[REGIONAL NEWS] It’s never been easier to get off the grid in California

Six Rivers Solar employee Daniel Hernandez points out the type of solar panels the company installs for people during a weekly question-and-answer session at the Six Rivers Solar store in Eureka on Saturday. Going solar is a great way not to have to worry about Pacific Gas & Electric’s public safety power shutoffs in the future, Hernandez said. /Sonia Waraich/The Times-Standard

By Sonia Waraich | The Times Standard

Elk River resident Jesse Noell didn’t have a battery backup for his solar panels during the Pacific Gas & Electric public safety power shutoffs last month. When he got the panels installed in 2004, he said he didn’t realize he needed a battery because he had never experienced a power shutdown on the scale of the two outages in October.

He was able to keep his refrigerator cold and his satellite internet and TV running during the outage by using car batteries to store the energy generated from his solar panels and take them where he needed. In the future, Noell said he plans to invest in adding more solar panels and getting an electric car he can keep charged with about a week’s worth of energy for when the grid goes down.

“(The solar system) definitely paid itself off over 15 years,” Noell said of the system he said he paid $14,000 for. “Every month, I’m getting like $100 that I don’t have to spend. I’m retired now and that’s the best investment I ever made.”

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