Which Is the Better Backup: Solar Batteries or Generators?

Although a well-designed solar system may meet most of a homeowner’s electrical needs, there are occasions when power must be drawn from the grid. While many energy providers offer net metering as a way to recoup the cost of power purchased from the local utility, it is not accessible to all solar customers. Having an electricity backup supply can offer power during outages such as PG&E’s Public Power Safety Shutoffs as well as lower electricity costs.

Let’s face it, unexpected events occur. Wildfires, rolling blackouts and power disruptions are all too common in California. However, many people are unaware that residences powered by PV solar usually are connected to the grid and are turned off along with everyone else during a power outage to protect utility workers. To keep the lights on and the refrigerator running, backup power is required, and the two most common options are a generator or a solar battery for a solar system.

While generators have long been a popular backup for grid failures, solar batteries are becoming a more practical choice for homeowners.

Let’s dive into a few factors to keep in mind.

The noise. Whole-house generators usually are quieter than portable generators, but they can still be noisy. Imagine a motorcycle engine running continually for the quietest ones. Solar batteries are entirely silent.

The price. A generator can range in price from $2,000 to $30,000, with the majority falling somewhere in the middle. The owner must continue to pay for regular maintenance and fuel when the generator is installed. Solar batteries require minimal to no maintenance and are powered by solar energy. Because sunshine is limitless, the battery can keep recharging and powering your house indefinitely. Furthermore, the federal government and several state and local governments provide incentives for purchasing solar battery storage systems. Purchasing generators usually do not come with any tax benefits.

The size. Whole-house generators required to power a home for an extended period of time are more significant than their portable counterparts, around the size of a conventional HVAC unit. This will depend on the size of your home and its electricity requirements.

Gas. Generators run on gasoline, natural gas or liquid propane. These all happen to be polluting fossil fuels. Solar batteries use solar electricity that has been stored and lower your carbon footprint.

When deciding whether to add a solar battery to your solar system, there are several factors to consider. Contact us today to discuss your options!

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