When it comes to choosing a backup power source for our homes, the 2 most popular choices are solar batteries and generators.
Choosing between them can feel overwhelming, though. After all, they each have their own sets of advantages and drawbacks.
To help give you a clearer understanding, today, I’m going to discuss both solar batteries and generators, compare them against each other, and hopefully help you decide which one suits your needs better.
Listed below is a list of the topics I’m covering. Feel free to tap on any of the bullets to jump sections:
- Solar batteries: What are they?
- Power generators: What are they?
- Which one is better for your home?
- Factors you should consider before you make your choice
What is a solar battery system?
A solar battery system stores the energy that your solar panels generate. This allows you to use the energy at a later time instead of having to use it right away.
This opens up the possibility of having a usable solar energy system at night, during a power outage, or during weather conditions where there’s not a lot of sunlight – like cloudy days and snowy winters, for example.
- Sustainability: Solar batteries use renewable solar energy, making them an environmentally-friendly choice.
- Cost savings: Although the initial investment can be hefty, solar batteries can save you money in the long term by reducing your reliance on the power grid.
- Energy security: A solar battery enables you to store excess solar energy and use it when the grid goes down.
- Minimal noise: A solar battery backup system doesn’t produce any noise when in use.
- High upfront costs: The cost of installing a solar battery system can be quite high (more on this later).
- Round-trip inefficiencies: Solar batteries can’t store all the energy being sent to it as a percentage will be inevitably lost in the transfer process (i.e. round-trip efficiency). Although, a quality solar battery can store 80% of this power.
- Dependence on time and weather: Your ability to store energy is dependent on your panels’ ability to generate it. This, in turn, makes solar batteries dependent on the weather and time of day.
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What are power generators?
Unlike solar systems that use sunlight to produce energy, power generators require fuel sources such as diesel or gas.
When the power goes out, generators kick in to provide backup power.
- Reliability: As long as they have fuel, generators provide a consistent source of power, irrespective of weather conditions.
- Capacity: Generators can produce a large amount of energy which makes them suitable for power-intensive appliances. Although, this still depends on the size of the generator.
- Environmental impact: Generators produce emissions and contribute to pollution. Not to mention, they’re quite loud, too.
- Operating cost: Generators require regular refueling to provide electricity. In many cases, it can get costly very quickly, especially when you factor in maintenance.
Solar battery vs. generator: Which one is better for your home?
The pros and cons I’ve listed should have already given you an idea as to what best suits your home and needs. But, in case you’re still a bit confused, here’s what I recommend:
Solar batteries are better when…
You’re seeking a renewable, environmentally-friendly power solution.
They’re ideal if you plan on getting a new system of solar panels because this cuts down the installation costs.
Also, if you live in a place where the sun shines brightly most of the year – like Perth – then solar batteries are an excellent choice.
Power generators are better when…
Renewable energy isn’t a priority for you, and you’re willing to accommodate the noise and regular maintenance.
They’re also a great reliable backup power source during prolonged power outages, particularly in areas with unreliable grid power.
Factors you should consider before you choose
Cost to install
For solar batteries, the cost can be around 1000 AUD per kWh if you’re installing them with a new system. However, if you’re adding them to an existing system, the cost roughly doubles to 2000 AUD per kWh.
Power generators, on the other hand, have highly variable costs. Depending on the size and type, the cost can range from a couple thousand to upwards of 15,000 AUD.
On that note, we have a network of pre-vetted installers ready to give you 3 FREE quotes. Whenever you’re ready to take the next step, just let us know.
Cost to operate
Solar batteries have virtually no operating costs. They simply store solar energy from your solar panels and don’t require any maintenance.
Power generators, however, run off of consumable fossil fuel and will require further purchases. They also need regular maintenance to ensure they function optimally.
Impact on the Environment
Solar batteries have virtually no environmental impact. They store energy from the sun, a renewable source that doesn’t contribute to climate change.
Power generators, meanwhile, have a significant environmental impact. They run on fossil fuels and emit greenhouse gases, which contribute to climate change.
Recommended: 8 powerful benefits of solar energy
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Solar batteries operate silently, so you won’t even know they’re there. This can be a significant advantage if you or your neighbors are sensitive to noise.
Power generators, in contrast, can be quite noisy. Depending on where you live, this might not be an issue, but it’s definitely something to consider.
Lifespan and warranty
The lifespan of solar batteries and generators varies widely, but generally, solar batteries last between 5-15 years, depending on usage and the specific model. Warranties typically last for a portion of this lifespan, often around 10 years.
Generators can often last between 10-20 years with proper maintenance, and their warranties typically cover 2-5 years. This lifespan can be significantly extended with regular servicing and proper use.
Conclusion: So which one do you need?
Choosing between a solar battery system and a generator comes down to your specific needs and priorities. If you value renewable energy, have a good amount of sun exposure, and want a solution with little to no maintenance and operating cost, a solar battery system is the right fit for you.
On the other hand, if you live in an area with prolonged power outages, have the space to accommodate a larger unit, and don’t mind a bit of noise and maintenance, a generator should work to your advantage.
At the end of the day, both solar batteries and generators provide a valuable service – keeping your home powered when you need it most. Now, we can’t help you out if you decide to go for power generators but, if you need solar panels installed, we can definitely help.