Solar battery vs generator: Which of these two backup power options is better if you experience blackouts at home? The answer depends on several factors, such as price, ease of use, carbon footprints, and more.
Are you wondering how to compare the two? Do you find yourself asking, do you need a generator with solar panels?
We break down all you need to know in this comprehensive solar vs generator guide.
Solar batteries are devices that store excess energy generated by solar panel systems. There are several types of solar batteries, such as Lithium-ion, lead acid, or flow batteries, each of which differs in terms of lifespan or storage.
When you add a battery to a solar system, you reduce your reliance on the grid and gain excess energy that can be used during a blackout or periods with limited sunlight.
A solar backup generator is a system that’s fitted with a solar battery and an inverter.
One of the biggest benefits of solar batteries is their low environmental impact. Other advantages include the following:
At the same time, there are disadvantages associated with solar batteries, most of which have to do with them being a relatively new technology.
A generator is a more traditional backup option that many people are already familiar with. This engine converts fuel—gasoline, diesel, propane, or natural gas—into energy that can be used in case of a blackout.
Natural gas generators connect directly to the gas line and turn on only in the event of an outage. Diesel generators, meanwhile, must be manually filled to keep running.
Now that we know a little more about each of these two systems, let’s compare them on certain parameters to determine which is right for your home.
The comparison of the costs of the two systems comes down to short-term gains vs long-term value.
A solar backup generator needs a bigger initial investment. From residential solar panels to batteries, inspection and installation, the expenses add up. In contrast, a traditional generator is much cheaper to purchase outright.
A new solar backup generator can cost as little as $300 and up to $25,000, depending on the output and fuel type. A basic solar battery backup system, meanwhile, starts at $9,000.
Use a solar panel cost calculator for a more accurate estimate based on your needs.
However, once a solar system is set up, it costs far less to maintain compared to a generator. Solar batteries, unlike generators, also open you up to certain tax credits, while generators require constant upkeep and are reliant on fluctuating fuel prices.
Once a solar backup generator is set up, it is convenient to use in case of an outage. The energy stored in batteries can be used as soon as the power turns off. A generator, meanwhile, may have to be operated manually and will need refueling once it runs out.
A solar system runs silently, while a generator can be quite noisy. This may not seem like a big deal at first, but the next time the power goes out, and you don’t have to listen to the constant hum of a generator, you’ll understand why it’s one of the biggest benefits of solar batteries.
This one is a no-brainer: a solar battery is much better for the environment than a diesel or gasoline-powered generator. The emissions from a generator are incredibly harmful and will negatively impact your health. This is one of the most significant factors that has led to an increase in solar panel installation in California.
This is the one area where generators have the upper hand.
Solar batteries only store a limited amount of energy, depending on their type and make. On the other hand, traditional generators can easily provide power to your household anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks, as long as you have enough fuel to keep them going.
One question often asked when deciding between solar battery vs generator is, if you have solar panels do you need a generator?
You don’t need a traditional generator if you have a solar setup. One of the most important benefits of solar batteries is that they allow you access to uninterrupted power supply from your solar panel system during an outage.
To understand the role a solar backup generator plays, read up on how solar power is stored.
Solar batteries offer a lot more than generators as a backup power source.
The only times generators have the upper hand is if you have no intention of installing solar panels in the near future. Integrating solar panels with battery storage is significantly more cost-effective and better for the planet in the long run.
Wondering how to start your solar journey? Don’t hesitate to contact AMECO for more information. As a leading solar company in California, AMECO has helped customers make the switch to solar for almost 50 years. We’re happy to help you do the same.