The recent snowstorm across Texas resulted in vast blackouts, stranding people in the cold. While being connected to the grid is convenient, it can fail from time to time. The best way to keep the heat on when the grid fails you is to have a backup. This backup is usually either a generator or battery backup.
If you are only worried about providing power to your home when the grid is down, then having a generator will likely be less expensive than the batteries. Some of these generators can even monitor your power and turn on instantly when the power goes down. The downside of these generators is that you pay far more for each kilowatt hour from the generator than from any other source. Diesel, gasoline, and propane (the most common fuels for residential generators) are more expensive than grid power even before you take into account the lower efficiency of the home generators. Secondly, you have to keep the generator fueled which can be difficult if you need it running for days on end when you’re snowed in.
The other option is to have a battery backup. In this case you keep a bank of batteries at home that charge when the grid is operating, and provide power when it fails. They are silent and far more efficient than any kind of fossil fuel generator. The downside is that purchasing more than one or two days worth of batteries becomes fairly expensive. Fortunately, solar panels can be added to the system, and the price for the panels is far lower than for batteries. In addition to becoming immune to blackouts, you can become grid independent and never pay power bills again. This system works by panels charging your batteries during the day, then the batteries provide power during the night. Keep in mind that you need batteries for this system to work independent of the grid. Panels alone, without batteries, are required to turn off in the event of a blackout for safety.
Overall, If you’re worried about the occasional short blackout, a generator alone will serve you well. But If you want a more robust system that is independent of the grid, solar panels with a battery backup are the best solution.