December 15, 2022

Do I Need a Generator if I Have Solar Panels?

generator with cover open

Many people go solar because they want to lower their utility bills and control where their energy comes from. Powering your home with solar panels is certainly one way to be more energy-independent, but you won’t necessarily keep the lights on during a blackout with solar power alone. Battery storage is one option, as is installing a standby generator. Compare your options here to help you decide what’s best for your situation.

Solar Panels With Battery Storage

It’s a common misconception that solar panels will keep the house running when the utility power goes out. But in general, you will only have access to solar power during a blackout if you are not connected to the grid. Most off-grid homes are mobile or located in rural areas where reliable utility service is not available, so they run on solar power with a battery storage system or other portable energy sources.

If your home is grid-tied, you will most likely not have access to solar power. Even if you install a solar battery bank, your home will go dark once the stored energy in your battery runs out. This is because grid-tied solar panels send excess electricity to the grid, which could be dangerous while utility workers are fixing the power lines.

Solar Panels and a Standby Generator

Most homeowners who install solar panels remain tied to the grid for access to energy after dark and to enjoy benefits like net metering. As a result, most solar-powered homes are still susceptible to power outages. This leaves many homeowners wondering—can you install a standby generator if you have solar? Yes! Whether your home is grid-tied or off-grid, a standby generator from Generac could be the perfect supplement to your solar installation.

Whole-house generators feature an automatic transfer switch, which detects power outages and immediately switches your home’s power source from the grid (or the solar panels) to the generator. Be aware that solar panels and a generator can’t operate simultaneously. If the grid is down, your power source will switch fully to the standby generator.

Fuel sources for power generators vary. The most convenient and reliable is natural gas, which is unaffected by electrical power outages. Propane and gasoline are other options that require storing fuel onsite and occasionally refilling the fuel tank. Even solar-powered generators are an option. These run on portable solar panels, making them ideal for campers and RVs.

Install a Standby Generator in New Jersey

By adding a generator to your solar-powered home or business, you’ll enjoy the ultimate freedom and peace of mind, ensuring access to energy in any scenario ranging from power line accidents to natural disasters. If you determine that a standby or portable generator is right for you, turn to Seidel Electric Inc for help getting started. We install, repair, and offer warranty services for Generac generators throughout the Tri-State Area. Contact us online or call (908) 362-6191 to schedule generator services today.