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Generator vs. Solar Panels: Everything You Should Know

Blackouts have become more common with the rise of harsh weather conditions. Usually, people turn to the best generator brands as a backup to power up their appliances. But in recent years, solar panels have gained popularity. Many people face confusion when deciding to buy a backup source.

Generators vs. solar panels, which one is the better choice?

For more information on the best generator brands, visit generatortools.com and take a look at how they compare to each other. 

Solar panels have batteries used to store the power sourced from the sunlight. By combining the energy storage of a solar battery with a solar photovoltaic system, the excess energy is stored for later use. Depending on how many appliances you want to run, you can get batteries in different sizes.

For a long time, people stayed away from solar panel systems because of high-cost batteries. Luckily, the prices have dropped so people are now also looking into solar panel options.

PROS

  • No noise
  • Better use of renewable energy
  • Reduced cost since no fuel is needed
  • Low maintenance
  • No harmful emissions

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Roof-mounted panels are prone to damage
  • Limited power capacity
  • Restricted to appliances that don’t consume a lot of currents
  • Require a lot of space to install

Generators

Generators usually rely on fossil fuels like gas, propane, diesel, etc. to generate power. They are an affordable option and a better choice for areas that do not receive much sunlight. They can last up to 4 years if used properly. However, you need to spend money on fuel and maintenance. They also require weekly tests to keep them operable.

Most people don’t want to opt for generators because of their carbon emissions. However, most of the best generator brands have come up with many eco-friendly models.

PROS

  • Cheaper option
  • Can produce larger amounts of electricity
  • Suitable for high-wattage appliances
  • Better for backup in times like storms or hurricanes
  • Multiple options in fuel types as well as sizes

CONS

  • Can be noisy
  • Carbon monoxide emissions
  • Regular maintenance
  • Fuel cost

Comparing the Two

Cost: Both generators and solar panels have an upfront cost which largely depends on their size. However, generators also have an added cost of fuel and regular maintenance. And if you decide to buy it from one of the best generator brands, that can also affect the cost.

Whereas solar panels have a deep cycle battery that doesn’t require maintenance. There are also no running costs for solar panels, unlike generators.

Reliability: Solar systems won’t be reliable to run heaters or ACs all the time. One of the problems with solar systems is that they require a lot of space. And if you don’t have enough space, you won’t be able to install enough panels to power up the bigger appliances. Another problem is the bad weather. In cloudy or rainy weather, solar panels will be useless.

Generators are more suitable if you need a large amount of power. They are also a better option in cloudy weather. The only issue will be frequent refueling. But at least you will be getting a continuous power supply.

Weight: Generators can weigh a lot as compared to solar panels. But even though they are bulky, they are still easier to store than solar panels. Solar panels need a lot of care when moving or storing them.

However, many best generator brands have introduced small size and less weighing models that are also portable.

Efficiency: Generators are generally more efficient than solar panels. This is because they can provide continuous power regardless of weather conditions. They are also suitable for power-hungry appliances such as the microwave or air conditioners.

On the contrary, the efficiency of solar panels depends heavily on weather and can change within hours.

Maintenance: Generators require regular and frequent maintenance and test runs to keep the battery alive. It also needs regular oil changes to prevent the engine from running dry. Moreover, the fuel should be drained if it is not meant to be used for a long time.

On the other hand, solar panel batteries can work for a long time before needing to be replaced.

Which One to Choose: A Generator From the Best Generator Brands Or a Solar Panel System?

Choosing one of the two depends on several factors. It is better to use a backup generator if you:

  1. Need emergency power backup for cases like storms
  2. Live in a place that doesn’t receive much sunlight
  3. Don’t have enough space to install solar panels
  4. Have a gas line to connect the generator
  5. Are looking for a backup for heavy-duty appliances
  6. Experience frequent power outages for long durations

In contrast, a solar panel setup will be better if you:

  1. Want to combine solar energy and backup power
  2. Are looking for renewable sources for power backup
  3. Want to reduce peak electricity charging
  4. Are facing non-frequent power outages for short hours

Conclusion

It can be difficult to choose between generators and solar panels since both have their own pros and cons. But the main thing to consider here is how often and how long you will need these backups. Solar panels, though eco-friendly, might not be able to provide power for longer times. Generators, on the other hand, have a higher carbon footprint.

If you want to keep your essential appliances up and running during power outages, generators are a better option. And if you want to reduce peak electricity charges and use renewable energy as a source of power, solar panels are a way to go.

So it’s up to you now. Depending on your situation and use, you can choose any of the two. But if the eco-friendliness of solar panels is the only reason you prefer them – then also do some research on eco-friendly generators. Make sure to choose the one that works best for you. And in case of any confusion or second opinion, it is always wiser to consult experts on this matter.