Though many home and property owners moving to solar energy have reason to want backup energy, many aren’t aware of the differences between generator vs. solar backup power and oftentimes make the wrong choice for their solar power setup because of it.
Generator Backup Power
Generator backup power is something most people are already familiar with—it involves a standby generator that detects when a power outage occurs and provides backup power for your home. These generators are often less expensive upfront than solar batteries, they can be connected to a natural gas line, and can be powered 24/7 as long as the generators are provided with constant fuel (gas or propane, usually). The downsides of backup generators are that they have a higher carbon footprint, they’re noisy, and they require an additional cost of fuel and maintenance.
Solar Battery Backup Power
Solar backup batteries also provide backup power in case of outages, but the difference is that batteries store energy on standby for later use and are recharged rather than fueled, like a generator. They can also be used during other times, like at night when solar output is low or whenever you want to save on your electric bill. Solar backup batteries are quiet, operate on renewable energy when combined with panels, are low maintenance, and come with tax incentives. The downside of solar batteries is that they require a more expensive initial setup if you plan to power your home in high-energy circumstances (like providing a home with air conditioning).
Best of Both Worlds
There is also a balance between going fully solar and relying solely on your generator—creating a hybrid method, where solar batteries are charged via the generator. When a generator operates it creates energy by burning fuel or gas. This means that it will generate energy regardless of whether your home or cottage needs it. By adding batteries to your setup, this extra energy can be stored for later use. Add a solar system into the mix, and now your generator will only act as true back up source to your solar system, giving you a true off-grid setup.
The Right Choice for You—Generator vs. Solar Backup Power…Or Both!
Generator Backup Power
If you are only needing backup energy for a few hours or a few days and infrequently, your home is connected to a gas line, and you don’t plan on installing solar panels in the future, fuel-powered generators are recommended. They can keep your entire home in operation, but at the cost of fuel.
Solar Backup Power
If you are looking to go “off the grid,” you want long-term energy for outages that doesn’t require refueling. If you’re simply looking to reduce your carbon footprint with renewable energy, then solar backup batteries are the choice for you.
A backup generator combined with a solar system, including solar panels and batteries, provides the ultimate security in case of a power outage. This method combines the power of a generator and the long-term, energy storing capabilities of a solar system.
If you’re considering solar energy for your home or mobile setup, feel free to visit our home page, where you can find solar panels, batteries, solar power kits, and all-in-one solar generators. For questions, give us a call or fill out a form on our Contact page to speak with us today!