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The Perfect Solar Storm? Sun Eruptions to Peak in 2013:

from foxnews.com on January 15, 2013
Website: http://www.foxnews.com/science/2013/01/14/perfect-solar-storm-sun-activity-to-peak-in-2013/
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The Perfect Solar Storm? Sun Eruptions to Peak in 2013:

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The Perfect Solar Storm? Sun Eruptions to Peak in 2013:  
by N6AFV on January 15, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Very interesting stuff, and the possibility of facing extended loss of mains power has me looking at alternatives. I've looked into both generators and solar setups, and each have their advantages and disadvantages.
Generators
Pros: are less expensive per watt than solar, can generate power any time of day, are reasonably portable, and high-power capabilities (I'm arbitrarily choosing 1KW and above as "high power") is fairly easy to do, which means that you could have a generator that could run an electric range, an electric water heater, an furnace, refrigerators/freezers, etc.
Cons: They require gasoline, diesel, propane, or natural gas for fuel, and getting refills could be problematic if mains power is down. I am not sure whether a full-scale power blackout would affect natural gas supplies - I am assuming that they use pumping stations of some kind to supply us, but if natural gas was available, that would seem to be a good choice, or better yet, a dual-fuel setup. However, that is not cheap!
Solar systems
Pros: Power as long as the sun is shining, and with battery storage, some level of night/poor weather capability is obtained. They are quiet, and for extended periods of light loads, might be better than a generator as no fuel would be needed. Sine wave inverters can supply decent quality power (not the cheapo ones, but true sine wave) for a variety of electronic equipment.
Cons: Expensive per watt compared to generators, they take up more space (although this is mitigated somewhat if panels are mounted on the roof), can't generate power at night or in inclement weather, require large, heavy batteries for local storage, so are not particularly portable unless low capacity.

It seem to me that ideally, you should have both - a lower power solar system for extended operation of electronics, appliances such as refrigerators, etc. and a a medium capacity generator that can handle occasional larger loads, when necessary. If running on natural gas is not feasible, I think a diesel generator might be the next best choice, as diesel is fairly simple to store and does not deteriorate over time as gasoline does.
So - does anyone have some practical experience that would help us in figuring out the best setup? I can run my HF rig and my 2M HT from a 12V battery, and charge the battery from a vehicle, but as mentioned earlier, long-term (several weeks or more) power outages call for a scaled-up system.
 
RE: The Perfect Solar Storm? Sun Eruptions to Peak in 2013:  
by KC9TUS on January 15, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Another option is propane generators. I have a 3.5k watt generator and have 4-100 lb tanks for it. Larger tanks can be leased from propane suppliers.
 
RE: The Perfect Solar Storm? Sun Eruptions to Peak in 2013:  
by KC9TUS on January 15, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Sorry, I just re-read your initial post and noticed that you did in fact mention propane generators. I chose propane, because the tanks can be stored for long periods of time. The larger 250 gal to 1,000 gal can be leased from propane dealers. The general 20 lb tank (normal found on bbq grills) contains 5 gal of propane if I am remembering correctly. A typical 3.5k watt generator will run continously at half load for 10 hours on a 20LB/5gal tank.
 
RE: The Perfect Solar Storm? Sun Eruptions to Peak in 2013:  
by N6AFV on January 16, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
The only problem I have with propane/diesel/gasoline systems is that of refueling if infrastructure is damaged. Unless a gas station has a backup generator, you have to a lot of local storage for any extended period of time. To be fair, if a propane truck is used to refuel your local storage, that wouldn't be so bad, but I'm pretty sure the cost per gallon would go up significantly!
 
RE: The Perfect Solar Storm? Sun Eruptions to Peak in 2013:  
by KT8K on January 18, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Keep in mind, the satellites monitoring the sun are pretty new, and Fox is famous for sensationalism and misstatements. I'd take their article with a lot of salt.
(Cellphones damaged by the magnetic flux from a solar flare? Seems like we'd be "toasted" before that happened.)
 
RE: The Perfect Solar Storm? Sun Eruptions to Peak in 2013:  
by N6AFV on January 20, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I am more concerned with power grid failure. If that happens, cell phones will be the least of my worries!
But seriously, as in everything, there are other opinions:
http://www.space.com/19131-sun-solar-space-weather-2013.html

http://www.zdnet.com/solar-storms-to-peak-in-2013-7000009197/

I figure it might be good to have a plan 'B', just on general principles.
 
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