When Hurricane Irma made landfall in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, in September, Wendy Michels and her family quickly evacuated.
As a pilot, Michels is responsible for flying planes out of the area in the event of natural disasters, including hurricanes. She and her family flew to Lexington, Kentucky, unsure of what was to come of their home and newly installed PV system while Irma battered their hometown.
Once they returned home after the brunt of the storm had passed, the family was fortunate to find minimal damage to their home and solar panels completely intact.
The Michels’ 6.84 kW system, installed by Superior Solar, uses one Sunny boy 6.0-US. They quickly restored power with Secure Power Supply – which provides 2,000 watts of power in the event of a grid outage – while the rest of the homes in her neighborhood continued to be without it.
With just the backup power, Michels says they could run fans, power their fridge and charge their devices. They were even able to cook a hot meal with an electric induction cooker.
Two weeks later, on the heels of Irma, Hurricane Maria made landfall on the island nation of Puerto Rico. Maria wreaked havoc on the country, knocking down homes and causing widespread power outages.
While nothing can ease the emotional or physical destruction of such a disaster, Sunnova, the largest privately held residential solar service provider in the U.S., reported that many of its customers in Puerto Rico with the SMA Secure Power Supply feature said solar helped make the aftermath of Hurricane Maria just a little bit more bearable.
After many Puerto Ricans had spent days without power, Eric Schmidt, a Field Service Technician with Sunnova Energy Corporation, went down to assist his team in Puerto Rico with assessing and repairing PV systems. With approximately 200 customers on the island owning systems using SMA inverters, Schmidt said that numerous customers were overjoyed when they could plug in their refrigerators and charge their laptops and phones thanks to the Secure Power Supply feature.
In what was one of the most devastating hurricane seasons in history to the U.S. and Caribbean nations, we continue to see that solar can provide peace of mind – and power – when there are few alternative solutions.
The entire team at SMA continues to do what it can to assist partners and customers in hurricane-wrecked areas. We offer our deepest sympathy to all who suffered through these hurricanes.
Jessica Dumont is a public relations specialist for SMA America. She is focused on news, industry trends and what's happening at SMA.