Solutions to When the Power Goes Out 

Solutions to When the Power Goes Out 

With the wildfire season in full swing, California is becoming known for its power outages and rolling blackouts, especially as PG&E’s Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) becomes a new reality. Although PG&E’s preemptive blackouts are due to electrical system updates and are more likely to occur in high-risk fire areas, inconvenient power outages can also be caused by a variety of other reasons, such as earthquakes, heat waves, high winds and winter storms. Not only can outages cause communities to lose access to modern conveniences like wireless internet and air conditioning, but they can create unsafe environments for homes and businesses.

As millions of Californians are impacted by PG&E power shutoffs, alternative power providers such as California Solar Electric Company are committed to providing local communities reliable energy solutions and a peace of mind during these stressful times. If you live in an area with frequent or lengthy power outages, investing in battery backup or generators are two reliable energy solutions that can help reduce uncertainty by providing energy security.

The following information explains your backup power options and the main differences between systems:

Backup Generator or Battery

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The costs of backup power installation for a home or business greatly depends on the amount of power you need and the equipment you choose. A portable generator provides temporary solutions powered by gasoline and can power small appliances, such as lights, a computer, TV and mobile chargers, costing a minimum of $1,000; whereas a standby home generator, which can supply power for an entire home can cost $10,000 and above. If you plan to run heavy electrical loads such as multiple AC units, generators remain the recommended energy backup solution but can increase in costs up to $30,000. Unlike fossil-fueled generators, upfront costs for backup batteries may be higher but fortunately, battery backup power systems help homeowners and businesses maximize their energy efficiency and include financing options that can offer a lifetime of fuel savings when paired with solar.

The following are a few key points to consider when deciding between battery or fossil fueled generators:

    • Backup battery costs are high, but with the lifetime savings on fuel can offset the upfront costs.
    • Fueling a battery has lower environmental impact compared to fossil-fueled generators.
    • Home battery backup systems have low noise levels, whereas home generators have a reputation for being noisy.
    • Re-fueling costs, annual maintenance and inspection are required by professional technicians are necessary for generators.
    • California Solar Electric Company can provide you the maximum savings on renewable solar energy and storage solutions.

While generators appear to be the simplest and cheapest option, their environmental impact and need for regular maintenance are important drawbacks to consider. Home battery systems draw power from the sun’s natural resources indefinitely, while generators need continuous refueling during use. Similar to a backup battery, generators are capable of detecting power outages and automatically switch to the generator’s power supply. Newer battery backup systems like the Tesla Powerwall are now considered a smart cleaner investment.

Go Solar with a Battery Backup

Powerwalls can reduce your reliance on the grid and include a 10-year warranty. The smart technology integration allows homeowners and businesses to monitor their own energy consumption by energy tracking. These lithium-ion backup batteries can also connect to a solar panel, also known as a PV (Photovoltaic) system, and the electrical grid. Because of the Investment Tax Credit (ITC)  26% rate in 2020, the costs of combined solar-plus-storage systems have dramatically dropped and become more available to residents across the state.

Energy collected from solar panels or the electrical grid is stored within the backup battery system for later use. In the event of a power outage, the system will switch from the grid and begin pulling power from the battery, such as the Tesla Powerwall.

Solar Energy System and Power Outages

Solar panels work by capturing the sun’s energy in order to create direct current (DC) electricity.  Since most establishments run on alternate current (AC) electricity, DC electricity is converted to AC electricity through an inverter. When PG&E goes down or AC electricity goes out during inclement weather, solar panels cannot serve as a backup when solar inverters turn off. Even if this was not the case, solar energy from solar panels should not be used in order to protect utility repairmen restoring power and the possibility of backflow power becoming dangerous.

Selecting Your Power Solution

Understanding your overall power usage is important when selecting a backup power solution. Knowledge of your energy usage is even more important if you live in a disaster-prone area where outages may occur. Tesla Powerwalls or home generators can provide you with the backup energy and assurance you need.  If you feel you need additional protection from loss of power, solar-plus-storage can be the answer while also saving you money on fuel in the long-term in an energy-efficient and eco-friendly way.

As leading solar providers in northern California, California Solar takes pride in providing 20 years of residential solar energy installation experience. Together, our solar cooperative aims to provide high-quality renewable, clean energy at an affordable cost. While a solar panel system cannot solely provide backup energy during a PSPS event, solar-plus-storage is a considerably more safe, cost-effective investment that serves as a resilient resource during grid outages.

Ready to explore effective backup energy options? California Solar backup solutions can cover any of your energy needs in the event of an outage. Contact us to gain tips on assessing your electricity needs by booking a virtual appointment with our energy experts today!