After Sandy: A Cold Night in New York

by Robert Gardner

November 15, 2012

SolaRover's solar panels powering Hurricane Sandy relief effort.

Its cold in Rockaway Beach tonight. Very cold.

Today has seen a lot of work done. While the Rolling Sunlight spent the day getting a solar re-charge with the blue skies over New York, a new friend appeared from SolaRover with a mobile solar array.

And it is sweet.

This mobile generator was designed for disaster relief. It has a 4 kilowatt solar array with 100 kilowatt hours of backup. Also a biodiesel capable generator kicks on automatically if the batteries run too low. Though the power demands from the relief effort here in Rockaway Beach are intense, we havent had any problems.

Over two weeks of work weve worked with Occupy Sandy to setup food, clothing and resource distribution sites, medical clinics, communications hubs all with solar power. Thousands of people have used the solar cells to call loved ones from newly charged phones or just used the flood lights to stand and talk to neighbors.

Its about community supported energy that actually supports the community. No filthy coal plants in your back yard. No fracked gas plants or absurdly dangerous nuclear plants. No unsustainable biomass facilities and no sitting in the dark. The power of people represented by the light blue hue of a solar cell.

Thats something to feel proud of. I know the people of Rockaway Beach are. I am. And with SolaRovers big array here, we can work to power more communities with clean, renewable energy.

Though its going to take a lot of work I feel confident we will repower Rockaway Beach with clean, renewable electricity. I feel confident in the organizing power represented by this narrow strip of land that so many people seem to have forgotten.

For tonight, the only light on this block in Rockaway Beach is powered by the sun. Even in the cold, dusty night of mid-November New York, thats enough to take away the chill.

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