In the wake of Winter Storm Uri a year ago, many GVEC members found themselves considering the purchase of a backup power solution. Although the Cooperative works hard to prevent outages and to limit their duration and scope when they do occur, we recognize the value of dependable home backup power. If you’re considering a purchase, you have two major product categories to choose from: home generators and battery storage solutions. Batteries, especially when paired with a solar panel system, offer some important advantages over generators when it comes to home backup power. Here are some of those advantages.

Batteries Are Quieter

In the process of converting fuel into electricity, generators produce gas byproducts. These contribute to air pollution and can even be a health hazard, which is why generators must be operated outdoors. Additionally, fuels or additives used in generators are flammable and toxic, requiring safe, careful storage—usually outdoors. Home batteries, on the other hand, don’t require fuel, produce no byproducts and can be mounted indoors.

Battery Backup is Instantaneous

After an outage begins, battery systems require less than a second to begin distributing power—it’s not uncommon for owners to be unaware an outage has started. Backup generators, in contrast, require a manual start and a professionally installed transfer switch to be used safely. DIY switch installation or plugging a generator directly into a wall outlet or wiring it to a circuit board isn’t an option. Generators used or installed improperly like this can pose serious dangers to Cooperative crews working to restore power and to anyone in the home where the generator operates. Moreover, for the safety of our linemen, GVEC requires a customer to notify us of anything that could feed power back onto our system. For safety and liability considerations, home battery solutions are a superior option.

Battery + Solar = Uninterrupted Home Backup Power

When connected to home solar panels, a battery storage solution can remain continually powered during daylight hours—even through an outage. Generators must be regularly refueled to continue operating.

Batteries Require Less Maintenance

Home generators tend to have many intricate moving parts, increasing their complexity. As a result, these systems need more frequent maintenance and repair—fluid checks, calibration, etc. Additionally, most generators need to be regularly run to assure proper function, increasing overall operating costs. Home batteries, in contrast, require almost zero maintenance throughout the course of the operational lifespan. If batteries are used correctly and within manufacturer guidelines, all they need in terms of maintenance is a hand dusting.

Battery Storage Solutions Deliver Much More than Dependable Home Backup Power 

A backup generator is a limited-use product. When you have a power outage, it supplies power to your home, allowing you to keep things running until power can be restored. Suppose you experience the equivalent of three full days of outages during a year. That’s 72 hours—less than 1% of the total hours in a year. The remainder of the time, your generator is unused except for maintenance, but you’re still paying to keep it running properly.
A battery storage solution, on the other hand, can operate 24/7, 365 days a year. When batteries are charged by home solar panels, that stored electricity can be used to power your home at night, allowing you to lessen or even eliminate power purchases from your electricity provider. This can save you significant amounts on electric bills over time, potentially making home battery storage combined with solar a highly rewarding investment.

Batteries Can Save on Your Tax Bill

If you install a battery storage solution when you install home solar panels, the battery will be eligible for the federal investment tax (ITC)—a.k.a., the federal solar tax credit (currently 26% through the
end of 2022). You can also qualify for the ITC if adding battery storage to an existing home solar panel system. Keep in mind, though, that home batteries added without existing panels, don’t qualify

Batteries Offer Smarter Home Backup Power

Most battery storage solutions—including those sold through GVEC—include handheld apps that allow homeowners to monitor and manage home energy usage from anywhere in the world. These apps can tell you how much energy is being produced, stored, discharged and consumed in real-time by a panel/battery configuration. You can even decide how much power to allot for regular nightly usage and how much you want kept in reserve for outages. Generators can’t match that level of functionality and control.

Learn More About Home Solar and Battery Storage Solutions from GVEC

GVEC’s noncommissioned solar solutions specialists deliver no-nonsense information to help you make informed buying decisions that will help you save on electric bills. To learn more about home solar and battery
storage solutions from GVEC, text or call us at 866.684.2359.

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