4 Ways to Prepare for a Not-So-Smart Power Grid

Time to Prepare Your Family for Power Grid Instability?

You DO Have Good Options…

We’re ready to reveal four methods you can use to generate your own power at home, and one quick and easy hedge to keep the lights on when your utility’s “smart” systems fail.

We’ve been warning readers for months, even years, that America’s power grid is over-burdened, out-of-date and totally unreliable.

How to Secede From Your Local Utility, if You Want…
You can customize your home power generation system to fit your needs and budget. Most of the technologies mentioned below qualify for a 30% federal tax credit as well as many state and local utility incentives to cut down on your costs and keep more of your taxes in your own pocket. If you build a big enough system, combine the technologies, and design it right, you could produce all the power you need night and day and completely cut yourself off from the local utility.

However, unless you have a property that’s far from local utility connections and generating your own power is a necessity, most choose to generate power at home to cut their costs and save money, while benefiting from a reliable backup system when the local utility’s automatic and “not so smart” systems goof up.

Option #1 – Home Fuel Cells
Out of the four options discussed here, use of a home fuel cell, also known as microgeneration, is the only one that is non-renewable.

This is not the same kind of fuel cell concept that requires space age technology or rare elements like liquefied hydrogen to work. No, this system is actually quite robust. It requires a fuel source (i.e. natural gas) to operate and produce energy. And it is efficient because within the same unit it will generate both power and heat.

A home fuel cell is relatively compact, quiet, and works a lot like a home furnace, except that it heats water, heats the home, and generates anywhere from 1 to 5 kilowatts of electricity, or more for a bigger system. As long as you have a reliable and uninterrupted fuel source, the fuel cell can produce energy 24-hours a day.

Fuel cells may also qualify for the 30% federal tax credit. According to the IRS you must install an “integrated system comprised of a fuel cell stack assembly and associated balance of plant components that converts a fuel into electricity using electrochemical means.

To qualify for the credit, [the equipment] must have a nameplate capacity of at least one-half kilowatt of electricity using an electrochemical process and an electricity-only generation efficiency greater than 30%. The credit is limited to “30% of the cost, up to $500 per .5 kW of power capacity” and it is only available on a principal residence, not a second home.

Option #2 – Solar Power
The sun is a great source of renewable energy. Almost everyone has access to the sun and even people who live in seemingly “dark” latitudes, like Germany, generate a ton of watts from solar power. So you don’t have to live in a tropical or desert environment to take advantage of solar power.

You should keep a few things in mind when considering a move to solar power. You’ll need room for the solar panels. They could be mounted on a rooftop or the ground. The panels should point in a southward direction to get the most sun exposure. And you want to make sure the light isn’t blocked by other things like a tall building, trees, or even nearby mountains, which would effectively shorten the day.

Installed solar electricity systems qualify for the 30% federal tax credit as well as many state and local utility incentives. And the red tape is minimal. Buy photovoltaics (solar panels) to generate electricity for your home and you can claim the credit.

Option #3 – Home Wind Turbine Power
We’ve been harnessing the wind’s power for centuries. However, turning it into electricity and delivering that power where it’s needed most in a cost-effective manner may prove to be the biggest challenge.

After decades of government subsidies and special favors, the wind power industry still can’t stand on its own merits. However, if you live an area with adequate wind and install the right-sized wind turbine, you could generate an abundant amount of power for your own needs.

Even if the wind in your area is not constant, you can combine a wind turbine with any of the other technologies like solar power or a fuel cell and raise your level self-reliance.

Wind energy also qualifies for the 30% federal tax credit, and like solar power, it has little red tape to follow: Simply use a wind turbine to generate electricity for your home, and it qualifies.

Option #4 – Home or Micro Hydroelectric
Out of the four technologies mentioned here, this is the only one that does not qualify for the federal tax credit. But if you live in an area with high rain or snowfall, live near a flowing water source, or harvest your rain/snowmelt, this could greatly improve your energy independence.

The design of this system is simple. A pool of water at a high vertical level, piping that guides the water down using gravity, and shooting the water through nozzles at a pelton wheel turbine, which spins and generates electricity. Combining a home hydroelectric system with other power generating systems would further enhance your overall energy independence.

A Faster and Simpler Approach to Protecting

Yourself from Our Antiquated Power Grid…

The options discussed here are a good move if you want more independence from the aging utility infrastructure. Over time, these systems could even help you save a lot of money. However, these systems do require a meaningful budget and a level of commitment to purchase and install. A quick and less expensive alternative that will do the important work of keeping the lights on when the utility has a major snafu is owning a portable emergency backup power supply that comes with multiple charging options for true flexibility and security.