Solar-Powered Generators vs. Gas-Powered Generators

With this year’s stay-at-home orders and social distancing, we have all been relying more heavily on dependent power sources in our homes. Finding the right source of backup power for your home is an important safety measure if the electrical grid fails, is damaged, or people are stuck at home. Two of the most popular power solutions are solar-powered generators and traditional gas-powered generators. Each of these options has their merits, but solar-powered generators are more cost-effective, resilient, and sustainable than traditional, gas-powered generators.

We now proudly offer Goal Zero Solar-Powered Generators can be simply plugged into an outlet or powered by using miniature solar panels. From family camping trips to the most rugged expeditions, Goal Zero’s line of portable power stations keeps your gear charged and ready.

Here are 4 key reasons why you should choose a solar-powered generator over a gas-powered generator.

1. Reliability

A successful backup power system should be dependable, durable, and long-lasting. Battery and solar-powered generators have the advantage over gas-powered generators in terms of power duration. For example, if you connect your battery-powered generator to a solar energy system, it can continue to recharge or store energy. Solar-powered generators require no maintenance, supervision, or fuel. If you have solar in your home, you can keep your solar system running or using a solar-powered generator during a grid outage.

While both types of generators can keep your appliances running in an outage, gas-powered generators require more oversight for optimal performance over the long-term. Gas-powered generators require regular annual maintenance to keep warranties valid, and they need to be run occasionally (known as “exercising”) between uses. This “exercising” helps ensure that their mechanical systems are tuned up and safe to run when you actually need backup power. Even if you regularly service and exercise your generator, you might not have access to fuel if a devastating event occurs.

Another one of the biggest downsides to using a gas-powered generator is that you’re dependent on outside fuel sources. There’s a possibility of fuel running out during a natural disaster, not to mention, continually purchasing fuel can be very costly over time. Gas-powered generators also emit harmful fumes, which means they need to be placed outside in a well-ventilated area.

2. Pollution

Gas-powered generators emit two types of pollution: air and noise. A gas-powered generator releases carbon monoxide and other harmful pollutants, making it more dangerous and environmentally irresponsible. Since gas-powered generators need to be installed outdoors for safety, they can be a real eyesore on your property and can be excessively noisy. Many HOAs may not allow you to use a gas-powered generator in the first place, since they can disrupt the landscaping of a home and cause a disturbance for neighbors.

On the other hand, a solar-powered generator eliminates air pollution and reduces your home’s carbon footprint, as long as it’s powered by solar panels or it can be plugged into an outlet. Our new line of Goal Zero Solar Generators is available in sleek and modern designs and allow for more placement options, so they aren’t excessively noisy or encumber your home in any way.

3. Grid Interactivity

Backup generators are only meant to be used when there is a power outage, so when the grid is stable, the generator is off, collecting dust. If you have solar, you can charge your battery-powered generator from excess solar power you produce during the day and use that stored energy at night. Your solar-powered generator can also charge from the grid when demand is low and discharge when the demand and cost for electricity are at its highest. This, in turn, can drastically lower your electricity bill, and who doesn’t love savings?

4. Price

The main benefit of using a solar energy system with battery combination is the power source is free—it’s the sun! As long as the sun is shining, and the system isn’t damaged, you will have continued access to that power during a natural disaster or any other type of outage. Although a solar-powered generator may cost more upfront than a traditional generator, you can expect the total lifetime cost of a gas-powered generator to equal or exceed that of a solar-powered one. This is due to a few main factors:

Maintenance and Service. Solar-powered generators require little to no maintenance, while gas-powered generators need yearly service to make sure they are operational, safe, and clean.

Fuel Costs. If you connect your solar-powered generator to a solar energy system, it can be recharged with electricity for free using energy from the sun. With a gas-powered generator, you need to buy fuel to power the machine.

Incentives. There are local, state, and federal incentives available for purchasing a battery storage system, which you can use in tandem with your solar-powered generator. Gas-powered generators are usually not monetarily incentivized.

Solar + Battery Storage: The Optimal Energy Storage Solution

Pairing a solar energy system with a solar-powered generator is a cost-effective, flexible, environmentally-friendly, and reliable home energy storage option for homeowners. Instead of charging your solar-powered generator from the grid, you can generate and store electricity for free by linking solar panels to the generator. Homes with solar plus storage systems can continue to generate and store power when the electrical grid is down, as solar panels only need sunlight to generate electricity.

Combining a battery storage product with a solar array may even allow you to run your home on backup power indefinitely, like a gas-powered generator but without the fuel costs, noise, and pollution. Your solar panels generate power during each day, which can be stored in batteries and used at night, providing a clean way to stay online in the case of an extreme weather event or grid outage.

Want to learn more about what energy storage can do for your home? SUNation Solar Systems can customize the right solution for your unique home. Contact us today.


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