In September, Hurricane Ian made its way through the islands and the south knocking out power to millions of Americans and leaving their homes severely damaged. Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas all boarder the Gulf of Mexico and typically get the worst parts of the storms and the most flooding. People who live in disaster-prone areas, are investing in back up power systems to keep some electricity during storms when the power grids in their neighborhoods go out. Systems like solar panels, battery storage help keep the lights on and air conditioning running during the heat of summer.
Some homeowners and experts are looking into how well back up power systems will hold up in storms like Hurricane Ian, which reached a category 4 hurricane. Studies showed that a backup power system can keep the lights on in the average home for a few days at a time during a normal climate. Since lots of storms have been known to tear rooves off of houses, how well back up power works, like roof-top solar panels, depends on how bad the storm is and the condition of the house itself. Depending on the power system, it may be able to keep the lights on but not keep the home cool with air conditioning.
For example, a fire station in Puerto Rico has solar panels installed on the roof and a backup battery to maintain emergency calls during the storm. When Hurricane Maria hit the area in 2017, the back up power systems did not hold up. However, during Hurricane Fiona in 2022, their backup power system remained operational, and the fire station was able to help the community.
Click here to read the full article. Originally published September 29, 2022, by University of California.