If you’re debating whether to choose a solar battery vs. generator, you’ve come to the right place. In recent years, there’s been an increased demand for reliable backup power because of extreme weather conditions and increased power outages. (1)
Take the California rolling blackouts and the big Texas Freeze, for instance. These outages pushed the U.S. power grid over the edge of failure (2) and left many homeowners seeking solutions to keep the power on in their houses.
Both solar batteries and generators offer a backup source of power, but each one has its own benefits and features. This article will provide you with a good understanding of which backup source might fit your needs and budget perfectly.
We’ll go over:
- The pros and cons of solar batteries and generators
- Key differences between both
- How you can choose which home energy solution best suits you.
What is a solar backup battery?
A solar backup battery is a great addition to any solar panel system. It can help reduce the carbon footprint of your home and contribute to a sustainable future.
When there’s a power outage, a solar battery could be a reliable source of power to keep essential home appliances and medical devices running.* It could even charge up your electric vehicle and power an off-grid home-away-from-home.
Solar batteries are also great to use if your electric company has time-of-use billing. This will allow you to use stored energy from your battery when the price and demand for grid electricity is higher at peak times. Keep reading to learn about the pros and cons of solar backup batteries.
Solar is the better, longer-term solution to power resiliency during an outage, but don’t just take our word for it. For homeowners looking into solar batteries as their ultimate power solution, here are a few benefits that make it worthwhile:
- Solar battery backups don’t contribute to greenhouse emissions because they use renewable energy generated by solar panels.
- If your utility company charges time-of-use rates, a solar battery could reduce your electricity bill and result in long-term savings.**
- Solar batteries can provide backup power during a power outage.
- Solar batteries can qualify for the Residential Clean Energy Credit.
- Some solar batteries, like Enphase with its cutting-edge IQ8 Microinverter, can detect a power outage and maximize its energy capture during overcast conditions. Find out more about the Enphase Microinverters.
- A solar battery has a lifespan of 10-15 years.
While solar batteries are the superior choice, they aren’t without some drawbacks. Here are a couple of reasons why homeowners might hesitate:
- Upfront cost of installation and equipment
- May require multiple batteries to meet full power needs
Did you know:
Thanks to the Residential Clean Energy Credit, you may be eligible to receive a federal tax credit in 2023 for up to 30% of the value of any qualifying solar battery storage system.
What is a generator?
A generator uses an engine to convert fuel into electricity. Depending on the type of generator you choose, your generator could take in a variety of fuel types, such as propane and natural gas. A gasoline generator is the most common type of generator and the one most people are familiar with.
The specific needs of your home play a factor in the solar battery vs generator discussion. There might be situations where a generator is more suitable for your power needs. Let’s take a look at a few pros.
- Generators come in a variety of sizes. They range from portable ones to large, stationary ones. This allows for flexibility in how the generator is used. For instance, a portable generator can be transported to different locations.
- Generators are available with a variety of fuel options, such as gasoline, propane, natural gas, and diesel.
- Depending on your location, generators are more readily available during an emergency and might be available at your local hardware store.
Along with their benefits, generators have a host of drawbacks. Let’s examine a few, so you can decide the winner of the solar battery vs generator argument.
- Generators tend to require regular maintenance, including oil changes, filter replacements, and spark plug changes. While generators might have an affordable upfront cost, maintenance fees will add up over time and could lead to a bigger bill over a generator’s lifespan.
- Generators can be noisy. During a power outage, sometimes the only sound you can hear is the loud hum of generators.
- When natural disasters hit, fuel becomes a hot commodity and is in limited supply. The gas people use to fuel their cars to evacuate is the same gas you’d use to fuel your generator. Gas stations may run out of fuel or might become inaccessible because of the weather.
- The biggest con is, generators emit harmful pollutants into the atmosphere.
Solar battery vs generator
Deciding whether to go with a solar battery vs generator is a choice that will depend largely on your goals and the unique energy requirements of your home. The objective is to find a reliable power source when the grid fails or when there’s inclement weather that impacts the power system. While both get the job done, there are a few key differences to go over.
The most obvious difference is where these backup storage systems get their power. Home backup batteries are charged from excess solar energy, but can also be charged from the grid. They store this energy for later use. Generators typically run on fossil fuels.
Another difference is how well solar batteries and generators run. Solar batteries are silent and eco-friendly. You won’t even realize they’re on, but you can trust that they’re collecting your solar energy. Generators, on the other hand, can’t be missed. They’re noisy and release dirty pollutants into the air we breathe.
When evaluating cost, it’s important to consider long-term value. Solar batteries will be more expensive upfront in most cases. However, they create opportunities for long-term savings.** Generators can be cost-effective initially, but over time they’ll require maintenance and constant refueling.
One thing to factor into your cost evaluation is upkeep and maintenance. Solar batteries are typically low maintenance after installation. With advanced technology, like the solar monitoring Enphase App, you can make sure your whole system is running in tip-top shape! Generators, however, can be high maintenance due to regular oil changes, filter replacements and other inconveniences.
Ease of use
Another thing to consider is practicality. Solar batteries can seamlessly turn on during power outages. Generators may require manual starting. Also, you’ll need to have some fuel handy for refueling. That means you’ll run the risk of storing hazardous materials or have to go on the hunt for gasoline when there’s a power outage.
Solar backup batteries produce virtually no noise pollution. During a blackout, your neighborhood will be quieter than you’ve ever heard it. The loud rumbling of a generator will ruin the peace. Through quiet operation, the nearly nonexistent hum of your solar backup storage will keep your electricity running without noise.
Solar panels and a powerful solar battery are great ways to keep the lights on through any power failure. While both backup batteries and generators have their advantages and disadvantages, it all comes down to reliability and sustainability. The sun is a consistent, clean energy source, and adding a solar backup battery will make sure your home is powered when you need it the most.
Schedule your home backup battery installation with ADT Solar
For a cleaner, quieter and more sustainable solution, contact ADT Solar for a free solar consultation. We can assess your home’s power needs to find the right solution for you. Contact us today!