If you live in an area that faces frequent power outages having a backup power source always can give you peace of mind. To keep running your power outlets, you need backup options in the form of power generators, solar batteries, etc.; however, there always remains confusion about whether you should go for a diesel-powered generator or solar battery storage unit.
There are some advantages as well as disadvantages of both options. Depending on your household and expectations from your backup power, you must make the call on which one is right for you. In order to make the decision, you need all the right information, and here is a brief discussion on the topic-
But first, let’s get to know how power generators and solar batteries work.
A diesel/power generator, usually referred to as a Genset, is a piece of machinery made up of an electric generator/alternator and a diesel engine. Together, these two components transform diesel fuel into electrical energy. Most standby diesel generators provide reinforcements. If your power system fails during a storm or the busiest time of the day, they are designed to turn on and supply you with electricity.
Two types of generators are available, one is permanent, and the other is portable. The core difference between the two is mainly their capacity. Also, their maintenance and price point are contrasting for obvious reasons.
There are also other non-renewable fuel-run generators in the market, such as propane, natural gas, gasoline, etc. As these power generators run on fossil fuels, they will work if there is fuel to power them. However, they also have their limitations and only can serve you so many hours as your specific model of the generator can push too. Overuse of such machines can be dangerous for you and the machine itself.
Solar batteries are energy storage systems that are designed to store the surplus amount of energy that is generated by your solar panel system. Your rooftop solar continuously generates power as long as the sun is shining. You consume solar-generated electricity as the day passes by to do stuff around the house all day, but a quality solar system can generate more electricity than you can use in a day. Where does that excess energy go, then? It either gets exported back to the utility grid, or you can store it in a solar battery.
Solar batteries are smart pieces of technology that not only understand when and how much to store after your household needs are met but also, in the case of an off the grid solar system, can sense when to trigger the power generator to work in case of sunlight unavailability. Furthermore, solar batteries also remain in constant communication with the solar inverter to understand when to store energy. The entire process of running and using solar batteries is seamless and hassle-free. And the best part is, you don’t have to interfere; it does everything necessary by itself, unlike power generators.
As the batteries rely on non-renewable sources like solar, there is essentially no cost of running for them. You don’t need anything else but a plentiful supply of sunshine for the batteries to be full, of course, using solar panels.
Difference Between a Solar Battery and Power Generator
Here are some core differences between both-
Reliability- power supply and quality
Generators often provide lower-quality energy that is vulnerable to power surges and other problems that can harm electronic devices like computers. They frequently require manual startup, indicating that their power source is not continuous (unless you have an automatic switch installed on a permanent generator.) Home batteries can be configured to offer a smooth backup power source that starts up in milliseconds after an electrical loss. Also, less vulnerable to surges and disruptions are home batteries.
Labour and maintenance
Solar batteries can charge themselves; on the other hand, you must refuel your generator once or twice, even thrice a day, if needed. Additionally, households using generators must store conditioning chemicals, all of which must be maintained outside and might be hazardous.
Backup hours – runtime
If your generator has fuel, it will run itself. However, the possibility of the machine getting overworked and turning useless is also high. Solar batteries, on the other hand, can run without you worrying about them breaking down, but if your solar panels fail to yield enough energy to charge the batteries, that can be troublesome. Although, it is a rare case, especially for quality solar panel system designed by the experts.
As the generator solely relies on non-renewables like gas, diesel, propane, etc., it’s inevitable for the generators to not emit harmful GHG gases. In contrast, solar batteries run on renewables which means zero carbon emissions.
Cost of running
In the case of solar batteries, there is only an upfront and a one-time cost of purchasing and installing the unit. After that, you can expect to sit back, relax and enjoy the amazing perks of solar batteries. There might be occasional maintenance expenses which are rare when the unit reaches old age. Batteries run on free energy generated by the panels, and the source is our mighty sun.
The scenario is completely different for power generators. With the ongoing political tension and issues between major nations, prices of fossil fuels have skyrocketed. After you pay to purchase the generator, there will always be a recurring expense of buying fuel. So, it’s safe to assume generators cost more to run. Learn more about the price hike here.
In conclusion, if you are looking forward to an investment from which you can reap benefits for years to come and be carbon neutral, solar batteries are the way to go. Although purchasing generators is cheaper, the hassle that comes with them, not to mention the cost of running them, does not seem appealing to most.