Backup Power Generators For Homes

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Just because something can be done doesn't necessarily mean that it needs to be done.

A battery backup element is going to add to the cost of a solar system, so you should make sure that it's worth it. The cost for a modest (approximately 4kW) sealed battery pack that will keep a typical family home running in emergency mode with minimal critial load power will start at between $9,000 - $14,500.

That price quickly rises as the size increases. The hard-nosed financial question, is it worth the cost of a battery backup to keep the lights on during an occasional garden-variety power outage that lasts just a few hours.

If not, we heartily recommend the standard blackout kit: A candle, a bottle of wine and a friend. A load analysis, which is a detailed list of everything you expect to power in your home during a blackout, is a critical part of your backup design. For each load, the expected power consumption and hours of use are listed and totaled for one day.

There are no one-size-fits-all solution for backup power systems. Each emergency solar backup system is uniquely designed to its site, loads, budget, and the personal lifestyle of the homes occupants. OK, with that out of the way, we have some work to do before you can select the right emergency solar backup power system.

To begin the process of sizing your solar system you first need to pull your most recent 12 months utility bills and record the kWh from each month. Then take the total of the 12 months kWh then ÷ by 365 to get your daily average usage.

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This number is critical to begin the process for a grid-tie system. Don't have 12 months worth of history?

Personal Solar Consultant & Line Drawing; We Have Your Back

Off-Grid and On-Grid Ready

Then average what you do have or if you are moving into a different house use the bills from your current home to get an idea of your energy usage. You can usually find the kWh near the top of the first page of you utility bills. An alternative method would be to go on line and down load the information or call your local utility company to find out your most recent 12 months total.

Sizing an emergency backup system for your home begins with a goal that is personal to your home, your lifestyle, motivation and budget. Start by asking yourself a few simple questions. How often does the utility power go down at my home and how long do the power outages last.

For my lifestyle, what is important for my family to have access to when the grid goes down? Now ask yourself what is my budget for accomplishing my goals? Get some general ideas on what you want to power and how much you want to spend?

We talk to hundreds of people a day across the country and often the first thing we hear when we say we need to see how much sun is available in their area is "we have lots of sun so that should not be a problem". The fact is that when sizing a kit, it is not how much sun you have, it is how much sun strikes the earth in your zip code which can sometimes surprise customers. Little considered factors such an high humidity and elevation can play a key role.

Electrical Distribution; Making the Grid Connection

  • Example; most of Texas and Florida have latitudes that are farther south than Arizona buthave less "sun-hours per day" because Texas and Florida have higher humidity levels and more cloud cover.
  • The 2nd step in the design process is to look and see what the average amount of solar irradiance is available near your area from our resource map.
  • Find the nearest city to your home and write down the average "sun-hours per day".
  • Mounting your system on the roof, ground or top of a pole; budget, roof dimensions, ground space or setbacks, shading and other site-specific factors call for careful consideration in your design.

Line Drawing

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Compare the sizing results from your calculations in steps 1, 2 and 3 with the location and amount of space available to mount the solar array in order to get a rough idea of the maximum of panels. If you are planning to mount your array on a roof, decide which module best fits into the available roof space, taking into consideration obstructions such as chimneys, plumbing vents and skylights.

Many local building codes will not allow a solar system to extend beyond the perimeter of the outside of the house footprint.

  • (You may not be able to utilize your roof overhang or eaves.) A good place to start is to check with your local building department to see what their setback rules are for either a roof or ground mount array.
  • How many panels will fit? Rule of thumb; ≈ 100 sq. feet of area per 1kW of solar.
  • Check out areas available to install your PV kit. A few things to consider; array dimensions, orientation, tilt and obstructions.

Panels ideally should be mounted facing true south, but that rarely is the case. It does not matter if you point your panels east, south or west as long as you have at least 6 hours of sun centered around sometime near mid day. (IE: 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM).

Shading of array location. No well-planned installation should have a shading problem around noon. Heavily or regularly shaded panels (even when operated with a micro inverter) are NOT worth the investment! Avoid shading as much as possible. You will want to consider potential shading from trees, buildings, power lines, telephone poles, and obstructions like chimneys and vent pipes.

TIP; Avoid Vent Pipe Shading. Keep solar panels away from objects protruding from your roof by 3X the objects height. Maximum efficiency vs. maximum energy. Fixed arrays tilted to the angle of your locations latitude will generate the highest year round efficiency.

However, largely because of aesthetics, most people would choose flush mount arrays slightly raised off of pitched roofs for the majority of home installations.

Is Battery Backup Really Necessary?

  • Raising the panels off the roof about 4 - 6" will allow for ventilation behind the panels.
  • Solar cells produce less electricity as they heat up. Top-of-pole mount kits are sometimes great option when you have the ground space and additional budget because you can usually orient the panels facing true south and adjust the tilt several times a year to achieve a maximum solar energy harvest.

Roof type and age. If you plan on re-roofing within 5 years but are not ready yet, some homeowners will replace only the shingles located under the solar array when the panels are installed and leave the rest for later.

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Inverter Location. Solar cells are activated by visible light not ultra-violet or infra-red. Solar panels produce electricity when exposed to sun light, but plan to keep your inverter (s) in the shade. Inverters work better when located in shaded well ventilated areas.

For grid-tie inverters we sell, they can be mounted outdoors or indoors. But either location your choose, shaded well ventilated areas are best. TIP; Mount your solar panels with at least a 7 degree tilt to avoid "Mud Shading". That's when dirty water washed off the solar panels accumulates across the bottom cells of the panel dammed by the panel frame.

When the water dries, the dirt or mud builds up across the bottom which can shade the entire row of lower solar cells on each solar panel. In most areas of the country you will be required to enter into a "interconnect agreement" with your local utility company. This is a simple form that lets them know you will be producing some of your electricity at your location and the equpment you are proposing is UL listed and approved.

Just go to your local utility website to download the document or call your local utility customer service line and have them send one to you. Wire carries electricity in much the same way as a garden hose carries water. When you turn on a breaker, a electron flows in one direction and knocks another electron which knocks another one until eventually an electron comes out the other end. Voltage is the electrical pressure behind the flow of current or electrons.

LOCATIONS

  • Current, which is measured in amps, is the measure of quantity of electrons flowing through a wire.
  • The higher the voltage the more current the source can produce. Watts are the measure of power.
  • Volts X Amps = Watts. Current can be increased by increasing the voltage or by lowering the resistance (IE: Size of Wire or Conductor).
  • Resistance is the inherent physical opposite to current flow.
Plannning Design & Installation Tips

Get Down To It; Basic Grid-tie Formula ≈ Number of Panels Needed

A good analogy would be to think of it as a dam holding back water. Resistance is created by electrons refusing to be stripped of their atoms and bumped or sent down the wire.

Summary table: Best battery backup options
TypeProductStorage capacityCost*
UPSAPC Back-UPS BE600M1600 VA$89.99Buy Now
UPSCyberPower CP1500PFCLCD1500 VA$238.00Buy Now
Solar generatorJackery Explorer 500396 Wh$499.99Buy Now
Solar generatorGoal Zero Yeti 1400 Lithium with WiFi + Boulder 100 Briefcase Solar Kit1,425 Wh (1.4 kWh)$2,199.95Buy Now
Solar generatorPoint Zero Energy Titan 1000 solar briefcase generator2,000 Wh (2 kW)$5,645Buy Now
Whole-homeLG Chem RESU Prime9,600 Wh (9.6 kWh)$8,000Buy Now
Whole-homesonnenCore10,000 Wh (10 kWh)$9,500Buy Now
Whole-homeTesla Powerwall13,500 Wh (13.5 kWh)$8,500Buy Now

*All prices for whole-home batteries are before installation and incentives

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The higher the resistance in the wire, the less current will flow. The only way to overcome that resistance, is to increase the pressure (volts) or decrease the resistance (Larger Wire).

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National Electrical Code (NEC) 690.64 does not specifically require an AC disconnect however, many if not most utility companies like to have a lockable blade disconnect to protect line workers and fire department officials.

An AC disconnect is more likely to be required if the inverter is not close to the main service panel.

If an AC disconnect is required, is should not need to be fused unless it is the primary disconnect for the line side connection.

power baby, make that meter turn backwards! This is where it all comes together.

Your homes main service panel is the heart of your electrical system and how we connect the solar system to this panel using what option is the key to everything we have done so far in the design planning.

Load side connection occurs on the load side of the Main Service Disconnect Breakers via a breaker on the Main Service Panel Busbar. Line side connection occurs between the Utility Meter the Main Service Disconnect Breaker.

Here is why that is important to understand the difference. Before we can go any further in the final connection or exactly where we are going to connect we need to know one rule that we call a biggie in the solar industry.

National Electrical Code (NEC) Section 690.64 says that the sum of the rated current for the solar breaker and main breaker amp rating cannot exceed 120% of the bus bar’s rating of the Main Service Panel Busbar Rating.

Example: The main service entrance (MSE) breaker box is listed as a 200A bus/200A Main breaker. That means if you have a 200 amp main service panel which is rated for a with a 200 amp buss bar, NEC will only allow a 20% back feed breaker to be added to a 200 amp panel or 40 amp solar breaker.

If the size of your system requires a 60A OCPD, this exceeds the maximum allowable backfed current for a load side connection for the given MSE specifications (max.

MAINTENANCE AND REPAIR

allowable for this service entrance = 40A). To go above that 40 amp back feed solar breaker there are several alternative .

One alternative to consider without having to replace your main breaker panel would be to decrease the size of the main buss bar.

By lowering a 200 amp main breaker to 150 amps may bring your in compliance if you have to go to a 60 amp backfeed breaker for your solar system.

However, before you do that a careful study by a licensed electrician should be conducted to make sure you will not stress the breaker with your existing loads.

On a grid-tie solar system when the utility goes down, the solar system will also go down.

What many homeowners fail to realize when they purchase a standard grid tied system is when the grid goes down, so does the power being produced by the solar panels. The IEEE-1547 standard requires that grid-tie inverters cease to export power (Means your meter spinning backwards) if the voltage measured at the Point of Common Coupling (PCC) (That mean your homes electric service meter) exceeds +10% or -12% of nominal.

If that were not the case, there could be a utility worker in front of your home who thinks the electricity is off and become injured. Another alternative is to consider a line side connection.

A line side connection or supply-side connections means the connection between the utility company meter and your main breaker box. If you have no room in your existing service panel to add your solar system, see if the number of breakers in your main breaker box can be reduced or consider upgrading the service panel.

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A line side connection requires a fused blade AC disconnect.

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If that is required and the solar kit you select states that we will supply the AC disconnect, we will provide the upgrade to a fused AC 60 amp disconnect at no additional cost to you.

You should not be overly concerned with how or what type of final connection, wire and breaker size because we do the heavy lifting for you.

When you make a purchase over $1,000 for a kit, your order gets assigned to your own personal Solar Consultant.

Our System Integrators provide polished technical advice on the design and execution of all types of installations.

This single point of contact, who is already familiar with your project, is your free life line to answer your questions and help walk you through any obstacles you might incur during the process.

Included with your grid tie package is a full "Instructive Three-Line Diagram of Entire DC Circuit, as Well as AC Lines to Your Metered Service Entrance".

When you buy a grid-tie kit from Blue Pacific Solar, we supply a custom electrical line drawing that shows you exactly how to connect everything. We will specify on our drawing what size and type of wire and breaker you will need to be NEC code compliant.

The line drawing can be used for your interconnect agreement application with your local utility company and for your permit with the local authority having jurisdiction commonly referred to as AHJ (Building Department). If you need help with your full permit documents for your local AHJ anywhere in the country, our permit document service is available to help take the hassle out of your solar purchase.

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We often get asked about running wiring in the attics and if it has to be in conduit. With NEC 2011 (National Electric Code), this just got easier.

While the industry has rightly focused on 690.11 Arc Fault Circuit Protection, there was a lesser known change regarding running DC wiring inside the building.

Section 690.31(E) changed the requirements for running DC inside of a building to enable the use of Metal-clad cable for DC solar source or output circuits.

The Metal clad cable needs to comply with 250.118(10) but will enable customers installing wiring an easier alternative to bending conduit in tight spaces.

We’ve built a smart energy storage system that’s plug-and-play with any existing solar array.

Our intelligent system recognizes what type of inverter the array is using and pairs with the system automatically. Retrofitting an existing array is as easy as running the AC and/or DC lines into a Humless portable solar generator system.There are so many different battery-powered inverter generators and solar products on the market, creating a battery system that is efficient and reliable has traditionally required a skilled electrical engineer.

Our new battery-powered ac generator takes the complexity out of energy storage. Let’s face it, a battery system is useless if it doesn’t work when the grid fails. The Home Systems work on and/or off-grid.

You can now load shift, export to the grid and have a battery-powered portable generator that works when the power goes out. Single application energy storage systems are a thing of the past. The Humless solutions do everything you might need out of an ESS (Energy Storage System).

Best Portable Diesel Generators, Generators are surely the lifesaving machines that keep your life running during power outages.

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No matter whether you need a backup power source for your home or office, these generators work well to meet your power needs. But if you need a fuel-efficient and durable generator that needs less maintenance, then a diesel generator is the perfect choice for you.

But which of the diesel generators are best to buy?

Many people ask this question, and when they fail to get the best one, they move towards the gasoline-powered generators.

So, in order to help you out in getting the best diesel unit, we have made a list of the top 6 diesel generators. All of these units are the best in the business and will meet your power needs.

But before going through the list, it is essential for you to understand why a diesel generator is a better choice for you?

Also, there is a buyer’s guide section which will help you to know about the factors that you must consider before buying your best diesel generator.

12 hours at 50% load. 12 gallons fuel tank. 9 hours+ runtime at 50% load. 62 gallons fuel tank. 66 dBA noise level. air-cooled 480cc engine. Output: 6500-5500 watts. Fuel tank: 3.8 gallons. Warranty: 3 years. More Features: A maintenance-free alternator having an automatic voltage regulator system ensures constant voltage and power.

Fuel Tank Size and Runtime: This portable diesel generator from DuroStar is one of the best generators available in the market that comes with a 3.8 gallons fuel tank having a readable gauge. It can run continuously for 12 hours at 50% load. Power Output: The maximum output power it can produce is 6500 watts, and its running watts are 5500.

Start system: The unit comes with both electric and recoil start systems for your convenience. Also, there is a remote control option. Engine: It has a powerful 9 HP, 418cc single-cylinder, 4-cycle diesel engine that is fuel-efficient.

It has an advanced direct fuel injection system that ensures low fuel utilization but meets all your power needs. Safety Features: A maintenance-free alternator having an automatic voltage regulator system ensures constant voltage and power.

Solar Insolation / Average Available “Sun-Hours Per Day”

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Also, there is an automatic low-oil shutdown sensor. Noise Level: The fully enclosed frame provides great protection to the engine and the overall generator.

This also helps to reduce noise levels along with a super quiet muffler and soundproof system.

The unit operates between 65 dBA and 70 dBA.

Control Panel: If we focus on its control panel, then it features a voltage meter, circuit breakers, low-oil and low fuel indicators, and power outlets.

There are two GFCI protected, 120V 20A, 3-prong household power outlets. Also, a 120V 30A, 3-prong outlet, and one 120/240V 30A, the 4-prong outlet is part of the control panel. Weight and Warranty: It has a weight of 305 pounds, which makes it quite a heavy unit.

But the four caster wheels allow easy movement and make it portable. Also, the unit is backed by a 3-year warranty. Weight: Another quality diesel generator on our list is the Generac XD5000E.

It features a fully welded 1-1/4-inch steel frame that is quite sturdy and adds durability to the unit. It has a weight of 254 pounds that makes it a heavy unit.

Portability: Tires are not part of the generator; you have to buy the wheel kit separately to travel long distances. But there is a lifting eye that makes movement easy from one place to another.

Engine: It is powered with a Yamar LW Series 435cc engine having a direct fuel injection system. This industrial-grade diesel engine is very powerful that it easily deals with large scale operations.

Fuel Tank size and Runtime: The unit comes with an excellent fuel tank capacity of 12 gallons and offers a run time of more than 30 hours at 50% load. It means you can keep your appliances in working condition for more than a day during a power outage.

Easy Retrofit To Any Home With Portable Solar Emergency Power Kit

Power Output: It produces 5500 peak watts and 5000 rated watts.

The best thing about this Generac XD5000E is its less than 5% total harmonic distortion.

The generator is featured with a True Power Technology that ensures this notable harmonic distortion that is ideal for your sensitive electronics.

Start System: It comes with both electric and recoil start systems.

Control Panel: Its control panel is easy to access where you will find four 120V AC 20A household outlets, two 120V twist-lock power outlets, and an hour meter. Also, there are two 20A and a 30A push-button circuit breaker along with a 23A main circuit breaker.

Noise Level: The unit is noisy, having a decibel rating of 72 dBA. Fuel Tank Size and Runtime: It comes with a 4-gallon tank capacity and can run for more than 9 hours at 50% load.

The tank also features a fuel gauge. Noise Level: The fully enclosed frame is to protect the unit from any harm and to reduce the noise levels. It has a decibel rating of 68 dBA, which is due to a specially designed insulation system.

Engine: Its 10HP single cylinder, 4-stroke OHV engine features an air cooling technology that also ensures less sound during operation. Power Output: If we talk about the maximum output power this unit can produce, then it is 7000 watts.

Also, it generates 5000 rated watts. This starting and running power output is enough to meet your power needs. Start System: It has an electric start system that includes a maintenance-free battery.

PWRCELL BATTERY

Also, there is a recoil start option for emergency purposes. Control Panel: Its control panel is very intuitive. If we focus on the power outlets, then they are five altogether.

Two of them are the 120V AC household outlets, and one is the 12V DC outlet.

The other two outlets include a 120V twist-lock outlet and a 120/240V twist-lock outlet.

Along with the power outlets, the control panel features a voltage meter and an hour meter.

Weight and Warranty: Its weight is 353 pounds and has a 2-year limited warranty. Portability: The four caster wheels allow easy movement from one place to another.

Also, two ergonomically designed handles on both the front and back sides make it easy to pull and push the unit. Weight and Warranty: The biggest diesel generator on our list is the Generac RD05034GDAE that weighs 2114 pounds.

It is also backed by a 5-year limited time warranty. Power Output: It is ideal for big homes, offices, and flats. It can produce 50,000 rated watts. It is one of the most powerful diesel generators available in the market that can meet all your power needs.

You can run your air conditioners, refrigerators, heaters, personal electronic devices, and other things at the same time with ease. Start System: It supports both the automatic and manual start systems.

Fuel Tank Size and Runtime: It has a fuel tank capacity of 62 gallons and can run for 15 hours at 100% load and for 28 hours at 50% load.

Control Panel: Its intuitive control panel makes the unit easy to use and operate. The control panel is featured with the Evolution Controller that incorporates a variety of control features for automatic usage. Noise Level: The Generac RD05034GDAE also offers ultra-quiet operation. It has a decibel rating of 70 dBA, which is nothing for such a powerful unit. Code Ready: Other than this, the most appealing feature of this generator is that it is code ready.

Now, there is no need to buy an expensive custom-figured unit when you have a code available function in this Generac generator. It is equipped with a set of popular pre-customized options that make this unit highly compatible with a wide variety of applications. Maintenance: Not only the unit is easy to use and operate; it is also easy to maintain.

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  • The removal doors will allow you to easily refill the tank and do necessary servicing work. Power Output: It is quite a powerful diesel generator that is designed to use outdoors.
  • With 8000 rated watts, it helps you to run your various electronic appliances during your travel through RV or at the campsites or outdoor parties.
  • Noise Level: The best thing about this unit is that it won’t disturb you mentally during your outdoor parties and at the campsites.
  • It operates quietly, which is an excellent feature for light sleepers. It has a decibel rating of 66 dBA which is nothing.
  • Also, the three-point mounting system helps to reduce vibration which also results in lower noise levels.
  • Fuel Consumption: If we focus on its fuel consumption then it consumes 0.5 gallons of fuel per hour at a 50% load.

But at 100% load, it will consume 1.02 gallons of fuel per hour. Start System: The unit is also easy to start and stop with the help of remote control. There is no need to go near to the unit to turn it on and off. Weight: The unit weighs around 430 pounds. It is also an EPA certified product and meets the California standards.