The Post-Grid Society – What we REALLY need to start doing with solar power and electrical storage

large-off-grid

The idea of applying currently available solar power technology to provide humanity’s electrical power needs has advanced at a very fast pace since it’s invention. It has proven to very beneficial in numerous applications in a very short time since its inception and development as an energy source. An energy source that will be available for as long as the sun burns in the sky.

However, other energy sources that we currently depend on for our survival and existence here on earth are much more finite. Fossil fuels are extracted from a source that is available for a limited amount of time, and then permanently depleted – oil wells and hydraulic fracturing. This finite resource is what the majority of mankind relies on not only to provide modern comfort and convenience, but the also the essence of what is needed for humans to stay alive – the production and distribution of food and water. Now obviously not every human currently depends on it. There are those who have never had access to the convenience fossil fuels provide, and for centuries have lived without it, but here in the 21st century the greater portion of humanity, the urban dwellers that don’t sow and reap their own food and water resources from their natural state directly, who depend on others a far distance away produce and distribute what is essential for their survival are vulnerable to a global mass famine and starvation if said fossil fuel production ceases to exist, and this has been predicted to happen.

Anybody that does not get their food and water from their backyard or a nearby source where is is grown and/or produced within walking distance gets their food form a grocery store or restaurant and their water from a household water tap or a bottle. The food is produced using fossil fuel powered machines, delivered with fossil fuel powered machines, and stored, frozen, and refrigerated with electrical grid power, which is dependent on – you guessed it – fossil fuels or some other type of finite resource, such as coal. Maintenance, production, construction of an electrical distribution network is entirely dependent on fossil fuel availability. Coal, nuclear, hydro, fuel powered generators aso have this requirement to maintain functionality.

Even though solar, wind power, and energy storage (batteries, ultracapacitors) require a certain amount of fossil fuel power to be manufactured, once it is in place and producing electricity all it needs to function is access to the sun, which is predicted to be working for another two billion years.

If mankind’s continuing survival is currently centered on an energy resource whose supply could come to an end one day renewable energy needs to be taken much more seriously than it is now, and a shift from a finite energy resource to one that will continue to work as long as the sun shines need to be done sooner rather than later. Currently renewable energy is being seen by some people as a way to divert the global environmental catastrophe caused by climate change, (actually “atmospheric mutation” – changing the chemical content of the atmosphere – may be a better way to describe this than “climate change” ) but to much more of an extent it is seen as a way to make or save money for individuals or large companies. More of a way to increase profits and stretch paychecks than to solve any upcoming environmental, food or water problems.

If you won’t be able to get your water from a tap or bottle, where are you going to get it from? How long are you going to live without it? Same for food – if you won’t be able to get it from a grocery store or a restaurant, how are you going to eat?

Here are a few ways solar power can prevent, or at least minimize and/or postpone, what could happen to the masses if and when fossil fuel gets increasingly difficult, and eventually almost impossible to obtain,

  • Post-grid food distribution and preservation. We can start with the easy shots first, and this is one of the easy shots. Every grocery store and food distribution center needs to be wired with the option to fully operational WITHOUT any available grid power – grid-tied solar with battery backup, or better yet, full off-grid operational capability. Being able to keep the refrigerators, freezers, and lights running without fossil fuel dependence.

  • Being able to distribute food without fossil fuel dependency. Currently the best technology available is with electric vehicle transportation. Electric trucks and “food trains”- electric cargo trains that can be operated with electric power produced by purely renewable sources, large scale solar farms and wind power with large scale energy storage connected directly to the rails to provide power for the trains. Trains that will deliver food from the source – the farm – to where it is consumed.

  • Eliminating fossil fuel dependence for food production and water distribution. Similar to what needs to be done with grocery stores and food distribution centers, water treatment and distribution plants teed to be made fully operational without the need for fossil fuels, or at least have the need greatly reduced. Solar and other forms of renewably powered water pumping, purification, and distribution systems.

Implementing these ideas will be beneficial to humankind in diverting, or at least delaying, what could possibly happen if and when a permanent scarcity of fossil fuel resources becomes a reality.

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About peaksunhour
Solar Power Technician /Site Surveyor? Installer. NABCEP qualified, OSHA qualified. Solar Power, NEC codebbok courses at Los Angeles Trade Tech College. Installlation experience with Grid Alternatives, Greenway Solar, and others. 20 years of Live Sound Experience, 30 years of experience with electronics.

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