Goal Zero 1250 : Solar Generator for an underground shelter

A disaster such as war time or an asteroid hit on the planet is not something we can predict but we can definitely plan for as a contingency measure. This article discusses the utility of having the goal zero 1250 solar generator for your under ground shelter as your primary backup power source during such a calamity.

In a disaster event such as a massive solar flare, a high altitude nuclear explosion, an dirty nuclear bomb, or a focused EMP weapon the end result is an instantaneously emitted pulse of  intense electro magnetic energy which radiates outwards.  Much of this energy will be soaked by the power grid as most of our power lines are above the ground and will act like giant antennas. They will distribute this energy to everything that is plugged into the grid and this intense spike of energy will likely permanently damage all the equipment.

Our electronic equipment in the underground shelter will not be connected to the grid and will thus survive the EMP pulse through the grid. However, the effects of the EMP pulse  also radiates outwards through the air, enveloping everything in its path. Hence, the added protection of being underground will hopefully shield us from the pulse. Of course the degree of damage depends on the distance from the event.

Goal Zero 1250 Solar Generator

The Goal Zero 1250 unit is the best available solar generator for your under ground shelter as of today (end 2016).

Best Solar Generators

Amsu 100w
Anker Powerhouse 400
Aspect 250
Duracell Power Source 1800
Forty2Max 2000
Goal Zero Yeti 150
Grengine 1000
Inergy Kodiak 1100
Kalisaya KP401
Kalisaya KP600
Kohler Encube
Lazer Volt
Paxcess 100w
Poweroak 400
Power Source 300
Renogy Firefly
Renogy Firefly (old)
Suaoki 400wh
Suaoki 220w
Wagan 1500w

The unit is pre built and pre packaged with enough input and output device options to make the under ground shelter hum with power. An added benefit of the Goal Zero 1250 unit is that it also has an included 100 AH battery.

The unit has 3 USB outlets. The USB outlets can for out 2.1 Amps each and will suffice for a laptop or a smart phone. Of course the phones will likely not work after a disaster. The 12 V charging outlet will be your choice of power for your indoor lighting. Check out the section below on lighting for the shelter.   There are three 110 V AC  outlets and they can be used to run a small refrigerator and your communication equipment – ham radios etc. ( see section below).

POWER : 1250 WH Battery :100 Ah AGM included – you will purchase Golf Cart or Gel Cel batteries separately for additional backup. Solar Panel –External purchase separately preferably 50W each and 3

Goal Zero 1250 : Devices Charge capacity

Lamp (4 WH) 312 charges
Smartphone or GoPro (5 WH) 250 charges
Digital Camera (8 WH) 156 charges
Tablet (30 WH) 41 charges
Laptop (50 WH) 25 charges
Light Bulb (30 W) 41 hours

The Goal Zero 1250 is the largest solar generator from Goal Zero and is heavy at 116 pounds but the wheels are a blessing.


Given the extreme effects of an EMP event,  it is advisable to have two types of lights available in the shelter – standard 12 V DC Fluorescent lights which are hardy and not prone to failure during an EMP event and LED lights.


LED lights use much less power and will be the best bet post the disaster as they will last longer with the same power.  Unfortunately, LED lights may be vulnerable to the EMP effect.

You should store all your LEDs  in a Faraday cage until after all threat of an EMP has passed.


Communication will be key post a disaster. It is best to stock our shelter with a good short wave CB radio and a 40-80 meter amateur radio. The short wave CBs work on short distances and only along  ‘line of site’,  but they will provide localized information, which could be of critical importance.  It is likely that relay stations over ground would be destroyed during a catastrophe making 2 meter radio units unusable.  Hence the recommendation of additional amateur 40 to 80 meter radios. These wont require working relay stations. It might be a good idea to become a licensed amateur radio operator as a preparatory measure for such a calamity.

 CB Radio 

Do some serious research before you purchase your radio units. The units shown above are indicative and may not be your best choice. You will have to use your CB or ham radio very carefully. They use very little power then they are receiving, but use a lot more during transmission. If you have others who plan to move into shelters, it makes sense to use the same frequencies for your radio transmissions.


Remember to have a set of charged batteries in your shelter at all times. When disaster strikes there is likely to be a period of a week or two when you may not be able to venture outside. During those times your charged batteries plus the charge battery of the solar generator will be your best bet.  Once the immediate danger is past, we can recharge the batteries as well as the solar generator using the solar panels.

The best batteries to use are the 12 Volt variety as they are inexpensive and widely available. They can be daisy chained easily to increase voltage (daisy chained in serial) or ampere hours of capacity (daisy chained in paralell). An additional benefit of 12-volt batteries is that their chargers and inverters are reasonably priced and dependable.

Since shelters are underground and poorly ventilated it is preferable to use the  6-volt golf cart batteries or the 6-volt ‘gel-cell’ batteries. Car batteries should must not be used in shelters, as they need ventilation. Two of these batteries will be wired in series to get 12 volt output.


 Gel Cell Battery   Golf Cart Battery

Gel-cell batteries have excellent recovery characteristics and can be deep-cycled many more times than lead-acid batteries. Of course they are two to three times more expensive. Since they don’t outgas and have a much longer life expectancy, they make a better choice for the underground shelter.  Gel-cell batteries require a special charger like the IOTA DLS 55 or DLS 75 charger.

The battery system in your solar generator and your back up batteries are  your only source of energy. Monitor them and keep them charged regularly. It would be catastrophic if and when you need to go to the shelter to find out you have damaged batteries.

Solar Panels

The panels will be used to recharge the batteries. Preferably they should be stored in the shelter (wrap them in Aluminum foil) for protection from the blast and EMP.  Once the situation is under control outside and the effects of the danger have passed away they can be taken out for use.

As discussed earlier it  is critical to have your batteries topped up in the shelter. A good idea maybe to have one of your solar panel as a sacrificial panel which is outside at all times. It can charge your batteries – both on the Goal Zero 1250 solar generator as well as the back up gel cell/golf cart batteries.  Keep at least 3 more solar panels inside the shelter to protect them from the EMP.


Finally – Don’t spend your stored battery powers amp hours unwisely. Recirculate your air system by hand and eat as much packaged and pre cooked stuff as possible. Your goal initially is survival and  your battery power should be used only for lighting and radio communication. Best of Luck with your shelter.

There is a lot more you can do with solar. Check out these articles. Thank you for visiting mysolarhome.us.

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Author: Michael Bennet

A solar energy professional with eight years of marketing and installation experience. Avid and passionate about the adoption of solar and related technologies in all homes. Blog about all things solar at mysolarhome.us.

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