Generator Back-Up Power

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Question: Do I need Back-Up Power for my home? 


Answer: Due to PG&E’s Public Safety Power Shutdowns (PSPS), over the past few years, this is probably our most frequently asked question, and yet, it's one we really cannot answer.  It truly becomes a personal decision.  However, we present the following information to assist you and your family in making the right choice.


In many situations, power outages are nothing more than a minor inconvenience. If grid power is stable and you only experience 1-2 outages per year, it may be easier to just light up a few candles and wait it out. A dedicated backup system in those situations may not be worth the investment. However, there are certain scenarios where backup power can be invaluable:

  • Living in an area prone to natural disasters
  • Living in an area with frequent power outages due to an unreliable power 
  • Running critical equipment, well pumps, appliances or electronics that must stay on during an outage
  • Working from home
  • Rely on a well-pump for water
  • Any other critical need for power, such as medical equipment

Can I Add Battery Back-Up to an Existing Solar System?

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Answer: Yes, however, it can be complicated.


If you already own solar and want to add backup power, the installation process is a bit more complicated. 


There are a few ways to add backup to an existing system: AC coupling, DC coupling, or replacing the inverter with a storage-ready inverter.


Contact us directly for more information regarding this question.

Can I Start With Solar Now and Add Battery Back-Up Later?

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Answer: Yes!


Many people ask us about starting with solar and then adding batteries sometime down the road when their budget allows. This is doable, but it’s important to plan your system with future expansion in mind.


Certain inverters are configured to easily handle the addition of batteries. Other inverters don’t work with batteries at all, and they will need to be swapped out, or require that you add another inverter.  If you make the wrong choice up front, you’ll spend several thousand dollars replacing equipment down the line.


You can also start with most standard grid-tie inverters, and AC couple a Battery Backup system. But not all inverters are as flexible depending on size, so we typically recommend Enphase micro-inverters for an AC Coupled design.