Report Number




Disaster Relief; Photovoltaics


When disaster strikes, such as a hurricane, flood, tornado, or earthquake, it can leave many people without adequate medical services, portable water, electrical service and communications. It can be as destructive as Hurricane Andrew, which left several hundred-thousand people homeless. Those fortunate enough to survive the disaster could be without local utility power and other services for long periods of time as services are restored.

When such disasters occur, emergency management teams, the military, and many public and private organizations respond with massive relief efforts. Dependency on electrical utility power becomes pronounced as emergency services are rendered and rebuilding begins.

Photovoltaic (PV), or solar electric, systems offer a source of quite, safe, pollution-free electrical power. PV systems are capable of providing the electrical needs for vaccine refrigerators, microscopes, medical equipment, lighting, radios, fans, traffic control devices, communications and other general electrical equipment.

This needs assessment discusses the need for electrical power during a disaster, and the capability of PV to fill that need. The report identifies the role PV technology can play in disaster relief efforts, communicates this role to government and relief organizations, utilities and the PV industry, and discusses possible ways to procure, store, maintain and deploy PV equipment in emergency situations.

Date Published


Local Subjects

Disaster Relief; Photovoltaics


FSEC Energy Research Center® Collection



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