The Generac PWRcell has Finally Arrived!
There has been a lot of companies talking about entering this market and many of them have finally done it or have plans to and some have even left the battery sector, and I’ll be cover all of them along with other renewable energy products making there way to homeowners.
Todays video is about a company you may already know, because they’ve been around for over sixty years, providing whole home backup to hundreds of thousands of homeowners in the U-S and abroad. Generac, one of the largest generator manufactures, well up until mid 2019, when they acquired Pika Energy and Neurio home link, now they’re one of the largest battery storage manufactures.
Now I’ve covered Pika Energy in previous videos comparing their technology to other solar plus storage solutions. And while they weren’t as well know as the Tesla Powerwall, they were a very competitive and innovative product that we installed in 2019. This new product line up from Generac will be dubbed PWRcell and it lives up to that name.
It’s important for me to inform you about this acquisition by Generac because it means better pricing for you as the consumer if you’ve been holding off on solar and battery storage, but also means you have peace of mind with the product you purchase as the company has been around and is financially stable.
I did mention that Generac also acquired Neurio home link, and this is very important because it’s the monitoring solution all Generac PWRcells will have built into them, and it’s free to customer that have a Generac PWRcell system installed. Or for those of you that own a Pika Energy system, not to worry you can upgrade your Pika monitoring to the new Generac PWRview by installing some additional components.
On a side note, Neurio home link also provided monitoring to Tesla Powerwall customers, nearly a hundred thousand of them. And from my understanding, Generac has no intentions on renewing the contract with Tesla as they’re now a competitor and well, they own the monitoring company they were using.
It’s kind of funny to think that a company as large as Tesla with its vast resources was using a third party monitoring solution for their batteries rather than developing their own. Makes you wonder who else they’re piggy backing off of. But that’s just a side note, and I want us to get back to Generac.
So there has been some changes since the acquisition of Pika Energy. Previously the X7600 inverter under Pika Energy was capable of only 10 kilowatts of DC solar energy, well Generac has adjusted that to a whomping 15kW of DC power! Which is a lot of solar, 50 - 300 watt modules!
That’s just crazy, but it’s good to know because while most of you watching will never need a system of that size, you end up with a future-proof system. Meaning you can add onto your system as your energy demands change.
Maybe you purchase that rad looking electric VW van or a Riven truck. You’re going to need more energy for that, so while you may not need a system that large today, you may in the future and knowing you can add onto your system with ease is very valuable.
Another change is the battery storage cabinets and how many you can connect to the inverter. Pika originally had up-to 4 full cabinets which was 68 kilowatt-hours of battery backup. But if you did this you would use all four 30 amp inputs inside the inverter, leaving you no space for a solar system.
So Generac has decided to only allow 2 full cabinets, for 34 kilowatt-hours of battery backup. Which is roughly 3 powerwalls and should be more than enough power to get you through an extended power outage or peak time of use.
Some things that haven’t changed is the design of the system, which is amazing. I don’t believe i touched on this in my previous videos and to be frank I think it was due to Pika not doing a good job about informing us about this.
Which Generac made damn sure we understood that the inverter is modular, so if any issues arise we don’t need to replace the entire unit, instead a certified Generac specialist like Pacific Sun Technologies can replace the part inside the inverter.
This keeps costs down for everyone, the manufacturer, the installer, and the homeowner (if it’s out of warranty). This modularity carries over to the battery cabinet too. You can install a maximum of six DCB-105 Panasonic 2.85 kilowatt-hour batteries inside the cabinet, with the minimum required for the cabinet to operate being three battery packs.
This modularity is a huge advantage for consumers because you can scale your storage just like the solar. Maybe you don’t need or want 34 kilowatt-hours of battery power, for one it adds to the overall cost and for two if you’re never going to use it why have that much.
The good news is you don’t have to, you can opt for entry storage capacity of 3 batteries for just under 10 kilowatt-hours of battery power instead to get you through time-of-use. This is perfect, you’re not buying more than what you need or want.
Plus, you can always add more, maybe you decide you want to reserve some battery power for backup in case of a grid outage, well the inverter has a 50 amp critical loads breaker built into it with an auto transfer switch.
This means we can add a critical loads panel, relocate some breakers from your main service panel, and add another battery pack or two into your existing cabinet. Now your 10 kilowatt-hour battery system is 14.3 kilowatt-hours. And you still have room to add one more battery pack in the future if you decide you need it and this is much more cost effective when compared to other solutions like the powerwall or StorEdge and LG Chem which only allow you to increase your storage capacity by adding an entire battery bank.
I know you Tesla fanboys are watching and you’re going to defend the Powerwall and i understand the Powerwall provides 13.5 kilowatt hours per battery. But you’re missing the point I’m trying to make, this system is fully modular.
So if a Tesla Powerwall owner wants to 3 kilowatt-hours more to their existing system they can’t, they have to add an entire 13.5 kilowatt-hours more. Rather than just increasing in small increments which is much more cost effective.
Plus, when your Powerwall battery is dead by means of not holding a charge you have to replace the entire unit rather than a single battery pack inside the unit. Generac’s PWRcell cabinet can house six Panasonic modules which mind you are similar in chemistry to the Powerwall’s so if one of the packs goes bad, you don’t need to replace everything just the one bad pack.
This approach makes a lot of sense, and if Generac decided to offer another battery of their own that has a larger storage capacity, they could in theory design it to fit in the current PWRcell cabinets. So thinking long term, Generac could provide higher power output batteries that fit inside existing cabinets so customers can upgrade their storage capacity when the batteries degrade.
We’ll see how this pans out long term, but i feel Generac’s is going to be planner in the solar plus storage market in years to come.
The technology and innovation behind this DC coupled solution is remarkable and you can’t deny that. There isn’t a single manufacture on the market right now offering a solar plus storage solution as robust as Generac. Trust me, I’m going to be talking about all of them this year, so be sure to subscribe to the channel.
Plus, lets not forget know they’re a generator manufacture and they have plans to integrate their residential generators into the PWRcell systems, so you have the trifecta of energy independence solar power, battery power, and generator power.
But i got a bit off topic so lets get back to the PWRcell, so you know the inverter controls everything and it’s modular for easy repair, you have the battery cabinet that houses up to six batteries providing 17.1 kilowatt-hours of storage capacity, which is also modular.
What you might not know is that the system also offers sub-string optimization, and this is probably something you may have not heard about before. But it’s kind of like SolarEdge’s module level optimization except in a string of solar panels.
See typically an optimizer is being attached to each panel but sub-string optimizers are attached to several solar panels up-to seven for the Generac PV Link depending on the wattage and voltage of the panel.
Now, I’m not the biggest fan of this, I hope Generac develops a module level optimizer as I find this much easier to design from an installer stand point. Because under the new NEC code of rapid shut down, we have to install additional devices which becomes a pain for contractors like ourselves. But it won’t effect your solar production or system monitoring or maintenance for that matter. It’s just a preference and I’m sure Generac will eventually have its on module level optimizer.
Speaking of monitoring, I briefly touched on Neurio home link, and this is the a very important part of the entire system. Neurio is a remarkable monitoring solution, and Generac did a good thing by acquiring them to integrate into the PWRcell.
The new branding is PWRview which is already available for customers to checkout and begin using.
It provides insight into your homes energy consumption, along with where you’re getting your power from, the solar, batteries, or utility grid. The system uses advance AI to help estimate your utility cost if you’re consuming too much power from the grid, it’ll also learn about your energy habits and trends to ensure your battery is always topped off to provide power when you need it.
You can manage every part of your system through the PWRview which is great when a scheduled power outage is going to occur you can simply open the app and put the system in backup mode to ensure your batteries are 100% charged and during the power outage you’ll be able to monitor your home’s consumption and see the estimated time your batteries will last if the sun isn’t shining. This type of monitoring is a necessity with a solar plus storage system and it really does help you better manage your energy.
All in all, I have to admit that the Generac PWRcell system is a well rounded solution, featuring innovative modularity, sub-string optimization, expandability, and user friendly monitoring. Plus it’s an affordable solution when you really look at what you’re getting, pricing is always going to very depending on your specific needs but a 7kW solar system with 10 kilowatt-hours of battery backup should be around $35k.
And what’s really great about Generac’s approach is that installers and sales people have to take a Generac training course and perform continuing education to sell, install and service the PWRcell.
This means not every solar company is going to be able to offer it and those that do like Pacific Sun Technologies, have been properly trained on all aspects directly from the manufacture.
Now if you’re someone that lives here in Southern California, and you’re interested in a solar plus storage solution like the Generac PWRcell then visit us online, I’ve provided a link in the description below.
We offer four different battery solutions, and we’re very picky at what we offer customers because we care about what we sell you. We’re not in the business of shining shit and selling it, we’re in the business of building lasting relationships with our customers and creating a renewable future for you and families to come.
And if you’re someone that’s out of our area, don’t stress it, you can go to Generac’s website to find a certified installer in your area, Generac has a great network so you can find someone, I provided the link in the description below for your convenience.