Solar Companies Seek Ways to Build an Oasis of Electricity

Most people believe that installing solar panels for a house automaticly takes the house “off the grid” but we can see that during hurricane Sandy they clearly were not. Most of them are part of “the grid” which meant that when all the power lines across the northeast were destroyed people such as Ed Antonio were saying “Here’s a $70,000 system sitting idle,”  Ed could do nothing but look on at his 42 panels as well as those on several other houses in the area go unused on Oct. 29. “That’s a lot of power sitting. Just sitting.” he said.

Mr. Antonio’s solar panels are engineered to feed electricity from the roof through an inverter and into the home’s electrical panel. The ecxess is sent to the broader electric grid. The problem with the failure was that the inverter automatically shut down the system to guarantee that no electricity is running into the equipment that workers might be trying to fix. The shutdown also ensures that the system’s current will synchronize with the grid when power is up and running.

But there is a way to set up a makeshift solar charging station between a car roof and a shopping cart. Which was figured out later during the disaster. Many solar companies are now creating certain systems that allow solar panels to run a household directly during prolonged power failures, which is combined with battery storage to keep the power working 24/7.

Chapter 16

Alejandro Rey

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/20/business/energy-environment/solar-power-as-solution-for-storm-darkened-homes.html

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