If you live off grid or plan to live off grid in the future then you’re probably going to have to consider what to do if your battery backup power storage is low and you’re not making any power. Solar power is probably the most popular way to live off grid and it’s becoming more and more popular these days. As you are well aware, the sun isn’t always shining so you can’t make power all the time. So what are you supposed to do?
The Answer: A Generator
Using a generator is a great way to supplement your solar power. Depending on your personal needs and budget you could use a portable generator or a standby generator. There are even a few companies out there that are making generators specifically for off grid use such as Generac or Kohler.
If you opt to go with a portable generator you should know that it has some limitations. While it is a less expensive option it can also be a bit of a pain. With a portable unit you will have to go outside and start it up each time you want to make power. Depending on your situation you might have to get the generator out of your shed or garage, find your power cord and plug it in, then gas up the generator all before you can make any power. These things are all time consuming. Maintenance can also be an issue. Gasoline has a very short shelf life these days and stale gas can and will cause many problems with your portable generator. However, if you treat your fuel and take care of the machine it can provide you with years of service.
A much better, but more expensive, option would be to buy an off grid standby generator. The beauty of one of these units is that it can detect when your battery backup system is low and it will cycle on all by itself. This takes no effort on your part, and the best part is that these generators are much quieter than a portable so you might not even notice it running. Once your batteries are full again the generator will shut down until it is needed again.
You could use a standard type standby generator but you would lose the benefit of the unit detecting the power level of your batteries to come on automatically. Another benefit to the standby generators made specifically for off grid use is that they are made to run more often. This means more hours between maintenance and also a warranty that will cover the type of usage you will need. That could be worth a whole bunch of money if you ever have a problem with the unit.
No matter which direction you decide to go with your generator make sure you have your electrician assess your needs. It would be a shame to spend lots of money only to find out that the unit you purchased was inadequate.
Guest Article By: Jason is the owner of Generatorsforhomeuse.net and has been selling Outdoor Power Equipment for over 5 years for a major US retailer. In addition to the experience and product knowledge he’s gained from selling generators he has also attended training sessions with Troy-Bilt, Briggs & Stratton and one of the leading generator companies Generac. For more information about generators visit this site.