If you’re banking on Reno not suffering from a natural disaster in the near future, you’ll have better statistical odds against the slot machines a few miles down U.S. 95 in Las Vegas.
And, if you’re a Reno resident without rooftop solar, you are, quite literally, banking on a natural disaster not happening. Among natural disaster concerns in this region are wildfires, floods, blizzards, high winds and earthquakes.
It’s one reason solar has expanded in the Reno market and other natural disaster-prone locations throughout America. Reno is just a microcosm of a greater emergency preparedness crisis plaguing America, which residential solar can cure.
Examples of How Solar Could’ve Softened the Effects of Recent Disasters
Unfortunately, there are numerous recent examples to draw from. Fortunately, these examples point to solar as a clear, nationwide disaster mitigation strategy.
For instance, after Hurricane Irma stampeded through Florida, residents demanded so much gasoline the suppliers couldn’t meet the expectations. Nearly 65 percent of some Florida areas were completely out of gas.
To exacerbate the situation, when Florida Governor Rick Scott ordered immediate evacuations, the lack of fuel caused by excessive demand for gas left many Floridians stranded.
Had the sun supplied residents with their fuel via rooftop solar and electric vehicles, a greater number of evacuations would’ve occurred, and many of the lives lost in the disaster may have been saved.
With a solar carport, rooftop solar, and an electrically-powered vehicle, the roof of one’s home becomes a gas station, accomplishing two useful objectives amid a natural disaster:
1) preventing the need to drive somewhere to fill up, including the risks such an outing would pose, and 2) saving crucial time needed to adjust to the natural disaster appropriately.
What Traditional Electricity Producers Lack in Terms of Disaster Prevention
Coal plants (which still supply the vast majority of American energy), operate much differently than solar panels amid natural disasters.
They are usually shut down the second there’s a natural disaster warning. And, if the coal facility is damaged by the natural disaster, it will be shut down even longer once the rebuilding and cleanup process commences.
Why? Most of these coal plants rely on grid transposal to send energy to any disaster-affected areas, and these transposal conduits are frequently ruined in the grasp of a natural disaster.
This makes sending energy to affected areas from external power sources out of the question, therein opening up the floodgates for even more damage, confusion, and chaos.
The Disaster Preparation Diversity of Solar Panels
This doesn’t just apply to hurricanes, though. Residential and commercial solar can combat all creeds of natural disaster, from earthquakes to floods.
If a flood occurs, any solar array that isn’t completely flooded will continue to generate electricity.
Although inclement weather is not conducive to optimal electricity generation from solar panels, the panels will still produce some energy, making them preferable over traditional energy generation methods in emergencies.
Additionally, when Hurricane Harvey struck Houston and went down as the costliest cyclone in recorded human history (costing approximately $200 billion in damages and an incalculable emotional toll), several savvy solar energy pundits explained how distributed solar could’ve mitigated the widespread damage the disaster caused.
One of the foremost byproducts of a natural disaster is a loss of electrical supply. And this doesn’t just apply to large-scale, grid-tied commercial systems; it applies to everyday residences as well.
With solid racking, less to break, and increasingly sturdy engineering, contemporary solar arrays are incredibly damage-resistant.
What’s more, these systems have no drips, fuel repositories, or combustion mechanisms. Their durability is a force to be reckoned with, much like the disasters nature dolls out in seemingly increased number.
If you feel many news stations and media moguls overhype the many possible and “long overdue” natural disasters in America, you aren’t just wrong about whether they’ll occur, but also because of how ill-equipped most of us are to deal with these disasters when they strike, as the aforementioned examples suggest.
The numerous disasters that have occurred in the past several years can teach us about the importance solar energy will play in mitigating disasters in the future, and, therefore, in saving lives.
It’s only at looking through the scope of existing natural disasters that we can learn about the solar solutions we can use to safeguard our lives and loved ones against the dangers these catastrophes impose.
Sustainability is not just about being green and cost-efficient. It’s about ensuring safety, continuing our standard of living, and equipping ourselves to contend with the forces of nature that are, unfortunately, beyond our control.
The Future Implications Solar Will Have on Disaster Relief, Assistance, and Preparation
In a twist of painful irony, the increased greenhouse gas emissions caused by traditional electricity production methods will likely increase land temperatures, which could increase the intensity of storms like tropical cyclones and higher wind speeds.
If Mother Nature is sending us a message, solar is the loud, clear, and justifiable response.
The sun is an endless resource, and it doesn’t require manpower to function. When human resources are tending to the wreckage of a natural disaster, solar power continues to run unmanned, giving it yet another leg up on traditional energy production in the wake of a natural disaster.
Ground-mounted and rooftop residential solar, adopted in mass, can mitigate future disasters, and wouldn’t require costly implementation, either. These systems save families, corporations, and individuals money regardless of whether a natural disaster occurs.
Aside from the sturdiness of the panels and solar rooftop modules, solar providers with battery back up don’t just prepare us for disasters, they prepare us for short-term, minor losses in power.
With a world increasingly tied to electricity and powered devices, power continuity—on both domestic and commercial levels—is non-negotiable.
Mother Nature has a way of hitting us where it hurts. If we don’t start using the resources she’s given us in mass, this trend will only intensify.
The only way to make sure that we are doing the best we can in preventing the damage natural disasters doll out is to prepare ourselves with the solar equipment needed to make overcoming them easier.
Given that solar is more affordable than ever and natural disaster are imposing a greater risk than ever with greater population density, the opportunity to go solar has never been more viable.