The 3 Best Portable Solar Generators to Help Weather a Blackout
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Leigh Matthews, BA Hons, H.Dip. NT
Leigh Matthews is a sustainability expert and long time vegan. Her work on solar policy has been published in Canada’s National Observer.
If you’re looking for a truly eco-friendly backup generator to survive a blackout, consider getting a solar generator. These sun-powered generators are gas-free and silent, meaning they’re the perfect generator for a small apartment or home.
Why doesn’t everyone just switch to solar generators, then? Well, for one thing, these generators aren’t as powerful as a gasoline, diesel, or propane generator. They’re also typically quite a bit more expensive than their gaseous counterparts, and they aren’t always charged and ready in case of an emergency.
Note: solar generators typically are not a viable solution for families looking to power an entire home in the event of an emergency. In an emergency, you will likely still need a gas generator. Make sure to check out our top picks for the best fuel-efficient portable generators, and if you’re not sure which size you need, we’ve written a guide for selecting the right-sized generator for your needs too.
The best large solar generator
What is a solar generator, anyway?
Solar generators are a backup energy source that runs on energy generated from solar panels.
Solar generators, while smaller than most gas generators, can also end up less compact overall when you factor in a solar panel or two, which you’ll need to keep the generator running. You can, and arguably should, pre-charge the battery in your solar generator in case of emergencies. You might also want to charge a spare battery at an outlet whenever you do have power from the grid.
Solar generators typically can’t generate as much energy as you use, moment for moment. This means you’ll need to draw on stored energy to power higher demand equipment, such as a refrigerator or microwave, and keep charging the generator as it runs.
Find a Solar Energy partner near you.
Amps and wattage for solar generators
Batteries in most portable solar generators store around 8,000mAh to around 50Ah or more. The smaller batteries offer enough juice to charge a smartphone two or three times. The larger can charge a phone 15 times or more. Bigger batteries are, well, bigger, which can cause storage problems in a small apartment. They’re also much more expensive. The price of lithium-ion batteries is coming down, however, especially with technological advances in this area.
In terms of wattage, most solar generators simply won’t have enough oomph to power a whole home A/C or other high-energy equipment. And some smaller solar models don’t have enough wattage to power a large TV or computer. As such, make sure you take the time to add up the wattage of everything you’ll absolutely need to power in case of a blackout.
It may make sense to get two solar generators that connect for higher wattage, or to save up for a more powerful model. Or, you might use a solar generator as your first backup generator, then supplement this with an old gas-powered generator if a blackout persists, while your solar panel recharges the battery.
Bear in mind that a light bulb may only take about 60 Watts to run, but a coffee maker or grill can draw 1,000-1,650 Watts. This may just mean that you have to unplug some items when you want to use others.
Our top picks for solar generators
If you’re set on a solar-powered generator, check out our top picks below!
Goal Zero Yeti 3000x Lithium Portable Power Station
Highlights: Our overall winner for the category, and the best large solar generator. Gasoline-free, silent power station that offers 3,500 Watts surge/start-up power.
Goal Zero Yeti 3000x at a Glance
|Full load power time||3,075 watt-hours (could run a fridge for 40 hours)|
|Full charge time from AC outlets||25 hours / 14 hours|
|Weight||78 lbs. (35.4 kg)|
The Goal Zero Yeti 3000x Lithium Portable Power Station is an upgrade of the discontinued 3000 model and now includes a 2000W AC inverter. This gasoline-free, silent power station offers 3,500 Watts start-up power and 1,500 W running wattage, is Wi-Fi Mobile App Enabled, has seven versatile port options including fast-charging 60W USB-C Power Delivery, multiple USB-A ports, regulated 12V, and two 120V AC ports. This means you can run power tools, a refrigerator, an electric bike, laptop, phone, and more without worrying about surges ruining your sensitive equipment.
In short, the Yeti 3000x is as good as it gets when you’re looking for the most eco-friendly generator to survive a blackout. If you’re on the fence about a solar generator, the Yeti makes everything super easy. This is plug and play at its finest.
The Goal Zero Yeti 3000x Lithium Portable Power Station is an inverter generator, meaning your sensitive electronics are safe from surges in power. It stores 3,075 watt-hours in a replaceable lithium battery pack with a variety of high-power outputs capable of running 10 devices at once.
Your Yeti 3000x Lithium Portable Power Station could charge your smartphone more than 253 times, could recharge a laptop 61 times, could keep a full-size refrigerator running for about 55 hours and could power a 42-inch TV for 31 hours.
This generator could feasibly run most fridges, blenders, sump pumps, portable heaters, microwaves, swamp coolers, tools, and a TV, radio, laptop, and other devices, although not all at once or for weeks on end. The control panel (which has a handy backlit screen) lets you see easily how much power you’re using; how much power is being generated by solar panels or other inputs; and how much power you have left to draw on. There have been some gripes about the control panel not being entirely accurate, but the lovely thing about this type of generator is that the firmware can be easily updated when the company fixes bugs, which they seem to do pretty quickly.
The lithium ion battery pack has an in-built system to prevent overcharging, over-current, and short circuiting. It’s enclosed in a water-tight enclosure to seal it from the elements and this also allows you to replace the battery, adding durability and extra eco-friendliness to the generator. The Goal Zero Yeti Lithium 3000x also features an advanced cooling system to regulate temperatures of the whole system.
The Yeti 3000x comes fully recharges in 14 hours using the included 230W Power Supply AC Wall Charger. Or, charge it in 25 hours from regular AC outlets. If you’re fleeing a zombie apocalypse, you can also recharge on the go, thanks to the Yeti 3000’s built-in MPPT module that works with separate solar panels to recharge in as little as 6 hours of full sun. This seems extraordinarily fast to me, unless you’re running an 800 W solar array. With a 100 W solar panel, it will probably take around 48 hours to charge, which, bear in mind, is 48 hours of sun, not just two days (where many of those hours are dark, unless you live in the Yukon in summer). Realistically, then, you might need a whole week of sun to fully charge this beast.
Now, that said, once it’s charged, you’re only really going to need to keep topping up the battery. It’s extremely unlikely you’ll rip through all of the stored power, unless you’re hiding in a cave or there’s a cataclysmic event that blocks out the sun. (Actually, this fume-free generator would be ideal for a cave.)
The battery will hold a charge for 10-12 months, making this generator a great choice for emergencies. The manufacturers claim that a fully-charged Goal Zero Yeti 3000x Lithium can run a fridge for approximately 55 hours, whereas a 2000 W gasoline generator, offering around the same running wattage, would power the same fridge for just 6 hours on one tank of gas.
Because the Yeti 3000x allows for pass-through power, it can be charged while in use to extend runtimes. It weighs less than most equivalent gas generators when they’re full of gas and takes up around the same space (15.25 x 10.23 x 13.6 in or 38.74 x 25.98 x 34.54 cm). It also comes with a detachable roll cart, making it easy to move around, including to take it on a road trip for camping or tailgating.
One thing to note, however, is that solar generators require an operating temperature above freezing (32-104 F or 0-40 C). Otherwise, the batteries will rapidly lose power. Fortunately, because this generator doesn’t give off fumes and is silent, you can safely keep it indoors.
And, because there’s no engine in this thing, you don’t have to pay for fuel or worry about messy maintenance. These are the ideal generators for people who never thought they’d need or want to own a generator.
You can also connect to the generator with your smartphone and use the free Goal Zero Yeti App to check battery levels, turn ports on and off, and even update firmware. In fact, you might want to hack your power consumption even when there isn’t a blackout occurring! You could, for example, hook up your solar panels on your sunny balcony to charge your Yeti 3000 while you’re out at work all day and plug in your A/C but don’t turn on the port. Then, an hour or so before you’re due home, remotely activate the power station’s port for the A/C and draw back all that lovely free power you earned, thus lowering your energy bill.
Goal Zero like to make things really easy, which I appreciate. As such, you can quickly connect this generator with something like the Goal Zero Boulder 100 Briefcase (View on Amazon), a 100 Watt Monocrystalline Solar Panel, or save yourself 50 by ditching the handy briefcase feature and go for a more permanent panel (View on Amazon). Indeed, set up eight of these and you could fully charge your Yeti 3000 in about six hours of full sun.
And if you need even more power, Goal Zero just added a new model to their line-up: The Yeti 6000x (View on Amazon).
00W Solar Inverter Charger
HF3500 Solar inverter charger combines an inverter, MPPT Solar battery charger and transfer switch into one complete system.
The inverter/charger recharges the house batteries when AC power is available. It also allows any extra AC power to pass through and energy downstream AC loads, such as a television or microwave oven.
When AC power is disconnected, the unit inverts DC battery power into AC electricity.
ZHCSolar 3500 Watt Pure Sine Low-Frequency Inverter split phase with built-in battery charger and transfer switch.
This inverter charger is perfect for medium-sized industrial applications that depend upon available power, even under heavy loads.
This heavy-duty inverter charger is ready to go wherever you need it. Use this product for renewable solar, off-grid, business backup power, mobile and emergency backup power applications anywhere that uses 100/110/120/220/230/240 volts of alternating current.
This product also has auto frequency detection, allowing users to operate at 50 or 60 Hertz.
This ZHCSolar inverter charger includes a powerful 55 amp charger. It can accept any source of 240V AC power to charge batteries, including a gas or diesel generator or shore power.
The 3500-watt inverter charger is capable of a 7000-watt surge for 5 seconds and can run at 3500 watts continuously.
Depending on your selection, this inverter will only partially drain your batteries as its low-voltage shutdown keeps the voltage at either 20 or 21 volts. With the battery priority mode, you can set your inverter to run directly off a battery backup system instead of a generator or tertiary AC power source.
The inverter charger comes with a power saver mode that pulses every 30 seconds, attempting to detect a necessary load of 25 watts or more before it turns on. Otherwise, the inverter will “sleep” and draw around half an amp per hour, saving you precious reserve power in your batteries until you need it.
An optional wired LED or LCD remote can be added for fast and easy operation if your inverter charger is mounted in a location that is inconvenient to get at.
This allows the unit to be operated within the cab of a vehicle or from another location in the home or campsite.
Features of HF3500 Inverter Charger
It applies all-digital voltage and current double closed-loop control and advanced SPWM technology, available in two output modes, i.e. pure sine wave output, Utility bypass, and an inverter output, thereby providing an uninterrupted power supply.
Four charging modes are optional, i.e. Solar Only, Utility Priority, Solar Priority, and Utility Solar charging. Maximum power point tracking (MPPT) technology ensures a tracking efficiency of not less than 99.5%.
The LCD with an easy-to-understand operation interface presents a dynamic display of system operating data and working status. 3 LED indicators indicate the operational level of the system at all times.
The ON/OFF rocker switch button allows for independent control of AC output, reducing unnecessary losses without affecting PV or utility power battery charging.
Intelligent speed variable fan control maximizes fan life while addressing the internal heat dissipation of the machine.
PV can activate the lithium battery, and additionally, the Utility supply can start the auxiliary power supply of the machine to ensure that the Utility can charge the battery in time under voltage loss. When only PV is connected with no battery input, the maximum load can be half the rated power.
Improve protections for abnormal conditions to ensure the machine is not damaged due to improper wiring and loading.
Specifications of HF3500 Inverter Charger
AC output Continuous output power from.10 ° C to 45 ° C: 3500VA/3500W (If the power of the household appliance exceeds the limit at a certain ambient temperature, the inverter output will be turned off, and the over-temperature protection will be reminded.)
Continuous output power at 46 ° C ~ 55 ° C temperature: 3000VA/3000W
Continuous output power from 56°C to 65°C: 2500VA/2500W
Rated frequency: 50 Hz/60 Hz (automatic identification)
Output waveform: Single-phase sine wave (THD3%) Linear load
Peak power: 7KVA, duration 5s
Type of battery: Lead acid battery, lithium battery (When the lithium battery is low voltage protected, the inverter can activate the lithium battery)
Rated battery voltage: 48V
Battery low voltage alarm point: 44V
Battery low voltage shutdown point: 42V
Battery overvoltage protection point: 60V
Battery discharge maximum efficiency: 92%
Mains Grid bypass
Mains charger operating voltage range: 100-140Vac
Mains charger maximum charging current: 10A/20A (Optional)
PV input parameters
Recommended: three components (250W-310W), one string, four groups in series and parallel.
PV maximum open circuit voltage: 145Vdc
MPPT voltage range: 60-115Vdc
Maximum charging current: 50A
Maximum charging power: 2880W
Heat dissipation method: Intelligent speed control fan
Communication Interface: RS485, USB
Optional parts: Bluetooth module
Operating temperature:.10°C ~ 65°C
Storage temperature:.20°C ~ 60°C
Operating humidity: 20 ~ 90%, no condensation
length x width x height: 495mm358mm111mm
AllPowers Monster Pro Solar Generators: Monster Pro and Pro with 3500Wh and 5000Wh LFP Battery Packs
AllPowers has unveiled its big portable solar home backup stations on Indiegogo. Branded as AllPowers Monster Pro Solar Generators, they appear in two variants; Monster Pro and Monster Pro Plus. These two heavy-duty, expandable power stations are respectively 3500Wh and 5000Wh devices with long-life LifePO4 batteries.
Both devices integrate the same 3500W/7000W power inverters and five AC outlets. Also, they feature 2000W Max MPPT solar input and 2000W AC input. They have the same size and style, but you have battery packs of different capacities under the hood. Both are expandable with the brand’s Smart Extra batteries to bigger capacities.
Of course, with Monster Pro power stations, AllPowers will be able to raise a huge challenge to the bigger machines from the vendors like EcoFlow and Bluetti. As you see, Delta Pro and EP500 are the brands’ two big-capacity home backup power systems, and the AllPowers Monsters have a clear edge over them in many regards.
ALLPOWERS MONSTER PRO SOLAR GENERATORS
- 3500Wh and 5000Wh Solar Home Battery Ecosystems.
- Powerful 3500W-7000W Inverters with Five AC Outlets.
- Expandable up to 80kWh and 56kWh Capacities.
- 2000W Solar and 2000W AC Inputs for Fast Charging.
- Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Wired Battery Backup Systems.
- 11 Charging Outlets with Multiple AC Sockets.
- Smart Home Panel, Solar Pad, And Extra Batteries.
AllPowers Monster Pro Solar Generators
AllPowers Monster Pro is a series of heavy-duty home battery backup systems with a 3500W inverter that peaks at 7000 watts. Both the variants have the same design and charging outlets, including five AC sockets. But they carry LFP batteries of different capacities – 3500Wh and 5000Wh for Monster Pro and Pro Plus respectively.
Interestingly, both the variants have got separate extra battery modules with the same capacities as their mother products. Of course, you can attach multiple units of the Smart extra batteries to take their storage capacities to bigger levels. Monster Pro can thus be expanded up to 56kWh and Pro Plus to 80kWh.
The elegant and strongly build power stations tout as many as 11 charging outlets with five AC sockets. With their higher AC output, you can indeed use them to power your heavy-duty appliances such as air conditioners, washers, microwaves, and others in various outdoor conditions.
The AllPowers Monsters have higher charging speeds as well. With 2000W MPPT input and 2000W AC input, you can charge the machines in a few hours under the sun or from a wall socket. Besides solar panels and AC outlets, they can also be charged from other sources like EV stations, wind turbines, carports, and more.
Monster Pro Charging Outlets
When it comes to charging outlets, the Monster Pros feature as many as 11 options overall. They include the five 3500W AC outlets, which contain four 20A units and a 30A unit.
The other charging options of the power stations include a pair of Type-C ports, four USB-A ports, and a 12V carport. The devices also sport a rotary switch and a TFT display.
Smart Home Panel
Thanks to the Smart Home Panel, you can pair together two units of the Monster Pros to double the inverter power and storage capacities. Thus, you can simply convert two Monster Pros to a colossal 7000W/240W home battery backup station and safely run through with eight home circuits.
Monster Pro Charging Methods
Well, you can juice up the heavy-duty Monster Pros from multiple sources like solar, wind turbines, wall sockets, car chargers, and more.
With a combination of its 2000W solar and 2000W AC charging inputs, you can get it fully charged from zero to 100% in just 1.5 hours.
If you are on move, you can rely on the EV charging networks to recharge the power stations at a speed of 3000W.
Compatible Solar Charger
You can use any solar installation to recharge the Monster Pros. If you have a 2000W solar output, you can get the devices charged fully in just 2.5 hours under a bright sun.
AllPowers offers its own 200-watt folding solar charger for heavy-duty solar power stations. It is a highly durable, waterproof solar charger with a higher conversion efficiency.
Made of oxford cloth, you can use the four-fold panel in rough outdoor conditions. It has got a foldable design and strong kickstands to make you place it anywhere to grab the sunlight at the best.
That has been our take on the AllPowers Monster Pro Solar Generators. Both variants of Monster Pro are incredible products of the kind. The early bird pricing for the Monster Pro starts at 2999. You can use the link here to pre-order the heavy machines, which the brand expects to start shipping to the backers by August 2022.
Vahid Vee is a full-time blogger who is highly passionate about off-grid and sustainable power systems and is an expert at researching and exploring new topics, checking facts, and presenting things in simple language. As an avid observer of the global off-grid power and battery market, he is really excited to share with you the latest trends, fresh products, and other developments in the markets. #Contact Email @ firstname.lastname@example.org – LinkedIn – Full blog profile.
Best Portable Solar Generator For Camping, RVs Van Life
You need electricity in your camper to run your appliances. A 12v fridge, a few small devices, and maybe a roof vent will make living in a van more comfortable.
But an electrical installation in a camper or RV is a significant part of any campervan conversion project. And if you’re just trying out van life or car camping for the first time, a big investment.
If don’t want to tackle a full camper van electrical system a portable solar generator is ideal.
You don’t need any electrical experience and setup is a breeze. You’ll have power all day no matter where you are.
In this guide, we’ll help you choose the best portable solar generator for camping, van life and RVing.
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At A Glance: Best Portable Solar Generators for Camping
|1. Jackery Explorer 1000 – Best Overall Camping Solar Generator||CHECK PRICE|
|2. Renogy PHOENIX 300 – Best Small Portable Solar Power Generator||CHECK PRICE|
|3. Goal Zero Yeti 6000X – Best Backup Solar Generator||CHECK PRICE|
|4. Anker 521 – Best Budget Solar Powered Generator||CHECK PRICE|
What Is A Portable Solar Generator How Does It Work?
The common term “solar generator” is misleading because they don’t actually generate anything.
A traditional fuel-powered RV generator converts mechanical energy to electrical energy with an engine and alternator.
But a solar generator simply stores the energy generated by solar panels and is regulated by a solar charge controller. It makes them a bit more like a battery than a generator. It’s probably why they’re often referred to a portable solar power stations.
Regardless of naming confusion, a solar generator provides a completely clean, sustainable energy source, ideal for campervans, RVs, and camping trips.
Solar generators combine all the components of a camper’s electrical system into a single box.
For our detailed articles on the separate units, look at our introduction to campervan electrical components. In summary, a portable solar generator includes:
- A battery – to store energy so you can use it later when it’s not charging – usually lithium or lead acid batteries
- Battery charger – to charge the battery from a mains supply
- A charge controller – to regulate the energy produced by the solar panels so it can safely charge the battery
- Cabling wires – so you don’t need to connect all the components
- An inverter – so you can charge household appliances that use AC electricity like 110v or 240v
- A battery monitor – so you can check on its charging state
We have detailed articles on all these separate components if you want more information.
The obvious component not included with a solar generator is the solar panels, another reason the word “generator” is quite misleading.
You will need to buy a portable solar panel to accompany it.
Pros Cons of Portable Solar Generators
There are several advantages to using a solar power generator. One of the most important is that they provide clean energy and are completely environmentally friendly. This is a significant advantage over alternatives such as gas generators.
They also tend to be relatively low maintenance as you don’t need to buy fuel for them. They tend to be very versatile so that you can use them with a wide range of appliances in different circumstances.
They are also completely silent, so they won’t disturb you or your campground neighbors!
There are some potential drawbacks to using solar power generators that you should also consider. They carry pretty high upfront costs, but because their ongoing maintenance costs are low, they’re a good long-term choice.
They can also take a long time to recharge, although technical improvements have increased charging speeds for many solar generators.
Solar generators can only provide a limited amount of power, so you need to make sure your solar setup will be sufficient to meet your power needs for each trip.
What To Look For In A Solar Powered Generator
As solar powered generators provide a limited amount of power, it’s essential to calculate how much you need for yoru camping trip.
There is a wide range of options on the market. You can prioritize portability and affordability with some great budget options or choose a larger and more powerful model.
Some solar power stations are even powerful enough to be used as backup power for your home in case of power outages.
This section will walk you through the important factors to consider when selecting the right solar power generator for you.
Surge Power Capacity
Surge power capacity is an important factor to consider when buying a solar power generator.
It refers to the maximum level of surge current that a device can handle in a single event. If this capacity is exceeded, your generator and any appliances it is supporting may cease to function.
Startup, or surge watts, indicates the maximum power the solar generator can deliver in a short burst. Some appliances like air-conditioning units and refrigerators, need a lot of power to get going, then use less power to keep running.
Check the surge demand of devices you’ll put on the solar generator at the same time to determine what surge capacity you need.
Because exceeding surge capacity can be dangerous, you must choose a device with a suitable surge power capacity.
Solar power stations regulate and store the energy produced by solar panels. Because you will probably want to use electricity after sunset, the storage capacity is crucial when assessing your needs.
If the storage capacity is too small, you may run out of power when you need it most; too big, and you’ll buy a larger, more expensive unit than you need.
Storage capacity differs significantly between solar power generators. How much storage capacity you need will depend on what kind of situation you will be using your power station in, how many appliances you will need to charge, and how demanding these appliances are.
Make sure you select a solar power generator with enough storage capacity to meet your needs.
Solar power generators can charge a wide range of appliances. Standard kitchen appliances, electronic devices such as phones and laptops, and essential medical equipment such as CPAP machines can all be charged using solar.
Even large items such as refrigerators can use solar if the generator is powerful enough.
You should have a clear idea of the kind of devices you will need to charge before selecting a generator. You can then make sure that the one you choose will be up to the job.
Physical Dimensions Weight
Portable solar generators come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Generally speaking, the more powerful the generator, the larger it will be.
You’ll want to balance your need for power with the level of portability you require.
Some of the more powerful options discussed here are portable but require heavy lifting and plenty of storage space.
Some of those with less power can be carried very easily. Calculate how much power you’ll need and choose a generator that can provide it and still be transported comfortably.
Other Features To Look At
- Solar Panel Types– if they are included with the generator
- Battery Type – aim for a lithium battery model as the AGMs use older battery technology
- Battery Monitor – an LCD screen helps you monitor the state of the battery, including usage, charging, and how full the battery is
- Charge controller type (PWM or MPPT) – an MPPT controller is much more efficient than a PWM
- Inverter Size – essential when working out what AC appliances you can use at the same time
- Replaceable Batteries – some solar charge controllers have replaceable batteries in case things go wrong in the future
- Waterproofing – waterproof, or at least weatherproof, solar generators are ideal for campers who will need to use the unit outdoors
How To Charge A Portable Solar Generator
When living off the grid, you can charge a portable solar generator using solar panels and sunlight. It’s a reliable and environmentally friendly option, although it does require consistent sun exposure.
Check out our article on portable solar panels to help you choose the best one for your setup.
If you’re at home or on a campground, you can charge a solar generator through a standard wall socket or campground hookup facility. Most of the portable solar generators in our list include connecting cables.
You can charge some solar power stations from a 12v DC outlet, like the old cigarette lighter outlets in your car.
It’s best not to entirely rely on these because they take an age to charge the generator fully. They also use power from the camper’s starter battery, so unless the engine is running, it will probably drain reasonably quickly.
Solar Generators Charging Speed
Solar generators can generally be fully charged within a maximum of 48 hours. However, charging speeds within this timeframe can vary significantly.
Some of the most powerful generators can still be charged fully within a few hours with the assistance of solar panels designed specifically to function alongside them. However, these panels are often sold separately.
Relying on solar charging also means you will need significant sun exposure throughout the charging time, which may not be reliable. Charging times can vary significantly between wall outlets and solar panels.
Technological and design improvements mean that you can generally expect to have a good solar power generator fully charged within a day and often faster with the right equipment.
Charging time is an important factor to consider when selecting the right generator for your lifestyle.
What Size Solar Generator Do You Need?
The size of the solar generator you need depends entirely on how you intend to use it. Factors such as the items you will use to power, your overall solar setup, and the kind of trip you’ll be using it for are all important.
You’ll need to identify your daily power usage and the kind of wattage you require.
Our RV Solar Calculator will help you identify the size of the generator you need. Answering the questions there will give you a comprehensive understanding of the type and size of solar generator you require.
How Much Power Does A Solar Generator Need to Recharge?
The amount of power a solar generator needs to recharge, depends on some factors to do with its power, size, and technical features.
You can use our RV Solar Calculator to identify the amount of time your solar generator will need to recharge.
Best All Round Camping Solar Generators
1. Jackery Explorer 1000 Portable Power Station
The Jackery Explorer 1000 Portable Power Station is something of a middle option between the more powerful, expensive options and the smaller models that prioritise portability.
It’s a powerful station with 1000W rated power, and 2000W surge capacity. It also has a 1002Wh lithium battery capacity. It provides multiple outlets to meet the needs of multiple high-power appliances.
For a powerful station, the Explorer 1000 is also a reasonably portable option for situations when you’ll need significant power.
It weights 22lbs and comes with a good handle and a durable design. It offers a versatile range of charging options.
The Explorer 1000 features an LCD display with charge, discharge, and battery life information.
It can be charged using a solar panel, wall socket, 12V car output or electric generator. The Explorer 1000 uses in-built MPPT for maximum efficiency.
Using two of Jackery’s Solar Saga 100W panels allows you to charge the Explorer 1000 in around eight hours. Only using one will take around seventeen hours. These panels are sold separately.
Overall, the Explorer 1000 is an efficient, reliable, and relatively affordable option.
Jackery also offer the Explorer 500 and Explorer 1500 models as options on either side of the Explorer 1000 with many similar features.
2. Goal Zero Yeti 1500X Portable Power Station
The Goal Zero Yeti 1500X Portable Power Station is Yeti’s most popular large power station.
It comes with a powerful 2000W AC inverter, allowing you to connect it with anything you could charge from a wall outlet.
At around 2,000, it’s a good option for people with substantial power needs and a large budget. It’s also relatively portable and easy to store for its size.
The 1500X uses a lightweight lithium-ion battery for reliable, clean power you can use off the grid.
The 2000W AC inverter with 3500W surge capacity allows you to run multiple devices with high power requirements.
It offers a comprehensive range of AC ports to give you multiple power delivery options. It also features an integrated MPPT charge controller to maximise the efficiency of your solar charging.
You can use the Yeti App 3.0 to control your power station remotely. You can use it to monitor your power use, optimize your battery life and change your settings. This is a really useful tool to have when using the power station outdoors.
You can charge the 1500X through solar panels, through a wall socket, or in your car using a a 12V cable.
If you plan to use the power station while traveling or camping, charging your power station with solar panels is a great option that will allow you to run multiple high-usage devices simultaneously.
You can also use the Yeti 1500X Portable Power Station as back-up power for your home using the Yeti Home Integration Kit.
Overall, the 1500X is a great option for users with regular, significant power demands and a relatively high budget.
If you’re looking for a less expensive option with many of the same features, the Yeti 500X is also a great option.
Best Small Solar Generators
Renogy PHOENIX 300
The Renogy PHOENIX 300 can handle up to 300W of solar with a 337 Wh storage capacity.
It provides various output options for different devices, including any USB or AC appliance up to 300W. Some users find that heavy-duty appliances do drain the PHOENIX quite quickly.
The PHOENIX offers a user-friendly LCD display and a (gimmicky) in-built flashlight.
The PHOENIX is lightweight and portable, weighing 6.4lbs. It can be charged using solar panels, an AC wall outlet and it has a 12v DC input port so you can charge it from your car’s cigarette lighter. That makes it perfect for car camping or weekend tent camping trips.
The lithium ion battery can deliver up to 1,000 charge/discharge cycles so it’s sure to last for many years.
If you’re willing to invest in Renogy’s 100W Solar Suitcase, it can significantly improve the PHOENIX’s charging time, and provide a sustainable charging method when you’re camping off-grid. Combine charging methods allows you to fully recharge the PHOENIX is under 4 hours.
While the PHOENIX is not as powerful as some alternatives, it’s still a reliable option in a decent price range. It’s our top pick of all the small camping solar generator options and you’d be hard pushed to go wrong with it.
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4. Jackery Explorer 240 Solar Generator
The Jackery Explorer is one of the most popular portable power stations on the market. It is designed with a durable case and multiple ports but remains compact and relatively lightweight at 6.6 pounds.
At less than 200, it’s a great option for people who want to prioritise portability and storability. It naturally provides significantly less power than some of the more expensive options. However, it’s still a solid option for shorter trips.
Despite its portability, it still has a solid 200 wattage power and comes equipped with a 240Wh lithium-ion battery pack.
It features a pure sine wave inverter with AC outlet, and can be charged using solar panels, a wall outlet, or a 12V carport.
The Explorer 240 features a battery management system providing short circuit protection, voltage control, and other useful tools. It also features a clear LCD display.
The Explorer 240 uses built-in maximum power point tracking (MPPT) to enhance its recharge efficiency. It can charge fully in around ten hours using solar with complete sun exposure and a 50W solar panel.
Jackery also provide solar panels, but they are sold separately.
If you’re looking for an efficient, portable and highly affordable power station, the Explorer 240 is a great option.
While it might not provide all the power you need for longer trips, it’s a great option for shorter getaways.
If you’re looking for something with similar features but with more power or an alternative at a slightly lower price, Jackery also offers Explorer 160 and Explorer 300 models.
5. Goal Zero Yeti 150 Portable Power Generator
The Goal Zero Yeti Portable Power Station is a popular option. At around 200 and weighing 12lbs, it’s affordable and reasonably portable.
It provides a respectable 168Wh and comes with a one-year warranty.
The Yeti 150x can be charged using solar panels, wall outlets or a 12V car port. Using any of these options, you should be able to charge it fully within twelve hours. Goal Zero’s solar panel packs are sold separately.
The Goal Zero Yeti 150X is a solid option that provides good power for an affordable price. It charges quickly and retains its charge well. It’s not quite as portable as some of the comparable options available.
For people looking for more powerful models with similar characteristics, Goal Zero also offer 200X and 500X models.
Best Backup Solar Generators
The following are some of the best backup solar generators on the market. These are all powerful, expensive options that can be used to power large RVs or as backup home power.
If you’re looking for a solar powered generator for camping that can keep you off-grid for days on end, the size of these bad boys is hard to beat. But they’re hefty pieces of kit so make sure you have room in your car for them.
For more casual users or people with limited power needs, some of the other options discussed here are probably more suitable.
6. Goal Zero Yeti 6000X Portable Power Station
The Goal Zero Yeti 6000X Portable Power Station is one of the most powerful solar options available.
At around 5,000, it’s also an expensive one. You’ll probably only consider it if you intend to use a power station extensively – if you plan to live full-time in your RV, for example. For more casual users, some of the other options featured here might be preferable.
The Yeti 6000X does have some great features. It’s been upgraded from previous models to include a 2000W AC inverter with a 3500 surge capacity.
It also offers seven port options. It uses a lightweight lithium-ion battery to guarantee safe and environmentally friendly power.
It’s also relatively portable and compact, particularly for such a powerful tool. You can charge it using a solar panel, by plugging it into the wall, or in your car using the Goal Zero Yeti Lithium 12V Car Charging Cable.
One of the great features of Zero Yeti Portable Power Stations is the Yeti App 3.0.
The app allows you to monitor and control your portable power station from a distance. It will notify you of changes in power consumption and will help you to optimize your battery life.
Goal Zero also offer a Solar Kit which is designed to function alongside Yeti power stations. These are sold separately.
You can also use the Goal Yeti 6000X Portable Power Station as backup power for your home using the Yeti Home Integration Kit. This can be really useful during power outages. The power station comes with a one-year warranty.
Overall, the Goal Zero Yeti 6000X Portable Power Station is a great high-end option that provides some really useful features.
Its price means that it’s only really an option for serious users with a significant budget, but for those in that category it’s well worth considering.
If you’re looking for a slightly less expensive option with many of the same features, the Goal Zero Yeti 3000X comes in at around 3,000.
What Will A 3000 Watt Solar Generator Run?
A 3000 watt solar generator is definitely one that could power many different household appliances. Given that the majority of your homes appliances will likely not be rated more than 1800 watts (unless you start looking at power tools). This means that a 3000 watt solar generator will be capable of powering pretty much all your homes appliances individually. If you would like to run things together, you will need to make sure that the combined energy transfer does not exceed 3000 watts. Remember though, that you will also need to your appliance surge rating into consideration. That is, the brief power spike upon startup. Although a 3000 watt solar generator may be rated as such, they often come with a rated surge capacity too.
Difference between 3000 Watt 3000 Watt Hour
Most mainstream solar generator brands often market their generators by including either the energy capacity or powering capabilities in said models title. For example, the BLUETTI EP500 3000W / 5100Wh.
In fact, if you head over to our site, you will see that all our products are listed with both their capacity and power rating (as can be seen above). Many people often confuse W with Wh, are they the same thing, do they serve the same purpose? The answer is no. In fact, they are extremely different. As you can see many of our solar generator models often have a different watt and watt hour rating. Below we will explain why.
What is a Watt?
The watt is a unit of power recorded in the International System of Units, and equals 1 joule per second or 1 kg⋅m²⋅s⁻³. It is used to quantify the rate of energy transfer.
What is a Watt Hour?
A watt-hour, is symbolized as Wh. and is a unit of energy equal to one watt of power used for one hour of time.
What about an Amp Hour?
Most vehicle batteries or standalone solar batteries are often rated by their amp hour (Ah) capacity. An Ah is a unit of electric charge. It is the charge capacity of a battery, while a Wh is a unit of electrical energy. It is the energy capacity of the battery. You can convert Ah to Wh if you’d like, the formula is simple: Energy (in Wh) = capacity (in Ah) x voltage (in Volts). Or simply Wh = Ah x V
What can a 3000 watt solar generator power?
When we talk about what a 3000 watt solar generator can power remember we are only talking about the rate of energy transfer. This means we will know what it can power, but not for how long. To know this we will need to know the energy capacity of the built-in battery. This is a highly important fact to consider when choosing your solar generator size. Nevertheless, please see the table below to find out what a 3000 watt solar generator can power. (Please note the below table is courtesy of Climatebiz)
|TV (150W)||Medium size Refrigerator/Freezer (150W)||Power tools (1000W)||Micro wave oven (1000W)||Vacuum cleaner (1000W)||Air conditioning unit (1500W)|
What 3000 Watt Solar Generators Does BLUETTI Offer?
The AC300 is BLUETTI’s first 100% modular portable solar generator. That is, on its own it will not be able to power anything as it does not house a built in battery.
It does however house a monstrous 3000 watt pure sine wave inverter and when paired with the B300 battery packs will be able to power almost all your household appliances.
- 3,000W AC Pure Sine Wave Inverter (6,000W Surge)
- Expandable Up To 12,288Wh with 4×B300’s
- 7 Ways to Recharge (AC/Solar/Car/Generator/Lead battery/Dual AC/ACSolar)
- 2400W Max. Solar Input
- 5400W Max. Fast Dual Charging (Solar AC Adapter Simultaneously)
- Smart App Control Monitor
- 240V Connection Available
- 24/7 UPS Home Backup
Unlike the AC300, the EP500 Pro is a complete fixed system, in that the entire unit can be used as is to power. your household appliances. It hosts a whopping 5100Wh LiFePO4 battery with a pure sine wave inverter rated at 3000 watts.
- 5100Wh LiFePO4, 3500 Cycles to 80% Capacity
- EP500Pro: 3000W Pure Sine Wave Output
- Movable Power Station
- In-grid UPS ModeFlexible UPS Mode(24/7)
- Off-grid Energy Storage
- Multiple Devices Can Be Loaded Simultaneously
- Flexible Recharging Way To Keep Your EP500 Always On
- App Remote Control
- Smart Touchscreen
We thought it necessary to briefly touch on our modular solar technology. That is, our BLUETTI AC300. Some of you might at first glance question why one would want to purchase a modular solar generator.
Why not just have one device that can power all your appliances, like the EP500 Pro?
While the EP500 Pro may be perfect for your energy needs, you need to remember that each persons energy needs will be different from one another.
So what are the benefits of a 3000 watt modular solar generator?
Well, it allows you the ability to accept external battery packs and boost its capacity as you see fit.
Meaning in theory you could add up to x4 B300 battery packs. This would boost your modular solar generators capacity up to 12,288Wh. Far superior when compared to the EP500 Pro’s 5100Wh capacity.
Alas, it all comes down to your unique energy needs, so make sure to consider this before purchasing any solar generator.
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