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Add a Generator for Backup Power
Gas generators are the most cost-effective backup power solution. If you simply need a way to keep the lights on during an outage, a generator is probably your best bet.
Generators have some key drawbacks compared to home battery backup systems:
- Cannot manage time-of-use offset, energy resale, or other opportunities to take advantage of your net metering policy
- Does not provide uninterrupted backup – generators take a few minutes to switch on and power up
- Need to be re-fueled
- Noisy while operating
There are some advantages to using generators for backup power as well:
- Generators have the lowest up-front cost
- Generators are typically sized to back up your whole house (batteries are usually sized to only power essential appliances since they cost a lot more)
We have noticed a surge of interest in backup power from Californians who are concerned about mandatory blackouts imposed by PG&E. Those scheduled blackouts have left Californians searching for a way to supply uninterrupted power to their homes during outages.
For these customers, we are recommending generators as the preferred solution. A generator will provide more backup power at a lower cost, and you won’t need to rewire your existing solar system (if you have one) to add a generator into the mix. The concerns about refueling are limited if the generator is fueled by an on-site propane tank. It’s a relatively low-cost way to provide robust backup power for most or all of your household.