Home Battery Backup Power Vs. Generators Which Is Right for You

Home Battery Backup Power Vs. Generators: Which Is Right for You?

An increasing number of homeowners are looking for solutions to strengthen the electrical systems in their homes. In the past, the majority of individuals who made the investment in a backup power source for their homes in case of an emergency (like natural disasters and other blackout occurrences) looked to home generators fueled by propane, diesel, and natural gas for that resilience. However, home backup batteries are becoming a more popular and environmentally friendly option for homeowners looking for peace of mind.

While solar battery storage systems may run on sustainable energy instead of fossil fuels, they nonetheless provide many of the same backup power features as traditional generators. In this blog post, we compared battery backup choices with traditional generators in terms of pricing, fuel sources, size, and maintenance needs.

Backup Generators Vs. Energy Storage

There are two main reasons why homeowners have traditionally chosen generators as a backup plan. For starters, they are less expensive upfront. Second, in the past, generators were simple to locate and install at your home. Backup generators are usually available at home improvement stores, and some do not even require installation by an electrician.

However, backup generators have significant disadvantages. For starters, you'll need to guarantee you have the fossil fuel they need, which might be difficult during unexpected outages. Next, backup generators are huge and loud and should not be used every day, and require regular maintenance, so you only profit from having them in the case of an outage. Finally, and probably most importantly, backup generators contribute significantly to local pollution by burning fossil fuels, the most notable of which is carbon monoxide, which has emerged as a substantial safety problem with fossil fuel-powered backup generators.

Batteries, on the other hand, are more expensive to purchase and require installation by an electrician, but they alleviate the majority of the problems that backup generators might encounter. When you combine batteries and solar panels, the sun powers them, keeping them charged as long as the sun shines. Furthermore, batteries are eligible for incentives such as tax credits and rebates, which can greatly reduce their initial prices. Finally, solar and battery storage have no local pollution problems since they run exclusively on pure, renewable solar energy.

Battery Backup Vs. Generator Costs

The cost of getting backup power for your house or company is determined by the total amount of electricity required and the equipment you choose. Many backup generator alternatives costing $2,000 and $7,000 can power a typical American house, but the average generator cost, including installation, is $9,000.

In comparison, a 10-kilowatt-hour (kWh) home backup battery will cost roughly $13,000, and in many circumstances, additional batteries will be required to supply whole-house electricity. Installing a battery backup system might cost anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000, depending on your energy requirements. If you consume more energy than your neighbors, you'll need to purchase a larger generator or additional batteries, and installation costs will likely add thousands to your overall cost.

A solar-plus-storage system has an average net upfront cost of roughly $31,150, according to the following calculation:

$29,500 (solar panels) - $8,850 (solar tax credit) + $15,000 (batteries) - $4,500 (battery tax credit).

Battery Backup Power Savings

The initial amount you pay is not the only expense to consider. If you install a generator, you'll need fuel to keep it going. If you use your generator on a regular basis, gasoline expenses may mount up quickly, especially if you have to pay for fuel delivery to your house or office. Not to mention the requirement to keep the fuel someplace in your home.

Even without solar, your battery may help you save money on your power bill and increase your energy independence. Some utilities charge time-of-use (TOU) electricity charges, which change during the day. If you have TOU rates, a battery can help you save money on electricity by serving as an alternate power source when utility prices are high.

Fuel Supply for Backup Power

We commonly use diesel, liquid propane, or natural gas to power generators. Your generator will continue to operate as long as you have fuel to power it, and some generators can even connect to an existing natural gas connection. If you don't have a natural gas line, you'll need to refuel your generator on a regular basis.

A home battery backup system, on the other hand, is powered by energy and may be charged using either a home solar panel system or the grid. When designing an off-grid backup power system with solar and storage, you can recharge when the grid fails, providing an additional level of security in scenarios where you may be concerned about having access to fuel for a generator. Make sure the installation is aware of how important this function is to you, as not all house battery systems can be recharged during power outages.

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Power Load For Alternative Backup Power

Which appliances are essential to operate in the event of an electrical grid outage? In the event of a power loss, most batteries will keep the lights on. Batteries serve as a backup energy source that may power "critical loads" during an outage, such as lights, outlets, and small appliances.

All batteries, however, are not able to swiftly discharge enough current to start up energy-intensive machinery. Should your residence depend on a sump pump, well pump, or additional high-power equipment for initial operation, you must install a battery designed specifically for backup power.

Critical loads won't be an issue if you build a standard generator. If you have enough fuel on hand, you should be able to maintain your house or place of business without any problems as long as you select a generator that is appropriately sized for your installation.

How To Use and Maintain Your Home's Emergency Power Supply

It might be difficult to overlook generators that operate on propane or diesel. Being fuel-free and silent in operation, a battery backup system has a number of advantages over a traditional gas-powered generator. This is good for the environment and the air quality in your house because you won't have to deal with exhaust fumes or other harmful pollutants.

Additionally, compared to battery backup solutions, generators powered by fossil fuels like natural gas or diesel may require more maintenance. To make sure some generators work when you need them most, you'll need to run and test them frequently in addition to refilling them.

The best batteries for your home should provide scalability, reliability, and durability. Learn more about the most popular home batteries below:

Enphase IQ Battery

The Enphase IQ Battery is available in two sizes and is an invaluable resource for homeowners who experience regular power outages. Its special feature, which distinguishes it from many other solar batteries, is that it may act as backup power without the need for an external transfer switch. Its unique feature improves user convenience by making installation easier and removing the need for extra equipment.

The IQ Battery's smooth connection with the IQ System Controller 2 is what really sets it apart. The IQ Battery works in unison with the IQ System Controller 2 to activate backup power without the need for additional components. Together, they make sure that in the event of a grid interruption, the IQ Battery will automatically take over and smoothly convert to dependable power, saving the need for human involvement. Learn more about the Enphase IQ Battery.

The Tesla Powerwall

A 10-year guarantee is included with the Tesla Powerwall, which is easy to install with any type of house. When you live somewhere with variable electric rates—where the cost of power varies according to the time of day—you may use the software that comes with it to remotely regulate your energy consumption habits. Read more about Tesla Powerwall.


With an exceptional 94.5% round-trip efficiency, the LG Chem RESU home battery shows that almost all of the electricity it stores can be efficiently transformed into useful energy when needed. Because of the great efficiency that this assures, homeowners may optimize the utility of their stored energy without suffering large losses. It is also one of the most space-efficient home batteries available because to its small form, which makes it a desirable choice for people with limited space.

Generac PWRcell

The nicest thing about the PWRcell is that it can power gadgets instantly and more quickly than other household batteries. When you need to power appliances that require rapid power to start up instead of continuous power, its high power surge comes in helpful.

Additionally, Generac sells the PWRgenerator, a generator made especially for effectively and immediately recharging household batteries. When there is no sunlight, Generac's PWRcell batteries may still be charged thanks to the integration of the PWRgenerator with them.

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Ten Reasons That Make Home Battery Backup Better Than Generators

Home Battery Backup Doesn't Make Noise

If you have ever heard a generator in action, you are aware of how extremely loud they are. In actuality, the maximum decibel level at which a generator may run is 8.5, which is in the range of a lawnmower and a police whistle.

In addition to being bothersome (for you and your neighbors), research from the 1960s has linked noise pollution to:

  • Hearing loss
  • Sleep disruption
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Reduced productivity in work and school
  • Negative social behavior
  • Annoyance reactions

Generators can add to the already stressful atmosphere of power outages. Thus, it makes sense that many local and HOA restrictions are violated by generators.

Home battery backup, on the other hand, is absolutely quiet. If you were standing directly next to your home, you couldn't tell that it was powered by your battery storage system.

Your neighbors and relatives will appreciate that you kept the peace.

Home Battery Backup Utilizes Renewable Energy Sources

Nitrous oxide, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, and other hydrocarbons are released by diesel generators. Generators that run on natural gas and propane can release harmful pollutants.

Consider how unsettling it would be to lock your family members or yourself in your garage while your car is running. The idea of having generator pollution next to your house should also be unsettling.

As a matter of fact, generator-related carbon monoxide poisoning caused sixteen times as many deaths during Hurricane Irma's 2017 passage through Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina as the hurricane itself (11).

And it's only a portion of a bigger pattern between 2005 and 2017 that saw 15,400 hospitalizations and 900 fatalities linked to portable generators.

Batteries don't release any form of pollution. They won't harm your family's health in any way because they are totally sealed.

Batteries are Smaller than Generators

Although there are portable generators that are small in size, built-in generators take up more room in your yard and are more in line with the features of home battery backup systems. Pouring a sizable concrete pad to fit one of these generators may also be necessary for installation.

Conversely, wall-mounted backup battery storage systems don't require any building work. The batteries may be easily integrated with your solar equipment, garage shelves, and other goods because they are usually placed only a few inches from the wall.

Home battery backup provides instant power when needed

During blackouts, even the most dependable backup generators need a little time to start up. This delay might cause unnecessary stress, cause clocks and other gadgets to reset, and unnerve little children. while you use a portable generator that needs to be manually connected, you might have to struggle to start it in inclement weather while your appliances are shutting off and restarting.

In contrast, during a power loss, circuits that rely on battery backup are quickly powered by the battery. In a split second, the batteries respond to power disruptions.

In fact, Tesla experienced an issue with its Powerwall, where the batteries started functioning so quickly that the homeowners were unaware that they had lost electricity. In response, Tesla modified its mobile app to notify homeowners of any outages that are identified.

Battery Backup is Reliable

Compared to generators, home backup batteries require significantly less maintenance. Generators usually require a monthly cycle to ensure that all internal parts are greased and functioning correctly. To ensure the generator is in excellent operating condition, the majority of households will also hire a specialist to examine it once a year. After all, having a generator break down just when you need it most is worse than having to pay for one!

In contrast, battery storage doesn't need any form of maintenance. For the duration of its service life, it won't need any routine maintenance, except for the occasional surface cleaning to maintain the batteries gleaming.

You may be confident that at any time, your home battery backup will be prepared to defend you and your loved ones.

Home Battery Backup Is Earthquake Proof

In order to prevent any fires from burst gas lines, the local utility company will turn off natural gas supply one of the first things following an earthquake.

The benefit of having an integrated gas generator can be entirely negated if you live in an earthquake-prone region, such as California, as the generator's fuel supply will be cut off right away. Naturally, this problem does not exist with battery backup.

Battery Paired with Solar Can Run Endlessly

The length of the backup period for portable generators is determined by the fuel you have on hand. The generator is designed to shut off when the fuel or propane supply runs out, leaving you without electricity. Natural gas generators supplied via an underground pipe are an exception in this case.

On the other hand, battery storage combined with solar panels allows the battery to run continuously. Your solar battery will keep charging if you adjust your household usage to match the daily output of your solar system.

This allows you to run off grid power in theory indefinitely, which is beneficial for power outages and for long-term cost savings on grid electricity.

Home Battery Can Save You Money

You can only use a backup generator in the event of a power loss. Even if we assume that you experience three full days—a full 72 hours—without electricity annually, that still accounts for less than 1% of the time.

This implies that you are paying thousands of dollars for a solution that, in the long run, offers very little value.

However, battery systems and solar panels run continuously throughout the year and will further lower your power cost by shifting load and saving you money on usage during off-peak hours.

And even if you do lose power, they still have you covered.

Battery Backup Enables Energy Independence

Being energy-independent appeals to the majority of homeowners. It is more in line with the American principles of self-sufficiency to produce your own electricity while lowering your dependency on the electrical grid.

If all you have is a generator for backup power, you are totally reliant on the electrical grid. You may generate, store, and consume your own electricity with the help of solar power and battery backup, significantly lowering your reliance on the neighborhood utility.

In actuality, having your own solar and battery storage helps strengthen the resilience of your local grid. For instance, during California's record heatwave in early September 2022, 80,000 household solar-powered batteries generated about 340 MW of power, which is more than a mid-sized power plant, to prevent rolling blackouts.

Incentives are Available for Battery Backup

Generators are not compatible with the electric grid; instead, utility companies view them as independent devices that have no effect on the functioning of the system. Conversely, battery storage systems are smart gadgets that can deliver power right away when needed. There are several incentives for installing home battery backup at the federal, state, and utility levels as a result of this feature, which helps both homeowners and utilities.

Under National Grid's Connected Solutions battery initiative, residents in Massachusetts and Rhode Island can receive $275 per kW of energy returned to the grid during peak summer hours.

Additionally, Green Mountain Power in Vermont gives up to $950 for each installed kW of battery storage, or $9,500 for a battery with a capacity of 10 kW.

The Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) in California offers state-level refunds of up to $1,000 per installed kWh of battery storage, which frequently covers the full cost of a home battery backup.

At the federal level, battery storage is eligible for a 30% federal tax credit through 2032 because of the Inflation Reduction Act. Starting in 2023, the battery storage will be eligible even if it is not connected to solar power.

Start Your Solar-Plus-Storage Journey Today!

Interested in backup power or in reducing how much you pay for electricity? Take the first step by comparing quotes from trusted installers for solar-plus-storage solutions. Our team of knowledgeable Energy Advisors is here to assist you every step of the way, ensuring you can embrace solar energy with confidence.

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