Improved, compact solar devices offer East Texans severe weather solutions

At places like Ace Hardware in Hawkins, Store Manager Paul Stevens said people need to think about preparedness all year long.
Published: May. 28, 2023 at 5:09 PM CDT
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HAWKINS, Texas (KLTV) - East Texas weather can vary from blistering heat, to storms to freezing temperatures, and all of it can lead to loss of power.

But there are ways to prepare for any seasons loss of power, and in some cases even save money on an electric bill.

Losing power from storms or other outages, leaves most of us in the same place.

The dark.

“Preparedness is one thing that we’re going to do, but everybody needs to have a little supply,” says Hawkins ACE Hardware manager Paul Stevens.

Preparing for worst case scenario involves 3 elements: Water, food and light, and many are looking at the light element in a new way.

It’s something that usually ends up on a lawn or porch, but now more people are seeing the practicality of investing in solar lights.

“If we had a few of them sitting in the front yard when the power went out, charged up, all we have to do is bring them in the house,” Stewvens says.

New designs actually make using solar units for indoor light much easier.

Far from the huge panels from years ago, new units are much more compact, with easy to use control panels and even ‘USB’ ports to charge hand held devices.

“It’s not so expensive, and it’s ready to use when you’re in the dark,” says Paul.

And some have installed the solar lights inside their home not only as a fail-safe, but to save on their electric bills.

Aside from lights, Stevens says propane or a generator is essential for cooking.

“Lets not wait until we run out. We’re fortunate to have a good supply, but the tank could run out,” he says.

We’ve seen how the 2021 ice storm and recent severe weather have knocked out power for long periods, and there’s concern of the power grid going out during extreme stress, with brown outs or black outs possible during peak summer usage.

Stevens says better to prepare now, because if you wait for the power to go out?

“It’s too late. Just be prepared,” he says.

Stevens also advises people to keep supplies such as pipe fittings and extra water line in the event of frozen pipes. And fuel for generators when needed.