By , for Forbes
Five days after the dreaded arrival of Hurricane Irma, Jim Walden lives in a ghost town. When Walden woke up on this mid-September morning, he switched on his lights and headed to the kitchen to grab something out of the refrigerator for breakfast. He is the only person within miles who could make that seemingly modest claim. That’s because his house, located between Daytona and St. Augustine, Florida, is the only one with electricity, thanks to solar panels and an investment in a 10-kilowatt hour energy storage system from sonnen that he installed at the beginning of the year.
Coordinated with 24 solar panels on Walden’s roof, the system provides his home with a steady supply of electrons. It’s not enough to keep the air condition running, but it’s sufficient to make his home habitable for the long haul until the world returns to normal.
While the world watched in fascination as Hurricane Irma was posed to sweep through the Caribbean and slam into Florida, Walden was getting prepared. He had planned to evacuate to Tampa, but then the updated forecast put the storm to the west, so he decided to stay home and ride it out. Winds reached hurricane force, with gusts in his area up to 90-95 miles per hour, enough to take out the grid (as of September 15th at 12 PM, Florida Power and Light indicated that 1,055,000 customers were without power, with 3,400,000 having already been restored), but not to wreak the devastation suffered further south and west. Thankfully, his house remained intact.