Solar Power vs Generator

You don't have to be left sitting in the dark when the power goes out. There are plenty of power backup options to choose from that could be the right solution for your home so you can have the peace of mind that your household will keep running when the grid goes down. Two options that may be good for your home and family are a solar power battery backup system and a generator. They both provide backup power in case of an outage, but how they generate this power is very different.

Generator Pros and Cons

Most people are familiar with a generator. They run on diesel, liquid propane, or natural gas and sit outside the home where they either have to be manually turned on in the event of an outage or they use sensors to detect outages and turn on automatically.


  • Affordable
  • Easy to connect to existing gas lines
  • Generators provide round-the-clock power as long as they are connected to a fuel supply.
  • They can come in a variety of sizes to fit your home


  • Noisy
  • Requires fuel
  • Creates emissions leading to a high carbon footprint
  • Require monthly and annual maintenance
  • Fuel can't sit in the generator too long without going stale and causing problems for the generator.

Solar Power Pros and Cons

Solar panels can be added to the roof of a home or business to collect sunlight and turn it into heat or electricity for your home instead of relying on fossil fuels. You could choose to add a battery backup system to the solar panel to store excess energy for later. These backup systems are a reliable alternative in case your home suffers a power outage because the system will draw the energy stored in the battery to power your home without any interruptions.


  • Silent
  • They run entirely on renewable energy.
  • Solar battery backups increase your home's daily solar consumption, so you rely less on fossil fuels.
  • Increases the value of your home
  • Low maintenance
  • Operate seamlessly during outages


  • High upfront cost
  • Limited capacity

Solar Power vs a Generator: Which is More Cost-Effective?

The average price range for a generator falls between $3,500 and $16,000 depending on the size of your home and the size of the generator you choose to power your home. These generators are strong enough to power your entire home during an outage. A solar battery backup system on the other hand starts at $9,000 without including installation costs which could easily cause you to spend between $15,000 and $20,000 including all the equipment. There are federal and state-level rebate systems as well as financing programs available to help homeowners access this type of system for as little as $0. Despite the high upfront cost, over time a solar power battery backup system could help save you thousands of dollars on your electric bill.

If you're trying to choose: solar power vs a generator, in the end, your best bet is to choose which one is the best fit for you and your home or business.