Over the past month, the Americas have sustained extensive damage from 3 major Atlantic hurricanes and 2 major earthquakes in Mexico. In terms of destroyed houses and businesses, ruined cars, and lost lives, it has been an extremely costly couple of weeks.
One common factor present in the aftermath of each of these disasters has been the loss of electrical power. Harvey knocked out power for 250,000 people. Irma topped 4 million. Maria has deprived 3.5 million people of electricity in Puerto Rico alone. The earthquakes in Mexico City and Oaxaca resulted in blackouts for well over 5 million.
Without electricity, our capability to conduct our modern way of life becomes immediately and severely curtailed. Communication instantly stops. Food quickly spoils. Sundown puts an end to all activity. Air conditioning and water well pumps no longer function.
And as prolonged blackouts often go hand-in-hand with gas shortages, disaster victims are often truly forced into a "dark ages" lifestyle.
This week, Chaz Peling, founder of Sol Solutions, joins the podcast to share his expertise on residential backup power options. The good news is that recent technology advancements offer more robust and affordable solutions than ever before. The bad news is, you have to invest the effort to procure an install them in advance of the next crisis for them to be of use.
Click the play button below to listen to my interview with Chaz Peling (47m:15s).
Adam Taggart: Hello, and welcome to the Resilient Life Broadcast. Resilient Life is part of Peak Prosperity.Com. It’s where we focus on practical and actionable knowledge for building a better future. I’m your host Adam Taggart. Well since my recent broadcast on emergency preparedness with Matt Stein, we’ve seen the extensive damage Hurricane Irma inflicted on Florida, the absolute carnage Hurricane Maria is wreaking on Caribbean, and a devastating 7.4 magnitude earthquake in Mexico City. It’s been a sadly traumatic two weeks. Joining us this week is long-time Peak Prosperity member Chaz Peling an expert on backup electrical solutions. A key topic right now with the aforementioned disasters knocked out power for millions. We’ll be talking with Chaz today about the importance of having back-up electrical in place before emergencies strikes. And we will explore the pros and cons of the various types of solutions out there in the market. Chaz’s company, SolSolutions, manufactures portable solar generators, so I am sure he will have lots to say about those. Chaz, thanks so much for joining us today for this very timely discussion. Are you ready?
Chaz Peling: Yes, I am.
Adam Taggart: Alright, it’s a pleasure to have you here.
Chaz Peling: Thanks for inviting me over, Adam.
Adam Taggart: Well first off, give our listeners a quick background on how you came to be an expert in this field.
Chaz Peling: Well, I have been living off-grid actually for quite a number of years, kind of the homestead life or what I call the off-grid life, where you had to learn how to make your own electricity when you are not hooked up to the grid. And doing that is kind of a learning experience and it makes you more aware of where your stuff comes from, including your electricity. And early on, starting in the eighties, I started learning about electric and solar and batteries just to hook up some lights just to have lights or have radio or any kind of music or doing any kind of activity at all. So that was my start in the solar business and it has been predominately off-grid. Most of the time, I’ve also been involved in electrical and work in the construction trades a number of years. And I have always had that interest on resiliency, homesteading and that kind of thing. Do-it-yourself, that’s been my background.
SolSolutions has been going about ten years now. We started building our own made in the U.S.A. solar generators specifically for temporary power, off-grid power and backup power. And that’s what we’ve been doing and we continually are adding to that portfolio and offering solutions for people across the board for providing your own power, lighting, that kind of thing.
Adam Taggart: Okay, okay. So, let’s get to some of those disasters that I mentioned earlier and talk about the importance of having back-up power in case it goes out whether it is due to natural disaster or regular black-out or some grid down event or whatever. You wrote a great piece on this topic for the Peak Prosperity website back in 2012. What are kind of the key facts that people need to know about this topic?
Chaz Peling: Yeah, we witnessed a lot of activity under Superstorm Sandy and some of the earlier hurricanes in Florida. The tornados that hit the south and one of the things that was noted was we would always get a lot of calls coming in after the fact because people realized the grid would be down. Maybe people might experience only one day or two days, but certain areas where the actual utility infrastructure was really destroyed, power lines and stuff, people went through sometimes weeks without power in certain areas during these last disasters. The other thing that was a real surprise for people and not in a pleasant way is their usual backup, which would be gas generators. They suddenly realized that there was no gas available. And that kind of threw a curveball to a lot of people that thought, oh well, I have a generator and I’ll just plug it in. There’s another series of technical issues that need to be addressed and continually need to be addressed around how you go ahead and feed your own electric into your meter or your house system. That is constantly being addressed by electrical contractors and utilities to be able to do it safely. And the resiliency and emergency preparedness, disaster preparedness across the board is a constant educational process to get you personally ready for when there are no outside services and that could be a lot of other things, including water, gas, electric, availability of gasoline, the road closed, anything like that. So, whatever you can have ready that is immediately available at your home or in your neighborhood, is probably a really good thing at this point. And that is the definition of preparedness.
Adam Taggart: Yeah, and I am just thinking about the people right now who live in Puerto Rico, right that just took a direct hit from Hurricane Maria where right now the entire island is without power. So, it is not even like there’s a neighborhood that you can go over that still has power, the entire island of three and a half million people has no power right now. So, unless you had some sort of solution like this lined up in advance, you are basically living in the dark ages until the central authorities there start getting that system back online, which of course is going to take a long, long time. I think we are talking weeks to months here for many people.
Chaz Peling: Yeah, that’s what I’m hearing is that it is going to take quite a lot of work to put that back together and now I would say utilities in the United States are highly regarded service industry and when these kind of weather related disasters happen, there’s a lot of work and emphasis put on to restore power. But the power grid is very much an essential component of our modern lifestyle, across the board. It affects communication, it affects food, it affects water, it affects transportation, everything because it is all touched and run by electricity. And when that electricity stops, okay, back to square one. What do you do?
Adam Taggart: Yep, alright well, let’s start or should have with the topic of electricity. So, let’s say that I am somebody listening to this podcast, I’m watching some of these disasters happen and realizing that the same thing could happen in my area for whatever reason, of course out here in California that is likely to be an earthquake, but it certainly can be other things, as well. And if I don’t have backup systems in place right now, what are the questions I should start asking? How should I start thinking about this? What are the different solutions out there? I’m going to be looking at which ones might be appropriate for my homestead and then earlier you said some of this stuff requires or at least electric contractors are involved in making sure this stuff is going to set up safely and what not. How much of this could a regular person do, who doesn’t know a lot about electricity, how much do they need to rely on an expert for? Basically, how would a regular person begin to think through all this?
Chaz Peling: Well, there is definitely the regular homeowner and person that wants to be more prepared for disasters. There’s much you can do personally right now, having to do with the short term. And there is stuff that you can get, that is available right now, across the board to markets that has really come along that is all about short term power. That’s small, portable, almost consumer grade. One of the key things is lighting. Very important that you have lighting both in your house and if you have to go outside.
So, there’s a bunch of new technology having to do with the smaller, lithium batteries, with solar inputs and led lights. That has transformed a lot of the portable and personal lighting solutions that are out there. You know if your batteries run down or you can buy batteries from the store, that’s not going to help you. But there is quite a lot of new lighting devices from flashlights to camping lights to you name it that have very long batteries that don’t run down, that can be solar charged and/or charged from any kind bigger input such as a generator or your car. Many, many of them now plug into a cigarette lighter or they will plug into a bigger battery pack or charge off the generator or charge off the sun. Those are highly recommended these days to throw in your glovebox of your car, have in your emergency backup pack that you might keep in your house. Everyone should have one of those, they are very reasonable priced right now and they have really kinda got it down. This is something that we have added into our portfolio and kind of sorted through some of the best. And I have literally had flashlights I’ve thrown into the glove box or drawer for six months or year or long and pull out and they still work.
Adam Taggart: And they still work.
Chaz Peling: Which is amazing because the old-style batteries never did that. So that is just one little things that you could do…
Adam Taggart: Sounds like, sorry to interrupt, but that just sounds like a really essential first step which if can’t see, there’s really not much you can do once the sun goes down. So, these are essentially flashlights, lanterns, etc. that you are saying are super-efficient because they have the modern LED technology and the batteries are rechargeable. And the batteries, you can use unchangeably or is it a built-in battery to the device and you are charging that device?
Chaz Peling: It is a built-in battery to the device but it is new lithium battery technology that is able to hold a charge a long, long time. It does not run down and it has more power for the density for the size of the device. And it’s usually three-way charging either solar or cigarette lighter or 110 AC power. If you have the right adapter and one of the additional things that a lot of these as they keep expanding have is a USB output and there’s a lot of universal power starting to go on in the electronics world which is very handy and it ties into your cell phone and to your other devices. If you can also do an emergency charge on your phone that helps with your communication. If you have any other little USB type devices, then you can charge them off these items. And as you move up the chain, there’s some bigger devices now that have an even battery pack that run lighting longer and even, we’re seeing some very good car based jump starter packs right now.
Adam Taggart: Oh really?
Chaz Peling: Yeah, they are actually in the thousand to two thousand milliamp range that are very, very good. They will actually jump start many vehicles, have a light on them, have a USB output charge so you will always have your communication device, you’re going to have a light and you can jump start your car. So those are just really basic kind of stuff that you can get these days in the hundred to two-hundred-dollar range.
Adam Taggart: All right great, that was my next question. That would be great. So, pretty affordable for very valuable, fundamental kind of the bottom of the pyramid resiliency here.
Chaz Peling: Exactly, this is what call a personal preparedness item. See now, the flashlight, the battery pack and that kind of thing and it keeps scaling up what we call personal level power and lighting. It should start small and then pricewise and size wise and weight wise and it just scales up depending on what you want to do and how much you want to power. A lot of these are small and carriable, you can throw them in the backpack or have them in the trunk of your car, even take them on a plane. Some of them now include a lithium battery pack and an unfoldable thin film solar okay…
Adam Taggart: So, there’s two ways to charge with?
Chaz Peling: Yeah, hybrid so you can charge it off a car, cigarette lighter or any USB or wall or unfold it and put it in the sun. And those get even more handy at that point. They are still small enough to take with you but they will do actual work and that is the personal size power.
Adam Taggart: Inside any brands that you like if someone is motivated to go research some of this?
Chaz Peling: We have been extremely happy with the hybrid light flashlights that are out of Utah. Actually, we’ve been carrying them like six, seven years and seen them in action. They are reasonably priced. Very well, we consider them from our perspective one of the better made out there. And we’ve also been very happy with sun jack with portable kits too, that are full power packages that fold out. There’s a number of new ones that are coming on that we are evaluating more that keep going up the chain and it is a matter of making sure they work though and not being a throw-away. This is the ongoing test of quality control that has to happen in our modern economy.
Adam Taggart: Great. So, we have got the basics there with lighting. How about power itself?
Chaz Peling: So, the next step up in the power of the personal power chain is when you want to start having 110-volt electricity AC to run your typical house power type things. The small level is electronics and laptops and the LED lighting that’s out now is a very good thing because it takes very little electricity. These days you can run a lot of stuff off a small amount of electricity because of the revolution in energy and efficiency across the board. We are seeing that in many, many items now. So that it is still allowing you to have a smaller system that can run a decent amount of things that you might need on your own. These are things that you can own and this is where we go into some of our portable solar generator stuff that is like maybe a size up from just a little case to maybe like a rolling case or a cart that is still portable but it is bigger in size but it is movable and now you can get into the kind of electricity that will run certain key items in your home and we like to consider that the next step up from short term. You are kinda going into medium term preparedness resiliency around your home. So, what are the key things that you might want to run in your home if the electricity is out for say three or four days, five days, heading toward seven days. Well at that point you might want to run your refrigerator, you might want to run your communications, your tv to watch news about the disaster. You might have some kind of water pump that you might need, which is always depending on how much that takes. There’s a lot of other appliances you might be able to run in your house. You know, fans and all kinds of things like that. We’re talking about in the ten to twenty-amp range, being able to pull an extension cord or get a few circuits in your house running and that is in the next size up. Kinda midscale, still available that the solar generator could do and these are devices that have everything included all-in-one, the battery, the inverter components, the solar controller and the solar panels. And that is one of our specialties and we put those together as a bundle that you can buy and you can take with you. And these can be also put in your backyard and so you can run an extension cord into your house and run things as needed for the shorter to mid-term.
Adam Taggart: Great, just help people to envision this. This is basically from what I have seen from your site, this is a unit that has wheels so it is like a cart that you, like you said that you can put out in your backyard. I imagine you angle it toward where it gets the best sun exposure and then you run an extension cord from the unit into your house. But you can basically move this wherever you want, you can throw it in the back of a truck and take it somewhere if you wanted to take it with you to… if you have cabin or some other location that you go to where you want power while you are there. It is that type of transportable ability, right?
Chaz Peling: Exactly, it is personal size if you have a small truck, a van or vehicle. There’s different sizes, there’s smaller ones you could almost fit in a car, you know it scales up and these are in the range of a thousand-watt outputs up to three maybe even four thousand-watt outputs. You can get some different styles of them, some of them have the main box on wheels, the solar panel separate. Some of them tie together, they fold down. They’ll come apart so it is easier to move. The advantage of these items is that this is a completely self-contained plug and play unit and that you can move. It is not tied to your house, electric or the grid. It is completely independent and the other advantage that they have is because the solar panels are separate not attached to your roof, you can also move the solar panels to where the sun is. Or move them out of the zone of disaster as needed too as the case may be. All of these items are also designed usually with inbound chargers and they work really, really well if you want to extend the ability of your gas generator.
We talked about the usual go to for backup horsepower, which is a lot of people have, which is a gas generator, which is great until you run out of gas. Okay, so if you have a gas generator, it’s good to keep it filled and serviced at least and have some, if you can store it safely, some extra gas. If you have one of these mid-sized solar generators you can actually extend the run time of your generators significantly by doing that. And we call that a hybrid system because the generator will charge the batteries up if the solar is not doing very good, if it is cloudy or rainy. Obviously, you get not much solar but they’ll have batteries, which is like the fuel tank but the generator can charge those batteries up at any time. The generator also allows you to run your higher amperage stuff if you have a three-thousand, five-thousand, six-thousand-watt generator you could then, if you have to run your well pump or some heavier duty items that take twenty amps or more, you can do that just for the time they need to be done but then you could turn your generator off and use your solar generator to run the smaller ticket items, like your lighting and your electronics and stuff like that. We call that a power management and using the correct tool for the job so to speak. And what that does is it extends your run time over all by that hybrid system, you can switch it back and forth. And if you only have five gallons of gas, you want to get the maximum run time. That’s where that comes in handy.
Adam Taggart: So, let’s take a moment to talk about that. So, not everybody listening is not going to know exactly what you mean when you say a twenty-amp appliance or whatnot but basically the higher the amps, the more power draws that appliance uses and so to give you a good example of where you would need a gas-powered generator, let’s say you wanted to run a clothes dryer.
Chaz Peling: Clothes dryer, yes.
Adam Taggart: But for an energy star refrigerator, that is going to use an awful lot less; so that would be a really good candidate for the solar powered generator. Anyway, I like about what you are constructing here with this hybrid system is I have a system that in theory lets me do a lot more and I can extend the power of both sources much longer by using the best source for the best moment. Of course, the solar generator is great when the sun is shining it is much less good at night and so you switch over to the gas generator, so that anything the solar generator can’t do at night but use the gas generator for the higher amp that maybe the things that you are going to do less frequently but are more important at times, like pulling water from your well. And then if, unfortunately the power outage lasts so long that your run out of gas, at least you have that solar one to do a reduced load for as long as you can.
Chaz Peling: Yeah and that is a good way to do it and this brings in the third item that really helps all of this happen in the planning of your home. Which is the importance of energy efficiency. When you’re thinking about your appliances and your usage of electricity, right now if you go energy star on all your appliances, if you change all your lights to LED, if you have more recent electronic kind of stuff, more flat screen tv’s, modern computers, just everything coming out in the last five years has been accelerated in the energy efficiency department. And that fact alone, really sets you up to be able to run much longer in your home if you have done that work on energy efficiency because you are basically needing less electric for everything. And that is a key key difference when it comes down to having no outside power from the grid. If you don’t use much electricity to run your house, then you can run a lot more and for a lot longer and that’s how it works. And the amount of equipment that you’ll need to run things will also be reduced, too.
Now as we move into the medium-term backup power into your house, it is very important that people understand that you can’t just take a gas generator or a solar generator and try to plug it back into the grid. There are some safety considerations, the utilities are always talking to people about that. You hear about it in Florida. It is very important that any kind of system like that, you have a safety disconnect switch installed by professional electrical contractor, that’s between your meter and your main box that allows you, if you want the capability of putting power back into your house, it can do that safely, without backfeeding the grid. This has been an ongoing issue whenever there is a disaster in these places with everybody firing up generators and trying to plug it straight into their grid. You do not want to feed power back to the grid because that puts the utility workers in danger and it’s an unsafe situation. So, I wanted to point that out, that’s a really good idea to make sure you have that installed. Very least, it turns off the power to the grid. One you want to plug something in you can feed power then through your network. The next step up from that is some people are even putting in an essential needs subpanel in their house from an electrical contractor that just puts the key circuits you might need, say like a couple of lighting circuits, your pump, your refrigerator, any other kind of item like that that is just essential needs. And that way some of these systems you can just feed that sub panel box. It can be done professionally and then it is all set up and it makes it real nice.
Adam Taggart: Great, so that is basically a direct line from the generator to that essential needs…
Chaz Peling: Correct, the simplest one is a plug on the side of your house that will come from your generator either 220 or 110 depending with a switch turns off your main meter. So, you could feed power back in either from a gas generator or from a solar generator and this goes up to even the longer-term solution now that is coming on very stronger is more sophisticated, larger battery backup systems that are coming on the market that are directly designed to intertie with grid solar. If you have grid tie solar on your house and more and more people are looking at the options for that and the advantages including all the tax breaks, most of the grid tie will not work if the grid goes down the utility power is not there almost all the grid ties installed in America will stop functioning. This has been an item we have been continually pointing out to people for the last ten years. That is starting to be rectified by some new integrated battery backup energy appliances that are coming on the market and we are involved in that, that will install for instance in your garage or somewhere in your home that will store power from the rooftop panels and be able to run your whole house, usually they are fed into that essential needs subpanel. And that is a full contractor type of install by a professional.
These are very sophisticated. One of the key things they do right off the bat is give you up to 4 to 8 kw or maybe 12 kw of backup power on your home. Essentially you can be independent on power if you want. There are some other features that are really handy, people looking to reduce their utility bill. Because you have that much storage you can basically load shift your power and get much better utility rates. You can do all kinds of tricks with the time of use rates with the various utilities. We predict that these are going to start coming on really hot and heavy. There are some new incentives coming on, certainly in California, for this kind of thing. We see that as a big improvement of the resiliency of the electric grid in America. These kinds of items are going really big in other parts of the world including in Japan since Fukushima. And in Germany, where the government was very promoting to coming off the nuclear power, too. So, these like very first world economy and nations are quite ahead of America in the installation of the home based and business based battery backup systems.
Adam Taggart: Great so that means you are basically saying it has already been battle tested in these other developed nations and all we need to do is catch up basically.
Chaz Peling: Yeah, yeah, they are proven outright now. The lithium battery technology is finally stabilizing. It’s gone through a few rounds of testing and engineering and they are getting very sophisticated of how these works and that is an additional add-on for a homeowner but when you think about the cost of items of what it would cost you to have no electricity for two weeks, it starts looking pretty good then.
Adam Taggart: Yeah and it also sounds like you’re able to potentially save money with this system installed because you can basically draw from your battery storage and when electricity costs a lot from the grid and then only drop from the grid during the times fuel is where it’s cheaper.
Chaz Peling: Correct. This is actually economic reason that can be presented along with your overall cost on this when you throw in the tax credits and you could almost zero out your electric bill if you wanted to.
Adam Taggart: So, let me just sort of repeat this back to you to make sure that I understand it because I think this is really big news and we have a number of listeners who have solar installations on their homes but I would imagine the majority of them are grid tied as opposed to off grid. But one of the downsides of grid tied solar production on your house is that when the grid goes down you lose that electricity. You don’t get access to the electricity even the ones that your panels are generating. So, if there is a blackout in your area, there’s a blackout in your house.
Chaz Peling: Correct.
Adam Taggart: Unless you are totally off grid which comes with its own set of challenges and of course we have got some folks who are listening who are off grid as well but the challenge has been you kinda have to be one or the other for most people. What you are now saying is that people who are grid tied now have the ability to be off grid in a grid down event with these interim battery backup solutions that you are talking about.
Chaz Peling: Correct.
Adam Taggart: That does sound like a pretty big game changer, that is really encouraging to hear.
Chaz Peling: It’s all about the batteries and the integration aspect of it. And it’s come to a head and is moving quite along because of the technology.
Adam Taggart: You said earlier and it makes total sense this is something that should be installed and set up by a professional contractor.
Chaz Peling: Absolutely.
Adam Taggart: Two things. One is there particular systems that your like again brands that people can investigate and then ballpark what’s this going to cost somebody who has a grid tied house to be able to convert to this interim?
Chaz Peling: We’re looking at several that are coming on very, very closely. There was quite a lot of hype over the last couple of years with the Tesla Power Wall and the fact of the matter is, those are not readily, commercially available at this time. And there’s still some issues that are being worked out. We have not seen them as a go to solution yet. There’s been a lot of requests and inquiries about that but not there.
The two we are working with right now are Saunan, which is a major German company that’s doing a huge footprint in Europe, integrated battery complete package that drops in with any kind of grid tie solar.
The other one we are looking at is out of Japan, Tabuchi Electric. That is very, very sophisticated and I feel like those two are some of the primes we are looking at right now. Their scalable in the battery size of the system. So, you are looking at anywhere absolute minimum ten to fifteen thousand probably with install on up to twenty, twenty-five thousand. It is a matter of the size of the system, how much electricity you want overall, at what point. Do you want 4kw, you want 8kw, you want 12kw and then the other optional item is how much battery storage you want. For instance, do you want one, two, three days of storage so size of the battery. So that scales up too and impacts the cost. And then you have the cost of a professional solar contractor installing everything and doing your sub panel box. It’s a system designed to be done right but once you have that, that’s going to give you a lot of peace of mind. I would think that would be the cap of your solar investment that you have on your roof to finish that off and have that device in there to store your power. That kind of complete the circle really.
Adam Taggart: Okay, thanks for detailing that out and so it sounds like somewhere ten grand and twenty-five grand given the complexity of the system. And the cost of that could be partially deferred by some of the tax credits and stuff like that.
Chaz Peling: This is correct, yes.
Adam Taggart: Great. So, you’ve taken us then through the primary and the immediate personal steps and the intermediary and now we are talking about much longer term with these long term electrical productions systems that we are talking about and storage systems. You know, does that complete the system or is there any other parts of home power you think people should be looking at?
Chaz Peling: Well, I think that the layout is to consider is small, medium, large and the cost factor follows that same pattern and it also follows exactly with what you are trying to do. If you are just trying to get a little bit of electricity, okay you can keep it simple and it moves up the scale in cost and size and portability. And then if you are looking for the long term real solution, obviously that is an investment for the long term. Every one of these includes also a caveat of learning a little bit more about how you use power so you can be smarter about it, so that energy efficiency comes in really strong. You start looking at the rest of your electric use and going how can I do this smarter? And that applies to your pumps, your usage patterns, your appliances, your lighting, across the board. Work smarter, not harder we say.
There is an interesting little key point on some of these and caveats too that indirectly related to the hurricanes especially in Texas and Florida and Puerto Rico, which is may be a benefit for the smaller, portable ones is that a key item in the news is that all the roofs were ripped off in the hurricane areas. Well, if your solar ray is attached to your roof, that might not work out so well for you. So, one of the things that some people are doing more of the extreme prepper type of folks are considering the ability to put equipment in an area that will withstand 150 mile an hour wind and debris flying through the air. So, that is high level preparedness and that is possibly more of a basement type situation that you can get your equipment into or something else that’s really locked down. If you have a portable generator that is somewhat movable, for instance, you can actually get that into an area that if you know a weather related or hurricane or tornado is going you could move it out of harm’s way because if your house and your systems damaged or destroyed in the weather there goes your electric too. That’s just a consideration.
There’s another point in there that’s been brought up in some of the disaster preps too which is what about EMP pulse, solar flares and stuff like that. And that has been discussed also with the idea once again, secure areas for your equipment, portable. We’ve seen people take the shipping containers that are metal and if you have a property, you have in your preparedness zone, possibly packed into a shipping container that you a big fat ground to earth. And that actually there’s a lot of theories that an EMP or solar flare situation that it would fry a lot of electrical stuff. That would be a huge problem in the aftermath. And there’s a lot of theories that say if you can put that into a steel cage that is well grounded, you have a much better shot of your key electrical items making it through.
Adam Taggart: Okay, so you essentially create a faraday cage of whatever size you can, whether it is something that can fit in your basement or whether it is something large like a shipping container but store some percentage of your electrical tools there, essential electrical tools there so that if there is some sort of an EMP and everything does get fried you have at least got some that have survived.
Chaz Peling: That might be the gold standard of a backup is if you have a forty-foot container that was really locked down to the earth in concrete, bolted down and with a big fat ground strap and you put your key items in there. You might as well put some food and water in there too and some extra fuel and certainly your solar generated equipment and power equipment. You might stand a good chance of getting through a lot of situations. It’s just a theory though.
Adam Taggart: Okay, well that’s definitely getting to the belts and suspenders part but those are definitely real risks and we’ve talked to an expert from NASA a couple of times on this program about the risk of simply a solar flare and something of the magnitude of the Carrington event back in the 1800’s happening again and it sadly is not a dismissible risk so I think that is wise to point out the wisdom of doing that if you can.
Chaz Peling: It is something to think about. All this is really looking at the idea of preparedness and the economics of it is the real cost differential between long term thinking or sustainable thinking you might say versus the short term, immediate ROI so to speak from a spreadsheet. Many, many spreadsheets I’ve seen don’t have a column for those kinds of really large-scale situations where infrastructure breaks down. There’s a missing column and number in that and what is that cost.
Adam Taggart: Yeah it sounds like anybody who’s putting solar on their house this should be part of the decision-making process which is that is a large investment, they are already working with professional contractors on the design. Certainly, up there should be okay, well how resilient do you want to be in a grid data event and for ten thousand more, fifteen thousand more, twenty thousand more we can add these redundancies into your home system.
Chaz Peling: Exactly it just allows you to be more in charge of your own situation and be able to ride out infrastructure breakdowns and be more prepared and more resilient and not dependent on outside agency to come rescue you or all that kind of stuff is just going to be kinda things that in the long run there going to make more strong communities and more abilities to bounce back over any kind of disaster that you can think of.
Adam Taggart: Right, we’ve seen both in Houston, Florida and the Caribbean now. Many, many people were completely unprepared for what happened to them and of course these were major disasters that have happened. It is hard to be prepared for a Cat 4 or Cat 5 hurricane or a 7.4 magnitude earthquake. But you know one of the more important and more inspiring parts that we are seeing the aftermath are the people that do have resources, whether it is skills or they’ve got anything from a bit of extra water to they got power when their neighbors don’t and they’re being part of the solution right there. They’re there to help out those people who weren’t prepared or who had their preparations swept away by the disaster. So, putting yourself in the position where you can not only take care of your immediate self and family but also be in service to those in your community. We need as many people to be able to play that role when these times of tragedies occur.
Chaz Peling: Yes, this is an interesting thought on that too that I just read an article about the kind of public disaster preparedness groups the sur-trainings that were going around that started at usually the volunteer fire departments and they wanted to reach out, this is part of the transition town movement this came up a lot to get more of the neighborhoods and local communities somewhat organized along this idea of having preparedness items and equipment and training somewhat together to know where the resources are. And when things really break down to be able to reach out to your immediate neighbors and the authorities might not be answering the phone and so better start talking to your neighbors at that point.
Adam Taggart: I literally was just watching the news this morning, that is the situation in Puerto Rico right now, where the police and the civil authorities have basically said we are not available right now. We are taking care of both our own personal families as well as just trying to get our systems back online. So, you can’t count on us for at least the next couple of days. It is not theoretical this could happen someday, we are actually watching it happen right now in a U. S. Territory.
Chaz Peling: And live interaction with cell phone videos and that is a very sobering reality check to think about ahead as we tell people to call in after a disaster. Please don’t wait till after a disaster to call us, it will cost a lot more and your credit card won’t work.
Adam Taggart: That’s right. Well, Chaz in wrapping this up, I’m going to suspect that there is a number of people listening to this podcast who have been inspired to take some advance actions here and so we mentioned at the beginning of the podcast that you run a company SolSolutions. I am going to give you an opportunity to direct people who want to want to learn more about you and the number of products that you discussed where they can go. But I imagine a lot of people here are going to have questions, especially because a number of the solutions you talked about really should be done in partnership with a licensed contractor to make sure they are done right. Are you open to people contacting you with questions that you can either ask directly or refer them to solutions?
Chaz Peling: Absolutely, we’ve actually been developing our website to have some educational material and learning around solar and some of these topics I talked about and we keep adding onto this. In fact, Adam this may inspire me to rewrite a new five-year version of What Do You Do When the Power Goes Out white paper for you. So, I’m thinking there is a lot of material there to add to that now. We have some stuff like that on the website at Sol-Solutions, is our company. www.Sol-Solutions.com is our website. My email is [email protected] and our phone number we’re based in Sonoma County here in Northern California, 707-515-6783.
Adam Taggart: Great, well thank you for generously making all that contact information available to our folks, I do suspect that you will get a number of questions from folks. Folks who are listening we will put links to Chaz’s site and his email address and the educational materials he mentioned, that will all accompany this podcast so you will be able to find it directly. Chaz, it’s been a great discussion and I really appreciate you taking the time to go into this and I know there are a couple of other meaty discussions related to this material like the level of solvency of the government funds that are available to bail out these post disaster areas and of course there are a lot of mal-incentives for people to simply rebuild in places where there is probably going to be another natural disaster quite soon. So, I want to flag that for as material for a future podcast because I think we could go forty-five minutes on just those alone but I really appreciate you bringing your expertise to this topic. It is very timely and very important.
Chaz Peling: Well, I really appreciate the invitation Adam, and I’m happy and supportive of what you guys have been doing with the community and doing on your website and bringing the material that your share together to offer to people. I have been tracking it for a while, I am on the same page.
Adam Taggart: Well thanks, Chaz. Alright, we’ll get you back here soon. Thank you much.