When there is a loss of power in your area, what options do you have? Unless you have backup power in your home, staying in the dark is your only choice.

Fortunately, there are dozens of backup power options to choose from, including propane, diesel, natural gas generators, and solar panels. In the field of energy technology, solar panels and generator are mainly used as a power reserve or in areas where there is no electricity; they are used as a source of energy.

If you are stuck between choosing solar panels and a generator for your energy needs, you should check out the unique comparison criteria based on differences, similarities, pros, and cons to help you make sensible decisions.

Solar Panel Vs Generator – What’s The Difference?

Solar panels use solar energy while generators use fuel. In this case, when buying a generator, unlike the solar panel, you will have to bear additional costs for the purchase of fuel.

The generators are also regularly maintained, unlike solar panels. They are also known to be noisy so their use in a quiet environment may be limited, unlike solar panels. Generators are said to be heavier than solar panels, so solar panels are believed to be more portable than generators.

Solar Panel Vs Generator - Whats The Difference

The cost of installing solar panels is higher than that of the generator. Generators are known for their ability to generate enough amount of power that can run many electrical devices, unlike solar panels.

Solar Panel Vs Generator – Comparison Table

Solar Panels and Generators serve as a source of energy whenever there is a power outage in your city and area. They both are best in their own way. However, they may have some differences that I have discussed in this article in detail and also combined into a comparison table to make it easy for you to get an overview of both of these energy sources.

Differences Solar Panel Generator
Run Time Although the average day lasts exactly 12 hours, the power you actually get from your panels equates to around 5-6 hours of full sun per day. In Generator, on average you can expect a gas portable generator to run 7.5 to 12 hours straight, a propane portable generator for up to 8 days if continuously fueled, and a standby natural gas generator to run continuously for up to 3 weeks.
Power Solar provides a constant charge that will have the best chance of getting batteries up to 100%. Generators provide large amounts of power in a short time.
Advantages
  • Environmentally friendly.
  • Free Maintenance.
  • Cheaper than generators.
  • Generate free energy.
  • Capable of producing great power, so they can run many power-hungry devices.
  • Generators are cheaper to start with than solar batteries.
  • Provide electricity 24 hours a day.
  • Available in a variety of sizes, from small portable units to whole-house systems.
  • Provide round-the-clock power, as long as they have an ample fuel supply.
Disadvantages
  • Solar energy has low power, so it is limited only to devices that consume little energy.
  • Solar Panels are more at the risk of being damaged as compared to generators.
  • Solar panels are highly dependent on weather conditions due to the use of solar energy.
  • They are not as convenient as they run on fuel.
  • Produce toxic fumes in the environment.
  • Fuel left too long in a generator can become stale, causing equipment problems and additional repair costs.
  • Create emissions during operation.

Run Time Of Solar Panel and Generators

While solar panels can still work on cloudy days, they cannot work at night. The reason for this is simple: solar panels work on a scientific principle called the photovoltaic effect, in which solar cells are activated by sunlight and generate electricity.

Run Time of Solar Panel

Although the average day lasts exactly 12 hours, the power you actually get from your panels equates to around 5-6 hours of full sun per day.

Run Time of Generator

On the other hand, on average you can expect a gas portable generator to run 7.5 to 12 hours straight, a propane portable generator for up to 8 days if continuously fueled, and a standby natural gas generator to run continuously for up to 3 weeks.

Solar Panel VS Generator – Key Differences

Solar panels are quiet, maintenance-free, and require no transportation of fuel. The main difference between solar and a generator is how they provide power. Generators supply direct power to the 120-volt system and power any appliances and outlets that become available during generator use. Low power 120-volt appliances with inverters provided there is a large enough battery bank.

Solar Panel VS Generator - Key Differences

Solar is basically a battery charger. So if extending your time in the field is your primary goal, this is the preferred option. Generators provide large amounts of power in a short time, while solar provides a constant charge that will have the best chance of getting batteries up to 100%. He is like the tortoise and the hare; slow and steady wins!

Backup Power Options and Size Power Load

When choosing backup power options, consider what you will need to power your home when the grid is down. Most homeowners who choose the battery as backup power generally take solace in the fact that crucial loads (like lights, power outlets, and small appliances) will need power in case an outage occurs.

Not all batteries are capable of producing enough electricity to power power-hungry devices and devices. Suppose you are using a good pump, sump pump, or similar equipment that consumes a lot of energy. If so, installing a backup battery system is recommended (e.g. Pika Energy Harbor battery – works great as a backup power supply).

Installing a generator means you won’t have to worry about things like critical loads. If you choose the right size generator, you will keep your home running smoothly. Find a great installer to do the job. In addition, you must have enough fuel on-site.

Solar Panels – Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages of Using Solar Panels

Environmental Friendly

Solar panels are known to be environmentally friendly. They can be used in a peaceful environment and their maintenance is free. 

Cheaper

In addition, solar panels would be cheaper than generators.

Generate Free Energy

Solar panels are known for their ability to generate free energy.

Disadvantages of Using Solar Panels

Disadvantages of Using Solar Panels

Low Power

Solar energy has low power, so it is limited only to devices that consume little energy.

Risk of Damaging

Solar Panels are more at the risk of being damaged as compared to generators. Portable solar panels require safe storage to avoid damage. 

Dependent on Weather Conditions

Solar panels are highly dependent on weather conditions due to the use of solar energy. Also, solar panels are known to take longer to charge the batteries.

Generators – Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages of Using Generator

Great Power Source

They are also capable of producing great power, so they can run many power-hungry devices.

Cheaper

Generators are cheaper to start with than solar batteries. However, solar batteries save a family money over time, and there are many rebates and incentives available that can lower the initial cost.

Large Supply of Electricity

Generators provide electricity 24 hours a day, as long as there is a large supply of fuel. 

Variety of Sizes

Generators are available in a variety of sizes, from small portable units to whole-house systems.

Round the Clock Power

Generators provide round-the-clock power, as long as they have an ample fuel supply.

Disadvantages of Using Generator

Disadvantages of Using Generator

Not Convenient

They are not as convenient as they run on fuel. They require general repairs and maintenance, unlike solar panels. 

Not Environmental Friendly

Most generators do not respect the environment because they produce toxic fumes in the environment.

Cause Additional Cost

Fuel left too long in a generator can become stale, causing equipment problems and additional repair costs. 

Unpleasant Odor

Generators create emissions during operation, creating an unpleasant odor and a high carbon footprint.

Cost, Emissions, Restrictions

From a cost perspective, generators and solar have upfront equipment cost that largely depends on their size. Generators consume fuel, which adds an ongoing running cost, but solar costs nothing to run.

Generators also require regular maintenance, while a well-designed solar system should operate on its own. The solar controller will take care of the battery and a deep cycle battery is completely sealed and maintenance-free.

Roy Ding, solar energy expert of Arizona Clean Energy Solutions in Victoria, said solar power has many advantages over a generator.

“During operation, it is completely silent; energy is collected by solar radiation, so it is eco-sustainable; does not emit stinking gases; and most importantly, it is free,” Ding said.

It should also be considered that generators cannot be used in most national parks and use may need to be limited to respectful levels in open fields where other travelers seek to enjoy the serenity.

Can you connect a generator to a solar system?

Yes, you can connect a generator to a solar system, but must follow the following points.

Can you connect a generator to a solar system

Consult your Generator Manual

Consult your generator manual to determine the “Maximum Solar Panel Input” rating. Most generators can handle 120360 watts.

Should Have Enough Solar Panels

Make sure you have enough solar panels to meet your generator’s “maximum solar panel input power”.

MC4 Bypass Connector

Use an MC4 Bypass Connector to connect all your solar panels to the generator. Your solar panels must be connected in parallel to avoid permanent damage. Use an “MC4 adapter” when connecting solar panels of different brands.

You can rest assured that you will never experience a blackout by adding a generator to your solar system. Solar energy can be used during the day and stored in batteries for the night at the same time.
A small generator can be used to charge batteries when solar radiation is limited.

Using a generator with solar panels

Due to rapid climate change, measures must be taken to protect the earth from the serious consequences of ozone layer depletion.

This is why we have seen the rise of solar panel generators. It is a special generator that captures energy from the sun using solar panels and stores it in batteries for future use.

Do you really need a generator with solar panels?

The answer is simple. Solar power will not serve as a backup generator. Solar energy, like other forms of energy, fails during a severe storm.

Switching to solar power doesn’t really protect you from power outages unless you completely disconnect from the utility grid. So for the average person, it’s still a good idea to have a backup generator on standby so you can keep your essential appliances running when the power goes out.

Do you really need a generator with solar panels

Solar Battery Backup VS Generator

Comparing generators to batteries is a case of apples and oranges. To make the right decision, your customers must first set their energy goals. Both applications are a significant investment. So if price and payback are your top priorities, a battery might be your best bet. Return on Investment (ROI) is a common term in renewable energy, and with good reason.

Backup Generator

A backup generator is an ideal solution if you only want a backup power system and do not want to install solar panels in the future. If your home has an existing natural gas line, installing a backup generator can be relatively easy.

Solar Battery Backup

The Solar Battery Backup is an excellent option for customers who want a backup system that can work with any existing or future solar power system. A battery system is correct for those who prefer a silent, low, reliable, and ecological solution.

Which is Better Solar Panel or Generator?

Depending on your backup power needs, a generator may be the best option. Although the costs of the solar battery storage system are higher than those of a standby generator, the battery storage can also benefit from valuable solar incentives such as tax credit savings and be used for compensating for question peaks.

A generator set can run appliances directly without having to charge the battery first. In fact, they’re better than solar when you use them with power-hungry appliances, like air conditioning and coffee makers. Probably the biggest advantage of generators over solar is that they are not dependent on good weather.

Solar Panel VS Generator – FAQs

Is it better to have a generator or solar panels?
In my opinion, a generator may be the best option depending on your backup power needs. A solar battery storage system is not only higher in cost as compared to a backup generator, but battery storage can also cause valuable solar incentives such as tax credit savings and also be used to even out peak demand rates.
Can solar panels be used as backup generator?
The answer is simple. Solar power will not act as a backup generator. Solar energy will shut down just like other forms of energy during a severe storm. Solar panels cannot act like generators on their own – the electricity they generate must be stored somewhere. Thus, solar generators usually consist of two main products: solar panels and a battery storage system. When you place the solar panels in the sun, they generate direct current (DC) electricity.
Are solar power generators worth it?
Solar generators are best used for charging appliances and running small appliances. They make a great backup power source for a boat trip or RV camping due to their portability, plus they’re clean and don’t require you to hold a lot of fuel in your hand.
What is cheaper solar or generator?
If we consider the cost of both, generators and solar have initial equipment cost that largely depends on their size. Generators consume fuel, which adds an ongoing cost of ownership, but solar costs nothing to run. Generators also need regular maintenance, while a well-designed solar system should operate on its own.
Why solar energy is bad?
Solar panels are bad for the environment because toxic chemicals are used in their manufacture. Manufacturing processes generate waste products that can be harmful to human health and the environment. Old solar panels can become toxic waste due to the heavy metal content of the solar cells and other impurities.
How does a generator work with solar panels?
A solar generator works by collecting solar energy through solar panels and then storing it in its built-in solar battery. An inverter then converts this power into AC power before releasing it for use in appliances and other electronic devices.

 

To Sum Up

Choosing between a solar battery and a generator for your household needs can be difficult. Both are great for powering devices around the home or for business purposes.

Need backup power and not planning to install a solar panel any time soon? So a standby generator will work best for you. Would you like to have electricity in your home 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, regardless of power outages? Do you want to reduce your power peak charges? Opt for a solar battery.

Consider your circumstances and make the best decision. Think about pros and cons, pros and cons. Then choose what works best for your situation.

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