If you live in California, you know how important it is to have home backup power. The electric grid is becoming increasingly unreliable and power outages are all too familiar.
Installing a backup power system will protect you against outages so your family can stay safe and comfortable during a brownout or blackout. But what’s the best backup source for a power outage?
There are two main options: a solar battery or a generator. In this guide, we compare solar battery backup vs generators to help you decide which is the best emergency power backup for your home.
Solar vs Generator: What’s the Difference?
Solar Battery Storage
A solar battery is connected to your home solar panel system and stores the excess electricity it produces. You can use the stored energy to power your home whenever you need it—including during a power outage.
Solar batteries have the added benefit of allowing you to keep your solar panels on during a power outage. This is important because, without a battery, your solar panels will automatically shut down when the power goes out to prevent them from sending power into the electric grid and causing injuries. Solar batteries allow your solar panels to temporarily disconnect from the grid so you can keep them on during a power outage.
Benefits of Solar Batteries for Home Backup Power
If you already have solar panels or you’re planning to install them, a solar battery is the best emergency power backup for your home. Solar batteries have many benefits, including:
- Reliable – Solar batteries provide reliable power during an outage.
- Safe – Solar batteries are safe and pose virtually zero risk to your home and family.
- Automatic – You can program your solar battery to kick in automatically during a power outage.
- Scalable – Solar batteries can be sized for whole or partial-home backup and can be easily scaled as your energy needs grow.
- Eco-friendly – Solar battery storage utilizes clean, renewable energy for backup power instead of burning fossil fuels.
- Incentives – Solar battery systems are eligible for a 30% federal tax credit, reducing upfront costs.
- Quiet – Solar batteries operate silently.
Solar Battery Benefits Go Beyond Backup Power
Solar batteries aren’t just useful during a power outage—they can help you get more from your home solar system 24/7.
With solar battery storage, you can use solar energy around the clock, even when it’s dark out. This reduces the amount of electricity you have to buy from the grid and saves you money. Batteries also allow you to strategically store and deploy electricity during on-peak hours so you can avoid expensive time-of-use rates.
Unlike a backup generator, solar batteries save you money and will pay for themselves over time.
Generators provide backup power for your home by burning fuel—typically natural gas, oil, or propane—to power your house during an outage.
Benefits of Gas Generators
California is pushing for an all-electric future, and gas bans may be coming. Installing a gas generator now could put you at risk down the road. But, if you are not planning to install home solar panels and you already have a gas line, a backup generator might be the best backup power source for your home.
- Reliable – As long as you have access to fuel, your generator will provide reliable backup power.
- Cost – The initial cost of purchasing a generator is typically lower compared to setting up a new solar panel and battery storage system. However, they do not qualify for rebates and incentives.
- Automatic – A whole-home backup generator will kick in automatically during a power outage.
- Ease of Installation – Generators can often be installed more quickly and with less upfront planning than solar battery systems.
The Bottom Line: Is a Solar Battery or Generator Better for Home Backup?
Solar batteries and generators both have benefits that are worth considering and the decision will ultimately depend on preference. In most cases, a solar panel and battery storage system is a better choice for long-term benefits, including reliable home backup power, energy security, and cost savings.
Element Electric is the premier solar panel and battery backup installer in Dixon, California and throughout the surrounding areas. We install premium solar battery brands and are a Tesla Powerwall Certified Installer. Schedule a free consultation today to talk to an expert about your backup power options. We provide straightforward answers and no-pressure consultations to help you make the best choice for your home.