As more business and homeowners turn to solar for their energy, many solar companies are investing in new ways to optimize system performance, further decrease consumer reliance on the grid, and provide reliable backup options during increasing instances of grid outages.
One of the most common and in-demand system upgrades is the installation of a solar battery. Due to the variety of backup power products, as we’ve covered in weeks past, figuring out the best battery for your home or business can present a challenge.
This week, we take a look at Generac’s PWRcell.
What is Generac?
An established leader in the backup power space, Generac recently unveiled its new line of backup batteries. Designed to accompany clean energy systems, these batteries store and distribute household energy generated by solar.
As is common with most home battery systems, the PWRcell pairs with a new or existing solar panel system. With a focus on power, Generac describes the PWRcell as “the most powerful residential battery on the market.” Other key features include:
- One of the largest energy storage capacities of any similar product on the market
- Stores energy during peak hours for use while the sun is down, saving customers money on utility bills
- Sells excess energy back to the utility grid
- PWRview app easily allows monitoring of battery production, energy consumption, and energy savings
- Enables pairing with an Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) which seamlessly transitions home to backup power during an outage
- Smart Management Modules (SMMs) automatically manage power distribution during an outage, ensuring critical loads maintain power
- A modular design that allows expansion of storage capacity as power needs shift
The biggest benefit of the Generac PWRcell is its size. Not only the raw power– but its scalable system which allows flexibility in its design. PWRcell’s system is modular, meaning that one can add or reduce multiple battery products to a storage setup as energy needs shift.
The PWRcell 17, the largest and most commonly installed battery of the Generac models, boasts the superior usable capacity to both its biggest competitors (the Tesla Powerwall and Enphase Encharge) at over 17 kWh. For scale, a typical A/C unit draws roughly 3 kW per hour of use.
So, if your decision comes down to which single battery will provide the greatest amount of backup power during an outage, look no further than the PWRcell.
Offered along with a PWRcell are the Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) and Smart Management Modules (SMMs). The ATS enables smooth and automatic transitions from grid power to the PWRcell’s backup reserve during an outage, preventing the need for manual transfers which can jeopardize the safety of a home. While Generac plans to soon allow for direct generator integration, it remains unavailable with current products.
Generac’s SMMs are uniquely advantageous because during an installation, customers don’t have to separate critical from non-critical loads. This means the PWRcell automatically knows when to stop sending power to certain appliances based on the level of power remaining in the battery and the energy level being drawn by specific appliances.
While the PWRcell’s intelligence automatically manages home energy to optimize efficiency and performance, you can monitor the performance of your battery on the PWRview app with real-time data. This allows you to:
- Easily keep tabs on energy consumption
- Track savings and energy expenses with history and forecasting tools
- Lower energy bills and avoid peak rates
- Gain greater independence from the grid
Performance & Reliability
When considering the performance and reliability of a backup battery system, important metrics to note include the power, warranty, and capacity of a battery. The power and capacity of the PWRcell are well-touted, and as discussed, most sources confirm it as the most powerful battery of its kind on the market.
The warranty of a PWRcell 17 battery is valid for either 10 years or the amount of time it takes to cycle the specified amount of energy through the battery below. Most similar products have a 10-year warranty which guarantees a certain number of recharges, as opposed to Generac’s guaranteed energy yield.
- PWRcell 17: 3 MWh
How long will a full charge last?
- While having a backup battery system greatly lowers your reliance on the utility grid, no single battery will yield complete off-grid power for a home. Most single batteries will provide several hours’ worth of power. A PWRcell is large enough to serve as a temporary backup for a home during an outage. To be truly “off-grid,” though possible, would require the installation of multiple PWRcell batteries (typically 2 or 3, depending on the home).
The Bottom Line
If you prioritize power and capacity, then look no further than the PWRcell. Since power and capacity go hand in hand, the PWRcell yields the best of both. It’s ATS and SMMs provide effortless reliability to accompany this power, making the PWRcell an excellent backup option.