Wine bottles smashed on wine-smashed tourists visiting Napa. Nearly 200 people were treated for injuries, and electricity went out for 70,000 Pacific Gas & Electric customers during the Aug. 24 6.1 earthquake in Napa County. Those were the headlines. But for those interested in energy, there\u2019s a sidebar to the main stories. Thousands of kilowatts were sent adrift. There was no insurance recovery for those electrons. No way to get them back. They became vapor in the post-quake power shutdown. A pre-quake observer with an eye to distributed energy may have noted a plethora of solar installations on wineries and other area businesses. Yet, they suffered power losses along with everyone else\u2014even though they were producing electricity. For instance, the Far Niente winery has a 2,500 million gallon pond covered with floating photovoltaics that produce 380 kW, according to winemaker Greg Allen. The electric feed went into \u201csafe mode\u201d when the earthquake hit, he said. There was no damage to the panels, he added, because they \u201crode it out like houseboats.\u201d \u201cIt\u2019s a safety issue\u201d that those with distributed generation can\u2019t use it in a general outage, said PG&E spokesperson Denny Boyles. If solar systems stay on when the power is generally out, lineworkers could get electrocuted if a distributed generation site backfeeds into the grid. But there is an easy answer for wineries and others who have distributed generation to be able to keep their power on during an outage. Distributed generators could install a switch, like hospitals have, to keep the electricity on and secede from the grid for the time being, \u201cbut I don\u2019t know any\u201d that have switches, Boyle added. There is no California Public Utilities Commission policy against installing such switches, noted Boyle. He added \u201cthere are rules regarding interconnection of distributed generators to the power grid.\u201d They are available in engineering details and schematics from the local utility. If a distributed generator does create an intentional \u201cisland\u201d of its own by using a switch, it is acceptable to utilities.