Upgrading your home can come in many different ways. For homeowners concerned with energy production adding solar panel system is an incredibly popular addition. Additionally, adding a whole house generator is a great way to ensure that the lights stay on when the weather turns bad.   

While it may seem that these two products are similar, they actually are quite different. In this blog post, Shanco will discuss what’s different between solar panels and a whole house generator. Additionally, we’ll review the pros and important things to keep in mind before signing the dotted line. 

Solar vs Generator 

Solar panels and whole house generators are two products that deal with energy. Both can help keep the lights on in different ways, and that is where the similarities stop. Understanding how each product can help achieve your goals is important before getting the process started.  

Pros of Solar 

Renewable energy is a popular topic. With the rising cost of electric and natural gas, it makes complete sense to own energy production utilizing the roof of your home. While adding solar panels is like swapping your electric bill for a solar bill, it’s a nice feeling knowing that your home is solar powered. 

Homeowners can easily finance solar panels. Getting a solar loan is a common occurrence. It allows homeowners to finance over time and keep payments low all while their panels are generating power. Using a HELOC is another option to fund adding solar to your home. 

Additionally, using solar can help reduce the strain on the local energy grid. As summer heats up, your home solar system is working to generate clean energy and reduce fossil fuel usage.  

Finally, if your local electric company offers net metering, homeowners can sell back the unused solar energy back to the electric company. Net metering differs by electric provider so getting clarity on what you can expect from the excess energy will be important. 

Solar Tax Credit 

If the cost of solar panels was preventing you from looking at a solar power system installation, you have to keep the solar tax credit in mind. The solar tax credit was built to lower the cost of entry for adding solar panels. We recommend that you talk with a tax professional about the requirements to receive the solar tax credit to ensure that you meet all the requirements.  

Pros of Whole House Generators 

If power outages are a frequent occurrence in your area, a whole house generator can help alleviate the pains of being without power. Homeowners can find gas generators, propane powered generators, and portable generators to provide a power source when electricity is down.  

If ensuring that your property retains electricity during a prolonged outage, a whole house generator may be the choice for you.  

It is important to note that generators use fossil fuels. Since they are either gas, natural gas, or propane, they will require some level of regular maintenance, so they are in top shape if the power goes down. Gasoline powered generators may run into problems with old gasoline which can lead to difficulty in starting. 

Will My Generator Work if I Add Solar Panels? 

Whole house generators and solar panels provide adjacent services, and they may only overlap in a few instances.  

When there is a power outage is when a whole-house standby generator starts to shine. The generator will kick on and continue to run until power is restored. 

An important clarification of solar panels, yes, they generate electricity. However, if the power were to go out, solar would not keep the lights on UNLESS you invest in a battery storage system. The battery system would forgo net metering and instead homeowners would house excess energy to use on cloudy days (or days without power). 

Much like a whole house generator, a solar battery system works in very similar ways. When the power goes off, the solar batteries start to fuel the home. It runs off of collected energy and when that is depleted, that’s it until more energy is stored. 

While solar and generators can work in unison, solar with a battery system would reduce the need for a whole house generator.  

What’s Better- Solar Panels or a Whole House Generator? 

This question can only be answered by determining why you are looking at either product. It is important to recognize that solar and generators are truly apples and oranges. However, they can work in tandem. Solar ensures that your home will use less fossil fuels and a generator ensures that the electricity stays on if it were to go out.  

What Should I Consider Before Adding Solar Panels? 

  • Is My Property Suited for Solar Panels or Solar Shingles? 

There are many misconceptions surrounding solar panels. What you should be looking for is a south facing roof with some east/ west facing roof space. There should be minimal shade from buildings or trees.  

If your roof is not an option, perhaps a ground mount system in your backyard? The same criteria apply to ground mount systems. There should be little shade and preferably south facing.  

  • Cost of Solar vs Savings 

Solar is an investment. The tax credit tied to solar helps alleviate the cost. It’s a long play for homeowners. What all homeowners should consider is how much the cost of electricity grows year over year. Nationally, homeowners can expect their average electric bills to increase by 2.36% every year. This number will vary from state to state. 

Most solar panels last for 25 years. We’d recommend creating a spreadsheet to calculate what an average summer electric bill will look like in 5-10 years.  

  • Do I Need to Replace My Roof in Order to Add Solar? 

Not anymore! There have been many technological innovations in the solar industry. Rack mount solar requires a roof in good condition to support the weight of the rack and panels. This hasn’t changed. 

Solar shingles are an innovative new product that replaced standard roof shingles with flush mounted solar panels that act as a panel and a shingle. The best part of the GAF Solar Shingles is that they carry two warranties; one as a shingle and the other as a solar panel.  

The GAF Solar Shingles require tearing off the old roof and replacing it with new solar shingles. These are an ideal product for homeowners who need to replace their roof and are looking at clean energy options. 

  • Do Solar Panels Increase the Value of my Property? 

We’re in an era where green energy is in demand. This translates to many homeowners being interested in adding solar to their home. In fact, a study from Rocket Homes shows that 65% of homeowners are interested in adding solar. Furthermore, homeowners with solar and are selling their home see 13% less time on the housing market and selling for above asking for 24% of the time.  

Not only is getting solar panels easier than ever, but homeowners also reap the technological benefits, and can find it easier to sell their homes.  

Partnering With Shanco, A Leading Roofing and Solar Installation Company 

Shanco has been helping Washington DC area, NOVA, and Richmond homeowners with their roofs for many years. As a long-term roofing contractor with countless industry accolades, you can trust us to install solar panels properly. Contact our solar company today to schedule a free estimate.