BE READY FOR THE UNEXPECTED: HOME POWER BACKUP – BATTERIES VS. GENERATORS
In the US, solar panels for home use and solar power in general are fast on the increase.
In 2020, a new solar energy system was installed every 75 seconds, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). In the same year around 18.6 million residences already made use of solar energy, which accounted for 3% of the nation’s overall energy consumption.
This is a marked increase over earlier years. Should this growth rate remain steady, we can anticipate that by 2025, about 13.6% of households will be powered by solar energy.
A battery or generator will typically be required when going solar. These items have also seen a surge in popularity of late. Many homes have been encouraged by various factors to investigate backup energy solutions to maintain power during outages. These factors have included the COVID-19 pandemic, increased risk of natural disasters, more intense storms as a result of climate change, and an aging electric grid infrastructure.
According to the SEIA, by 2025, nearly a quarter of all behind-the-meter solar systems will be paired with storage. This is a huge increase compared to the under 6% paired in 2020.”
What power backup system would be best to consider? Batteries and generators are the two most popular options.
THE MAIN DIFFERENCES BETWEEN BATTERIES AND GENERATORS – EXPLAINED
Basically, the two primary forms of home power backup systems that can power your home in the event of a power failure are batteries and generators.
Batteries are powered by electricity. You could either charge them through using the extra energy from your solar panels or you can charge them by using electricity from the grid. Batteries can be recharged even if the grid goes down if they are connected to an off-grid backup energy source. This will provide you with security in your power sourcing.
However, during a power outage not all battery systems can be recharged. If you feel that this feature is crucial, check with your contractor to make sure you have the right system for your requirements.
While some modern generator models may recharge using solar energy, most generators run on fuel, like diesel, liquid propane, or natural gas. Fuel is converted into power for your house.
Your generator will run as long as you have the right fuel and enough supply. Some generators can also connect to a gas line if you were to run out of fuel. However, not everyone has access to a gas line. Consider storing extra fuel, to be able to power your home in the event of a power outage.
CHOOSE THE BEST OPTION FOR YOUR HOME
Batteries and generators each have specific benefits and drawbacks. You need to decide which option is best for you and your family and determine your power requirements to make an informed decision. Let’s now examine how a home solar panel system can be combined with a generator or batteries to provide power in the event of an emergency. The goal is to be self-sufficient, should a prolonged power outage occur.
HOW CAN SOLAR POWER ASSIST IN DISASTER PLANNING OR POWER OUTAGES?
Disaster planning is sometimes dismissed as unnecessary, preparing for the worst which will likely never happen. But if the pandemic and the rising frequency of natural disasters have taught us anything, it’s that at any point our lives can change and when it does, it happens very fast.
Power grids often face challenges which can include car accidents, lightning storms, severe wind, falling trees and even squirrels that can cause disruption to energy lines.
It is therefore helpful to have backup power options to rely on.
Traditional energy providers rely on coal and natural gas plants to supply electricity to houses. As they operate differently from solar roof mount panels or solar in general, they shut down rather rapidly when a crisis arises. Most households rely on the power supplied by the grid, which leaves them completely in the dark at times.
This shutdown could even last for multiple days if the power plant in your area has sustained severe damage.
You can be prepared for complete power outages by storing excess solar energy or backup grid energy. You will be able to utilize your laptop for work, keep the lights on, keep food from being wasted by spoiling and keep medical equipment working.
There are many people that are drawn to solar panels for home use, because of the sustainable nature of the energy it provides. It’s a great feeling to be energy independent and you effectively reduce your carbon footprint. In addition to solar roof panels, backup power will ensure your security and enable you to deal with unplanned circumstances.
SOLAR BATTERIES AS AN OPTION FOR BACKUP POWER
In general, batteries are useful for delivering instant power for shorter periods of time. They are great for powering items that require less power to run, like lights and fridges. They can also be used to charge an electric vehicle overnight.
If your utility company offers a time-of-use plan, you will know that during this time there is a peak demand for electricity. You can increase the stored power in your battery during these peak times by offsetting your energy use. As a result, you will have more electricity stored for use after sunset and of course during a power outage.
Batteries may be more expensive up front compared to generators, but they can help save you money in the long run. This is because they are completely powered by renewable energy and require little maintenance or repair.
According to a 2018 GTM study, it is expected that energy storage costs will decline with 8% per year. The analysis predicts a drop in battery prices as more homeowners install independent energy systems.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF BACKUP BATTERIES
Lithium ion batteries are the most environmentally friendly choice for backup power. They are typically able to connect to smart home software systems, allowing homeowners more control. Other points are that they have a long lifespan, are power efficient, and help to cut costs. Owners can put lithium ion batteries outdoors, in a garage, or behind an electrical meter.
LEAD ACID BATTERIES
This is the most popular type of battery used with off-grid solar power systems. This type is similar to the everyday car battery. Currently Tesla Powerwall batteries are still designed to work with the electric grid, but this may change soon. They are currently working on off-grid batteries, although if you use this now, it will void your warranty.
DIFFERENT BATTERY OPTIONS
Tesla batteries work well for those that already had a solar panel installation done at their home. During a power outage, connecting the Tesla Powerwall battery to your electrical system will provide you with vital power for several hours. Additionally, it uses solar power wisely all day long and can reduce energy expenses in places with different energy costs. Consider the Tesla Powerwall battery if you have essential medical or computer equipment that you cannot be without. It’s a great backup device if you do not want to rely solely on the grid.
Similar to the Tesla Powerwall, the Sonnen battery works best when used in conjunction with solar panels for home use, to store energy for later. It has the benefit of being a simple plug-and-play solution, making installation simple enough that you can do it yourself, without professional assistance. Due to this type of battery’s great energy optimization, you will also be able to reduce your energy costs.
LG RESU BATTERY
The RESU home battery is a solar storage option provided by LG Energy Solution that you can pair with another unit to provide additional energy backup. It can be for both indoor and outdoor use. A 10-year parts and performance guarantee is included with the RESU battery.
The AGM batteries from Fullriver are premium-sealed and maintenance-free. They form a great backup power option to consider. They are frequently used for off-grid solar systems and can be joined to provide a larger battery storage option. The warranty included with these batteries is seven years.
ADVANTAGES OF GENERATORS
A backup generator is a good solution for managing heavy power loads or sustaining power for prolonged periods. This is because a generator has a higher inrush current handling capacity. Generators do not last as long as, for instance, lithium ion batteries and will need to be replaced twice as often. Another point is that generators are quite a bit noisier than batteries.
Generators can typically run the fridge, temperature control of your home and the lights. If you don’t have solar panels for your home, need a considerable amount of energy for prolonged periods and if you live close to a natural gas line, an emergency generator is a great option.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF GENERATORS
Permanent generators have the capacity to generate a significant amount of power to create a great backup system during a power outage. They are typically larger, and slightly quieter compared to portable generators. Keep in mind that permanent generators do require to be installed by professionals, like SolarWerks. They are often waterproof and can sometimes include an automatic transfer switch, for remote operation.
GENERATORS POWERED BY FUEL
Natural gas or propane lines in your home can be used to connect your fuel-powered generator. You can take care of the refilling yourself, whether it is gas, propane, or diesel. A 20-kilowatt generator is about the right size you need to power a 2 500 square foot home. This is a very popular size that SolarWerks often installs at various homes. Roughly half of our clients opt for a generator that is connected to a gas line, while the rest go with a generator that has its own separate propane tank.
DIFFERENT GENERATOR OPTIONS
Technology constantly advances and with that comes a wider variety of generator options. We have listed some of the better-known options.
Residential generators supplied by Kohler have a reputation of superior craftsmanship. They are built to survive in even the toughest circumstances. This type of generator has a variety of capacities and can run on gas, propane or natural gas. A practical feature is that they can switch on automatically during a power outage. They come with a 5-year warranty.
For households and businesses, Generac offers standby generators that are high-quality and reasonably priced. They offer three different capacity options and can run on gas or propane. They can run either a household or a business. These generators have a 7-year warranty.
BE PREPARED AND ENERGY INDEPENDENT WITH SOLARWERKS
Thousands of homes and businesses have benefitted from solar power solutions, provided by SolarWerks. Let us assist you in capturing the sun’s power. We are mindful of social distancing and can take care of your solar panel installation without entering your home. SolarWerks will take care of your solar requirements, from consultation through to the installation. Our team at SolarWerks will safely bring solar energy solutions to any home or business.
Contact us for a free consultation and let’s talk about solar battery storage and backup generators. Join the solar revolution and gain independence today.