Lee and Joan Crain from "Family Survival Planning" contacted us regarding their purchase of our Solar ePower Cube 1500 PLUS solar generator. During the "build and use" conversation, Joan mentioned that they were writing an eBook about their use of Solar Generator power - this is an excerpt from their eBook titled "Build Your Own Emergency Off-Grid Power System".
The full eBook can be had here: Family Survival Planning
Build Your Own Emergency Off-Grid Power System
Can we live without electricity? Maybe.
Do we want to? No.
Answering these two questions started us on the path to acquiring a portable Solar Generator and setting up our home emergency, off-grid power system.
We went through numerous thought processes and experiments, some at the Solar Generator level, some at the appliance level, to help us decide:
- Did we really need electricity if the municipal power grid went down for an extended period of time?
- What did we want that was both practical and affordable?
- What appliances did we absolutely need and/or seriously want to continue to use?
We have written about the criteria and appliances that are important to us — there may be others for you to consider.
For accuracy's sake, this book was written about battery centric, electricity storage devices that most people refer to as "Solar Generators". In addition to using solar panels to collect and store electricity into batteries, some can also use 120 volt A/C wall chargers and 12 volt D/C battery-to-battery chargers to recharge the batteries
Generators We Tested
We actually purchased two different generators, but ultimately returned the one we found would not work for us. Each is constructed using different technologies, so this is a little bit apples-to-oranges comparison, but it's still a good one and helped us make a decision.
- Humless Portable Solar Generator
- Solar ePower™ Cube 1500 Plus Solar Generator from Wagan Tech
What Worked - What Didn’t
What will we have to live without?
Without municipal grid-supplied electricity, we asked ourselves, "What will we have to live without?" It depends...primarily on the speed of a generator's recharging. For example: As you will read in our Test 1, no portable Solar Generator that we investigated could keep our little freezer operating and get itself recharged fast enough to keep the contents frozen — not for an extended power outage situation.
Summary and Conclusion
We made the right decision when we bought the Wagan Cube. It's a robust device, seems to be well engineered, and comes with a good manual.
Having 2400 Watt-Hours (200 Amp-Hours) of backup electricity has given us some peace of mind, knowing that we will likely always have some electricity when we need it - if we are frugal. And the ability to use the sun to regenerate electricity is fantastic! I can imagine that in an extended power outage lasting weeks or months, I might have to recharge the Cube every day or so, assuming there is direct and bright sunlight. With mobile solar panels and cables to connect them to the Cube, that won't be difficult, just part of my daily routine. I don't even have to move the Cube! Just setup and attach the external solar panels to the Cube to recharge it and its second battery, and remove the solar panels when the Cube is fully charged. It's that simple.
A special Thank you to Joan Crain for allowing us to publish an excerpt from your book!
To get the full eBook, click here.