Solar generators gaining popularity

Solar generators gaining groundSolar-powered generators, backup power and mobile power solutions are recently gaining popularity since super storm Sandy left hundreds of thousands of East Coasters without power for weeks in 2012.

Several companies and start-ups have announced mobile solar generators as a solution. Intermountain Wind and Solar announced its G.O.O.D. Wagon this week. While the acronym doesn’t seem to stand for anything, the trailer of solar panels and batteries offers a solid backup source of power that, depending on the model, can serve as a command center in the aftermath of a disaster like Sandy.

The Salt Lake City company sells and installs solar photovoltaic panels and solar hot water heaters. The company also offers a variety of battery back-up solutions to customers, which made the manufacture of its wagon a natural next step.

“We wanted to create an energy source that provided the same quality energy of our solar panels, but in a mobile format. In the case of power outages or emergency situations, mobile units can function as a command center, providing power to multiple outlets,” said Doug Shipley, founder of Intermountain Wind and Solar.

While mobile solar is a terrific solution for major disasters, selling big solar generator trailers solely for use in the event of an emergency isn’t the best business model. For that reason, most solar generator manufacturers are offering them as more than emergency back-up power. There are several industries that can benefit from regular use of a mobile solar generator.

“Mobile generators can have a multitude of uses that go beyond emergency backup energy,” according to a release from Intermountain. “The wagon can also be utilized to power tools and equipment, ideal for outdoor projects and activities.”

Some solar generator manufacturers have been marketing their trailers to events companies that rent equipment like tents and tables to festivals, concerts and weddings.

Since they’re quieter, solar generators have a big advantage. As the cost of solar panels has decreased, solar generators are more competitive with their noisy diesel counterparts.