Solar Battery Backup vs Generator: Which Backup Power Source Should You Choose?

For people that work from home and can’t afford to rely on the grid 100% of the time, some form of a backup system when the power goes out is a good idea.

This leads to the frequently asked question of generator vs battery backups

šŸ”‘ The key differences between a solar battery backup and a generator:

1ļøāƒ£ Solar batteries can only run for a day at most, but generators can run for a few weeks in case of a power outage.

2ļøāƒ£ Generators run on natural gas, so it can be expensive to run for a few weeks while batteries charge.

3ļøāƒ£ Generators also have more maintenance than batteries, as you must keep up with servicing and cleaning them before you want to power your home.

Keep reading to learn about these two blackout solutions so you can decide between solar batteries and generators and which form of backup power is best for your home.

āš–ļø Solar Battery Backup Vs. Generator Backup

If you live somewhere with harsh weather or regular power cuts, it’s wise to have a backup power source for your residence, especially during hurricane season when the weather is more brutal and the power cuts are more frequent.

There are many backup options, but they all do the same thing. First, power your appliances through the power cut.

Up until recently people only used generators as backup power, but more and more people are leaning towards the solar batteries as their backup option of choice.

The Cost Of The Backup

Every type of backup has a different price; when you want to save on costs, you automatically look at the cheaper option.

Depending on its size and power, a single lead-acid battery might cost anywhere from $200 to $800. You might need a few to keep your entire house powered.

Lithium-ion solar battery systems for homes typically cost between $7,000 and $14,000.

On the other hand, generators are more expensive when you look at them in the long run. The average price of a gas generator is between $500 and $2500. They then range from three to ten kilowatts.

But you have to keep on buying fuel.

The Maintenance Of The Backups

You must look after your backup power supply as it can get damaged or break when you don’t.

With solar batteries, you must keep them charged and rotate them frequently. You also have to keep them stored in a safe place.

Generators need to be kept dry when they’re not being used.

You can get someone qualified to look after them now and then.

They also need lubrication services, and you must check their cooling systems regularly. In addition, you need to look after the fuel system. If you leave fuel unused in it for too long, it can damage it.

You also have to give regular engine exercises to exercise all the parts still when not in use.

So generators do have more maintenance requirements to them.

The Running Time Of The Backups

You will want something you can run your house on for a few hours.

A 10-kilowatt battery can run a home’s essentials for at least 24 hours without using the air conditioner or electric heater and even longer with enough planning.

When you want to power a medium-sized home, a standby generator may run up to 3,000 hours on average, though we only advise you to do so for 500 hours straight.

You can run your generator if you have gas in the engine. However, be careful not to burn out the generator.

A generator is the better option when you want something that lasts through long blackouts.

The Storage Space Required For The Backups

You will need space where you can use your backups and store them.

Solar batteries only take up a little space. So you can store them in the garage on a table or in a container.

When you use them, you should put them near your solar system where it’s covered.

Generators will take up more space than batteries.

A generator is approximately 32′ x 8.0′ x 13.5 inches if you look at 600 kilowatts (kW). You will also need to put your generator about 18 inches away from the house when you run it. And 60 inches from any doors or windows.

The User-Friendliness Of The Backups

It would be best to decide on a system that’s simple and easy to understand.

Solar batteries are pretty Stratford when you know how to work with solar panel systems. But they do add some complexity to the system.

You hook the batteries up to the solar power system backup.

Generators also have a pretty straightforward start-up. It requires a few more steps, but it’s not complicated.

There are no courses you have to take to learn how to use these systems.

The parts are also easily replaceable, and it’s rare when you have to buy a new generator.

Solar batteries are more prone to be replaced, and you will need to replace them once or twice.

The Lifespan Of The Backups

You need a backup that you can rely on and know will last you long.

A solar battery will usually last between 5 and 15 years.

However, a generator will last you 15 to 20 years. However, you must replace one or two parts between the years.

A generator will last you longer than the batteries.

The Installation Process Of The Backups

The installation is one of the essential parts. You don’t want to struggle to install the system.

Battery backups earn a slight edge here. You can mount them on walls or floors.

But if you choose not to get a portable generator, it will require a bit more work.

If you go with a portable generator, this won’t be a problem.

A professional must be hired for either installation, which can easily cost several thousand dollars and take an entire day.

The Advantages And Disadvantages Of The Backups

Although both provide emergency power during a power outage, battery backups and generators are technically distinct equipment. As a result, both its benefits and drawbacks are unique to each option.

The advantages and disadvantages of solar battery backups:

The Advantages Of Solar BatteriesThe Disadvantages Of Solar Batteries
It can store energy produced from your solar panelsExtra cost to the system
You can lower your carbon footprint even moreIncreases the complexity of your solar system
No additional charge for gasBatteries can be expensive
QuietMore you need to maintain on the system

The advantages and disadvantages of generator backups:

The Advantages Of GeneratorsThe Disadvantages Of Generators
They are known to be low on maintenanceGas is expensive
They are durableThey are noisy
Generators have a long lifespanHeavy and bulky
Most have wheels for portability

šŸ… Which Backup Is The Better Choice?

Generators are the better choice when you want backup power that will last through long blackouts.

Continuous operation of generators is possible for up to three weeks, provided sufficient fuel is available (if necessary).

With battery backups, this is different.

Take Tesla’s Powerwall as an illustration. Thanks to its 13.5-kilowatt-hour battery, the Tesla Powerwall can run independently.

šŸ”‹ Essential To Know About Solar Batteries

Solar batteries are great in many ways. First, they are quiet, which means your neighbors won’t complain about the noise. Second, they also use clean energy and do not pollute the air.

They are designed to be discrete, so you can hide them in plain sight.

There are also a few types of batteries you can choose from to use in your system.

If you want to power the entire house with the batteries, you have to ensure that they are big enough to support the load you want to put on them.

āš” Essential To Know About Generators

Although they are called “generators,” these devices do not produce electrical power. Alternatively, they harness an external energy source and transform it into electricity.

You can use a generator for many things, including keeping the essential lights on in your home or business when there is a power outage due to severe weather, downed power lines, or any other threat.

You may use them to power your camping or RVing trip wherever you go.

Just like with batteries, you get a few types of generators. For example, portable generators, inverter generators, and standby generators.

Consider how much you want it to run when you buy a generator.

When deciding between several generator models, it’s essential to list the absolute necessities for maintaining services. For example, about 600 watts of power are required to run a refrigerator.

Portable heaters in cold climates may require up to 1,500 watts of power.

Charging our phones, for example, only uses 10 watts, so they are a small influence when trying to figure out what’s best for your needs.

It would help if you counted all of your appliances required so you know how big your generator should be.

āš ļø Potential Dangers Of Solar Batteries And Generators

The consensus is that solar batteries pose little to no risk to users. However, all solar batteries must pass specific safety regulations before being installed in homes or businesses.

Many people have reported that the batteries overheat and catch fire.

While the batteries are safe, you should still be careful.

There are quite a few things that can be dangerous with solar batteries. For example:

  • Overcharging the lead battery in an enclosed space can cause toxic fumes
  • Burning batteries can cause poisonous fumes
  • Leaking caused by manufacturing flaws
  • Exploding
  • Bursting onto flames
  • Low-quality batteries can cause overheating, and they can explode

To be safer when handling these batteries, you can ensure you wear heavy-duty gloves and observe the temperature when you charge them.

Generators also have many dangers, mainly carbon monoxide and electrical and fire hazards.

It’s best to use them only indoors or in any enclosed space.

When used in damp environments, generators represent a risk of shock and electrocution. Ensure the generator is dry before using it in wet weather to prevent shock or electrocution. Operating it with dry hands and under a canopy would be best.

You should also never keep a generator’s fuel inside the house. Store gasoline, diesel, propane, and other flammable liquids in properly labeled, non-glass, or breakable safety containers outside of habitable areas.

It’s best to wait until the generator has cooled down before filling it up again. A fire may quickly break out if fuel leaks onto the engine’s hot components.

If you must run a generator at night, do it cautiously. Never light a candle or match near the generator or the gasoline storage tanks.

Before starting the generator, make sure you have access to a flashlight. Also, keep a small fire extinguisher nearby.

ā“ FAQs

Do I Still Need A Generator If I Have Solar Panels?

Although solar panels are great, having a backup generator is still a need. Switching to solar energy will not safeguard your home from blackouts unless you entirely disconnect from your local utility grid.

You might also need a generator when there’s no sun in addition to the power cut.

When there isn’t any sun, the panels can’t generate power. So you won’t have any power during the blackouts.

Can Batteries Replace Generators?

Generators are a short-term option that you can replace with battery storage. But there are questions about how well the technology would work in a long-term outage. So far, most large-scale projects are near solar or wind farms.

Many companies offer solar batteries as a replacement for generators. You can shop around a bit to find great prices on quality batteries.

It’s possible in the future that there might not be a need for generators with how fast batteries are developing.

What Is The Best Backup Source For A Power Outage?

In this case, battery backups are the best choice. They are quiet, can run independently, don’t make any pollution, and don’t need any maintenance. On the other hand, generators can be loud and bothersome when running.

It would be best to have something quiet so you don’t disturb neighbors and batteries don’t pollute the air like a generator did when it released the carbon dioxide.

Batteries are overall more eco-friendly during power outages and any other situation you might need them for.

šŸ† The Winner: Solar Battery Vs. Generator

A generator is the best backup battery option to keep the lights on through longer outages because they’ll run for longer than batteries.

Solar batteries are better for people who only need a little power for a short time. Generators are great for homeowners, with many appliances to power for long power cuts.

When you buy a solar battery, it’s best to shop around a little so you can get the best price. It would be best if you also bought according to the power load you have at home. Find out all the necessary details beforehand.

Here are some helpful resources comparing the best solar battery manufacturers on the market:

  • LG Chem vs Tesla Powerwall
  • Generac PWRcell vs Tesla Powerwall

Iā€™m the website operator and editor here at ALTA Devices. The solar revolution is the most exciting thing to happen in a generation! I’ve written extensively on solar, electric vehicles, and the electrification of the marine industry. You can find out more on LinkedIn below: