A well-designed solar system can meet most homeowners’ electrical needs, but it may not provide 100% of the power necessary, making you tap into the grid or another source. For nighttime use and in case of power outages a battery can supply the that additional energy.
Let’s deal with the emergency. Wildfires, heat waves, snowstorms, hurricanes and other events have caused power outages. Most people are not aware of this, but solar powered homes are usually connected to the grid and shut down along with others during outages to prevent injury to power distribution workers. Backup power is needed to power the lights and keep the crucial appliances running. Two main ways to achieve this are using a generator or a solar battery. Generators have been a common backup for grid outages for decades, but solar batteries are now a more viable option for homeowners to consider. Factors to consider:
Whole house domestic generators are larger than their portable relatives — just like the size of the HVAC unit. But the size will vary depending on the size of your home and your electricity needs. Often a large box in a service room or garage is a little smaller than a refrigerator. The small box contains smart software that allows homeowners to control when and how the energy is used. A solar battery is generally sleek and much smaller than a refrigerator — though you may need more than one for your household energy needs.
Whole-house generators usually make less of a racket than portable ones, but they can still be loud. For the quietest ones, imagine a motorcycle engine running nonstop. Solar batteries are silent.
Generators use natural gas or propane to run — all fossil fuels that pollute the air. Solar batteries work with stored solar energy and reduce your carbon footprint.
A generator can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $30,000 although most of them are at the lower end of the range. Even with generators installed owners must pay for regular maintenance and fuel. Solar batteries cost less to maintain, and the fuel is all solar. There is an unlimited amount of sunlight so the battery can continue to charge and power your home. Additionally, the US government has encouraged the purchase of solar battery storage systems as have some state and local governments. There are usually no tax benefits to buying a generator.
Photovoltaic home systems can save homeowners money in other ways. They can be easily managed with intelligent software to maximize use of solar energy every day to help save during peak periods. During a power outage they can be programmed to power the selected devices, such as a food storage or health essentials. Generators can be programmed and depending on the size can be run consistently for weeks at a time.