Backup Battery vs. Generator for Your Home – Which is Better?
If you’re looking into a whole-home generator to safeguard against power outages, you may be surprised to hear that a home battery can be equally effective as a backup power source. In fact, certain batteries like the Tesla Powerwall don’t even require solar panels.
Home batteries are still a relatively new technology, which means there’s a lot to be learned about the benefits. So, to better understand how a home battery compares to a generator, we’ll look into some key factors that might affect your purchase decision, including:
- Infrastructure requirements
- Energy needs and priorities
- Tax credits and long-term savings
Want a free, no-obligation estimate on the cost to install a backup battery in your home? Contact Photon Brothers at 720-370-3344 (Colorado) or 805-351-3371 (California) today! We’ll schedule a free in-home visit, where our solar experts will perform an honest assessment of your home’s energy usage, and then determine the right backup battery for your needs and budget.
Generators typically require substantial infrastructure in order to operate. For this reason, a home battery could be the better choice due to the convenience of installation.
For example, Tesla Powerwalls have a sleek design that’s so lightweight, you can simply mount it on a wall in your garage. No hefty setup required.
Even better? Tesla Powerwalls can be tied directly to your local electricity grid. Harnessing smart technology, your Powerwall will store energy while rates are low. If the power goes out, your home will automatically draw power straight from your Powerwall— keeping you safe and protected, at a price that saves you money!
On the other hand, a home generator often requires a considerable (and expensive) infrastructure investment, even before it’s installed.
For example, to prepare for a home generator you’ll probably need:
- A concrete slab or gravel pad. Because whole-home generators are quite heavy, they usually require a dedicated concrete slab or gravel pad to sit on. If you don’t have one installed, you may need a professional contractor to build one for you.
- A dedicated gas line. Home generators require fuel to operate. Depending on the location of your home’s electricity meter, you may need to have dedicated gas lines installed, in order to reach the location of your generator.
- A protective cover or shed. For safety reasons, the law requires home generators to sit at least 5 feet away from your home or garage. If you live in a climate with heavy rainfall or snow, you also may need to install a dedicated cover, or even a shed, to avoid exposing your generator to the elements.
Compared to a home generator, a backup battery is far easier to install— no concrete slab, dedicated gas line, or protective cover required.
And while it’s true that the majority of home batteries do require a solar panel installation (Tesla Powerwall being the exception), the cost of your solar system could be less than your generator. But, we’ll go into more detail on cost factors below.
Energy needs and priorities
Generators can supply anywhere from 16 to 50 kilowatts of power. While home batteries produce about half that range (4.5 to 29 kilowatts of power), the average American home only needs about 20 kilowatts of power to comfortably operate during a power outage, which is well within a home battery’s range.
Moreover, when combined with solar panels, backup batteries are a 100% renewable source of energy that can power your home for decades to come. Generators, on the other hand, require an ongoing supply of gasoline, propane, and other environmentally costly fossil fuels. If clean energy is important to you, a home battery is hands down the better choice.
That being said, it’s important to acknowledge some instances in which a generator may be necessary to supply your backup energy needs:
- You don’t have solar panels, and you aren’t planning to install them. If you’re considering a Tesla Powerwall because it can be grid-tied, it’s important to know that your energy storage will be limited. During a power outage, once you’ve drained your battery’s power, you won’t be able to recharge until municipal power is restored. A generator, however, can be refueled with gas. So if your power is out for days at a time, it would be possible to get more fuel and keep your home powered.
- You live in a very cold climate with limited sunshine. Extreme climates require special attention to energy consumption because when your power is out, freezing cold temperatures could be life-threatening. In this case, a gas-powered generator may be your most reliable choice. With limited sunshine, solar panels are probably not a viable option. And as mentioned above, grid-tied Tesla Powerwalls have a limited backup power supply.
- You have a very large home and need extra backup. In some cases, you may want to have a backup battery and a whole-home generator installed. If you have a very large estate, for example, your power needs may be greater than most, and you could benefit from added peace of mind during emergency situations.
Regardless of whether you choose a generator or home battery, it’s crucial that you understand the energy needs of your home. For a free in-home energy assessment, contact Photon Brothers. Our experts will conduct a thorough analysis of your home’s power consumption, and then help you determine the right options for your needs and budget.
Tax credits and long-term savings
When it comes to cost, a generator and home battery setup are actually somewhat comparable. You’re also likely to encounter the same 0% down, low monthly payment plan options for both, to help alleviate some impact on your upfront budget.
With this in mind, home batteries can actually be the more affordable option, for a few reasons:
- Home batteries require less maintenance. Fuel-powered generators are more prone to breakdowns under extensive usage. Moreover, because they run on gas, they require continuous safety and performance checkups. If you’re looking to avoid long-term maintenance costs, a home battery won’t strain your wallet nearly as much as a generator.
- When paired with solar panels, home batteries deliver the highest amount of long-term savings. Unlike a home generator, when you purchase a home battery in tandem with a solar panel installation, you’ll actually gain that money back through renewable solar energy. As the sun charges your panels, your home battery will store its endless supply of FREE energy; Something a generator can’t do, because it runs on a finite and costly supply of gas fuel.
- When paired with solar panels, you’ll receive substantial tax credits towards your home battery. Until the end of 2023, homeowners can claim a 22-26% federal tax credit towards their new solar system, including home batteries. This is on top of local rebates, state tax credits, and other incentives that may be available.
With the tax incentives alone, a home battery is a cost-effective alternative to a home generator. To learn more about how to claim your 26% federal tax credit on a brand new solar installation—including a home battery— check out our solar incentives page.
Want a FREE quote on a home battery?
Contact Photon Brothers today! Our team of licensed electricians and NABCEP-certified installers have decades of combined experience and will provide you with honest and customized recommendations. We offer some of the most energy-efficient home batteries on the market, and will ensure that your home is safely protected from power outages!
This past November, Denver took a huge step in combating climate change. This large city passed the “Denver Green Roof Initiative”, which requires buildings with a floor area of 25,000 square feet or more to have solar power, or a green roof.
SunPower by Photon Brothers is prepared to help meet the needs of Denver’s citizens. With the most efficient solar panels on the market, we will install systems that satisfy the requirements of this new ordinance, ensuring a smooth change for everyone impacted by this law.
Photon Brothers is happy to announce that we are a member of COSEIA, the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association! COSEIA is a statewide organization that promotes the expansion of the solar and storage industry and technologies. COSEIA works hard to develop new policies and advocate for them. This organization has been a big contributor to the solar industry by creating new policies and programs each year.
As a member of COSEIA, Photon Brothers promises to respect and practice their code of ethics. Becoming a member ensures the growth of the solar industry in Colorado, which is something we hope will continue to develop over time. With this membership comes increased knowledge about the solar industry, allowing Photon Brothers to give our clients the best experience possible.
Photon Brothers, a Pueblo-based solar installer, has been selected as a SunPower master dealer, with a ribbon cutting for its design center at 4921 N. Elizabeth St. scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Friday. The local center is part of a worldwide network of more than 1,800 companies that sell, install and service SunPower products, which are touted as the most advanced and energy-efficient solar panels in the world.
The solar power industry has been hammered by the pandemic economy with the loss of tens of thousands of jobs nationally and Colorado facing an estimated 2,400 solar jobs gone by June. Yet one niche market is fitfully soldiering on in the state: home rooftop solar.
Thanks to a strong start in 2020, some installers had built up a pipeline of jobs, though some customers have decided to defer installations. And after a sharp drop in new sales in March and early April there has been a small rebound.
Local solar company Photon Brothers announces their partnership with the Pueblo Regional Building Department and have installed a new 57-kilowatt system on their existing downtown Pueblo building, leading the city to almost $1,000,000 in savings on their energy bill throughout the next 30 years. The solar panel project was installed last month with energy savings already underway for the Department.
With over 10 years of electrical experience and as one of Colorado’s top solar installers, Photon Brothers was the best choice for the Department and submitted designs for the new $107,000 installation. Utilizing the federal rebate incentive, the Department will be saving almost $65,000 on their system in rebates, with a projected 831% return on investment once the installation is completed.
“As a fourth-generation Coloradan with a growing business in the Pueblo area, it feels good to partner with the Department who are the most thorough when it comes to any development planning,” said co-founder David Raichart. “We are honored they know and trust our business) to do an exemplary job.”
As an ongoing effort of expanding and increasing positive environmental impacts, many solar tax breaks and financial incentives are being offered to make solar more accessible, resulting in a lower net cost for a solar panel system. The federal rebate incentive is currently offered to businesses and households and gives a 26% rebate on new solar installations through 2021.
“Our department was pleased with the professionalism and thoroughness of all the staff at Photon Brothers. We would highly recommend them to any company that is looking for affordability, quality work, and timely completion of work. Photon Brothers is a pillar of professionalism in the Pueblo community and in their Solar Installation field,” David Vaughn, Building Official.
About Photon Brothers
Photon Brothers is a solar energy company based in Colorado dedicated to providing high-quality solar installation, energy storage and outstanding customer experience. Photon Brothers uses the most advanced and energy-efficient solar panels from leading producers such as Solaria and REC. They are also a Tesla-certified company for Tesla Powerwalls and energy storage.
The company was founded by fourth generation Coloradans David & Matt Raichart, veterans in the solar energy space who believe that solar power is the best way for homeowners in the state of Colorado to save on their energy costs and move towards a more sustainable, earth-friendly future.
About Pueblo Regional Building Department
The Pueblo Regional Building Department is dedicated to promoting and preserving building safety through professional and courteous service. The purpose of the Department is to educate the public, enforce minimum building code standards through teamwork and personal pride, and to enhance the relationship with the public and building community.