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After leaving GWS Worldwide Express Ltd., Jeffrey Cooper was in search of a job to provide for his family. Even as a photographer, Mr. Cooper still needed something more to fall back on. It was then that he and his wife Kaye decided to open a hot dog stand on Fire Road. That was 17 years ago.

Couple utilizes solar power at home, business

Photo: Jeff Cooper and a few of his satisfied customers at Savannah’s Hot Dog Stand, which is located in Fire Road (North Abaco).

After leaving GWS Worldwide Express Ltd., Jeffrey Cooper was in search of a job to provide for his family. Even as a photographer, Mr. Cooper still needed something more to fall back on. It was then that he and his wife Kaye decided to open a hot dog stand on Fire Road.

That was 17 years ago.

Named after his daughter, Savannah’s Hot Dog Stand did indeed begin as a hot dog stand where dyno balls and freshly made lemonade were served. The menu has now expanded to include everything conceivable from chicken wings and homemade fries to burgers, egg rolls, seafood and glazed doughnuts. There are also five flavours of mouth-watering lemonade to sample.

However, although business was booming, the hot dog stand had to be replaced with the existing building after Hurricane Floyd swept it away.

“We’ve been in the building for five years. The business has kept me going, and it’s [been] a community thing,” Mr. Cooper reflected. “We first started out four days a week, but now we open two days a week – Friday and Saturday.”

After successfully using solar power at their home, the Coopers decided to try it out at the business. Solar power works by converting sunlight into electricity. A solar power system uses photovoltaic (PV) technology to capture the sun’s rays, converting sunlight photon energy into electrical current.  Because energy is produced from daylight, and not direct sunlight, electricity can be produced on cloudy or overcast days.

The solar power has a layer of silicon with a positive charge and another layer with a negative charge. Rays from the sun make contact with the panel causing electrons to move from one layer to the next, and therefore creates an electrical current. An inverter takes the current and converts in into usable power (240V AC).

Despite the initial cost involved, the Coopers are happy they made the decision to use renewable energy, and Mr. Cooper said he was always one to experiment with gadgets.

Interestingly, for Mr. Cooper, solar power offers an added feature: safety.

He was concerned about Savannah and Jerome – his children’s – safety during power outages when they would have to light candles. With solar power, there was no need for candles because the children were taught to operate all of the equipment associated with it.

At his home, Cooper observed that it takes 12 volts to run one light, and that the light can last six days with continuous use. He explained that it is best to separate the lights that need to be charged and to never put them all on one battery. Refrigerators use too much power and would drain the battery in 15 minutes. To charge bigger appliances and at nighttime, a generator can be used or persons may wish to use electricity from BEC.

The best battery for the job, he said, is a deep-cycle battery like a golf cart battery, which can be charged overnight.

All in all, Cooper admitted that the biggest challenge was having to sacrifice using electricity for the first time. One time, he said, he went off the grid for an entire year. Although he did not receive power throughout the entire day, he and his wife estimate that they saved hundreds of dollars.

The Cooper’s also offer catering services at Savannah’s Hot Dog Stand, and plan to offer food and dessert platters during the holiday season to schools and businesses. Soon the building will be expanded to contain a bakery, and at that time, the name will change to Savannah’s Hot Dog Stand and Bakery. Visit them at Savannah’s Hot Dog Stand on Facebook or at http://www.savannahc6.webs.com or call 365-0517 or 475-9516/7.

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About Canishka Alexander

Canishka Alexander

Canishka Alexander was born in New Providence, but spent most of her childhood years on Abaco. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Abilene Christian University.

Although she has accomplished many things in life, her greatest accomplishment is being a mother to her four children. She loves God, her country and people of all cultures.

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