In a November 14 webinar, Martin Herzfeld of the Interstate Renewable Energy Council discussed stand-alone backup battery systems as an alternative to generators. Most of these systems can be charged by household electricity (or grid power) for those who don’t have solar panels. They can power devices and appliances during a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS), and they can also help save money for residents who use them during times when electricity rates are higher; this is referred to as ‘load shifting’.
Although they cost about the same as generators (depending on capacity), backup batteries have some advantages. They’re virtually silent, and they run cleaner and are potentially safer than fuel-based generators. However, they can overheat, so proper installation is crucial. Permits are required in unincorporated Marin. Cost, including installation, runs from $2,000-$10,000 according to Marin Backup Power.
There are several brands and models available. Two mentioned during the webinar are Ecoflow and Simpliphi which offer a wide range of sizes, styles and storage capacity. A number of local installers can also be found by searching the internet.
A repeat webinar will be offered from 6 p.m to 7:30 p.m. on December 9. Register for a Zoom Link. Click on “Select a Date” and then “Tickets” to complete the free registration.