Rolling Sunlight Helping New York Storm Victims

Greenpeace’s solar truck is in New York, generating electricity for some of those affected by Sandy.

Hundreds of thousands of people in states hit by Sandy are still without power and it may be quite some time before electricity supply is back to normal. Adding to the misery is the cold weather and a lack of fuel.

Greenpeace has sent in Rolling Sunlight to lend a bit of a helping hand.

Built in 2001, Rolling Sunlight is a mobile power station fitted with 2.4kW of solar panels and a 50kWh deep cycle battery storage system. The truck itself is powered with biodiesel. After reaching a site, Rolling Sunlight can start cranking clean electricity within 15 minutes.

The truck has been generating power in a variety of locations, including a community store in Rockaway. Residents have also been able to drop by to get a much-needed charge for their mobile phones.

“We are happy to work with the community relief effort to bring solar power to New York. Today, solar power can help bring a small degree of comfort and a cell phone charge to the people left without electricity in Sandy‚Äôs wake,” said Greenpeace climate campaigner Robert Gardner.

“Tomorrow, the same solar power can help us slow down the global warming that is supercharging storms like Sandy, and prevent us from further loading the dice toward even worse extreme weather.”

In a nation where the term “climate change” is such a thorny issue that the topic was never raised during the recent series of presidential debates, attitudes are rapidly changing as a result of the storm.

While in a blackout scenario grid connected home solar power systems are also crippled as a safety measure, the Next Big Thing for solar is energy storage for residential applications; which will allow households to still generate power in such circumstances and enable people to further reduce their dependence on the mains grid.