Battery Or Generator, What Is The Right Backup For Me?

As the sun creeps higher and the thermostat climbs, California residents are reminded that it’s almost that time of year – not barbecue season, but power outage season! PG&E will be shutting off power throughout the state to help mitigate wildfire risks and conserve energy. When they do, how will you keep your lights on and your ice cream frozen?

It’s important to have a source of backup power you can rely on, whether or not you have a solar panel system. Usually, this comes in the form of a battery or generator as an alternative power source. There are pros and cons to both options, so learn more below to ensure you choose wisely. 

Images: A battery installed in a residential garage. Learn how to choose between a battery or generator.

How To Decide Between Investing In A Backup Generator Or Battery For Your Home

What are you looking to back up? 

To help you determine the best option for you when considering a battery or generator, think first about what you will be backing up. Batteries don’t run on gas and are much quieter than generators, but they also have a much lower capacity. So, if you’re looking to keep just a few key appliances running, like the fridge, a battery is your best bet.

Generators, on the other hand, can power more of your home using your gas supply. But if you need the fridge to keep running, and also the washer-dryer, and you’re also hoping to be able to watch movies too, a generator is your best bet.

How long do outages usually last in your area? 

In many urban and suburban areas, outages will only last a few hours before the power comes back on. For these short-term outages, a battery will often be enough to keep the lights on.

However, residents of rural areas will often face outages that can last for days at a time. In those cases, a battery would quickly run out, making a generator the better bet.

How much energy do you use?

If you’ve thought through the decisions above and are still on the fence, turn to your PG&E bill to help you decide. Your bill will tell you how many kilowatt-hours you use per day. Keep that number in mind as you shop around – if you’re seeing that your average is often higher than a battery’s capacity, a generator is the safest decision.

Does your battery charge with solar?

Choosing a battery that charges from your solar panels can make it a more reliable source of energy and help it recharge, even when PG&E has shut the power off.

Where do I start? 

Ready to get started with securing your power backup system? Our DC Solar team can help. We carry a range of batteries and generators and will work with you to choose the right fit and install it on your property.

When selecting your product, we have a few favorites: 

  • For generators, Generac offers cost-efficient and effective options.
  • For batteries, we often suggest Enphase batteries for residential homes.

If you’re looking for added reliability this summer so that not even a power outage can ruin movie night, let’s chat. We can help you select and install the best backup power option for you. Get started.

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