When the power goes out, silence is golden. What do I mean by that? Last week due to high winds, our power went out for about seven hours. We live in a rural area with no houses in view, but farms and neighbors are nearby in our little valley. As I stepped out onto our deck that evening, I could hear the sound of several generators at the homes of neighbors. Most of these are probably a thousand yards or more away, but I could hear them.
Made me realize that in a catastrophic grid down situation, the sound of a gas or diesel generator will be the same as a light bulb for a moth. It will attract those who do not have power and are in desperate need of it. One of the things about being off-the-grid or prepared for a long term power outage is that of personal security, and part of that requires keeping a low profile. A gas generator in the quiet of the day or night does not make for a low profile. If you don’t have a way to muffle the sound, perhaps you should consider a silent solar generator.
We have a Goal Zero solar generator, and on this occasion brought it out, connected several lights down the hall and living room, and presto!, we had plenty of light with zero noise or fumes. Granted, this system will only work as long as the battery has power, but we also have four 90W solar panels with which we can recharge the battery during the day, thus providing an endless supply of limited electricity. Goal Zero makes them in several sizes depending on one’s need. You can keep it plugged into an outlet on a trickle charge, then when the power goes out, just tap into it to run lights, radios, computers, recharge flashlight batteries or even run a refrigerator if you go for the big boy.
Goal Zero is just one type of battery based power supply, so do a search for others. You can even make your own if you have the skills. I can say this, it was a cool feeling to have lights without a noisy generator during this brief outage and it was reassuring knowing that if the power had stayed off for days or weeks in these western North Carolina mountains, we’d be able to continue lighting our world.