There is a common misconception in the solar power world and that is: “I’ll still have power when the grid goes down.” The reality is, unless you have a backup generator or battery on standby, you will lose power in the event of an outage from severe weather. This of course is a deal breaker for some as having constant dependable power is a worthy goal, it just isn’t financially feasible. In fact, a majority of our customers are interested in going solar for one main reason and that is to gain control of their power rate. By going solar, you can reduce your need to purchase power from the grid, effectively reducing your energy costs overall.
If having power during severe weather or outages is important to you, you may want to explore which backup power options will be right for your family. Your main choices relating to solar power are Battery or Generator solutions. Lucky for you, the team here at Sunlight Solar is well versed in both of these areas and can outfit either solution to fit your needs. From Tesla Powerwalls to Generac Generators as well as batteries we’ve got you covered.
Let’s take a brief look at both solutions overall.
When it comes to either solution the overall price will be dependent on your homes size and usage. Generally speaking prices for a Generator range from $2500-$5500 upfront before the cost of fuel is added for usage. This is an important point to remember as some diesel generators can burn as much as $60 of fuel per day and may also require a concrete pad for support. Batteries on the other hand start around $7000 and generally require multiple batteries to provide whole home power. Also keep in mind, in most cases you will also need to install a Solar PV system.
The most important aspect of this project is calculating how much storage you will need and this is dependent on what you need running when the power goes out. Most batteries can handle “critical loads” like power outlets, lights, and small appliances but not all batteries are capable of discharging enough electricity for more energy intensive equipment like well pumps or AC units.
Conventional generators wont have any problems with loads as long as the system in sized properly by your installer and will be able to keep your home or business running smoothly as long as you have enough fuel on site. Of course, this is where the benefit of solar would come in, with a properly sized backup battery, you can continuously generate and store your own power on site from the sun!
Operation and Maintenance
One thing to consider when comparing batteries to generators is the fact that, on top of generators being noisy when they’re running, they also emit exhaust fumes. This can make for some unfriendly conditions in crowded neighborhoods. Gas generators also have higher maintenance, requiring monthly start up tests on top of the cost of fuel. Both will have comparable warranties provided you go with a reputable brand.
Overall, diesel, propane and natural gas powered generators are relatively simple to size and install at a much lower cost than battery backup systems. However there are other benefits to battery backup power when paired with solar. Over time, especially with rising energy rates, you can see a savings in energy bills while enjoying peace of mind, having clean, quiet, backup energy on hand. In some cases where applicable, its actually cheaper to pull power from your backup batteries during peak demand hours, rather than pay a higher price for power from the utility company. Every home is unique, requiring a custom tailored solution. It’s best to have a team of professionals evaluate your home and lifestyle needs to ensure your families specific goals are met. Your team here at Sunlight Solar can do just that, give us a call 804-452-7699