Solar Batteries: A Quick Comparison Guide
Solar batteries are the perfect complement to any solar setup. While your solar energy system can help power your home during sunny days and even sell excess energy back to the grid through net metering, a solar battery will complete your setup to make your home an energy-efficient off-grid powerhouse when the grid fails. In winter 2021, massive winter storms across the Texas left thousands of households suffering from weeks long power outages due to major grid failures. Battery backups are key to keeping your home powered and warm even during these major weather events.
Before you think batteries don’t last you, you are right for the old-style deep-cycle lead-acid batteries. These newer style batteries are lithium-based and the same ones used in electric cars that can run 500,000 miles on the same battery pack. These batteries come with an unlimited use 10-year warranty and are projected to last much longer. If you are looking at batteries that will last through many storms and disasters, keep on reading.
No matter which solar battery you choose, the basic benefits are the same. Solar batteries charge up when your solar system is producing energy. This charge can be used to power your home during outages or kick in during peak energy use times to keep your electric bills and dependence on the electrical grid low.
At Sun Solar, we carry two major brands of solar batteries: Tesla Powerwall and Generac PWR Cell. Each battery system comes with its own unique benefits, features, and installation requirements that our energy experts will configure for you. We walk you through every step.
What is Tesla Powerwall?
Compact and affordable, Tesla Powerwall is battery storage developed for your home. A product of Tesla Energy, Tesla Powerwall is designed to store excess energy generated by Sun Solar powered systems. This battery system is compact and sleek with a stylish set of user-friendly tech features including a phone app that lets you be in charge of how your power works. If and when the grid goes down, your Tesla app alerts you to being off-grid.
Each Tesla Powerwall knows when to charge and when to begin powering your home through automation. Your home can utilize your stored solar energy with ease through power outages, at peak energy use times, and in the evening when your solar system isn’t gathering power.
Through the Tesla app, you can monitor your home battery and solar production, as well as change your home’s power flow as necessary. Because of this feature, a Powerwall must be connected to the Internet through ethernet cable (we run) or wireless (we connect for you). You don’t have to connect it to the internet, but your 10-year warranty goes to 3 years.
Features of a Tesla Powerwall
Tesla Powerwalls are relatively affordable, compact, and can be installed indoors or outdoors. However, where this solar battery system really shines is in its customizable automated settings.
Tesla Powerwall Settings
The Tesla Powerwall has several features that allow you to personalize its functionality to your needs. The following settings are available with a Tesla Powerwall:
Self-powered. On self-powered mode, a Tesla Powerwall will store any excess energy your solar panels catch during the day to power your home a night. This option is only for those with solar energy.
Backup-only. With backup-only, you can set your Tesla Powerwall to save its power for an outage. The Powerwall will only provide energy for your home when your power goes out. Once power on the grid has been restored, your Powerwall will notify you and stop powering your home.
Time-based control. This mode will forecast your energy rates. When rates are high, you can use energy from the Powerwall to offset your usage, saving you money. The Powerwall will only charge from the grid when energy rates are low.
Storm watch. Under the storm watch setting, your Tesla Powerwall will connect to the National Weather Service and reserve its energy for incoming severe weather.
Preconditioning. Batteries have a harder time charging in colder weather. In the winter, you can set your Tesla Powerwall to preconditioning. This mode will heat the Powerwall and allow it to store more energy.
Tesla Powerwall Benefits
Investing in a home battery can reduce the amount you spend on electricity and ensure that you are never without power. With Tesla Powerwall, you can save money and become more energy independent.
If you have a solar energy system, the addition of a Powerwall can allow you to self-power your home most, if not all, of the time. Tesla Powerwall will charge from your solar panels during the day and then continue to provide your home with power at night, once the sun has gone down. When the sun rises again the next day, the process begins anew, and your Powerwall will begin to recharge.
Where Can I Buy A Tesla Powerwall?
You will need to have your Tesla Powerwall installed by a Tesla Powerwall Certified Installer. These installers have been professionally trained and are required to follow the quality and inspection guidelines outlined by Tesla. Missouri’s #1 Solar Installer, Sun Solar, is a Tesla Powerwall Certified Installer and is able to both sell and install your Tesla Powerwall.
The number of Tesla Powerwalls you may need will depend on the amount of energy you use and how you wish to discharge your battery. A professional Sun Solar Energy Consultant can survey your usage to help determine how many batteries your home would require.
Looking for more information? Check out this testimonial video to see Tesla Powerwall in action and how to utilize the Tesla monitoring app.
What is Generac PWRCell?
Generac PWRcell is a modular solar battery system designed to collect energy from your solar system, reduce your dependence on the electrical grid, and power your home during peak times. With its unique cabinet design and scalable features, the PWRcell is the most powerful solar battery on the market and well-suited for most lifestyles.
Features of a Generac PWRCell?
The Generac PWRcell can be installed indoors or protected in an outdoor battery cabinet. Multiple modular batteries scaled to your home’s energy needs are housed inside this unit and connected to a single inverter.
Like other solar battery systems, the Generac PWRcell can act as a backup source of energy for your home during grid outages, inclement weather, and periods of high utility costs. Savings, insights, bill estimates, and historical grid usage can all be viewed with just a few taps in the simple PWRview app.
Generac PWRCell Settings
To best suit your home’s needs, the PWRcell has several different modes of operation.
Clean Backup Mode
This mode is designed to keep your solar battery full in case of a power or grid outage. So, your solar panels will first prioritize filling the battery, then power your home and finally send any further excess back to the power grid. If you experience a power outage, your battery will jump into action to keep key major appliances or rooms of your house powered.
Priority Backup Mode
This mode has a similar idea, but if your solar panels fail to fill the battery, the battery can then draw power from the grid. This is best when severe weather, like tropical storms, hurricanes, or severe thunderstorms, are in the area and you need to fill your battery quickly in case of a weather-related outage.
In this mode, your home’s needs come before the battery. So, your solar panels prioritize sending energy to your home first and any excess goes to your battery backup. This is the ideal
Self Supply mode
In self-supply mode, your inverter powers your home using solar energy and dips into your battery if needed. When your solar system generates excess energy, it is stored in your battery to be used at a later time. This scenario is best suited for homes that have their energy use measured in time-of-use or who do not benefit from a net metering agreement. If power is more expensive at a certain time of day, your solar panels can prioritize powering your home and then dip into the battery stores if required.
This mode is for when there are no batteries attached to your inverter. In this mode, your solar panels power your home, and any extra energy generated is sold back to the grid.
Where can I buy a Generac PWRCell?
Generac PWRcells must be installed by a certified dealer like Sun Solar. It’s best to talk to your Sun Solar Energy Consultant about how a battery backup will work in your system if the Generac PWRcell is right for you and the modular battery needs of your home.
Which solar battery backup is right for me?
In some ways, the Tesla PowerWall and Generac PWRcell are quite similar. Both systems feature well-designed apps with vital information about your home’s energy use; both systems are able to be tied together either with multiple units or modular batteries to provide your home with more power, and both systems feature the ability to be installed indoors or outside.
The best way to determine the right battery for you is to contact our certified Energy Consultants at Sun Solar today. During your solar consultation, your Sun Solar representative can answer any questions you have about solar batteries, help you choose a space for installation, and incorporate the best fit into your solar energy system.