...Whoa: Generac now offering whole-home solar backup power (with no separate loads panel) | Solar Builder

Whoa: Generac now offering whole-home solar backup power (with no separate loads panel)


When Generac Power Systems acquired Pika Energy last year, it was only a matter of time before the company promoted / built the solar + storage market as it did the home backup generator market. Looks like that time is now: Generac is rolling out new capabilities to its PWRcell product line that turns the promise of whole-home solar backup power into reality.

Yes, Generac’s PWRcell solar and storage system is capable of providing intelligently managed backup power to the entire home, thanks to:

  • a PWRcell Automatic Transfer Switch, known as the PWRcell ATS, with integrated load management;
  • new higher-capacity batteries rated up to 18 kWh;
  • the PWRcell inverter that can now deliver 9 kW of backup power from a single battery pack and up to 11 kW from a dual battery system.

“Delivering a whole-home experience from battery storage systems is currently a gap in the industry overall,” said Aaron Jagdfeld, president and CEO of Generac. “The keys to achieving this are high-output power, large battery capacity and intelligent load management. PWRcell is the first to deliver this to homeowners and  contractors.”

We will be diving into this new technology much more in the coming weeks / months, but here is what we know right now:

System details

Enabling the entire system is PWRcell ATS, which unlocks the potential to provide whole-home power. While other battery storage systems’ capabilities are usually limited to a few preselected loads during an outage, PWRcell ATS allows Generac’s system to power the entire electrical panel.

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In the event of a power outage, the PWRcell ATS disconnects from the grid, allowing the whole home to be islanded as power is routed from the battery and solar array to the home’s electrical panel. Because Generac protects the entire home, the need to move or transfer circuits to a separate sub-panel is eliminated, reducing system complexity and installation time.

To further bolster the whole-home capabilities of the PWRcell system, Generac has unlocked additional power output and is introducing a combination of load management options. With improved performance, the PWRcell inverter can now deliver 9 kW of backup power from a single battery pack and up to 11 kW from a dual battery system. Generac Smart Management Modules work with the load management device built into the ATS to manage all of that power and protect against system overload.

When paired together, the PWRcell ATS and SMMs allow up to 12 circuits to be managed and prioritized. By controlling how power is allocated, the PWRcell system not only keeps all the essentials running, but it provides the opportunity to start larger home appliances like air conditioners and water heaters during a utility power outage, which competing systems can’t handle.

Battery update

Since its introduction in 2019, the PWRcell battery has been one of the most powerful energy storage system available to homeowners seeking energy savings and backup power. Now, Generac is introducing the premium “EX” lithium-ion battery module, which features more battery capacity and improved thermal performance when compared with the standard PWRcell battery modules. PWRcell batteries installed with the optional EX modules will now store up to 18 kWh of usable capacity. The new PWRcell EX modules, available in early October, allow for higher performance across a broader range of temperatures, making them ideal for outdoor installations.

Beginning in late September, PWRcell installers will also have the option to offer the all-new outdoor-rated PWRcell Battery Cabinet. This outdoor rated enclosure was designed to take full advantage of the improved thermal range of the new EX battery modules and includes additional hardware to help installers get the battery cabinet up and off the ground for easier exterior installations.

With the superior system design flexibility afforded by a single product system, Generac installers can give customers a complete whole-home power solution for the first time. Until now, solar and storage systems have been made of components from multiple companies. Generac entered the clean energy market with an integrated solar and storage solution that outpowered and now out-options the competition.

“We saw an opportunity to bring Generac’s expertise in home backup power to solar and deliver a system unlike anything on the market,” said Russ Minick, chief marketing officer for Generac. “The new PWRcell ATS, combined with load management, increased inverter power and more battery capacity, finally unlocks the full potential of solar. Our customers can now run their whole house on stored sunshine.”

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