Storm brought power options to mind | Lifestyles



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Solar panels aren’t cheap.




Everyone wanted to talk about portable power stations in the aftermath of our massive storm in Texas. Here’s one email exchange I had with a reader:

She wrote, “So my spouse and I were sitting at dinner talking about solar panels. Have you written anything about them? We are considering them to help out in situations like Dallas experienced recently. We’re wondering if the people who have them were able to make it through the power outages successfully. I’m wondering how much it would take to run a refrigerator, electric blanket and wine cooler. Also, how would you direct the solar electricity to the items you want to power? Just wondering.”

I haven’t written much about solar panels, but I have some with a new power station I’m testing for an upcoming review. They are great for generating power when the sun is out, but portable panels are not cheap, and depending on the model, they take up a decent amount of space.

Portable panels can be stored away until you need them, or you can buy and mount panels permanently. The solar energy is collected by the panels and stored in batteries. The batteries are connected to an inverter that changes the DC power to AC power.

I’m sure you’ve seen houses in your neighborhood with solar panels mounted on the roof. These systems have a bank of batteries to store the power. If you are interested in a permanent solar system, there are plenty of companies that can install one for you.