Cheap solar for hurricane survivors

Hi John,

Me again.  The other day I mentioned all the solar that went up in New Orleans after Katrina and suggested that we might see a similar surge in the Carolinas.  Duke Energy, the power company in much of the Carolinas, has a residential rebate of 60 cents a watt, up to 10kw, on a system installation in North Carolina.  Based on your prices, that could mean free solar panels and change!  Throw in the Federal tax rebates and the system gets even cheaper.  As I understand it, there are 600 slots open in the NC residential rebate program.  There are also programs for businesses and schools.

South Carolina residents have more than twice the number of available rebates.  I don’t know what the current SC rebate rate is, but it was $1/watt in 2016 when I helped a friend put in his system near Greenville.  His total installed cost was approximately $0!!!

Now these numbers are for 2018 and a lot of the positions may be taken.  It may well be 2019 before people get to the point where they are rebuilding, so there may be a new round of rebates.  Carolinians would do well to sign up early.  Info is on the internet.

Do-it-yourselfers could even end up with a free system by shopping at Sun Electronics and self-installing, but be forewarned there is a lot of paperwork involved!


Free solar in South Carolina…Yes, we bent them!  Courtney puts in the last screw before we knock down the scaffold.

Neal at the end of a long day of bending laminates.

I apologize but I’m so busy being happy.

Hello Bruce: what a great dive we had into the Caribbean.

Neal sorry it took so long to publish your comment.

From Neal:

Here we go again. Hurricane Michael is projected to hit our vicinity as a Cat 3 storm. Get ready everybody!

Hi John,

John, you live in a glass tower, but out in the neighborhoods you can hear the generators buzzing after a hurricane has taken out the lights.  200 watts for the fridge and 50 watts for a ceiling fan and they’ve got those darn 3500 watt generators blasting away at 3600rpm.  Dumb.  Well, maybe not dumb, they just don’t know any better.

At my house, the ceiling fans have a slight buzz from the inverter in my backup power system, but I can’t hear it because I have the windows open and hear those generators a quarter mile away at the neighbor’s house.  Listening carefully, I can make out 3 or 4 of them.  Most are those loud, cheap ones from Home Depot or Lowes and most people don’t realize that you have to change the oil in them every 25 hours (50 hours for the better ones with a filter).  That’s an oil change every day or two!  Cheap air-cooled engines use a little oil, too.  Do people buy a case of oil and some filters when they go out and buy 2 cans of gas in preparation for the storm?  Nope.

After about 3 days the generator will probably quit, assuming enough gasoline has been found to run it.  If it has a low oil safety shutoff, like most Hondas, the homeowner will scratch his head and wonder why the generator won’t run anymore.  If he checks and adds oil, he will be back in business.  A lot of engines do not have the low oil shutoff and they will soon die a horrible death.

That assumes, of course, that the owner bought enough gas to keep it running.  How long will 2 cans of gas run a generator?   Not that long.  Maybe a day, depending on model and load.  Try buying gas after a hurricane.  I know of exactly one gas station with a backup generator.  Some will have power and some will rig something up.  Back around 1960 I saw a gas station owner running a gas pump with a Maytag gas washing machine motor.  Yes, Maytag made gasoline-powered washers!  The owner took cash for the gas.  Who has cash today?  Credit card readers and ATMs don’t work without power.  Oh, and every one of your neighbors will be in line with you, so you will be spending some time getting those two gas cans refilled.  Maybe you need more than two cans.

Don’t think I am knocking gas generators, here.  What I am knocking is how they usually get used.

One of the most perfect home power systems ever made, made before power lines came to us country folks, was the Delco-Light power system.  Everything in the house ran on (usually) 32 volts DC.  When the batteries got low, you started the generator (some models started themselves) and it ran until it ran out of kerosene or gas (they’d run on just about anything) or the batteries were charged.  The engine was a low rpm machine that would run just about forever.  I have a half dozen of them and none are worn out.  Moreover, engines have an operating range where they are most efficient and that is with a good load on it.  A fridge and a ceiling fan do not load your generator at a  point of high efficiency and, remember, it takes a certain amount of gas just to buzz that thing along at 3600 rpm, even if there is no load at all.

So why do I seem to be drifting off subject.  I’m not, I’m just setting the scenario for you to do a modern recreation of the Delco-Light to power your AC world, use less fuel and make the night a quieter place.

Here’s what you do.  Take appropriately sized inverter/charger, a bunch of batteries and add them to your generator.  (If you want to add in some solar panels, then good for you.)  You can have the inverter wired in through a transfer switch or you can put a plug on it and plug it where you would have otherwise connected the generator.  Now take the output of the generator and connect to the input of the inverter.  4 golf car batteries (I prefer 24v configuration, but 12v will do and your car can be the generator in a pinch) will run your lights and fridge for 24 hours.  There’s probably enough power left over to fire up Mr. Coffee to wake you up and nuke something from Mrs. Stouffer’s kitchen to fill you up.  Run the generator in the morning before going to work (or before you begin removing the tree from your roof) and again a bit in the evening, as needed, maybe even getting a little TV or A/C time in, too.  The generator will run under load and not for many hours.  Now you only have to change the oil every week and maybe the power will be back on by then.

There is a security side to this configuration, too.  After Hurricane Katrina, many people in the city were afraid to show any lights and run the generator at night because predators would know where there was somebody with food, light and comforts.  The generators were ok in the day because there was lots of activity to mask the noise.

Do NOT run the generator in the garage…it will kill you.  If you don’t want it stolen, chain it to the tree in the backyard when it is running and put it in the garage when it is not.  BTW, a padlock and a piece of chain should be considered a standard accessory if you buy a new generator.  DON’T refuel when it is still hot.  Buy some extra oil and get more than 2 cans of gas.  At the end of the season, put the gas in your car so it won’t sit until next season and get stale.  No-alcohol gas is best and running the generator dry by turning off the fuel valve or just running the tank dry will save your carburetor from an early death.

Just some things to think about.


How to survive after a hurricane using a couple of solar panels and just a little smaller and more efficient appliances.

Magic Chef and Ryobi are the best you’ll find. You can probably still get them from Home Depot close to the worst areas.

What do you need?

Ans.: A small, portable, super efficient generator that will last practically a lifetime .

I never thought I’d say this but Ryobi’s 2,300 watt portable generators are just as good or better than a Honda! Honda’s 2000 I , 2,000 watt generator cheaper, more powerful, just as quiet, be started and turned off remotely, and with the same efficient The offer more features, in my opinion.

Just 2 or three solar panels with 4 deep cycle batteries or any batteries you can salvage from cars, for that matter, that are totaled from flood water damage. The batteries are probably still good!

An inverter with a built in battery charger runs quieter we have found. And they have eco-throttle as well.

We have Solar panels in stock and anything else you need to become independent and survive a hurricane . Also we carry all magic chief products cheaper than the

We get a contractor’s discount and don’t have to pay tax, resulting in a 15% savings. We give free technical support and always have inventory plus we ship worldwide, speak 5 different languages and have an old Owner whose never done anything else but distribute low cost solar systems , 46 years for that matter.

So even if your home is destroyed there’s still hope call me and I hope you will be surprised.

John the owner.

Cell 305 322-1086

Or go to Sunelec.Com

You can get all Magic Chef appliances from Home Depot if you want, since it’s kind of wasteful to ship them long distance when you probably have some left at Home Depot .

Trust me, while everybody else in the PV industry is pushing solar farms we are doing the opposite. We have all the lowest/ watt energy using appliances and we have the world’s lowest prices when it comes to PV modules.

The panels are on the highway and more are coming only $.395/watt.

This is for people who’ve lost their homes due to disasters, perhaps poor, didn’t have insurance, or anyone needing help.

You might find this suggestion helpful. You might consider purchasing a solar panel, LED lighting, and a 10 cu. ft. refrigerator/freezer from a Home Depot type of do it yourself supply store or from us, Sun Electronics. We have all of it, you can buy it after or hopefully before the disaster hits.

With smaller and more efficient appliances, you can run them for years on 500 watts of new, or better yet, slightly used solar panels (used panels are much cheaper but almost same power and lifetime as new). You will also need a small 2,000 watt inverter and about 4 golf cart, 6 volt, deep cycle batteries. The approx. cost for all of this $790!!

In my opinion there’s no need to buy a battery charge controller as long as you check and keep the batteries full of clean or distilled water. But if you want one anyway their inexpensive.

The solar panel will last 30 to 50 years, the brand new 120 V AC refrigerator/freezer will last 10 years and the LED lights will last for 10 years. Batteries last 5 to 7 years.

And, there’s no moving parts, no generator noise, dangerous fumes, or gasoline storage, etc. because you don’t need to always buy a generator. But if you do, always add a battery charger and you’ll have a hybrid energy system just as unbelievably efficient as a hybrid car!

You can keep your food fresh and drinks cold, have ice, and have plenty of lights with just some basic simple instructions to keep you safe.

If you want more, we’ve designed tens of thousands of systems for free. We can also help you install it as well as find the most efficient appliances. Energy conservation is our most abundant energy resource.

We’ve shipped worldwide and speak English, Spanish, Creole, and Chinese for 35 years.

We hope you never experience a disaster of any kind. But, nowadays you never know. We think the concepts above can really help someone be prepared and hopefully help them afterwords if they weren’t.

Thank you for looking at my solar blog!

John Kimball

46 years in Alternative Energy

I think we are about to have 8 containers of grade B modules in a couple of days. Because the way they are packed we will want to sell them by full container loads.

Call me I’ll tell you all about it. We haven’t sent out an email blast yet! Just arrived and are custom cleared in the USA.

695 panels per container. Call me for more info but I warn you, I’m on vacation and won’t be easy to reach.

This is what we’re best at. Around .29/watt. They’re beautiful.

305-322-1086 cell


Shark Attack Encinitas, Ca.

First of all, pray for the 13 year old boy who is in critical condition . His name is Chad Hammel.

Or just google shark attack San Diego.

I believe I saw a10 ft. Great white shark in Del Mar yesterday. It was in a wave in 8 ft. of water. In was about 150 yards from the shore, only 5 miles south of the attack location. Another person in the water said she saw it too. We were both skin diving. It was 4 hours after Chad was attacked. We were within 10 feet of it! Encinitas is about 10 miles north of Del Mar. We didn’t know about the attack.