Here’s how Americans feel about home backup power – and rising outages

Here's how Americans feel about home backup power – and rising outages

As Hurricane Ian slammed into Florida, Goal Zero, a Bluffdale, Utah-based portable clean energy company, released survey results that found 84% of Americans worry about power outages and 26% feel vulnerable to power outages. So here’s how Americans feel about mitigating blackouts with backup power.

The online survey that polled 2,000 adults found that 61% of Americans wish they had a reliable source of backup power at their residence.

Thirty-two percent said that their key motivator for having residential backup power is so they don’t suffer inconvenience during a blackout. Twenty-three percent wanted backup power because they have someone in their household who has vulnerable health, and 21% cited concern about the increasing number of natural disasters in their area.

When the survey results were broken down regionally, residents in the South had the largest percentage of people polled – 66% – who wish they had home backup power. The West, the Midwest, and the Northeast all tied at 57%.

However, only 15% of residents currently have backup power. The most common backup power sources in the United States are portable gas generators (25%), followed by standby generators (10%), solar generators (5%), and solar and installed storage (5%).

Ultimately, a slim majority of Americans want sustainable backup power: 51% percent of Americans would be interested in a backup power source if it meant they could reduce their reliance on fossil fuels.

When it comes to cost, 61% of Americans would be willing to pay 40% extra, on average, for sustainable backup power that doesn’t run on fossil fuels. Seventy-eight percent of Americans consider solar generators “green,” and 38% consider portable gas generators “dirty.” (Portable gas generators are dirty. They’re one of the leading causes of deaths due to carbon monoxide poisoning during power outages.)

Goal Zero’s general manager, Bill Harmon, told Electrek:

With our increasing dependence on electronics and power, combined with the rise in natural disasters happening every year, consumers’ access to reliable backup power has gone from a nice-to-have to a necessity.

Recent innovations in solar generators and battery storage have created affordable, clean, energy storage options that can give those affected by events like Hurricane Ian some peace of mind, knowing they can stay safe and connected with their family and friends despite the weather conditions.

With natural disasters impacting large swaths of the country, there’s a laundry list of things that are out of people’s control — access to backup power shouldn’t be one of them.

Electrek’s Take

Some of you may recall that I used to live in St. Petersburg, Florida, as my “read more” post below indicates My former neighborhood has had a very rough time this week, and they did indeed lose power. The people of South Carolina will also lose power when Ian strikes again.

This is why I am militant about the importance of solar and storage and would have tapped my solar-powered portable battery today, had I still lived in St. Pete.

I am currently with Sunrun now to install solar panels and Tesla Powerwalls at my Vermont home. Before they’re installed, we will need to increase the amperage of our home. Besides my desire for backup power, I am also deliberately test driving the whole installation process so that I can share my experience of upgrading my electrical system and installing solar and storage with Electrek readers. Stay tuned.

Read more: First look at the Jackery Explorer 1500 solar generator – ports in a storm

Photo: “Power Outage” by dave hale is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

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