While hurricane season officially starts June 1, there has already been a named storm that
landed off the coast of South Carolina – TS Ana. Now seems like a good time to review a few
practical tips for those in hurricane zones (Florida to New York) and ways to keep the lights on.
We’ll start with the obvious: a standby generator, and then consider some more recent
developments in power storage.
Get a Standby-Generator
There are several options here, from portable generators used to tailgating to full-home installed
generator systems with on-site fuel storage. In high-end communities like Boca Raton, Florida,
it’s common for most houses to have either natural-gas fed standby generation or even have a
permitted on-site propane storage tank, reports real estate brokerage Palmetto Park Realty, a
company that caters to higher-end real estate in Boca Raton.The problem with a natural gas
connection is that in the most severe storms, the gas company could also shut down the gas
lines, leaving this backup plan completely useless. On-site storage of either gasoline for a
traditional generator or propane for a whole-home system is probably best. Costco sells dualfuel
generator options as well in Florida and other nearby states.
Many places have enough sunlight to run your entire home off-grid as we’ve discussed on this
site quite a lot. After a storm, if you have solar, there’s a good chance you won’t skip a beat.
The only concern would be if you were to have damage to your solar panels. In this case, it is a
good idea to know basic electrical skills so you could repair minor damage on your own.
Tesla Power Wall
Tesla announced in late April a Li-Ion battery system that can be posted on the wall. Each unit
provides up to 10kWh of energy, or enough for several hours of run time in the average home.
If this is appealing, you can chain up to 10 of these units and have a quiet, no-fuel equivalent to
a generator. This is substantially more expensive than a generator but may be a good pair with
solar, especially for folks I’m sunny Florida.