Goal Zero and Hurricane Relief Efforts

Goal Zero, a company that sells portable solar chargers for household electronic devices, has jumped into the Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts, driving a Penske rental van full of their products to New Jersey and New York to provide solar power to relief centers and citizens in need.  While utility companies are struggling to untangle the mess of substations and downed transmission lines in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, thousands of people are left without the energy we have taken for granted to run everything from our cell phones to medical devices.  One thing is for sure, even without the more frequent weather extremes brought on by climate change (which Hurricane Sandy may, or may not be a result of...see Andy Revkin's post), we need to create a cleaner, and more resilient energy supply.

From Goal Zero's blog post:
"We first showed up to the FEMA location to meet up with Team Rubicon Division 3. We then proceeded to the community center across the street where they had a little bit of back up power and a lot of the locals were hanging out there for hot food and to charge their phones up. We opened the truck and gave one guy a Lighthouse and then he went inside and pretty much everyone came outside to see what was going on. These people have no power and the power company is saying it could be a week or weeks. The Lighthouse and Torch were a hit as well as the Escape 150 kits. There were a few elderly people that really were humble and didn’t want to take anything because they thought other people would need it more than them, but they were dying for some light and a little bit of power. One lady has sleep apnea and was really excited that the Escape 150 could run her CPAP so she could sleep a little a easier." - Goal Zero
I stumbled upon Goal Zero on the interweb earlier when doing some research on solar devices.  I have not purchased their products, but I like that they are bringing the miracle of solar to those in need.  Solar energy does not have a cheap reputation, but it is already a proven economic reality. Across the world, thousands of megawatts are flowing into electric grids from solar panels, most of them mounted on rooftops (not on pristine desert!).  If owning solar panels is not possible for you now, look into leasing options through Sungevity or Solar City, or add your voice to the choir asking policy makers to institute feed-in-tariffs and property assessed clean energy (PACE) -- policy tools that help average folks finance their own solar installations.

Solar panels in our cities could create a vast and flexible energy supply that disentangles us from a dependence on long power lines and central power stations that are so vulnerable to disruption.  Goal Zero's efforts epitomize the full potential of this technology -- solar power is an innovation that can bury the status quo currently delivered by the utility companies.  Clean and resilient. That's the power we need on a planet burdened by unsustainable human practices.

You can donate to Goal Zero's relief efforts through tifie.org, and through Nov 15 you any purchase you make on Goal Zero's website will trigger a donation to the relief efforts, as well. 

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