By JOSHUA KEY
How much does it cost when your power goes out? I know people who spent many hundreds of dollars running their generator after Hurricane Matthew last year. Since hurricane season is knocking at our door again, it is a question worth asking.
Businesses have to spend money to burn fuel on a gas generator, or else they have to shut down and lose revenue. Households may choose to spend it, but if you do not then you sweat in the heat. That discomfort has a cost. Aside from short blackouts, if power is off for a few days, you lose everything in the fridge – and there is a cost to that, too.
Fortunately, you do not have to lose money when the grid goes down. You can get a fully automatic solar generator to power your home or business. In the past we have talked about mini solar-generators to run a few appliances. Today, we will focus on complete, full-sized solar generators capable of running a whole home.
What is a solar generator? It is a complete solar system, often portable, that is designed to provide power when Bahamas Power & Light (BPL) does what BPL does. Of course, a regular generator needs no description – noisy, smelly and costly to run. A solar generator takes that and flips it on its head; it is silent, smooth and free to operate. No more buying diesel. No more forgetting to buy it and then having to sweat. No noise. No smell. No lethal fumes. Since a solar unit runs for free, this means your $20,000-30,000 investment pays for itself over time. It can even be used when the power is on to save you money on the electricity bill at the end of the month.
A quality solar generator can do the job of five different types of generators all by itself:
Uninterrupted Power Source (UPS): Providing you with clean power instantly and automatically whenever the grid shuts down.
Portable Generator: Using its power to propel itself on wheels, it can be installed wherever your need it. Since it produces no toxic fumes, it can even be installed to run indoors if desired.
Residential Backup Generator: Connecting directly to your home’s electrical panel to power as much of it as you like.
Renewable Energy Power Station: Integrating seamlessly with new or existing solar panels and small wind turbines.
Home Control Centre: Allowing you to control when to send power to the grid, and when to send it to your generator.
One often-overlooked benefit is the solar generator’s portability. Of course, a powerful solar unit is quite heavy, so be sure to look for a generator that drives itself. By that, I mean the generator should have wheels and be able to use its power to propel itself, making manoeuvering nearly effortless.
Consider the advantages of this portability. If you are a contractor, having a portable solar generator on site allows you to run your tools all day without having to buy fuel. For event specialists, you do not have to confine yourself to areas with easily accessible wall plugs. You can unlock truly scenic locations while still providing all the electrically-powered comforts your clients are used to, without the noise or smell of a regular generator to hamper your event.
If you are a restaurant or small hotel on a more remote island, being able to get the solar generator to where it is needed will keep your customers happy. If you want to take the boat and camp out on the island for a few days, the solar generator allows you to ‘rough it’ in the lap of luxury. For your home, that portability means your automatic solar generator can be installed almost anywhere you want – indoors or out.
Our next article will discuss other benefits of an automatic solar generator. In the mean time, whether you are preparing for hurricane season or for BPL, you do not have to lose money when the lights go out. You can have silent, smooth, free electricity. And you can even use it when the lights are on to save money. Solar generators are one of the revolutionary, affordable solutions that make the Bahamas greener while putting green in your pocket.
• NB: Joshua Key is general manager for SuperGreen Solutions Bahamas, located on Wulff Road next to FYP. SuperGreen Solutions is one of the premier advisors, suppliers and installers of domestic and commercial energy efficient solutions.