Fox Valley Electric

Last week Central and Southern Arizona residents endured 115 to 118-degree temperatures. Thankfully, we did not experience brownouts from the load thousands of air conditioning units put on the energy providers’ systems.

However, the monsoons are on their way, and we have already had outages in the East Valley from the first storm of the season as unlike last summer, we are expecting an active season. 


In addition to the heat, we will have humidity, rain, and lightning. All of which can prevent the energy from flowing to your home.

What if you or someone in your household requires oxygen 24/7 or has a medical condition that requires the home environment to stay cool and dry? What do you do if the power goes out?

Fox Valley Electric and Solar a Rosie-Certified Partner, has options, as explained by owner, Randy Cole.

Solar Power

With a properly sized Money Wise SOLAR SYSTEM you can produce power without having a power bill.  Your system will produce power when the sun is high and push excess power to the grid, at night you will use power from the grid to run your home, with net amount of power required right about zero.

This almost always results in Homeowner’s realizing HUGE savings in the power bills, however solar does not mean being independent of the grid, when the grid goes down, most systems quit producing during the outage.

A solution is a Solar System along with a properly sized storage battery, you will still be connected to the grid to produce power throughout the night.  But the battery or batteries store generated power. We will always be connected to the grid as we are for water and sewer as the grid is an integral part of the system. The Storage Battery will kick in when the grid goes down maintaining critical circuits like refrigerators and medical equipment.

Pair Solar with a Generator

The challenge we Arizonan’s have is keeping Air Conditioners working in our extreme heat.  By pairing the Money Wise Solar System with a Battery and a Home Generator regulated with a ‘Smart Switch’ you can be confident during the interruption.

When the grid goes down, the smart switch takes over.  It seamlessly disconnects you from the grid, maintaining your solar production if the sun is out.  Using as necessary power stored in your battery either solely or supplemental as required all the while utilizing the generator when needed to power Air Conditioners or other larger loads you may have.

This system allows us to tie solar panels and battery storage systems together coexisting with the generator.  It will monitor the generator if it does not need to run all the time conserving fuel. 

A smart switch will regulate the generator. If the home is not using a lot of electricity when the power goes down, the generator may not need to run. 

Home Standby Generator System

Home generators can be a great source of security and comfort during storms and power outages. 

A whole-house generator uses natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas (propane). The generator is connected to your home’s electrical wiring and the fuel source. These are fully automatic systems, the ‘auto-transfer switch’ (ATS) detects a power outage and restores power with the generator in less than 10 seconds. When the grid voltage is restored, the system will connect your home back to the utility lines and turn itself off. This can be programmed with a delay of 10 minutes to reduce the ‘chatter’ of off/on as the grid restabilizes on restoration reducing spikes and surges on your home appliances.

Solar/Battery/generators vs portable gas generators

A portable generator uses gasoline that inherently has a short shelf life of three to four months. It just doesn’t store well.  In addition to that, you will find yourself needing to refuel frequently throughout an outage which can be both very dangerous and inconvenient during extreme heat or violent storms.

Propane and natural gas are piped to the generator for automatic usage and don’t have the storage issues that gasoline or diesel do.   A 250-gallon tank can power a generator at a rate of two to three gallons an hour for several days.  Randy suggests buying a 250-gallon tank at the minimum however the difference between a 250 and 500 gallon can be nominal in cost.  The tank can be buried underground and Propane, unlike gas, will stay in the tank for years and not go bad. 

“What we really recommend is Solar coupled with a battery system and generator governed by the smart switch” says Randy. “You can even use it on a trailer or mobile home.”  The savings from not having a Power Bill will likely pay for the whole system giving you comfort and peace of mind.

Randy says a 10KW system can often offset an entire energy bill saving you thousands and thousands of dollars. “Utility rates go up, but with Solar System investment, you have a fixed cost.”

The battery is rechargeable from solar or grid recharges after use. It can also be programmable to discharge when you want, such as peak hours.  Home batteries are typically warrantied for 10 or so years and can have a lifespan even longer.

These are the Power Solutions Fox Valley Electric and Solar offer:

BEST – Total Electric Independence

Be completely protected from utility outages and blackouts with automated generator support.  Operate your air conditioner, refrigerator, freezer, and medical equipment when utility power fails. Plus, generate enough power with solar panels and be free of electric utility bills. This system is Solar Panels with Home Battery and Automatic Generator all controlled with a Smart Switch.

BETTER – Battery Protected Critical Load

Have battery-powered protection for critical loads in case of utility outages and blackouts by automatically powering the refrigerator, freezer, or medical equipment.

This system is Solar Panels with a Home Battery for specific smaller loads.

GOOD – Free of Electric Utility Bills 

Enjoy freedom from electric bills. Generate enough power with solar panels to reduce your usage bills right at zero usage. Your power comes from the sun. This system is a Money Wise Solar Panel system.

Pricing includes all sales tax, permitting, inspections, utility fees, labor, miscellaneous materials, and warranty. The generator is usually placed near the power entrance to the home.  Battery power life is varies based on size and exact loads on select critical circuits. A pre-installation roof inspection is recommended and not included, nor is any new roofing. Selecting a system depends on the size of your house and if including all or some loads.  A system can be customized to meet your individual needs and budget. 

If you don’t have this much money in the cookie jar, financing is available through GreenSky and HFS.

“We sell and install Kohler generators because they are reliable and robust,” notes Randy.

Already Have A Generator or Solar? Make Sure It Works

It is important to perform routine maintenance on your system and watch for signs that could indicate a problem with your generator or solar. 

Your solar panels should remain clean and unshaded and should be monitored for maximum production.

Fox Valley Electric recommends having your home generator serviced and maintained at least once a year. Also, have your generator unit serviced after a period of use lasting 200 hours or more (about eight days). This will ensure that your unit is functioning properly and is ready for use in an emergency. It may also help to avoid costly home generator repair services. The cost of repairing a home generator depends on a few factors, such as the fuel and the type of repair required. “Larger units are almost always more complicated and expensive to repair,” says Randy. 

These are some signs a home generator repair is needed.

The Generator Does Not Turn On

A generator that is slow to start, or won’t start up at all, is usually a sign that something internally is either broken or needs maintenance. A dead battery, broken components, and standard wear and tear can cause problems for your home generator. 

A Leaky Generator 

Home generators contain storage tanks and lines for coolant, fuel, and oil. If the fuel lines or tanks for the fluids are damaged and leaking, it can disrupt the functionality of the home generator.  It must be addressed immediately. 

Visible Damage To Generator 

Small signs of damage on the exterior of your generator can indicate a problem within the unit. If you notice signs of damage, get it inspected right away. 

Solar, generator, and battery power offer reliable, cost-saving electricity – a trifecta!

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