The Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management recently purchased a Solar & Hydrogen Mobile Nanogrid Emergency Response Trailer and showed off its capabilities at county Fire Department headquarters.
The May 3 event, held one day after a wildfire preparedness presentation, was “another opportunity to bring attention to how we continue to build preparedness within our community and making sure our community has an emergency kit,” OEM director Kelly Hubbard said.
The county purchased the trailer from Sesame Solar, a Jackson, Michigan-based woman-owned company specializing in making clean renewable energy trailers called Nanogrids.
The trailer is powered by solar panels and a hydrogen generator, which not only ensures that it can be running continuously if there is water, but it also means that there will be zero emissions from the trailer, according to the county.
Anne Webb of Sesame Solar describes the Nanogrid trailer as “a smartphone with different applications.” The trailers are designed to be an independent, mobile and clean source of energy that can be taken anywhere it’s needed.
The Nanogrids can be deployed to disaster sites and other areas affected by outages to provide power for medical devices, storing life-saving drugs like insulin, or even function as a charging station for electric vehicles and wheelchairs.
“There’s a large part of the community that needs power for medical support, people doing dialysis, and this can run a refrigerator for people to store medication,” said Erick McCurdy of the American Red Cross Central California Region.
“When you’re in the field you need power.”
Disaster preparedness is vital in Santa Barbara County, where wildfires, flooding and power outages can be common occurrences.
The county is currently showcasing the Nanogrid at events and festivals, including last weekend’s Earth Day Festival in Santa Barbara, to educate the public about its utility.
Officials plan to purchase a second trailer so both ends of the county will have a trailer designated to local use.