Peg Solar Be Empowered Fri, 10 Nov 2017 21:59:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Peg Solar 32 32 Getting Serious about Solar for Disaster Response and Recovery Fri, 10 Nov 2017 15:36:50 +0000 Two seemingly separate trends are currently colliding. One is the more severe and widespread damage being inflicted on electric grids during natural disasters, especially from the increasingly stronger storms like hurricane Maria that devastated Puerto Rico. The second is the many technological advances in solar power generation and energy storage, which also lead to ongoing cost reductions across the solar value chain.

The prospect of using solar power on a temporary basis, including for disaster response and recovery, is not new, of course. Indeed, Hurricane Hugo in 1988 is believed to be the first time that solar power was used for relief in the aftermath of a natural disaster. Despite the fact that solar PV and related technologies have advanced considerably during the nearly three decades since then, diesel gensets continue to dominate disaster relief efforts. So is it finally time for the solar energy industry to get serious about this growing need?

The Case for Solar

Time, and not cost or capacity, is now the most critical factor for why solar power affords a viable, and often superior, alternative to gensets for disaster relief. When immediate failover from the electric grid is critical, as it is for hospitals, it is difficult to compete with standby generators powered by diesel fuel, liquid natural gas or propane. Even a hospital on a solar-powered microgrid would likely have a backup generator.

When response can occur on the order of hours or days, however, with systems being hauled or flown in, the playing field is now fairly level. For systems with a comparable size and weight (including battery storage for the solar system), the generator will likely have an advantage in terms of kilowatts produced. But generators need fuel, which must also be hauled or flown in, and not just once, but for as long as power is needed.

This need to continuously refuel generators is what gives solar its major advantage: The longer it might take to fully restore the electric grid, the better the case for solar. This is especially true for modular ground mount solar arrays, which scale more easily and cost-effectively than other configurations (covered next). And the longer the recovery period, the greater the advantage solar+storage solutions enjoy.

Scaling Solar Power

During periods of disaster response, localized needs for temporary power can range from 100 watts to 100 kW, and this can also be an advantage for solar. At the risk of over-simplification, portable solar systems are available in four configurations: suitcase, trailer, container and full array. Each has a role to play in different use cases in virtually every disaster response and recovery scenario.

The suitcase is ideal for restoring communications by providing power for both portable 3G/4G cells and user device charging stations. These systems, which can also be used to power some medical equipment, range in size from around 50 to 200 watts with between 10 and 100 amp-hours of battery storage.

The typical trailer might have a 5-kW solar array and 100-200 kWh of storage, and can be fully operational in less than 30 minutes. The higher capacities make these suitable for powering small medical clinics and shelters.

Shipping containers are commonly used to transport equipment and supplies during disaster relief efforts, and they are also ideal for packaging a complete solar+storage power station. A 20-foot container, for example, could support up to 50 kW of power and 500 KWh of storage to accommodate larger clinics, shelters and businesses, as well as small hotels, apartments, and water pumps or wells.

Those three systems are commercially available in different sizes to meet different needs, not only for disaster relief, but also for temporary/tactical deployments, such as those needed by the military. What has been lacking for solar power is a configuration that scales more cost-effectively, and the portable and modular ground mount solar array is now filling this need.

Making modular ground mount solar arrays portable and suitable for disaster response and recovery requires that the entire system—including its foundation—be installable quickly by small crews using only handheld tools. The earth anchor, which has long been used by electric utilities for guy-wiring powerline poles, provides the basic technology needed to make such simple installation possible.

For example, a complete, pre-assembled 5-kW system, which can be delivered folded on a trailer or truck, or in a shipping container, can be installed by a three-person crew in about an hour. The entire system is just as quickly and easily uninstalled (to be “lifted and shifted” to another site or stored in preparation for the next disaster), leaving behind only the relatively inexpensive earth anchors, and those can even be removed if required.

In addition to their virtually unlimited scalability, these “temporary” modular ground mount solar systems have one other advantage that also involves time: They can become permanent in distributed microgrids, even in hurricane-prone places like Puerto Rico. Rigorous testing in wind tunnels has certified a standard earth anchor as being able to secure uplift forces caused by 150 miles-per-hour winds—a category 4 hurricane. For greater protection, stronger and/or additional earth anchors can be used.

A Call to Action

If every vendor involved in solar power generation or storage pursued some disaster response and recovery initiative, whether alone or in partnerships, this source of renewable energy could put a major dent in diesel’s dominance. To assist with relief efforts in Puerto Rico and prove the viability of modular ground mount solar+storage, we partnered with Tabuchi Electric to donate 10 complete systems, each consisting of an Osprey PowerPlatform, 16 solar panels and an Eco Intelligent Battery System (EIBS), along with any staff resources needed. Given that the use of diesel and other fossil fuels contributes to storms becoming stronger and more frequent, it really is time for the solar industry to start getting serious about disaster response and recovery.

This article first appeared on Renewable Energy World.

Off-Grid Homes in High Demand Thu, 26 May 2016 21:45:04 +0000 recently published an article detailing just how mainstream prepping has become in a new piece titled, “Prepping for Doomsday: Bunkers, Panic Rooms, and Going Off the Grid“.

The post leads off with how, “Americans en masse are again preparing for the worst”. They go on to describe how the uncertainty in the U.S. economy and politics has driven up the desire for homes outfitted for doomsday.

For example, sales at American Redoubt Realty, a real estate firm nestled in the heart of prepper country in northern Idaho, are up 50% over the same time last year, says real estate agent Todd Savage, who specializes in such transactions. His clients typically hail from Texas and California.

Idaho, Montana and Wyoming are often considered the epicenter of the modern survivalist property trend. But you can find pockets of it across the country, from North Carolina to Washington state.

“Each election cycle we see a huge uptick in interest and sales,” says Savage, who first noticed the trend in 2012, when Mitt Romney faced off against Barack Obama. “People are tired of both sides.”

His buyers are looking for very specific, “100% self-sustainable,” rural properties, at least 10 acres and up, says Savage. To make it true prepper property, the land must have at least two abundant water sources, like a well and a stream; alternative energy, like solar panels or hydropower; and the ability to grow food.

It must also be easily defendable against a multitude of threats, with either bunkers or safe rooms or simply reinforced doors and windows and a lot of ammunition.

Properties already outfitted with solar panels or hydropower are particularly in demand since they can be expensive to install, he says.

It appears we’re at a convergence of several factors that are contributing to people’s desire for a more sustainable lifestyle.

The U.S. Economy

The economy is in a precarious spot. The 2007/2008 housing market crash opened up a lot of eyes. The economy came very close to an outright collapse, with the government pulling every trick in their monetary policy (0% interest rates and multiple rounds of quantitative easing) to try and keep things afloat.

7 years later, and at an all time high of almost 20 TRILLION dollars of debt, the economy is barely holding on. Americans are growing concerned that repaying our debt is all but impossible which makes a default at some point a real possibility.


ISIS, Iran, North Korea… The U.S. has a lot of enemies that would love to bring destruction its way. Whether it’s a cyberattack on the electric grid, nuclear attack or even a low-tech coordinated attack on public spaces, the risk of being attacked on U.S. soil has never been higher in recent history.

Regardless of the means of attack, it’s almost always safer to be away from large population areas. Off-grid setups like solar systems give an extra layer of protection against grid vulnerabilities.

Social Unrest

It used to be the case that mob scenes in the U.S. only existed on Black Friday. These days seems like a new riot weekly. Whether it’s political protesters, social justice warriors or anti-capitalist marches, seems like the country is tearing itself apart.

Now take these activists who are so eager to demonstrate their discontent, and take away their social support programs, such as welfare and food stamps, which is exactly what will happen if the economy crashes. Things will get ugly in the big cities rather quickly. If you have to stay in the city, having a home with a panic room, and other physical security features is a huge asset.

Cultural Acceptance

With the popularity of Nat Geo’s Doomsday Preppers, the culture in america is now more aware of the desire for folks to get prepared for bad times. Independent movies like AmeriGeddon, further push the idea of preparedness into our culture.

The downside of entertainment based TV shows and moves about prepping is that the culture’s perspective of what prepping is may be off base. But regardless of some misconceptions, it seems obvious that many Americans are waking up and taking responsibility for what may come. Whether that means storing some food up or become energy independent with solar, every American who moves toward getting prepared is a good thing for the county as a whole.

Off Grid Solar System Pricing

If you’ve considered going off-grid with your solar system, but aren’t sure how much a system will cost, why not try our Off-Grid Solar Price Calculator. Our primary service area is Virginia, Maryland, North and South Carolina, but even if you’re outside that region you can use the calculator to give you a feel of what a standard solar system might run.

Amerigeddon The Movie: Now Playing Tue, 17 May 2016 21:17:02 +0000

AMERIGEDDON, coming to theaters nationwide May 13, 2016, has been described as “the movie the establishment doesn’t want you to see.” Showing what happens when a not-so-future U.S. government conspires with the United Nations to stage an attack on the energy grid, AMERIGEDDON depicts a country ruled by martial law in which citizens are stripped of their constitutional rights and their guns. A group of patriots fight back and rescue the country from slipping into irreversible chaos.

This is a must-see for anyone preparing to survive an EMP attack.

Visit the Official Website here.

]]> 1
Duane M – Broadway, NC Mon, 16 May 2016 18:48:14 +0000

P.E.G. installed this 8.6kW grid-tied solar power system in Broadway, NC during summer of 2014.  The system uses 36 Axitec solar panels, Renusol Console ground-mounting trays, and the Fronius IG Plus Advanced grid-tie inverter.  The electrical connection was completed by M.R. Stoner Electric, based in Sanford, NC.

Be Empowered!

Own your energy.

How much would your solar system cost?

Broadway, NC

Broadway is a small town located in the center of North Carolina about an hour outside Raleigh, NC.

The Akhouris – Fairfax County, VA Mon, 16 May 2016 18:40:08 +0000

8.1kW Hybrid Solar Power System w/ Generac 15kW Generator

The Akhouri’s recently built a new home in Fairfax County, Virginia, about 25 miles from downtown Washington, DC.  Their goal was to be as energy-efficient as possible with the ability to be completely off-the-grid one day.  The home design includes multiple geothermal heat pumps, 2 GE GeoSpring heat pump water heaters, solar attic fans, and premium insulation.  The Akhouri’s selected P.E.G. to install the solar PV system, solar attic fans, and backup generator.

P.E.G. designed a 8,100W solar power system using (30) Silfab Solar 270W all-black solar panels and the Schneider Electric Conext XW+ hybrid inverter system.  For secure off-grid power, P.E.G. included an 860 amp-hour deep cycle battery bank using 16 Crown Commercial deep cycle batteries.  As an added layer of protection, the system designer incorporated a Generac EcoGen™ 15kW standby generator.  The EcoGen™ allows the Akhouri’s to quickly recharge their solar batteries during periods of high demand or prolonged overcast weather.  The system design provides the best of both worlds: energy savings and energy security. 

Be Empowered!

Own your energy.

How much would your solar system cost?

Fairfax County, VA

Located across the Potomac river from Washington, DC, Fairfax country was a rural area turned suburan as the the post war technology boom and government growth made homes in Farifax some of the most desirable in the country.

To make their home even more valuable, the Akhouris’ addition of solar power makes their home stand out as one of the most environmental friendly and cost efficient in the area.

John Doe – Richmond, V.A. Mon, 16 May 2016 17:44:36 +0000

A recent customer,  “John Doe” for purposes of confidentiality, and his family reside on a 40-acre farm about 45 miles from downtown Richmond, Virginia.  John is committed to ensuring the safety and security of his family.  He is also a steadfast believer who wants to be able to help others in his community during a time of crisis.    

The Does’ emergency planning includes making provision for both short-term power outages caused by severe weather and long-term power outages caused by cyber attack, financial crisis, or civil unrest.  In addition to having a deep supply of food and water, John wanted to own the means of producing his own electricity.  He already owned a gasoline generator, but was concerned about the availability of fuel during a long-term crisis.  What he really wanted was a solar power system that would help reduce his monthly electric bill and provide secure off-grid power to run all of his essentials during a utility outage.

P.E.G. designed a hybrid solar power system using 8 Canadian Solar 320W solar panels, Crown commercial deep cycle batteries, and the Schneider Electric Conext XW+ hybrid inverter system.  To avoid any chance of roof leaks, John elected to have the solar panels mounted on the ground.  The system produces enough electricity to offset $50 per month on the Does’ electric bill.  More importantly, in the event of a utility power outage, the system can power all essential home appliances including: well pump, fridge, chest freezer, indoor lights, wall outlets, and medical equipment.

The Does own their energy.  Be Empowered.

Be Empowered!

Own your energy.

How much would your solar system cost?

Richmond, VA

Richmond is the state capital of Virginia, and is one of the most historical cities in our country. With important roles in both the revolutionary and civil wars, Richmond boasts a combination of southern heritage and modern prominence.

John Vandermyde – Outer Banks, N.C. Mon, 16 May 2016 16:51:40 +0000

John Vandermyde and his family live in an exceptional home on the Atlantic coast in Outer Banks, North Carolina.  Desiring to be a better steward of the planet, John decided to go solar for his home’s energy needs.  After interviewing two other solar companies, John selected P.E.G. to install his grid-tied solar power system. 

PV System Designer Barton Schafer was faced with numerous challenges during the design phase of the project.  The owner’s desire was to have an aesthetically pleasing appearance that maximized solar energy production in spite of limited roof space and shading issues.  The Vandermyde’s home has a steep Dutch hip roof with multiple skylights and vent pipes that created obstacles for efficient solar panel mounting. Adding to the challenge was a large nearby pine tree that cast a shadow on one quarter of the roof.  The solution would be to use sleek all-black high-efficiency solar panels with micro-inverters to mitigate the impact of shading.

P.E.G. completed the system installation using 32 Axitec Solar 260W all-black mono solar panels and ABB Aurora micro-inverters.  The ABB Aurora system allows John to monitor the performance of each solar panel in real-time and view historical energy production.

You can read all about John’s solar experience on the OBX Real Estate blog.

Be Empowered!

Own your energy.

How much would your solar system cost?

Outer Banks, NC


Outer Banks, North Carolina is a string of islands and peninsulas running down the North Carolina coastline. The sunny beaches and subtropic client make it one of the most sought after vacation spots in the nation.

The Jones’ – Charlotte, N.C. Mon, 16 May 2016 03:52:43 +0000

7.3kW Hybrid Solar Power System w/ Generac 15kW Generator

The Jones’ live in rural Union County, North Carolina, about 25 miles from downtown Charlotte.  Mr. Jones wanted a solar power system that would provide both monthly bill reduction AND a secure power supply for emergency backup.  The search for a qualified solar installer started close to home.  Local solar companies in western North Carolina tried to convince Mr. Jones to purchase a grid-tied only solar power system with no battery backup.  Although such a system would help lower his electric bill, it would not help the family survive during a utility power outage. 

After doing some research on the Internet, Mr. Jones found P.E.G.  He was encouraged to learn about hybrid solar power systems that can operate both on- and off-the-grid. A hybrid solar power system can work in parallel with the electric company by selling power back to the grid during daylights hours and purchasing power from the utility during the evening.  Excess solar electricity is stored in a bank of deep cycle batteries for overnight use during utility power outages. 

After conducting a complete load analysis, P.E.G. designed a 7,290W solar power system using (27) Silfab Solar 270W all-black solar panels and the Schneider ElectricConext XW+ hybrid inverter system.  For secure off-grid power, P.E.G. included a 48V AGM battery bank.  As an added layer of protection, the system designer incorporated a Generac EcoGen™ 15kW standby generator.  The EcoGen™ allows the Jones’ to quickly recharge their solar batteries during periods of high demand or prolonged overcast weather.  The system design provides the best of both worlds: energy savings and energy security. 

The Jones’ own their energy.  Be Empowered.

Be Empowered!

Own your energy.

How much would your solar system cost?

Charlotte, NC


Charlotte is the largest city in North Carolina, and one of the fastest growing cities in the nation.

Located in the southwest portion of the state, Charlotte has subtropical weather resulting in short winters long, hot summers, with plenty of sunny date.

Steve Brook – Kill Devil Hills, N.C. Mon, 16 May 2016 01:12:23 +0000

P.E.G. completed this installation in December of 2015.  We used (36) Axitec Solar 310W panels and all premium components from Schneider Electric Conext XW+ line.  Located in Kill Devil Hills, NC, this 100% Off-Grid home was the first of its kind in the OBX area.

The homeowner, Mr. Steve Brook, had a goal of being 100% energy independent.  He chose P.E.G. to design & install a solar PV system adequate to power all modern amenities without relying on the local electric utility.   

Appliances at the home include LED lighting, central heating and air conditioning, boat lift, home theatre, washer/dryer, and other residential appliances.  Steve owns his energy.  Be like Steve.

Be Empowered!

Own your energy.

How much would your solar system cost?

About Kill Devil Hills, NC

Kill Devil Hills is a small beach town in Outer Banks, North Carolina. Known for the beautiful sand dunes, ocean views, Outer Banks is one of the most popular vacation areas on the East Coast. While heavily populated in the summer months, the off-season is relatively quiet, sitting over 2.5 hours away from Greenville, NC, the closest large city. The sunny beaches provide a great reason for home owners to consider going solar.

Tesla Scraps Their 10kWh Powerwall Home Battery Thu, 28 Apr 2016 02:23:23 +0000 Last year Tesla announced a revolutionary breakthrough in home battery systems called the Powerwall. The Powerwall is a stand-alone Lithium-Ion battery designed to power your house.

They announced a 7kWh and 10kWh version of their Powerwall slated to come to market this year (for reference, the average US home uses 30kWh/day). But just a few weeks ago Tesla quietly removed the 10kWh model from their website and press kit. A Tesla spokesman confirmed the removal by saying,

“We have seen enormous interest in the Daily Powerwall worldwide,” according to an emailed statement to GTM. “The Daily Powerwall supports daily use applications like solar self-consumption plus backup power applications, and can offer backup simply by modifying the way it is installed in a home. Due to the interest, we have decided to focus entirely on building and deploying the 7-kilowatt-hour Daily Powerwall at this time.”

The reason behind the drop had to do with the economics of the Lithium-Ion battery. While the 7kWh is marketed as a daily-use battery, the 10kWh was intended to act as more of an emergency backup solution. The problem is that traditional lead-acid batteries have twice the battery life, and cost half as much. For that reason the 10kWh just didn’t make sense in the lineup.

However, Tesla continues to focus on the Powerwall product line. In January, Tesla CEO, Elon Musk said,

“We’ve got the Tesla Powerwall and Powerpack, which we have a lot of trials underway right now around the world. We’ve seen very good results,” said Musk during a talk to Tesla car owners in Paris, The Verge reports. “We’ll be coming out with version two of the Powerwall probably around July, August this year, which will see further step-change in capabilities.”

So it appears that Tesla will continue to innovate the Lithium-Ion battery market, they’ll just do so without the 10kWh model for the foreseeable future.

Read more about why Tesla dropped the 10kWh LI battery.