Do You Need a Generator If You Have Solar Panels? 

grey house in arizona with solar panels on roofAre you planning to install solar panels at your Arizona home? You may be thinking that solar will replace the need for a generator and you’ll be able to use your PV panels to power your home during a blackout. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. 

Solar panels don’t provide backup power on their own, and when the grid goes down, all grid-tied solar systems are automatically shut off. To maintain power during an outage, you’ll need to install solar battery storage or a backup generator with your solar system. 

Why Don’t Solar Panels Work During a Power Outage? 

Unless you have an off-grid solar system, your solar panels are tied to the electric grid. This is because solar panels can only produce electricity when the sun is out. At night and on very cloudy days, you’ll still need to buy power from the grid, and maintaining a grid connection allows you to do so. 

When the electric grid is down, however, all power sources that could be feeding into it, like your solar panels, need to be shut down, too. This prevents the unexpected flow of electricity into the grid and protects the technicians who are out working on the power lines. 

What Are Your Options for Backup Power with Solar? 

Generators and solar battery systems can both provide backup power for your home during a blackout. There are, however, some key differences between these two options. Let’s compare whole-home generators vs solar battery storage

Option One: Solar with Generator 

A generator with solar panels works the same way as any standby generator—it will automatically turn on when the grid is down and supply your house with backup power. Some generators are large enough to power your entire home, also known as whole-house generators, while others will give you enough electricity to run select appliances, like your refrigerator. 

Generators rely on natural gas or propane for power, which makes them less environmentally friendly than solar batteries. They do, however, provide reliable backup power for your home and can provide solar users with an extra layer of energy security. 

Option Two: Home Solar Battery Storage

Solar panel battery storage lets you save the excess electricity your solar panels generate during the day when there is plenty of sunshine. The energy stored in your batteries can then be used to power your home at night, when the sun is not shining, during a power outage, or even to avoid peak demand charging periods. 

The amount of backup power your solar battery provides depends on the size of the battery system you install. The more storage you install, the longer your backup power supply will last and which essential loads it would cover. 

Solar batteries run entirely on solar energy, so you can have backup power without using fossil fuels. One of the main benefits of using solar batteries for backup power is that they allow your solar panels to stay on during a power outage, if you can switch into an off-grid mode. If you have solar panels plus battery storage, your solar energy system could temporarily disconnect from the electric grid during an outage, so you can continue to generate power and recharge your batteries during the day. 

Get the Right Backup Power System for Your Home 

SouthFace Solar & Electric is here to help you find and scale the best backup power system for your home. We’re a leading solar and storage company in Arizona with over 35 years of combined experience, and we can help you decide whether a solar battery or generator makes the most sense for your needs and ensure your essential loads are covered. We love to help our customers take control of their own power supply and can give you the peace of mind that comes with having reliable backup power for your home. 

Add a solar battery or whole home generator to your home. Call 480-405-6105 or contact us to get started.