Generac PWRcell. Generac PWRcell battery storage systems capture and store electricity from solar panels or the electric grid. The stored energy can be used off-grid during outages, during night time, or during peak demand times when the cost of utility power is at its highest, saving money on electric bills.
Generac PWRcell is a modular storage system that includes lithium batteries, a battery storage enclosure cabinet, a hybrid solar inverter, and the PWRview app for monitoring. PWRcell is compatible with any type of solar panel. PWRcell can be upgraded with additional battery modules when energy requirements change.
Feature & Benefits
- The system is customizable, and can expand up to 40 kWh of battery storage for 34.2 kWh of useable power at 80% discharge.
- Each single-phase, hybrid inverter can handle up to 10kW of single-phase PV DC solar input or up to 15kW three-phase PV AC solar input.
- The inverter can deliver up to 8kW continuous AC output power with up to 10kW AC power burst.
- PV solar is the least expensive power source on the planet today. And PWRcell battery technology means that you can use no fossil fuels to power the home.
PWRcell energy storage system and lithium battery modules are backed by a 10-year warranty.
More Battery Capacity
Choose from one of these bundled systems, or view all the Generac PWRcell Components to build your own energy storage system. The PWRcell Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) allows you to power the entire home without sub-panels and re-wiring circuits. Do more backup with less battery. Better than load-shedding, PWRcell load management simply pauses large loads like hot-water heaters and HVAC when the essentials need more power.
The PWRcell Inverter provides up to 11,000W of continuous backup power, or 9,000W with a single PWRcell battery. PWRcell “EX” battery modules feature a full 3.0kWh of energy capacity and a greater tolerance for hot and cold conditions.
Get more power for longer durations with the EX battery module.
More Backup Power
The Generac PWRcell starts at a price of $9,999 and scales up in cost for larger battery models. This price includes the battery itself, but not additional costs like installation and labor. The cost of installing a battery isn’t as straightforward as looking up the list price for an individual component–i.e., your battery. In fact, depending on your electrical setup, installation costs can vary widely.
If you want to install the PWRcell as part of a solar-plus-storage system, battery costs are just one piece of the equation. A 5 kilowatt (kW) solar energy system costs anywhere from $9,000 to $15,000 depending on where you live and the type of equipment you choose.
That may sound like a lot of money, but installing a solar-plus-storage system can be a worthwhile investment. Whether or not the Generac PWRcell makes sense for you is determined by the way that your electric utility structures its rates, as well as your reasons for installing a solar battery.
In some cases, depending on where you live, you may have access to financial incentives that can reduce your home energy storage installation costs. For instance, if you live in California, you could get a cash rebate that covers most of your home battery costs through the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP). Other states (such as Massachusetts) are in the early stages of evaluating battery storage performance incentives as well, and several states already provide cash rebates.
A Whole Home Transfer Switch
Generac describes the PWRcell, which first launched in September 2019 following the acquisition of Pika Energy, as a “truly scalable storage system with unmatched raw power.” As described in greater depth below, the technical specifications of the battery support these claims: the stackable PWRcell has among the most power of any residential battery currently on the market.
Alongside the PWRcell, Generac offers their own energy monitoring system, known as PWRview. Complete with a custom mobile app, PWRview displays detailed electricity bill tracking and forecasting, as well as other useful energy dashboards. You can also set daily and monthly goals on electricity usage within the application.
When evaluating the PWRcell, there are various important metrics and technical specifications to keep in mind. Among the most important are the size of the battery (power and capacity), its depth of discharge, and roundtrip efficiency.
The Generac PWRcell comes in four different models, based on the number of battery modules: the PWRcell M3, PWRcell M4, PWRcell M5, and PWRcell M6. Two important metrics to keep in mind when comparing the PWRcell to other home storage options are power and usable capacity. Power (measured in kilowatts, or kW) determines the maximum amount of electricity that can be output at a single time, while usable capacity (measured in kilowatt-hours, or kWh) is a measure of the maximum amount of electricity stored in your battery on a full charge. The PWRcell M6, the largest battery in the lineup, boasts a maximum power rating of 9 kW to go along with 18 kWh of usable capacity. The M3, M4, and M5 models boast 4.5 kW, 6 kW, and 7.5 kW of maximum power respectively
Importantly, the PWRcell system is modular, meaning that you can add multiple battery products to your storage setup. For example, you might want to install multiple PWRcell batteries for a home with high energy demands. Generac’s PWRcell spec sheet indicates that you can connect up to two PWRcells to a single PWRcell inverter, so you’ll need to upgrade your supporting hardware to add even more storage capacity beyond the stored energy of two batteries.
Think of your battery like water running through a pipe. The usable energy capacity is the amount of water available to push through the pipe, while power is the size of the pipe itself. Larger pipes allow more water to flow through at once, which depletes the water faster. Similarly, a battery with a high power rating can deliver more electricity at one time, but will burn through its available energy capacity faster too.
A battery’s power determines the number of appliances you can run from the battery concurrently, while usable capacity determines how long those appliances can be run. Batteries with a higher power rating are capable of powering more, bigger appliances (i.e., your HVAC system) or many appliances at once, while batteries with a higher usable capacity can store more total energy and thus can run your appliances for longer periods of time without needing to recharge.
The functionality of one solar battery next to another can vary; some batteries have excellent off-grid capabilities, while others offer software solutions specific to rate arbitrage. The suite of PWRcell hardware and software products are designed to provide both of these services.
Generac offers a solar inverter alongside their PWRcell. This inverter acts as both a battery inverter and a rooftop solar array inverter. This means that, as long as your installer installs the correct components and the PWRcell inverter, your Generac PWRcell battery will be able to provide backup power for your home when the grid goes down, as well as interact with your solar panel system if you have one.
Their monitoring technology is fully built-in to their PWRcell inverter, but Generac also offers their monitoring capabilities with the installation of a device known as PWRview. With the built-in inverter monitoring technology, Generac’s PWRcell batteries and their associated parts can intelligently manage electrical loads throughout your house and appropriately pull energy from the battery when needed.
Two key ways to evaluate the performance of a solar battery are its depth of discharge and roundtrip efficiency.
Depth of discharge (DoD) indicates the percentage of a battery’s energy that has been discharged relative to the overall capacity of the battery. Because the useful life of a battery decreases each time you charge, discharge, and re-charge–or cycle–your battery, many battery manufacturers specify a maximum DoD level for optimal battery performance. In general, batteries with a higher depth of discharge are considered better quality products. The Generac PWRcell boasts a depth of discharge of 84 percent.
Roundtrip efficiency is a measure of electrical losses involved with charging and discharging a battery. The higher the efficiency percentage, the more efficiently the battery is able to convert incoming electricity into stored electricity and then back into usable electricity. The Generac PWRcell has a high roundtrip efficiency of 96.5 percent; this means that for every 10 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity you put into the battery, you’ll receive 9.65 kWh of output.
Generac PWRcell warranty coverage
Generac PWRcell warranties
- Warranty period: 10 years
- Throughput warranty: between 22.6 and 45.3 megawatt-hours (MWh), depending on battery size
In most cases, homes with a Generac battery will charge and discharge their battery every day. The PWRcell comes with a 10-year limited warranty. For the different models of the PWRcell, Generac also notes a “throughput warranty”. A throughput warranty is another way to measure when the warranty period on a battery has been reached based not on time but rather on how much energy has been stored and discharged over its lifetime.
Overall, a PWRcell warranty is valid for either 10 years or the amount of time it takes to cycle the specified amount of energy through the battery, whichever comes first. (This is similar to car warranties – ten years or 100,000 miles, where the throughput of a battery is similar to mileage warranties.) The throughput warranty values for each PWRcell model are below:
|PWRcell model||Throughput warranty|
Importantly, Generac’s battery technology is similar to other rechargeable batteries both large and small: as time goes on, the battery loses some of its ability to hold a charge. Think of how the battery life of a brand-new smartphone compares to one that is a few years old. As you continually charge and drain your phone’s battery, it starts to lose some of its ability to hold a charge.
If you want to compare individual battery models side-by-side, our battery Buyer’s Guide lets you select products and compare them based on efficiency, capacity, power, and more.
Can you go off-grid with the Generac PWRcell?
Installing a solar-plus-storage system at your home is a great way to take control of your electricity bill, but it doesn’t mean that you’re completely disconnected from your utility. Going “off the grid” with solar batteries is actually a more expensive and complicated proposition than you might think. Most home batteries, including the PWRcell, only have enough capacity to store a few hours of electricity. If you want to make sure you can maintain power to your property for days at a time, you’ll need to install several PWRcell batteries together to increase your storage capabilities.
Frequently asked questions about Generac’s battery
There are many, many questions you can (and should) ask about any battery you’re installing. Here are a few more quick hits about the Generac PWRcell:
Like the Tesla Powerwall, the Generac PWRcell is properly set up to be installed inside or outside.
The largest PWRcell model is 18 kWh, which is much smaller than the batteries in most long-range electric cars. As such, you likely won’t be able to recharge much of your electric car with a Generac PWRcell.
In short, yes, but not for long. If you want to back up your whole house for an extended period of time, you’ll need a much larger battery bank. Plus, you’ll definitely want to pair your storage system with solar panels. A single PWRcell battery might keep your appliances going for a few hours or so, but don’t expect to stay powered through a long outage with just a single PWRcell battery (even the biggest one available). Check out our article about how many solar batteries you need to see the math.
Where to buy the Generac PWRcell
The Generac PWRcell battery is currently available online through Generac’s website where you can request a quote and through any solar and/or energy storage installation company that is a certified Generac/Pika installer. Adding energy storage technology to your home is a complicated process that requires electrical expertise, certifications, and knowledge of the best practices required to install a solar-plus-storage system correctly.
A qualified EnergySage-approved company can give you the best recommendation about the Generac home battery system and other energy storage options available to homeowners today. If you are interested in receiving competing installation quotes for solar and energy storage options from local installers near you, simply join the EnergySage Solar Marketplace today and indicate what products you’re interested in your profile’s preferences section.
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