Report Number




Disaster Relief; Disaster Planning; Photovoltaics


Man made or natural, disasters can happen at any time, often with little or no advance warning. Major disasters, such as hurricanes, floods, tornados, and earthquakes, can leave many people without adequate medical services, potable water, electrical service and communications. They can be as destructive as Hurricane Mitch leaving several hundred-thousand people homeless or as minor as an afternoon thunderstorm knocking down local power lines to your home.

In response to a disaster, photovoltaic (solar electric) modules offer a source of quiet, safe, pollution-free electrical power. Photovoltaic (PV) power systems are capable of providing the electrical needs for vaccine refrigerators, microscopes, medical equipment, lighting, radios, fans, communications, traffic devices and other general electrical needs. Stand-alone PV systems do not require refueling and operate for long periods of time from the endless energy supplied by the sun, making them beneficial during response and recovery efforts. This report discusses the need for electrical power during a disaster, and the capability of PV to fill that need. Applications of PV power used during previous disaster relief efforts are also presented.

Date Published



Paper presented at SATIS 2001 Conference, Kingston, Jamaica, August 28-31, 2001

Local Subjects

Disaster Planning; Disaster Relief; Photovoltaics


FSEC Energy Research Center® Collection



Rights Statement

In Copyright