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If you own your house, investing in a standby generator for your home is a no-brainer. However, there are a wide variety of options that come with standby generators: what amperage, what brand, solar or fuel?  We’ve compiled this list of advantages and disadvantages for each, in order for you to make an informed decision that works for your home and family.

Solar Power

A generator that is powered by solar energy is made up of photovoltaic (PV) panels, a charge regulator, batteries and an inverter. The PV panels absorb sunlight and convert it into electricity to be sent off to the regulator, which pumps electricity into the batteries and ceases when a full charge is reached.

Advantages

When it comes to noise pollution, nothing beats a solar powered generator. They are completely silent, so you can place them as close to your home or business as you wish. Solar powered generators also do not burn gas (or fuel of any kind) and do not produce any toxic exhaust, so they are much more ecologically friendly. Once installed, the solar powered generator will operate day and night without any assistance. During the day, the sunlight it gathers charges the batteries while also powering your appliances. At night, assuming there was enough sunlight during the day, the batteries will supply electricity to all of your connected equipment.

Disadvantages

This is the more expensive option of the two, as it requires an extensive installation and the hardware is not cheap. It will also take up space on your roof or yard and may detract from the overall aesthetic of your home.

Natural Gas

A natural gas generator converts the chemical energy of gasoline into mechanical energy and then even further into electrical energy. Gasoline combusts in its engine, which turns the crankshaft – just like the engine in your car – however, instead of turning the wheels of your car, it turns the rotor of the alternator. The alternator creates a significant amount of energy within a fairly complex system of many moving parts.

Advantages

Due to expert understanding of machining and engineering, gas generators can be very compact and still put out large amounts of electricity. Which makes for easy purchase and installation (for example, a Generac standby generator can be installed in about a day); although it is recommended that you have a certified electrician carry out the install. They are also very simple to operate, maintain and repair, should they become faulty or damaged.

Disadvantages

They are much louder than solar operated generators. If noise pollution is going to be an issue (for example, for business owners who may be purchasing a standby generator), then you will have limited placement options for your generator that will not be heard from your storefront.

Ultimately, the decision to go solar or natural gas is up to you and what you need from a generator. If the environment is something that you want to be conscious of –choose solar. If efficiency and ease of use is what you’re after, get a natural gas generator. It’s an important investment in your family or business’ future and both options come with many benefits.

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