Several parts of the country including the sunny state of California have seen frequent blackouts and its residents have been accustomed to the common power outages. Unfortunately, the blackouts aren’t a passing moment.
They can remain for a few hours at best and can stretch up to a few days. For a solution to this problem, homeowners have opted for portable generators to keep their essential appliances running during those sudden situations. However, better solutions exist.
In case of a power outage, homeowners have two major options:
- A traditional backup generator that can power a few appliances to everything in their home depending on the capacity.
- A modern alternative source of power in the form of a solar battery backup system.
Frequent blackouts and the case for an alternative power source
A few states have seen frequent power outages and blackouts in recent years. States like California are especially vulnerable due to various factors.
Almost every part of the state is prone to a blackout. California has witnessed around 50,000 blackouts within two years and that has impacted over 51 million people.
Unfortunately, the blackouts are here to stay since they are intentional and often done to cut down the risk of wildfires.
Extremely hot weather combined with an antiquated grid and an energy market that is always on the brink of malfunctioning leads to these blackouts. Hence, the blackouts also remain for a long time and can severely affect households and businesses.
The northern part of the state faces challenges during the winter months since strong winds along with ice storms can trip trees over power lines.
In southern California, winds that are as strong as hurricanes lead to an even greater problem and a less reliable power supply.
So, most homeowners and businesses operating in the state are forced to look for an alternative power source. Traditional options include backup gas-powered generators and modern solutions include renewable sources of energy like solar power combined with a beefy battery system. However, things need to change for both options. Portable generators aren’t enough anymore and single solar panels can’t power all your appliances.
Solar Battery Backup vs Backup Generator
People in California are used to the traditional backup generator. However, it has its vices and fortunately, things are heading in a better direction.
State and federal policies along with advancements in technology have pushed people towards solar battery backup. A detailed comparison between the two will give you a clear picture.
The exact cost of your backup generator or solar battery backup will depend on the equipment you install, labor cost for installation, and the amount of power you need.
People have traditionally opted for standby generators since they are readily available at your nearest home improvement store and are quite easy to set up.
Moreover, the upfront cost of a standby generator is much lower compared to a solar battery backup system.
A standard American home can be powered by generators that cost around $3000 to $5000. Moreover, the installation charges are low as well.
On the other hand, a solar battery backup system may cost you up to $20,000 for average sized battery storage, Tesla Powerwall provides a 13.5 KWH capacity while LG Chem RESU comes in at a 9.8 KWH capacity.
Most homes will need more power than what Tesla or LG Chem can provide, so you may want to look into the HomGrid “Revolt” which packs a whopping 19.2 KWH – almost double the storage capacity of Tesla Powerall and LG Chem and coming in at around $16,999 it’s pretty hard to find HomGrid batteries in stock. Check Availability
California gets ample sunshine to power up the batteries sunny days, however, on cloudy days, the battery can get juiced up from the grid.
Generators need gas and it’s a recurring cost that can add up as years go by. While it seems that backup generators are a good option at first, solar battery backup may be more affordable in the long run.
If you have TOU(time-of-use) rates the battery alone can save you tens of thousands of dollars by providing power to your home when the utility rates are high.
Fuel supply is another major factor to consider while buying an alternative source of power. Generators are usually powered by natural gas, liquid propane, or diesel. As long as you can refill the fuel, the generators would provide you power.
While a connection to a natural gas line can run the generator constantly, diesel and propane-fueled generators need to be refilled frequently. It becomes a chore as you have to make multiple trips to the gas station during a prolonged blackout.
Moreover, if fuel prices are raised drastically due to the whim of OPEC countries or other international factors, you pay a lot more than your initial assumption.
Solar battery backup systems don’t need that since they can be fueled both from the grid and the sun. the solar panels can charge the batteries and in unfavorable weather conditions, the grid can keep your battery juiced up.
The system works automatically without your intervention and you don’t have to go through extra steps to keep it running.
Noise, maintenance, and pollution
Finally, backup generators that run on fossil fuels aren’t good for the environment and add to the problem of climate change. Moreover, they are bulky, heavy, and create a lot of noise.
You have to sacrifice your peace to keep your home or business running.
Solar battery backups don’t need that. You don’t have to sacrifice your peace or precious real estate. The battery packs are heavy, yet compact and can go on the wall.
Solar panels can be installed on the rooftop or terrace and they don’t eat up any extra space. They are also environmentally friendly and don’t create any emissions.
Backup generators also require regular maintenance with cleaning, change of engine oil, diagnostics, and more. To keep your solar battery backup running in optimal condition you just need to clean the solar panels periodically.
Apart from the low upfront cost of backup generators, solar battery backups win in every way. When you factor in the cost of fuel and maintenance, even that advantage of backup generators seems like an illusion.
It’s best to prepare for blackouts with an alternative power source that is greener, more economically viable in the long term, and more convenient for you. Get a solar battery backup installed for your home or business to keep the lights on.