Generac PWRcell Clean Energy Solar Power + Storage Solution

Written By: MJ Logan

A home at dusk powered by solar panels and a Generac PWRcell Whole Home Solar + Battery Storage System with indoor and outdoor lighting.
This home generates power during the day with a Generac Solar Energy + Battery Storage System and uses the stored energy to keep the home powered through the night or during a power outage..

Energy costs on the rise. The aging national power transmission and distribution grid becoming more unreliable every year. Utility company blackouts increasingly common. Power outages lasting days and weeks affect millions of people.

Sound familiar? In fact, our national power transmission grid and local distribution systems are showing their age. West Coast utility customers experience widespread blackouts initiated to prevent fires caused by faulty and poorly maintained distribution systems. Large wildfires have taken lives and devastated property after distribution equipment failures and malfunctions started a fire.

Every year, millions of people across the United States experience power outages lasting hours to days or even weeks. Every community is vulnerable. It’s no longer a matter of IF the next power outage lasting days or weeks occurs, but WHEN will it occur?

From an environmental perspective, a renewable and reliable source of electric power just makes sense. The less we rely on fossil fuel—the more we lower our overall footprint on the earth—the more we all benefit from less pollution and lower energy costs.

California Blackouts and Power Outages

A wildfire pushed by warm, dry winds climbs a hillside as the wind carries sparks and ash to ignite more fires in its path. and threaten a community.
A wildfire driven by warm dry wind spreads out of control as ash and embers carried ahead ignite more fires. Communities near the fire may have to evacuate.

In November of 2018, the “Camp Fire” started by PG&E equipment took 85 lives, destroyed 14,000 homes, and ravaged 150,000 acres of land. The losses and lawsuits forced PG&E into Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The following year, PG&E announced the widest planned blackout in U.S. history affecting more than 750,000 utility customers and an estimated 2.25 million people. Customers on the West Coast found themselves without power for up to five days in hot weather. Home centers sold out of portable generators and online sales skyrocketed. Standby Generator installers stayed busy and manufacturers of standby and portable generator systems were overwhelmed by increasing demand.

PG&E Blackouts Hit California Utility Customers

Hurricanes and Weather Disasters

Widespread power outages from hurricanes and tropical storms draw utility workers from across the states to help repair the damage. Though much is accomplished in the first few days after a storm hits, there are always those who remain without power for weeks.

A Derecho brought hurricane-force straight-line winds to Iowa and devastated crops and power distribution equipment. Two weeks later, thousands of residents remained without power. The windstorm left utility customers in the dark from Iowa to the East Coast. Ice storms, another annual event, make cleanup and repair even more difficult when ice-laden trees fall on power lines.

2020 Hurricane Season

Solar and Battery Storage—Alternative to Utility and Backup Power

Sunshine, one of the most under-utilized resources in California and elsewhere, could provide a more sustainable whole home backup and home energy solution. Unfortunately, homeowners continue to find the industry lacking in all but the most basic solutions and at a cost higher than some will ever recoup.

During the California blackouts in 2019, those who already had solar power and those who bought solar power in response to the blackouts were dismayed to learn that when the grid went down, so did their grid-tied solar systems. They weren’t designed to function safely during an outage. Just as troubling, those with battery storage found their solar arrays shut down and their home operating on stored power even when the array was receiving full sunlight.

Homeowners look to solar power and storage as the cleanest and most environmentally responsible backup power solution. They want to buy electric cars and charge them from home solar systems. Excess power can go back into the electrical grid and ease peak demand. And when the grid goes down, those same home energy systems should power their entire home.

Key Solar and Battery Storage Questions

  • What good is a solar energy and storage system if you can’t use it during an outage?
  • Why start the night with reduced battery storage because solar panels were shut down?
  • Shouldn’t Battery Storage + PV Array supply the entire home or business day and night?

Generac Clean Energy delivers the promise of solar power + battery storage without all the compromises and limitations of competing systems.

Generac PWRcell Whole Home Battery Backup

Generac is the first company to provide a true whole home backup power solution with enough storage and capacity to power an entire home at an affordable cost. Other top-selling battery systems including Tesla and LG don’t have the power or the capacity to power an entire home. The Generac PWRcell storage and solar system combines leading battery power with clean solar energy and intelligent load management to keep an entire home powered on sunshine.

With or without the grid.

PWRcell can provide enough power to start and run a 3-Ton HVAC system with 93.5 percent more capacity per battery.

Generac Clean Energy Whole Home Backup

PWRcell Clean Energy Provides:

  • The knowledge and expertise from innovators of the home backup generator and 60 years of experience in home backup solutions.
  • Whole Home Backup with power to the entire panel.
  • Load management to ensure essential loads have power when they need it.
  • More capacity than Tesla, LG Chem, or Encharge 10.
  • A single support line for both storage and solar components.
  • A single warranty covers ALL the components on and off the roof, excluding only the solar panels themselves, which Generac does not sell.

Generac PWRcell Versus Competitors

Generac designed the PWRcell system from the ground up. Unlike systems from Tesla or LG, PWRcell supplies power to an entire 200-amp circuit breaker panel. Competing systems only supply power to a subpanel of circuits. One PWRcell battery cabinet with 9kWh of storage and load management protects a 200-Amp panel.

Two Tesla batteries (total of 10kWh) protects a 60-amp panel. Need 120-amps? That’s two more batteries. Each additional 60 amps requires another 10kWh of storage. A Tesla system providing comparable power to a Generac PWRcell comes at a cost of more than 35,000 dollars.

Power Outage Use

If the grid is down and the batteries are full, Tesla and LG shut down the solar array and draw on battery power to back up the connected portion of the house. When the sun goes down and the array can no longer produce energy, the batteries are already partially depleted.

Generac supplies the house with power from the array and keeps the batteries charged until the sun goes down. When solar energy is unavailable or use exceeds solar capacity, the house draws on battery power to make up the difference.

Only Generac PWRcell delivers on the promise of Solar Power for whole home power in a cost-effective solution.

Guardian Generator Backup Power Options

PWRcell Battery Storage and Solar Power System

A Generac PWRcell Battery Cabinet and Inverter Installed in a Garage .

Generac divides its system into two classes: rooftop equipment and ground equipment. On the roof, PWRzone components provide connectivity and communication between the PV Solar Array and the PWRcell Storage and Power Management system on the ground.

PWRCell Storage and Power Management

Generac PWRcell components include the PWRcell battery modules, PWRcell battery cabinet, a PWRcell inverter and the PWRcell Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) with Power Management. Smart Management Modules or SMMs add up to eight managed loads to the four A/C included in the ATS for a total of twelve.

Generac Clean Energy PWRcell and PWRzone Products

PWRcell Battery Cabinet

The Battery Cabinet holds up to 6 battery modules. The minimum configuration is 3 modules for 9kWh of energy. A full cabinet with 6 modules provides 18kWhs. Add a second battery cabinet for up to 36kWh of energy for use with a single inverter.

PWRcell Battery Cabinet Configuration Options

PWRcell 9

PWRcell 12

PWRcell 15

PWRcell 18

3 Battery Modules with 1 Battery Spacer

4 Battery Modules, no spacers required

5 Battery Modules with 1 Battery Spacer

6 Battery Modules, no spacers required.

Generac 9kWh-18kWh Battery Cabinet  Assembly showing 3.0kWh Battery Modules and Spacer

Generac 9kWh-18kWh PWRcell Battery Cabinet

PWRcell Battery Modules

Each PWRcell Battery Module is rated for 3kWhs of energy storage. The system upgrades as needed by adding additional battery modules until the cabinet is full. With two cabinets and eight battery modules with a single inverter, the Generac PWRcell system supplies up to 11kW of continuous power and 50-amps of peak motor-starting current for air conditioners and other large motors.

PWRcell Battery Configuration Guide showing 9kWh, 12kWh, 15kWh, and 18kWh configurations with 3.0kWh battery modules

Generac 3.0kWh PWRcell Battery Modules

PWRcell Inverter

The Generac PWRcell inverter makes solar energy + battery storage simple and efficient. The bi-directional REbus-powered inverter integrates Generac smart batteries with solar power for self-supply, backup power, zero-export, and energy cost management. Choose between 120/240-Volt single phase for households and smaller business applications or the 120/208 three phase model for larger business installations. The PWRcell inverter is the most feature-rich Battery and Solar Power Inverter available today.

  • Uses a single inverter for a grid-tied solar system with battery storage.
  • Eliminates auto transformers and battery inverters.
  • User selectable backup power, self-supply, time of use, zero import and export limiting modes of operation.
  • Included PWRview, Web Portal, and Mobile App monitoring.

Generac PWRcell Inverter for 7.5 or 11.4 kW

Generac PWRcell Inverter Single Phase XVT076A03

Generac PWRcell Inverter Three Phase X11402 

PWRcell Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS)

Many grid-tied solar power systems shut down during a power outage or blackout. It is both illegal and dangerous to feed the grid with power unless the utility lines are energized with utility power.

A Generac PWRcell Automatic Transfer Switch allows full power from the solar array and the solar batteries to supply power during an outage to the Entire Home.

During a Blackout or Power Outage:
  • Daytime—full power from PV Array keeps batteries charged during the day AND supplies the home or business with power.
  • Nighttime—Batteries start out fully charged and supply the home or business through the night.
  • Built-in Power Management handles up to four 3-ton air conditioners.
  • Non-essential heavy loads like pool pumps are locked out and won’t run.
PWRcell Power Management

The PWRcell ATS includes power management for contactor loads (loads controlled by a thermostat, for example) like air conditioners and heat pumps. The PWRCell inverter controls power to heavy loads. Smart Management Modules can lock out large, non-essential loads or only allow them to run when power is available.

Competing systems like Tesla or LG lock out a load for the duration of the outage. Can’t start the air conditioner right now? Tesla locks it out until utility power is restored. Generac allows the load to run once power becomes available. And, it staggers heavy load start up so multiple heavy loads don’t overload the system.

The PWRcell ATS is available in three models (120/240-Volt Single Phase Only)

CXSW200A3—200-Amp Service Entrance Rated Automatic Transfer Switch for homes or businesses with a main circuit-breaker panel controlled by a 200-Amp or smaller main breaker.

CXSW100A3—100-Amp Service Entrance Rated Automatic Transfer Switch for homes or businesses with a 100-Amp main breaker.

CXSC100A3—100-Amp Non-Service Entrance Rated Automatic Transfer Switch for homes or businesses with an external disconnect rated at 100 Amps or higher.

PWRcell 200-Amp Automatic Transfer Switch with PWRview for Standby Generators

Generac Smart Management Modules SMMs

Generac Smart Management Module for Power Management of Heavy LoadsGenerac Smart Management Modules provide management capability for up to 8 additional heavy loads or power management zones. A 50-Amp SMM controls well pumps, water heaters, electric ranges, or sub-panels to for other high current loads. The 100-Amp SMM can handle heavier loads including instant water heaters or control a sub-panel of low priority circuits including pool heaters and pumps, saunas, and similar loads not required during an outage.

Smart management modules extend the capability of the PWRcell Inverter and PWRcell ATS for up eight prioritized circuits. Together with the four A/C loads included with the ATS, the Generac PWRcell system offers a smart power management strategy for up to 12 prioritized loads.

Generac 50-Amp SMM 7000

Generac 100-Amp SMM 7006

PWRzone Rapid Shutdown and MPPT Optimizer

Generac PV Link 2500 Watt Solar Power Charge ControllerPWRzone components connect the Photovoltaic Array to the PWRcell Clean Energy system for power to the whole home. PWRzone PV Link 2500 is an MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) Optimizer. The optimizer monitors the total output of the array and dynamically adjusts the load to keep the system at its peak efficiency point.

SnapRS is a rapid shutdown device required since publication of the 2014 National Electrical Code. Rapid shutdown allows the system to shut down the PV array in seconds for an emergency such as a fire. The high DC voltage from a solar panel array poses a hazard to anyone working on the roof.

Generac SnapRS Solar Panel Rapid Shutdown Device for NEC 690.12 ComplianceThe PWRzone components combine the efficiency and safety of MPLEs (Module Level Power Electronics) with rugged components and simplified installation. A typical PWRzone installation has half the connections and failure points of an MPLE installation and is 100 percent NEC compliant.

SnapRS and MPPT sub-string optimizers include a Generac 25-year warranty.

Dispelling MPLE Myths

  • MPLEs are the only way to manage shade.
    • Modern solar panels have passive shade technology built in.
    • Bipass diodes route power around a shaded zone if a panel is 1/3 shaded.
  • MPLEa are more efficient.
    • False—The data shows otherwise.
  • MPLEs are better at handling complex rooflines.
    • Generac MPPT Optimizers handle scenarios like domed roofs.
    • PV Link can handle up to six azimuths.
  • MPLEs are easier to install and troubleshoot.
    • Usually failure is the MPLE.
    • With MPPT, there is no MPLE to fail.
    • Fewer connections and fewer components mean fewer points of failure.
    • Less to install—simple series connections.

PWRzone 5 Module Array Installation Example

  • PWRzone MPPT will have 10 connections.
  • MPLE will have 22 connections.
  • MC4 Connectors can fail.
  • MPLEs can fail.

PWRzone MPPTs minimize connections and failure points. Each PWRzone includes 2-8 PV Modules with up to 3 PWRZones connected in a single homerun.

PWRzone Shade Example—Actual Test Data

  • A 2500-Watt 7-panel (350-watts each) array in full sun producing 2588 watts at 270 volts.
  • A piece of cardboard was placed over a single panel.
  • Power output immediately dropped 1751 watts, 267 volts.
  • The diodes rerouted power around the array and the PV Link recalculated the Maximum Power Point (MPP) in a few seconds.
  • After recalculating the MPP, output climbed to 2195 watts at 247 volts and limited the loss to the single, shaded panel’s maximum output.
  • Removing the shade restored power to the previous power output of 2588 watts and 270 volts within a few seconds.

Generac PWRzone PV Link 2500-Watt MPPT Optimizer

PWRview PV Link 2500-Watt MPPT Charge Controller installed on a solar array.
PWRcell PV Link 2500 Watt Charge Controller.

Two connections link all the panels in the PWRzone while two more connect to the PWRcell inverter. Quick Installation and long-lasting performance are just two of the benefits to a PWRcell and PWRzone Installation

The PV Link 2500 works in concert with the array and takes advantage of the diode bypass built into each solar panel. If a panel becomes shaded and stops generating power, the bypass diodes remove the panel from the array and the MPPT calculates a new maximum power point.

PWRzone MPPT Features and Benefits

  • Fast installation with fewer points of failure than MPLE systems
  • 2017/2020 NEC 690.12 Rapid Shutdown Compliant with SnapRS
  • Compatible with Generac PWRcell 7.6kW and 11.4kW Inverters
  • High performance and cost-effective photovoltaic solution.
  • MC4 Connectors make Quick Connections.
  • Ground Fault Protection

Generac SnapRS Rapid Shutdown Switch

Generac PWRzone Snap RS Rapid Shutdown Switch for Fast Installs
Connect one SnapRS device to the negative lead of each PV module in the PV Link controlled array for complete PV Rapid shutdown in less than 10 seconds.)

SnapRS is a rapid shutdown device connected in series with each solar panel and with the MPPT optimizer. Rapid shutdown was introduced in the National Electrical Code in 2014 and was updated in the two most recent revisions of NEC article 690.12 in the 2017 and 2020 editions.

A Generac PWRzone SnapRS disconnect device connects the negative lead of the PVlink to the negative lead of the first module in the solar array. The next PVlinks connects the positive lead of the first module to the negative lead of the next module. Up to 8 modules connect in series with the last PV Panel positive lead connected to the MPPT Positive lead.

In the event of a rapid shutdown, the SnapRS units isolate each PV module in the array. Array voltage drops to less than 80 volts in less than 10 seconds. The SnapRS PV Rapid Shutdown System is UL1741 Certified.

Generac PWRcell is the Innovative Solar + Battery Storage System

Generac PWRcell powers your home or business while lowers your electric bill and provides backup power during blackouts and outages.

  • Store energy from the sun to power your home and reduce energy costs.
  • A 100 Percent emission and fossil fuel free solution.
  • Reliable backup power during outages and blackouts
  • Easy to install with a flexible design.
  • PWRcell components are rated for outdoor installation.

Every day, PWRcell collects energy from the sun and stores it in the PWRcell Battery Modules located in the PWRcell Battery Cabinet. The PWRcell inverter charges batteries and supplies power to your home or business throughout the day. It can even use grid power to charge the batteries on cloudy or overcast days, or at night when utility rates are low.

When the power goes out, the PWRcell automatic transfer switch disconnects the home from the grid (called islanding) and delivers electrical power to the entire circuit breaker panel. Power from the solar array is converted to AC for use by the home as long as the solar panels receive sunlight. When the sun goes down, the batteries are fully charged and ready to keep your home powered throughout the night.

Standby Backup Power Terms and Concepts

Sample Installation Cost

A homeowner monitors his energy use with the PWRview Smart Phone AppA Generac Clean Energy System with Solar + Battery Storage can save you thousands of dollars.

For example, a 350 dollar a month utility bill is reduced to 191 dollars per month WITH the monthly equipment finance payment leaving a 159 dollar per month savings. That’s a total of more than 64,000 dollars over 25 years.

A 9 kilowatt-hours PWRcell battery storage system with installation costs 20,000 dollars.

Add in 22 Solar Power Panels for 7.6kWh for 23,000 Including Installation.

Total system cost is 43,544 dollars less an investment tax credit of 11,321 dollars leaving a final system cost of 32,233 dollars.



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