller unit is 57 pounds, the next sized unit weighs, 63 pounds and the largest unit weighs 75 pounds. The size is based on the batteries, the bigger the battery the heavier the unit, but you get more power as you increase the size of the batteries.

It is portable, but I don’t want to leave you with the impression you can carry it around like a briefcase. It is heavy, but doable, and it packs a lot of power.

One unit will not run your entire house, but not many portable generators will. The Forty2Pro will run the essentials, however, and did I mention portable. Imagine you need to pump water out of a lake, water needed for drinking, cooking, and bathing, or to irrigate your garden or to water your livestock. Instead of trying to figure out how to get the pumps’ electrical cord to a power source, you can carry this unit right to the source, plug in your pump, and get to work. You can do this and much more with the Forty2Pro.

Use it anywhere in the world to charge devices, power up refrigerators, small heaters, make coffee, provide lighting, run fans, power tools, read books stored on electronic devices, and the lists go on. You know what you do and do not need in a crisis as far as appliances and tools go, so set your priorities, and carry power with you no matter where you end up.

Below is a very handy device for checking how many watts an appliance or tool uses, so there is never any question as to whether you can power it up.

The P3 P4400 Kill a Watt Electricity Usage Monitor will connect to household appliances & assess their efficiency. It will also calculate electrical expenses by the day, week, month, or year and will check the quality of power by monitoring voltage, line frequency, and power factor.

Kill A Watt Usage Monitor

This and other devices like it would be an essential piece of equipment when using a portable power source of any sort.

Here is the Manufactures ‘ Description of the Forty2 Pro + 1000 Solar Generator

The Forty2 combines all the elements of an electrical grid into a small mobile unit. The Forty2Pro is a portable solar power generator that stores and efficiently monitors the energy at your home, or anywhere you happen to be, and it’s not just a fancy battery unit, it is a power generating station. The Forty2 is a true solar power supply that works even when the sun isn’t shining.

  • Solar: 180 watts
  • Solar Type: 18.5% efficient mono-crystalline photovoltaic’s
  • Battery: Lithium Ion technology, 1000 wHr storage
  • Battery Life: 1,000 cycle rated
  • Internal DC Voltage: 24 volts
  • Power Inversion: 900 watts continuous/1800 watt surge
  • AC Outlets: 2
  • AC Voltage: Country-dependent
  • USB Port: 2
  • Battery Indicator Digital Screen Readout
  • Things to Assemble: None, this is an all-in-one unit
  • Length 34.25 inches
  • Width is 30 inches
  • Height is 6 inches

The unit comes with a digital screen readout that shows the battery voltage. A fully charged battery is between 25 and 25.5. A completely dead battery is 18, but the Forty2 will automatically shut down and/or start beeping at you, once it reaches 20 and 22 this is about half charge. 

Peppermint Forty2 Solar Generator Front

You can “hub” several Forty2’s together to power larger items. An example given by the manufacturer about hubs is how they connected a number of units together and used them to power health care clinics and schools in some improvised regions. Each hub can be individually tailored to each project.

As for the batteries, the unit contains 4 250-watt lithium ion batteries that have a life of about 7 years.

As I only have one unit, I cannot verify how well a hub would work. I do know, however, that the units can be connected in a series to essentially power your entire house if you wanted to. The best part of it is when no longer needed, you unhook, and carry to your bug-out-location, use out of the back of your vehicle, out of your tent or anywhere you need an immediate power source.

To use, you simply open the case and expose the panels to the sky and then plug your devices into the built-in electrical outlets and turn it on.

Peppermint Forty2 Charging

Below is a chart to give you some idea of what the Forty2Pro can do.

The Forty2 provides 110VAC, 50Hz that you get at home from 2 outlets located on the front of the unit. Capable of delivering 900 watts of continuous power, or 1,800 watts during a 2-3 second surge, the Forty2 can charge small devices like a laptop many times over or power larger devices like a TV for hours. It also has 2 USB ports for charging your phone or tablet just as fast as they would at home.

When the sun is shining most devices can be powered continually just by using sunlight, and when the sun is limited, or the device exceeds the solar capability the battery kicks in to provide the additional powered needed.

Peppermint Forty2 Runtime Chart

In closing, the Forty2 provides something that traditional generators do not, the ability to be sustainable. It’s also quiet and discreet. Because it is portable, it doesn’t draw attention like permanently installed solar panels, yet packs enough punch to operate emergency devices. It is also an easy solution for those wishing to employ solar power but not wanting to have to piece a system together from parts, it is self contained and easy.

There are a number of generators available from different manufacturers, but the Forty2 is one of the few to allow you to expand the system, so you are not locked into the single unit purchased. All in all, the Forty2 is a well thought out solution to your emergency power needs. You can learn more about the Forty2 at PeppermintEnergy.com.

The post Peppermint Forty2 Pro+ 1000 Solar Generator appeared first on Preparing for shtf.

How To Prep Your Sun Oven Today Not Tomorrow

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I am going to show the world how to prep your Sun Oven today not tomorrow. Here’s the deal, I have two of these awesome Sun Ovens. I have a few friends that are a bit nervous about just opening the Sun Oven box and getting started. I got my first Sun Oven from Paul Munsen, the person who designed these awesome ovens. I was a new blogger and he was kind enough to send me one to try out and then show the world how to use it. I have been doing this for about 3-1/2 years now and really enjoy the freedom these ovens provide. I ended up buying a second one from a store here in St. George when they had an awesome sale going on. I figure in my neighborhood there are a few people that will be cooking for the entire neighborhood. Not feeding, mind you, everyone must contribute to the neighborhood food bank if it comes to that. Just giving you the heads up here, we must all contribute. I don’t think there is a nice way to say it, but everyone must be prepared for the unexpected. Some people may think the government will deliver food to your door, that’s not going to happen, not enough resources. At least for days, weeks or months if we had a grid down, no power, no refrigeration, etc.we will be on our own, prepared or not.

How To Prep Your Sun Oven

This box that may seem daunting to open or you may feel you don’t have time to tackle this project. I get it. But we need these boxes open and the ovens ready to use when we need them. I will show you how to do this step by step today. Get your box cutter or scissors and carefully open the box. I borrowed this unopened box from a friend this morning so I could demonstrate what is needed to be done. I’m glad she hadn’t had the time to get the box open. It’s important for me to show the world how easy it is to get this baby prepped and ready to go.

How To Prep Your Sun Oven Today Not Tomorrow by FoodStorageMoms

Inside the box you will find the Sun Oven and some awesome accessories. This particular package is from a few years ago so if you don’t see this package online that’s why. This package has two large bread pans which could also be used for casseroles, brownies, or cakes. I say large bread pans because I use smaller bread pans. These are 9.25in X 5.25in x 2.5in or 24cm X 13cm x 6.5cm. This package comes with two stackable pans with two different lids. One is enamel and the other is glass. You can bake with these stacked on top of each other with just one lid. I love the glass lid because I can watch how my food is baking. It also has three dehydrating racks with one roll of parchment baking paper. Please keep in mind, you can use your own pans as long as they fit in the area available inside the Sun Oven. This is the same model I have. I know the newer ones will hold a larger pan, but this model works great for me. Another tidbit you need to know is we cannot use stainless steel or light-colored metal pans as they will reflect the heat away from the food we are cooking. The darker the better. This package also comes with a WAPI: WAPI Information by Food Storage Moms

How To Prep Your Sun Oven Today Not Tomorrow by FoodStorageMoms

Can you see the blue film? We have to remove this before we can prep the Sun Oven to use outside. I had to use my fingers to pull the tiny pieces away from the rivets after removing the large blue sheets of film from the panels.

How To Prep Your Sun Oven Today Not Tomorrow by FoodStorageMoms

All of this blue film I had to remove. It only took me a few minutes.

How To Prep Your Sun Oven Today Not Tomorrow by FoodStorageMoms

Next I decided I needed to wash the bread pans, baking pans with lids, and dehydrator racks with hot soapy water. I then rinsed and dried them.

How To Prep Your Sun Oven Today Not Tomorrow by FoodStorageMoms

The next step was to set up the Sun Oven outside for about 30 minutes to start heating up so I could use it for the next step. You take 3 cups vinegar (I used white) and put it in one uncovered pan in the oven for 90-120 minutes.

How To Prep Your Sun Oven Today Not Tomorrow by FoodStorageMoms

You can see the uncovered pan with the vinegar inside this oven here. I had trouble today getting the temperature up to 350 degrees because the day was little overcast. When it hit 325 degrees I started my two-hour countdown to bring the vinegar to a boil. I patiently waited for the sunshine to peek through the clouds. This is another reason I recommend having more than one type of cooking device when we lose power.

How To Prep Your Sun Oven Today Not Tomorrow by FoodStorageMoms

This shows the little thumbscrew we use to secure the solar panels in place.

How To Prep Your Sun Oven Today Not Tomorrow by FoodStorageMoms

You can see this model has a “leg” on the back to raise or lower to catch the most sun rays at the correct angle. I used a permanent red magic marker so I can line up the button that pops through the holes on the bracket shown above the extension leg.

How To Prep Your Sun Oven Today Not Tomorrow by FoodStorageMoms

Now, I like everything organized, so of course I have to put all my friend’s accessories in this bag. I buy these bags: Set of 2 Medium Chests 12 Guage Vinyl 12x16x8 each I used these same bags to store my 72-hour kit food.

How To Prep Your Sun Oven Today Not Tomorrow by FoodStorageMoms

I hope this post today helps you get out your Sun Oven and get it ready if you have it sitting in your garage. Please do it today, you may need it tomorrow. Thanks for being prepared for the unexpected.

My biggest tip: Sun Oven Tips by Food Storage Moms

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Take Advantage Of The Sun & Nature

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It isn’t difficult to utilize the sun to help with easing the cost of your power usage. It will help by using the natural heat and light. You will use less power and be more sufficient. This will save your family money in the long run.

  • Orient you buildings to take advantage of the sun and to protect your home from the cold winter winds. You can plant a living “fence” to help with this if you have to. Plant a row of evergreen trees to keep the cold wind away.
  • Be sure to have as much insulation in your home as possible. This will also help in the summer by keeping the heat out and in the winter will hold the heat in.
  • Think about adding a sunroom to your home. You can vent the heat into the home during the winter and in the summer vent the heat outside.
  • Use the natural light during the day. In the winter open the curtains and let that natural light and heat into the house.
  • Think about adding brick to the outside of your home. This really helps with controlling the temperature. 
  • Use hanging plants and overhangs to cool the home in the summer. 
  • Plant your own food garden in your yard to save money on food costs. 
  • Have a rain barrel to catch water to use to water your garden and yard. My son also used our rain barrel to wash the cars. Great way to save money on water.

There are many ways to use nature to help you keep your utility bills low.

Real Goods Solar Living Sourcebook: Your Complete Guide to Living beyond the Grid with Renewable Energy Technologies and Sustainable Living

COMMENT BELOW WAYS THAT YOU HAVE USED NATURE TO REDUCE ENERGY COST……..

Solar myths debunked video

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spmI hear people talking about solar power and they believe half truths and outright lies, they aren’t bad people, they are just repeating what they have heard, sometimes it’s old information, sometimes it’s info that may be true for one part of the country, but not for another.

One of the biggest myths is solar power is too expensive, that was true, but now solar panels have dropped so much in price, it’s very inexpensive to buy solar panels now, and the price continues to drop.

Another myth is it’s too hard to do, I say bovine excrement, a quick trip to the library, or better yet, a bit of time on the internet and you can learn how to install a simple solar system, of course when you are getting into grid tied or larger systems, it’s good to have an expert working for you. But it’s really simple to set up a small system, make a small backup system for yourself, power a shed, do this so you can learn about how this works, that way if/when you do go for the bigger system, you will have more knowledge about it and are less likely to get ripped off or get talked into something you don’t want or need.

Here is a great video with Starry Hilder talking about the myths of solar power, enjoy!

https://youtu.be/O5zd5uLfssc

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6 Good Reasons to Install Solar Panels

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6 Good Reasons to Install Solar Panels

 

For the past several decades, we are witnesses of change in thinking of an average person. Instead of thinking backward, “What was wrong?”, we started thinking “What can be better?”. This is the case when it comes to solar power source. To create better tomorrow, we had to think up something yesterday, and start using it today. Here are the reasons why.

Modern

It is less known that many countries in the world actually have quite old power grid, and that might represent major problem in near future. USA, for example, may or may not face crisis in the future, if something is not done. This large investment will not pay off on a longer run, for we will get only the transmitters of power. With solar system, we gain power source as well.

 

Independent

For now, solar power source is used only as the additional source of electricity, but the good thing is that it can be changed. Literally putting a few panels on your rooftop will make you free of relying on others. This means that in case of a major attack, or natural disaster, damage done would be far smaller.

 

 

Eco-friendly

Being highly dependable on fuel , we need alternative power source, and we need it fast. Majority of these additional sources are very “green” by nature, for there is no combustion, just pure and clean energy.

Unlimited source

Depending on fuels that may run out eventually is a risk, but the Sun will not run out for at least five billion years. Only one potential setback with this power source is that areas on Earth with less sunny hours during the year may have potential trouble, but that can be easily overcome, by combining several alternative power sources.

Self-sustaining [“Pic 3 – Alexandria tour” goes here]

If you are watching AMC’s TV show, “The Walking Dead”, you will notice that cities of Woodberry and Alexandria are relying on solar power, and are the only ones which have potential to last as havens for humans. This scenario can be applied easily, for in case of any worldwide catastrophe, we could still believe that self-sustaining cities exist.

Easy to mount

You will need professional help to install solar panels, but besides that, it is rather easy work. Depending on where you install them, you will need either stable decking supports, or adequate roof base. First installments are great for huge, open spaces, such as farms, while the second is better for urban areas. Installations required are consisted of several controllers and batteries, but that is not a rocket science. Pretty easy for an average man to maintain it.

When all the things above are taken into consideration, we can surely say that our future will depend on solar panels. That is why it is of utmost importance to start getting used to them now.

 

About the author

 

 

 

Marie Nieves is a student and a blogger who loves unusual trips, gadgets and creative ideas. Marie loves to share her experiences and talk about practical solutions. She is an avid lover of photography interested in interior and exterior design and regular author on Smooth Decorator. You can find Marie on Facebook or follow her on Twitter and G+.

 

 

 

 

Photo credit:

  1. https://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwsmtnprairie/5434754208/in/photolist-9hfx5L-mhsxdX-fGwupJ-ec15n8-5Dr6mn-9uPDV7-5KdQR-j5PWUF-c6eN55-72rc3P-7k5PKW-fQKNbW-ep7Ky-9GV2fk-7Jtc6d-aokPAP-j5QKA7-j5T5mS-3PqEBL-j5QaPD-b6tn5V-5FVki8-6ECKGW-9B4BHv-5coUSU-aD3Tsi-7nDRQ6-8xPs2x-6vRWRr-eFC9ce-5nX4xB-5nVoAw-8yejhA-fLXmdu-oH7nWJ-769qEu-eRDrsu-a7znc4-egdkmX-gbuTzk-anMXkg-5Dvp83-JKnTm-ec15ti-a1Pb8P-fpZtkr-et8E46-dFYHwE-bRyNA4-f9Axih
  2. https://www.flickr.com/photos/87913776@N00/3996366952/in/photolist-769qEu-eRDrsu-a7znc4-egdkmX-gbuTzk-anMXkg-5Dvp83-JKnTm-ec15ti-a1Pb8P-fpZtkr-et8E46-dFYHwE-bRyNA4-f9Axih-5diQVW-2b3BmH-j5QVh1-j5NzDD-72vb9C-5HSW8i-dgFz4-arCGHs-9qGKdj-7JpfGi-7Jtbd1-7Jtbv9-dFWZct-6Z2bzM-9RWrrn-ec6Hgs-8btdAf-jNsZ5-7nHLsb-ekzqCZ-aDj4pe-ec13Tg-aDj4NV-84zF9u-5eDv32-6VsiXe-PNtRR-8Rxt2D-obqzwj-aCUtUv-5hNK5N-ec6HJE-4DvxJx-9RWbHF-e7jWAT
  3. printscreen from Alexandria tour

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Editorial: Don’t hit small solar with new fees in California

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big business tries to stamp out home power

Don’t let the sun go down on me

Those solar panels you’ve seen glinting on your neighbors’ rooftops throughout California?  If the state’s investor-owned utilities get their way in negotiations with the Public Utilities Commission,, you’ll be seeing a lot less domestic black silicon in the future.

That’s because big utilities are petitioning to radically alter the rules about net metering, the system by which homeowners, schools and businesses that generate excess electrical capacity on a sunny day sell their unused power back to the grid, the same as the utility companies sell it to the rest of us.

Our big power suppliers have the same right to operate under a fair business model as the small homeowner who makes an investment in solar. Few of the latter, except isolated cabin owners and the like, are ever really “off the grid” entirely. They make use of electricity sold to them by Southern California Electric, PG&E and the state’s other large private firms as well, or buy it from the city-owned utilities in cities such as Los Angeles, Pasadena, Burbank and others that operate municipal, taxpayer-owned nonprofit power companies. It’s the big utilities that have to operate the grid — the complex system of power lines, from the big ones coming down from Tehachapi wind farms, Utah coal plants, dams with hydro plants and the like to the small wires that come into your own homes.

But even though those big firms still control 97 percent of the electrical power market in California, they are worried about the tiny but growing group of homeowners and businesses in the state that have chosen to generate some of their own power. So they have a proposal before the California Public Utilities Commission targeting net metering by making it more than twice as expensive for the little guy through fees and smaller payments.

netmeterprocessThose electrons are sold back to the rest of us at the same rate as electricity made by the utilities. So even though it’s true all of us have an interest in maintaining the grid, the proposals are not only not fair — the solar-panel installation industry says it would deeply harm their own business model. And this is not just about staying in business. As U.S. negotiators prepare to head to the Paris talks on climate change next month, all of us have an interest in creating a country with fewer carbon emissions that lead to global warming.

When a similar measure to the one before the PUC was approved in Arizona recently, the solar industry said it saw an immediate 95 percent decline in its business. Homeowners said that it no longer penciled out for them to invest the $15,000 or so it costs to go solar and recoup their invest- ment through energy savings over 10 or so years. Hawaii just passed an anti-solar bill after intense lobbying by that state’s largest utility, and big condos that were on the verge of going solar dropped their plans. Two of the sunniest places in the nation are now seeing dramatic drops in individuals going solar.

The good news is that two other states, New Mexico and Wisconsin, recently prevented their utility commissions from siding with the big utilities by making small solar power less economical.

About 130,000 Californians signed petitions to the PUC asking it to protect net metering, and big wheelbarrows of the petitions were delivered last Thursday. In the future, the formula may need tinkering with to protect the grid. But the time to change the model, just as solar is taking off, is not now.

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Long-Term Survival: Good Items for Bad Times

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Long-Term Survival You should already have your Get Out Of Dodge (GOOD) plan in place, but you may be struggling on what to bring with you when you bug out. Whether you plan to shelter-in-place or you are evacuating to a predetermined location, here is a list of items you should consider keeping on hand. […]

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Power in the Collapse or Collapse Because of Lack of Power

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Two recent pieces of information came out to prompt me to write about each Prepared Family to have a plan on how power sources for their survival during a collapse. And like the title above suggests, if the U.S. Grid is shut down, the collapse will follow.

First, we have the Federal Government warning about power outages. This in and of itself would not raise too many concerns, but in the words of the Government ” Be prepared for power outages as we rely on electricity and other utilities for survival, so when we lose power it’s a major problem. A power outage compounds the impacts of a natural disaster and increases anxiety. Having a way to communicate with family, friends, and coworkers is imperative.

The Government goes on to suggest these tips:

Plan for batteries and other alternatives to meet your needs when the power goes out and ensure you have extra compatible batteries for any device that can run on battery power (i.e., cell phones, portable phones, medical or assistive devices, radios). Consider purchasing hand-crank and solar-powered chargers.

Keep your car gas tank at least half full. Gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps. You’ll also have a good method for charging devices in an emergency or, if necessary, moving to a location with power.

Never use a generator, gasoline-powered equipment and tools, grill, camp stove, or charcoal burning device inside or in any partially enclosed area, including a basement or garage.

Install battery-operated carbon monoxide detectors or electric detectors with battery backup in central locations on every level of your home and outside of bedrooms to provide early warning of accumulating carbon monoxide, which is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, and potentially deadly gas. Plan to always keep a generator outdoors.

And finally, a friendly word from the Government about communications, which would be sorely affected by a collapse of the Grid,……Don’t wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today.

During an emergency, communication is critical. We want to know that our family is safe and taken care of. We need to let our family, friends, and coworkers know we’re okay, and be ready to help our fellow citizens by fulfilling the DHS mission. Having a family emergency communication plan with key phone numbers and other information readily available is important.

And then from USA Today, a report that “Attackers successfully compromised U.S. Department of Energy computer systems more than 150 times between 2010 and 2014”, from a review of federal records obtained by USA TODAY finds.

Cyber attackers successfully compromised the security of U.S. Department of Energy computer systems more than 150 times between 2010 and 2014, according to a review of federal records obtained by USA TODAY.

Incident reports submitted by federal officials and contractors since late 2010 to the Energy Department’s Joint Cyber security Coordination Center shows a near-consistent barrage of attempts to breach the security of critical information systems that contain sensitive data about the nation’s power grid, nuclear weapons stockpile and energy labs.

The records, obtained by USA TODAY through the Freedom of Information Act, show DOE components reported a total of 1,131 cyber attacks over a 48-month period ending in October 2014. Of those attempted cyber intrusions, 159 were successful.

“The potential for an adversary to disrupt, shut down (power systems), or worse … is real here,” said Scott White, Professor of Homeland Security and Security Management and Director of the Computing Security and Technology program at Drexel University. “It’s absolutely real.”

Energy Department officials would not say whether any sensitive data related to the operation and security of the nation’s power grid or nuclear weapons stockpile was accessed or stolen in any of the attacks, or whether foreign governments are believed to have been involved.

“DOE does not comment on ongoing investigations or possible attributions of malicious activity,” Energy Department spokesman Andrew Gumbiner said in a statement.

In all cases of malicious cyber security activity, Gumbiner said the Energy Department “seeks to identify indicators of compromise and other cyber security relevant information, which it then shares broadly among all DOE labs, plants, and sites as well as within the entire federal government.”

The National Nuclear Security Administration, a semi-autonomous agency within the Energy Department responsible for managing and securing the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile, experienced 19 successful attacks during the four-year period, records show.

While information on the specific nature of the attacks was redacted from the records prior to being released, numerous Energy Department cyber security vulnerabilities have been identified in recent years by the department’s Office of Inspector General, an independent watchdog agency.

After a cyber attack in 2013 resulted in unauthorized access to personally identifying information for more than 104,000 Energy Department employees and contractors, auditors noted “unclear lines of responsibility” and “lack of awareness by responsible officials.” In an audit report released in October of last year, the Inspector General found 41 Energy Department servers and 14 workstations “were configured with default or easily guessed passwords.”

Urban Man’s comments: What this all means is that the prepared survivor must plan for life without the electrical grid. Best case is a completely solar powered home backed up by a fuel generator and wind mills generating electrical power, but alas, only the richest can afford this. 

For the economy prepper this means have battery powered devices with common batteries and a goodly amount of rechargeable batteries – they make them in almost all sizes now. I have six sets of re-chargers that I can power from as 12 volt source (vehicle battery or cigarette plug adapter) and from folding solar panels. 

I have a several solar kits still in the box and keeping them that way in case I have to bug out. my next big purchase will be a power source 1800 Solar Generating unit, which like the name suggest, is capable of generating 1800 watts of power at peak and is re-charged through a 100 watt solar mobile panel. Just get prepared people!

Urban Man

Off Grid Air Conditioning: DIY Bucket Air Cooler for Camping and Other Uses

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diy-air-conditioner-bucket-coolerSo you decide you want to go camping in the dead heat of summer where it’s regularly in the 90’s or hotter. What do yo do to keep cool? Why not make yourself one of these off grid air conditioning devices? This diy bucket cooler not only proves useful for camping, but can also prove an extremely effective alternative to conventional air conditioning powered by electricity for people who want to live off the grid, or just save money on their electric bill.

Find out step by step…

How To Build A DIY Bucket Cooler
For Off Grid Air Conditioning