Pacific Sun Technologies
Battery backup power vs. generators: which is right for you?
If you live in an area with frequent power outages, you already know the benefits of having backup power installed at your home.
Propane, diesel, and natural gas-powered generators have long been the system of choice for homeowners and businesses that want to ensure that the lights stay on when the power goes out in the neighborhood. Now, an increasing number of people are considering newer, cleaner battery options like the Tesla Powerwall.
Battery backup power offers many of the same backup power functions as conventional generators but without the need for refueling. Read on for a comparison of battery backup options versus conventional generators, including a review of factors like cost, fuel supply, size, and maintenance.
Comparing battery backup and generator costs
The exact amount that you’ll pay to install backup power at your home or business depends on the amount of power you need and the equipment you choose. There are many standby generator options available in the $3,000 to $5,000 range that can power a standard American home. By comparison, a home backup battery will start at around $6,000 before installation costs, and in many cases, you’ll require multiple batteries to provide whole-home power. Altogether, you can expect to pay anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000to install a battery backup system. If you use more energy than your neighbors, you’ll need to buy a bigger generator or more batteries, and you can expect the installation cost to add up to a few thousand dollars to your total price tag.
Savings with battery backup power
The upfront price you pay isn’t the only cost to keep in mind. If you install a generator, you also need to buy the fuel to keep it running. Fuel costs can add up if you frequently rely on your generator – this is especially the case if you also need to pay for the delivery of fuel to your home or business.
By comparison, if you install a battery for backup power, you can pair it with a solar energy system to charge it with renewable energy from the sun. This will add to your upfront cost (an average 6-kilowatt solar panel system will cost, on average, $18,300 before incentives), but over time it can save you tens of thousands of dollars on your electric bill.
Even without solar, your battery might be able to save you money on your electric bill. Some utilities have time-of-use
(TOU) electric rates, which vary throughout the day. If you have TOU rates, a battery can actually result in lower electric bills by providing an alternative source of electricity when rates are high.