It’s been just over six months since Hurricane Sandy swept the eastern seaboard, leaving both destruction and devastation in its wake. In the aftermath of this natural disaster, parts of the East Coast – and New York and New Jersey in particular – were left without power for weeks.

An extended loss of power, whether caused by a natural disaster or other event, isn’t only inconvenient: it can be potentially life threatening. Many families were forced to go without heat or hot water for weeks on end. For households that include both very young and very old family members, a lack of adequate heating can be potentially fatal. It also makes fundamental household tasks, such as cooking and bathing, much more difficult if not impossible.

One solution for easing these ills, according to Huffington Post contributor Matt Petersen, is solar power.

“In a time of emergency, these robust solar systems will not only keep the lights on and charge mobile phones, but will provide critical services for seniors and others like refrigeration for medicine, and basic heating and cooling. In normal operations, they will help save hundreds to thousands of dollars every year on rising energy costs, money that can go back into the community,” writes Petersen.

Unlike electricity, solar power can be banked and stored so that individuals and businesses aren’t shut off from basic services without notice.

Living in California, you might not be affected by hurricanes like Sandy, however earthquakes and wildfires can cause similar disruptions in the power grids your community relies on. If you’re interested in protecting your home’s energy using solar power, contact West Coast Solar, a top California solar installer.