Solar Batteries Vs. Generators: What Backup Power Is Best for You?

solar battery storage mounted on wall
August 18, 2020

As many California homeowners are eyeing the approaching wildfire season, they’re remembering the extended power outages—including PSPS: public safety power shutoffs—that millions of people dealt with last fall. As a result of those outages, there was a significant uptick in interest around backup power systems.

Maybe you are one of them, and are interested in protecting your Yuba City, Sacramento, or Davis home against unexpected power outages. What’s the best backup power system for you? You essentially have two options: solar batteries, or generators. There’s a good argument for adding backup power to your home in 2020, so let’s break down the basic differences between the two to help you make the right decision.

Solar Batteries

Contrary to belief, you actually don’t need solar panel systems to use home solar battery storage—they can be installed as standalone home energy storage systems as well and store power from the grid. And while solar battery installation is usually more expensive than generators, there are California rebates for solar batteries that can make the upfront investment more affordable.

Solar Battery Pros:

Quiet operation

Doesn’t require fossil fuels

Can be powered by solar panels or by the grid

Qualifies for state and federal rebates and tax credit incentives

Little to no maintenance needed

No lag time to turn on once an outage is detected

Solar Battery Cons:

More expensive than a backup generator

Won’t be able to fully power your home for days at a time - if grid powered

While you don’t need a solar energy system to benefit from backup batteries, one of the biggest advantages of this option is the ability to use this battery back up with solar, as your solar panel system offers a 100% free and renewable energy source to power your home in the event of an outage. Without a battery storage system, your solar panels would be immediately turned off during a power outage or forced power shutoff to protect any electrical workers fixing the grid. Plus, solar batteries can even be used strategically during your utility company’s peak hour electricity pricing to help further reduce your energy bills.

Backup Generators

Whole home Backup generators are the traditional way that Rocklin or Elk Grove homeowners can avoid losing power to their home, and while yes, they’re definitely not as quiet as using solar batteries for your home, they come with a few big conveniences that are missing from solar backup batteries.

First, the upfront cost is usually thousands of dollars less expensive. Second, your generator back up will be able to completely power your entire home for as long as it still has fuel, and many generators in the Sacramento area can be connected directly to a natural gas line. Hypothetically, you could run your entire home with a standby generator for a week straight (though it probably wouldn’t be cheap)!

Backup Generator Pros:

Less expensive upfront costs than solar batteries

Can be connected to a natural gas line

Can power your entire home 24/7 (as long as there’s fuel)

Backup Generator Cons:

Noisier operation

Requires fossil fuel to run

Needs regular maintenance 

Lifetime costs of fuel and maintenance 

As licensed technicians for Generac generators, we offer a variety of services, including generator installation, repair, and maintenance.

Contact Brower for Backup Power Peace of Mind All Year Long

Looking for a company that installs back up generators and solar batteries to keep your Sacramento area home running during a wildfire season-related power outage? At Brower, we offer a variety of solutions that can help homeowners be better prepared moving forward. We can help you make the right decision for your home, so reach out to our team today to learn more.

Protect your home against unexpected power outages. Call (916) 624-0808 or contact us today to find out if whole home generators or solar battery backup is right for you.