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Can a Solar Generator Power a Space Heater. Space solar generators

Can a Solar Generator Power a Space Heater. Space solar generators

    The Best Solar Generators of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

    Whether you are outfitting your home in case of an extended power outage or looking for a steady supply of off-grid power for your overlanding setup, it’s never been a better time to purchase a solar generator. But sifting through all the available options on the market—power stations that are lunchbox-sized to luggage-sized, solar panels that can pack in a backpack to multiple eight-foot long panels you chain together—can take a lot of time and effort. To help you choose the best solar generator for your purpose, we tested some of the most powerful models from Anker, Jackery, Goal Zero, and BioLite side by side to see how they stacked up.

    • Best Overall:Jackery Solar Generator 1000 Pro
    • Best Value:Anker 555 Solar Generator
    • Most Portable:BioLite BaseCharge 1500 Solar Panel 100
    • Most Customizable:Goal Zero Yeti 1500X Boulder 200 Briefcase Solar Generator
    • Best for RVs:Anker Solar Generator 767

    How I Tested the Best Solar Generators

    There are two components to a solar generator—a solar panel and a power station. To understand the performance of the overall package, I looked at each component and then also assessed how they worked in tandem.

    • Solar Panels were tested in tandem (to ensure similar conditions) under clear skies. Testing was conducted in late fall, when the angle of the sun is less ideal than it would be at the peak of summer, affecting the potential of each panel to reach its claimed maximum output. Solar panels were tested using power stations of the same brand, but where possible, I also used different panels with different power stations to see if that affected the results.
    • Power stations were evaluated on a number of criteria. After fully charging all the power stations, I left them in a climate-controlled room for three days and then outside for twenty-four hours in near-freezing temperatures—none of the power stations registered any loss of power during this test. Next, I plugged various appliances into all of the power stations to see how they handled the volume: a dehumidifier, a sunlamp, two laptops, one of the best power banks for camping, a pair of headphones, another power station, etc. Using these setups, I ran each power station down to half its estimated output. Finally, I considered how compatible each power station was with other solar panels, as well as additional features, such as Bluetooth-compatible apps, display panels, wireless charging, USB-C input ports, and more.

    Solar Panels Tested

    I tested six solar panels rated for both 100W and 200W capacity from Goal Zero, Anker, Jackery, and BioLite.

    I checked that all the solar panels were pointed in the same direction and at the same angle when testing their measured output against their claimed output.

    Model Weight Size (unfolded) Output Ports Warranty Claimed output Measured output
    Jackery SolarSaga 200W Solar Panel 18 lbs 540 x 2320 x 25 mm DC 1.5 years 200W 184W
    Goal Zero Boulder 200W 42 lbs 40 x 53.5 x 1.75 inches High Power Port (HPP) 2 years 200W 145W
    Anker 531 Solar Panel 20 lbs 23.75 x 83.75 x.75 inches XT-60 2 years 200W 158W
    Goal Zero Boulder 100W 20 lbs 40 x 26.75 x 1.75 inches High Power Port (HPP) 2 years 100W 73W
    Anker 625 Solar Panel 11 lbs 57 x 20.75 x 1.75 inches XT-60 2 years 100W 94W
    BioLite Solar Panel 100 10 lbs 20 x 57.5 x 1 inches High Power Port (HPP) 1 year 100W 52W

    Power Stations Tested

    The power stations I tested ranged in size from 1,002Wh to 2,048Wh, and were capable of either 110 volts or 120 volts (the latter is what you’ll need to run most major appliances).

    All of the power stations were capable of holding a charge for extended periods of time, losing no power in either the three-day indoors test or the 24-hour outdoors test in subfreezing and near freezing temperatures.

    Model Weight Wh Input ports Input Max for Solar Max voltage for the AC outlet App? Warranty
    Goal Zero Yeti 1500X 45.5 lbs 1,516 USB-C, 8mm, high power port (HPP) 600W 120V Yes 2 years
    Jackery Explorer 1000 Pro 25.5 lbs 1,002 AC and DC 800W 120V No 3 years
    Anker 767 XX 2,048 AC and XT60 1000W 120V Yes 5 years
    Anker 555 29.8 lbs 1,024 DC and USB-C 200W 110V No 5 years
    BioLite BaseCharge 1500 26.5 1,521 USB-C, high power port (HPP) 400W 110V No 2 years

    Best Overall: Jackery Solar Generator 1000 Pro (Explorer 1000 Pro Solar Saga 200W)

    Key Features

    • Power station capacity: 1002 watt hours
    • Solar panels: four 200-watt solar panels
    • Energy created by one panel in direct sunlight: 184 watts
    • Max AC output: 120 volts and 1000 watts
    • Also available with a 2000Wh power station
    • Also available with two 80-watt panels

    Along with the BioLite BaseCharge 1500 and Anker 555, the Jackery Explorer 1000 Pro had one of the more streamlined user interfaces. There are separate buttons to activate the USB outlets, AC outlets, and DC outlet, along with a button to turn on the power station’s light (in case you want to light up your camp or home) and one to turn on the display. The display here gives you the bare minimum of information—watts in, watts out, percent of the battery remaining, and the time to charge or deplete the battery based on the current conditions.

    The Explorer 1000 Pro has a max output of 1000W (peaking at 2000W), which is enough juice to power many modern refrigerators. But given that its battery life is only 1002Wh, it can only supply that power for about a day (assuming it’s not charging anything else) unless it’s also being supplied with fresh juice from a solar panel setup at the same time. For some, this won’t be an issue, as they’ll simply be using the battery to channel power to their other devices during the day while it’s charging, and then using the battery at night to power more low-key items like the best camping fans or maybe one high-energy device like a portable fridge.

    At over 25 pounds, the Jackery Explorer 1000 Pro, is one of the more transportable units I looked at, but it’s still not something that you’d want to lug more than a hundred feet or so at a time.

    The Solar Panel

    I originally tested the SolarSaga 200W solar panel as a full setup, with four panels plugged into a single power station. This test showed the full power of the array, which registered 650W of power generation on a sunny (albeit hazy) day. I retested a single panel in tandem with the rest of the units in this review more recently, and under completely clear skies, the panel was even more impressive: It registered 184W of energy coming from a single panel. If you don’t have much time to recharge your power station from the sun, then the full setup with all four panels is a no-brainer.

    It is, though, a little complicated. Each panel comes with a carrying case and a cable that connects back to the two DC ports on the Explorer 1000 Pro. If you see a math problem here, that’s correct: You’ll also need two of the Jackery Solar Panel Connectors, which, strangely, are not included in the purchase price. Two of these can be used to double the number of panels you can connect to the Explorer 1000 Pro.

    Setting up and taking down this many panels takes some time, but I was impressed by how easy and intuitive it was. That’s because Jackery streamlined the number of ports on each unit, making it that much clearer what cable connects to what unit in what port.

    While there might at first glance appear to be a disconnect between the charging time capabilities of this setup and its battery life, it’s worth keeping in mind that conditions are not always optimal. One of the things that impressed me most about these units is the panel’s ability to generate electricity in lowlight conditions. Even in complete shade—dusk fast approaching—a single SolarSaga was generating a 6W input.

    Best Budget: Anker 555 Solar Generator (555 PowerHouse with Two (2) 625 Solar Panels 100W)

    Key Features

    • Power Station Capacity: 1024 watt hours
    • Solar Panels: two 100-watt solar panels
    • Energy Created By One Panel In Direct Sunlight: 94 watts
    • Max AC output: 110 volts and 1000 watts
    • Also available with a 1229Wh power station and three 100W solar panels
    • Max power station output is 110V
    • XT60 port on the solar panel needs an adapter to be compatible with the power station

    If your family has a bevy of devices that seemingly all need to be plugged in simultaneously, you are in luck with the Anker 555 PowerHouse. It was the only unit in my test that boasted six AC outlets, as well as three USB-C outlets and two USB-A outlets. There were so many outlets that it was actually hard to find enough things to plug into it in my home—I ended up with an air purifier, sun lamp, two fans, a laptop, and a battery pack plugged in. The 555 PowerHouse had no problem with this—it barely used a third of its total output power. If your family has a bunch of devices that simply must be charged at all times, then this is a great option.

    Note that this would not be the best choice for someone looking for backup power for their refrigerator, as its 1,024 watt hour capacity was on the smaller side in my test and only has up to 110-volt output.

    Something else I liked about this unit was the utility—and comparative simplicity—of its charging abilities. It has one DC input port in the back and a USB-C 100W port that plays double duty with input and output. As someone who struggles to keep track of the sheer number and variety of cords that are always floating around, I appreciated the ability to recharge this unit without tracking down the original cord.

    The Solar Panel

    The Anker 625 was easily the best of the 100W panels I tested—it was one of the best solar panels for camping I tested back in the spring, and it’s still one of my favorite pieces of gear. It even beat out the 200W Jackery SolarSaga if you consider that this panel generated 94 percent of its claimed output, while the Jackery only managed 92 percent. Part of this is the inclusion of a sundial in the top center of the panel, which helped me align the panel correctly during setup. This sundial is such a useful feature, that after I had correctly aligned the Anker 625, I went back and adjusted all the other panels to match it—an instant uptick in power was measured. Two of these panels is a great choice for recharging a power station the size of the 555 PowerHouse.

    I’ve been testing this panel for a while—unlike some of the others in this test—and in that time I’ve noticed that it’s picked up a bit of scuffing along the edges of the fabric backing. While not ideal, this has not impacted the functionality of the unit in the slightest.

    Most Portable: BioLite BaseCharge 1500 Solar Panel 100

    Key Features

    • Power station Capacity: 1521 watt hours
    • Solar Panels: one 100-watt solar panel
    • Energy Created By One Panel In Direct Sunlight: 52 watts
    • Max AC output: 110 volts and 1200 watts
    • Also available with a 622Wh power station
    • Lightest unit I tested
    • Power station is easy to use
    • Power station is compatible with the Goal Zero Boulder 200 (up to two)

    Like the Jackery Explorer 1000 Pro and the Anker 555 PowerHouse, the BioLite BaseCharge 1500 has a sleek and streamlined user interface that is easy to read and understand. The display panel shows the percentage of your battery left, the estimated number of hours it will take to either run through or finish charging the battery, the watts coming into your unit, and the watts going out. It also shows you the number of watt-hours the unit has used in total—watching that number was a bit like watching the odometer tick up on your car. Not super useful daily, but a nice thing to know in the aggregate. There are separate buttons to turn on the ports for USB, DC, and AC power, as well as a button to turn on the display. (A second button allows you to reset the display of how many watts you’ve used, useful if you are interested in getting an accurate read on your total power needs).

    There were three details that made the BioLite BaseCharge 1500 stand out next to the competition:

    • A wireless charging option on top of the unit. (Unfortunately, I was not able to test this as I do not have a device with this capability.)
    • The choice to put the input port on the front of the unit, as opposed to the back. During testing, I found that this configuration was easier when plugging in solar panels.
    • This power station is surprisingly lightweight, especially compared to the Yeti 1500X, which has a comparable watt-hour capacity. If you plan to move your power station from room to room, this is a no-brainer.

    During testing, the BioLite BaseCharge 1500 was one of the few power stations where the “hours to empty” estimate kept jumping around. It probably accurately reflected the change in power needs of the bigger devices, but was confusing to look at and made the time estimates less useful than they would have otherwise been. (The percentage estimate of the amount of battery life remaining, however, stayed fairly consistent.)

    The Solar Panel

    While the BaseCharge 1500 ended up being one of my favorite power stations, the BioLite Solar Panel 100 was my least favorite solar panel. First off, two kickstands simply don’t provide enough support for the panels. This is partly because two just isn’t enough, but also because one of the kickstands is situated closer to the middle of the unit, rather than both being on the outer edges. I was able to use the BaseCharge 1500 to help prop it up a bit, but it wasn’t an ideal solution.

    One thing that I did like about this unit is that, like the Anker 625, it incorporated a sundial, which helped me to situate the panel at the right angle to maximize the energy output.

    However, even with that advantage, this was by far the weakest panel in my test, only generating about half of its claimed output even on a clear day with sunny skies. If you choose to go with a BaseCharge 1500, it’s worth considering pairing it with a Goal Zero Boulder 200W, a pairing that proved successful during testing.

    Best Customization: Goal Zero Yeti 1500X Boulder 200 Briefcase Solar Generator

    Key Features

    • Power Station Capacity: 1516 watt hours
    • Solar Panels: one 100-watt solar panel
    • Energy created by one panel in direct sunlight: 73 watts
    • Max AC output: 120 volts and 2000 watts
    • Solar panels also available at 200-watt and 300-watt capacity
    • power station s available in sizes ranging from 187 watt hours to 6071 watt hours
    • Possible to monitor the power station from another room using the app
    • The larger power station s could power major appliances for days without recharging
    • Heavy
    • Less intuitive than other power station s I looked at
    • Difficult to recharge if you lose the original cables

    The Yeti 1500X was one of the most complicated user interfaces to navigate, and included several details that I have mixed feelings about. The most glaring one is that when the unit is plugged into a power source, a light blinks blue continuously until it is charged, when it switches to solid blue—if you are in the same space as this unit when it is charging, this is very distracting. Next is the three buttons above the display—which read “unit,” “light,” and “info.” Unit is fairly straightforward—it toggles the input and output measurements between volts, amperes, watts, etc. This is pretty handy if you’re curious about how much power a given device is chewing through. Next is light—on other power stations, this button turns on an actual light, which is useful if you’re trying to see what you’re doing in the evening hours. The Goal Zero, however, does not have a built-in light; what this button turns on and off is the display screen showing the power supply. The info button only seemed to turn on the display (not off)—it was unclear what other use this was meant to have.

    Interestingly, despite having one of the most powerful AC ports in my test, there was only space for two plug-ins. Most of the time, I suspect this will be plenty for people (and it does help to cut down on the unnecessary juice being lost out of these ports), but others might find themselves digging out a powerstrip to make up for the lack fo ports.

    One of the more unusual features of the Yeti 1500X is a top lid, which has storage for charging cables, or anything else you want to throw in there. Underneath, it also has detailed descriptions of all of the power limitations of the various ports, plus evergreen reminders about not letting your power station get wet—all in semi-legible font. Surprisingly that can’t be said for any of the power stations in my test (including the Anker 767, which despite having the largest surface area strangely didn’t include this information at all). There is also a second 8mm port under the lid as well as a 12V HPP output port.

    The amount of power it was being charged with supplying—1385 watts through a single AC port (I had plugged it back into the Anker 767 unit) was higher than anything else I tested, due to this being the only combination where that was available—the maximum input capability of the Yeti 1500X is 150V from AC power). The icon showing how much power was remaining did, however, stay consistent.

    Like the Anker 767, the Yeti 1500X has an app that you can use to monitor the battery’s power usage. This app was not as intuitive to use as the Anker 767’s, requiring several more steps to get to the point where I could monitor the battery usage (it also asked me to upgrade its firmware seemingly every other time I opened it). However, once you have the whole thing set up, it provides just as much information and control as the Anker 767 app.

    The Solar Panel

    I tested both the Boulder 100W and the Boulder 200W from Goal Zero. These are basically the same panels (although with different ports (HPP versus DC), affecting what other power stations you might be able to pair them with), just at a different size, so whether you choose one over the other will depend on your energy needs, and your personal strength.

    These panels are significantly bulkier and more cumbersome than anything else I tested. While the likes of Jackery’s SolarSaga series and the Anker solar panels are a bit like someone took a backpacking solar panel and just blew it up to 20x the size. The Boulder series from Goal Zero looks like a solar panel off your house that’s shrunken down to something you could throw into the back of your car.

    Both the 100W and the 200W solar panels come with carrying cases, which due to the placement of the zippers are kind of a nuisance to use. But use them you should because the way these panels fold up leaves the solar cells on the outside of the package, rather than on the inside (like the rest of the solar panels in my test). While the 100W panel was heavy, but otherwise easy enough to move thanks to the inclusion of a comfortable handle on the long side of the folded-up panels, the 200W had a tendency to drag across the ground (at least this was my experience, as a 5 foot 5 inch individual), forcing me to lean to one side as I walked. Did I mention that these panels were heavy? At 42 pounds, the Boulder 200W is extremely heavy.

    While the Boulder solar panels were reasonably easy to set up, the way the legs are designed give you fewer options for maximizing the angle of the sun in the winter months, when it’s lower to the horizon. This showed during testing, when the panels only pulled in 73W for the 100W panel, and 143W for the 200W panel.

    Can a Solar Generator Power a Space Heater?

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    If you are camping, living off-grid, or in an RV, you know how important it is to stay warm in the great outdoors – that is where space heaters come in.

    But can you power a space heater with a solar generator? Absolutely, and we want to tell you all about them and their nifty uses.

    We want to explain what size generators you need, and the safety precautions to follow when using one to power a space heater.

    We also answer some common questions. Can you use a space heater and other devices simultaneously? What do you need to run a space heater with solar power?

    Finally, you will find out what else solar generators can be used for, and their various advantages.

    Can you run a Space Heater off a Solar Generator?

    Solar generators are sustainable power solutions that use the power of the sun to produce clean and emission-free energy.

    Their versatility and convenience are only a few of the reasons causing them to grow in popularity.

    Space heaters are great devices to heat a single area of small or medium size. They are compact and versatile, which makes them convenient for camping and off-grid living.

    Can you power your space heater with a solar generator? Absolutely.

    To run a space heater with a generator, you need solar panels to collect energy that is then stored in a battery. From there, inverters are used to convert the stored power into electrical current that you can use to power your appliances.

    What Size Generator Do You Need to Run a Space Heater?

    Space heaters consume a lot of energy, so your solar setup must have the required power output to handle one.

    A safe estimate is that you need a generator of around 2,000 watts. Most space heaters have a power rating of 1,500 watts, but your generator’s supply needs to exceed this demand.

    The “extra” 500 watts act as a buffer that protects your system from fluctuations in power that can blow a fuse and render your expensive solar generator useless.

    These fluctuations are commonly caused by inappropriate extensions chords or changing the temperature settings of the heater’s thermostat.

    Can a 1,000 Watt Generator Run a Space Heater?

    While most space heaters have a power rating of 1,500 watts, some have a lower power setting of only 750 watts.

    A 1000 watt solar generator would not be able to run a 1500 watt space heater unless it has a powerful inverter that can increase the maximum output of the unit. However, a 1,000-watt generator can easily run a 750-watt space heater.

    While using a 750-watt heater may save energy, it will only make rooms warmer by a few degrees and it can only heat smaller spaces.

    solar, generator, power, space

    It is best to avoid 1000 watt generators for powering space heaters unless you have no other choice. 2,000-watt solar generators are a fool-proof and effective way to run almost any space heater.

    Can You Run a Space Heater and Other Appliances Simultaneously?

    A 2,000-watt solar generator will run a 1,500-watt space heater without any issues, but it can’t handle much more than that.

    You will need a generator with a greater capacity and output if you want to run other devices simultaneously. Another solution is to turn your space heater to a lower power setting so it only draws 750 watts.

    If you are off-grid and need to power an entire RV, complete with a fridge, lighting, and other appliances, 2,000 watts simply aren’t enough.

    If you are looking to run your entire off-grid set up with a solar generator you should be looking at generators with a power rating of 5,000 watts – sometimes more.

    Can A Solar Generator Be Used While Charging?

    Solar generators can be used while charging. but there are a few important factors that you need to keep in mind when doing so.

    Make sure to check your generator’s user manual. Most generators can be used safely while they are charging, but there are always exceptions.

    If you use your generator while it’s charging, make sure that it has sufficient power to run the appliances. With a charging generator, the power demand can exceed the power supply. Run appliances that your generator can handle.

    Your solar generator will take longer to charge if you use it while it’s charging because its energy depletes as you are using it. It requires even more power to fully charge its depleting battery.

    Also, you run the risk of overheating your system. Portable solar generators cause a lot of heat build-up, especially when they are used during charging. Be wary of overheating – this can cause damage to your generator and can become a fire hazard.

    Never Leave Your Space Heater Alone

    While this doesn’t have to be taken too literally, you really shouldn’t let a space heater warm up in your absence. Both the generator and the space heater are potentially dangerous and can cause fires if they aren’t monitored.

    It’s always better to be safe than sorry – keep your space heater in close sight.

    Start the Generator Before Plugging the Space Heater In

    Get your generator up and running before you plug your space heater in.

    Start the space heater off at the lowest possible setting, which will draw less power from your unit. Give it some time and work your way up until you eventually reach 1,500 watts.

    Use a Generator with a Power Rating of 2000 Watts or

    While 1,000-watt solar generators can run 750-watt space heaters, you are better off with a 2,000-watt generator.

    This reduces your risk of blowing fuses and damaging your generator.

    What Do You Need to Run a Space Heater With a Solar Generator?

    To run a space heater with a solar generator you need an integrated system comprising of a solar panel installation, charge controller, inverter, and battery system.

    Battery

    Batteries, also called capacitors, are storage units for solar power. After your solar panels collect energy from the sun it needs to be stored somewhere for you to be able to use it later.

    Without batteries, you can be left without power on cloudy and overcast days or during the night.

    There are myriad battery types that you can use. Lithium-ion batteries are recommended for solar-powered generators because they have a higher capacity and allow for more charge cycles, but you can look into some cheaper options.

    Inverter

    Inverters are devices that convert direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC).

    The power that flows through the main power grid is AC. Home appliances that you will need to run in your off-grid setup work with AC – they cannot be run with DC.

    The power stored in the batteries of your solar setup flows in DC. Therefore, you need an inverter to convert the stream into usable AC electricity for your appliances.

    Charge Controller

    Charge controllers are crucial to the proper functioning of your solar setup. These devices regulate voltage and power flow in solar installations.

    They control the flow of power, run electrical loads, and charge your batteries. They also improve the durability of your batteries and increase the solar generator lifespan.

    What Can Space Heaters Be Used For?

    Space heaters are great for camping, RVs, and off-grid properties, because you do not want to be cold in the great outdoors. They are also nifty for backup home power systems.

    If you are camping or lounging outdoors, you can use space heaters to keep away the windchill and enjoy more time outside. You can have the comfort of heat on your porch or deck, even when it’s cold outside.

    They are just as good for heating smaller spaces or a single room. If there is a power outage or a room in your home that doesn’t get enough heat from your central heating system, a space heater has you covered.

    They are also energy-efficient if you use central heating, but only want to make one room warmer. Wasting energy to heat an entire home is unnecessary – use a space heater for one room.

    What Can Solar Generators be Used for?

    Generators commonly have outputs and inputs for AC, DC, and USB devices.

    This means that you can power an array of electronic devices, appliances, and tools. Portable solar generators are versatile and growing in popularity for this reason.

    They are good sources of backup power at home for when the power grid fails.

    You can charge smartphones, laptops, tablets, and so much more. You can also run appliances like microwaves, cordless tools, TV sets, and gaming setups provided you have a generator with enough capacity and power output.

    A sufficiently large solar generator can power larger appliances like fridges and space heaters too.

    Choose a solar generator that matches your power needs. If you want to run appliances continuously, large appliances like fridges, or power an entire RV – opt for a solar generator with a large power output.

    Can a Solar Generator Power a Well Pump?

    Well pumps are electromechanical devices that pump water from a well. If you’re living off the electrical grid, you may find yourself far from a municipal water supply as well.

    Well pumps can use both AC and DC power. If you use DC power you do not need an inverter.

    Solar generators can power a well pump. but you need a large solar setup and a large power output.

    The size of your solar generator would depend on the power consumption of the well pump. The power supply of your generator should always exceed the well pump’s power needs, otherwise, the unit will burn out and you’ll end up both thirsty and in the dark.

    A 1/3 well pump needs about 3,000 watts. It only needs about 750 watts to run, but it needs a lot more power to start up.

    Solar panels with a power rating of 300 watts are quite common. Your best bet would be to have ten 300 watt solar panels to power a 1/3 well pump.

    What Else Can a 300 Watt Solar Generator Run?

    300-watt solar generators can run several useful common appliances. It can run both smaller and more power-hungry appliances.

    Smaller devices that can be run with 300 watts include lamps, lights, LEDs, ceiling fans, and Wi-Fi routers. You can charge devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops.

    Larger and more power-hungry appliances that can be run with 300 watts include small TV sets, stereos, video game setups, small fridges, and microwaves.

    Green Energy

    Solar generators are a sustainable and eco-friendly way of producing electricity.

    Solar generators use the sun’s energy instead of burning fossil fuels that harm the environment and cause greenhouse gas emissions. This contributes to global warming and climate change.

    The best part is – solar panels can last for over 20 years to give you a lifetime of solar energy.

    Low Maintenance

    Generators that use fossil fuels have a lot of moving parts, and fuel that needs to be replaced. This requires maintenance, repairs, and money.

    Solar generators do not require the same level of constant maintenance, which will save you money and trouble in the long run.

    Quiet Operation

    Solar generators do not run on fossil fuels or have as many moving parts. Unlike solar generators, gas generators are quite loud when they are being run. Solar generators do not make as much noise.

    Conclusion

    Space heaters are great for heating small or medium-sized rooms. This comes in handy in homes, off-grid properties, campsites, boats, and RVs.

    Luckily, you can power your space heater sustainably and affordably, independent of the main power grid, with a solar generator.

    Most space heaters have a power rating of 1,500 watts. For this, you would need a power supply as large as 2,000 watts because the generator’s supply needs to comfortably exceed the draw of the space heater.

    Space heaters also have a lower power setting of 750 watts. For these, you could use a 1,000-watt solar generator.

    Did you find our blog helpful? Then consider checking:

    Can A Solar Generator Power Space Heater ?

    Solar generators have become increasingly popular as a sustainable and eco-friendly energy source. On the other hand, space heaters are known for their ability to provide a quick and convenient heating solution.

    In order to determine if a solar generator can power a space heater, it is crucial to match the generator’s capacity with the heater’s power requirements.

    What Size Generator Do You Need to Run a Space Heater?

    When considering the size of the solar generator needed to power a space heater, it is essential to understand the power requirements of the heater.

    Space heaters typically have wattage ratings ranging from 500 to 1,500 watts or more.

    Therefore, you need to select a solar generator with a power output sufficient to meet the wattage requirements of the space heater.

    Running a space heater alongside other appliances on a solar generator is possible if the combined wattage of all devices falls within the generator’s power output.

    If the total wattage exceeds the generator’s capacity, you may need to prioritize which appliances to run or consider upgrading to a more powerful solar generator.

    Can a 1,000 Watt Generator Run a Space Heater?

    A 1,000-watt solar generator may be capable of running a space heater, provided the heater’s wattage requirements are within the generator’s power output.

    For example, if the space heater operates at 500 watts, a 1,000-watt solar generator should be able to power it.

    However, if the space heater requires 1,500 watts or more, a 1,000-watt generator would not be sufficient.

    Pros and Cons of Using a Solar Generator to Power a Space Heater

    ProsConsRenewable Source of Energy: Solar generators harness the power of the sun, a clean and abundant energy source. This reduces reliance on fossil fuels and helps minimize environmental impact. Solar power is also free, so it can save you money in the long run.Higher Price Point: Solar generators can be more expensive upfront compared to traditional generators, particularly when factoring in the costs of solar panels and other necessary components. However, it is important to consider the long-term savings that can be achieved with solar power, which can outweigh the initial investment.Low Maintenance: Solar generators have fewer moving parts compared to traditional generators, which makes them easier to maintain and less prone to mechanical failures. They require very little maintenance, and as long as the panels are kept clean and free from debris, they can last for many years.Lack of Capacity: Solar generators may not have the same capacity as traditional generators, which could limit their ability to power high-wattage appliances such as space heaters. It is crucial to match the generator’s capacity with the power requirements of the space heater to ensure compatibility. In some cases, you may need to use a larger solar generator or supplement it with another power source to meet your energy needs.Highly Portable: Many solar generators are compact and lightweight, making them easy to transport and set up in various locations. They can be used for camping trips or other outdoor activities, as well as in areas where traditional power sources may not be available.Quiet and Fume-Free: Solar generators produce little to no noise and do not emit harmful fumes, making them suitable for use in indoor or residential areas. This is particularly beneficial if you plan to use a space heater indoors or in an enclosed space.

    What Do You Need to Run a Space Heater with a Solar Generator?

    To successfully run a space heater using a solar generator, you’ll need the right combination of components and environmental conditions.

    A Powerful Portable Power Station

    First and foremost, you’ll need a powerful portable power station, also known as a solar generator, capable of providing enough wattage to meet the demands of your space heater.

    As mentioned earlier, space heaters typically consume between 500 and 1,500 watts or more, so ensure your chosen solar generator can deliver the required power output.

    Keep in mind that it’s always better to choose a generator with a higher output capacity than needed to account for potential inefficiencies or additional appliances.

    A Charge Controller

    A charge controller is a crucial component of any solar power setup. This device regulates the voltage and current flowing from the solar panels to the solar generator’s battery, preventing overcharging and optimizing the charging process.

    Many portable power stations include built-in charge controllers, making it easy to connect your solar panels directly to the generator.

    However, if your generator does not have an integrated charge controller, you will need to purchase one separately and ensure it is compatible with both your solar panels and generator.

    The Sun!

    Lastly, the most critical factor in running a space heater with a solar generator is sunlight. Solar panels rely on sunlight to generate electricity, so you’ll need to ensure that your solar array receives adequate sunlight to charge the generator’s battery.

    Solar panel efficiency can vary depending on factors such as panel type, angle, and geographical location.

    To maximize your solar panels’ energy production, be sure to place them in a location with minimal shading and adjust the angle according to your latitude and the time of year.

    Know Your Wattage

    Understanding and following wattage ratings is crucial when running a space heater with a solar generator. It helps you select the appropriate generator size and ensures that you won’t overload the system.

    To determine the wattage requirements of your space heater, check the label or user manual for its specifications.

    Keep in mind that running multiple appliances simultaneously will require a generator with a higher power output capacity to accommodate the combined wattage.

    Use a Thermostat With Your Heater

    • Energy Efficiency: A thermostat can help maintain a consistent room temperature, preventing the space heater from running continuously and using excess energy. This results in reduced energy consumption and lower electricity costs.
    • Comfort: With a thermostat, you can set your desired room temperature, ensuring optimal comfort without manual adjustments or constantly monitoring the heater.
    • Safety: A thermostat can automatically turn off the space heater when the desired temperature is reached, reducing the risk of overheating and potential fire hazards.

    Guest Post: Solar Generators for Yurts

    I’m very excited about today’s guest post, written by my friend Ron Friedman. Ron represents Sol Solutions, a company that makes portable solar power generators. Just to warn you, this is a long post, so grab a snack and get comfy! This is the best post I’ve read about putting a solar generator in your Rainier Yurt.

    Differentiating solar generators for yurts versus other structures will be dependent upon your particular design. You will not put a solar system on the roof, that’s for sure. Sizing will be dependent upon how much power you need. (Adding up the wattage of all your electrical items and the hours you want them on.)

    If you have appropriately facing deck space or unshaded grounds, this may represent the correct location for the placement of solar panels. A portable solar generator will be a simple solution, easily portable, and plug and play. But with a solar generator, you will also have a charge controller, an inverter, and the critical component, battery storage.

    The critical elements of any solar generator are:

    • Battery storage capacity
    • Solar pv input
    • Charge controller
    • Inverter rating
    • Component quality
    • Portability
    • Balanced system design

    Battery Storage

    If you are living off the grid, then understanding battery storage, sizing and capacity is essential. The battery system will allow you to have lights and more during the night as well as cloudy periods, or when your demand exceeds the power output of the panels alone.

    Batteries are rated in amp hours, like 12 volt 100 amp/hours. But to determine how much power you need, everything is rated in a wattage draw. This requires that you calculate watt hours from the amp hours of the battery. In our example, you multiply 12 volts x 100 amp/hours resulting in 1200 watts.

    You may think that this gives you 1200 watts of usable power, but batteries are finicky and lead acid battery manufacturers recommend using only 2/3 of the power to prevent draining the batteries decreasing the life of the system. If you drain your lead acid battery system, it will be dead or certainly suffer an early demise. In our case 2/3 x 1200 = 800 watts of functional power. So a 100-watt draw notebook computer could run for 8 hours before charging the system would be needed. In most cases, you will need more power available than this. You have to add all the wattage requirements of your electrical equipment, toaster, fridge, lights, fans, TV, (everything) to size your system properly.

    Solar panels capture solar energy. They are rated in watts like 100-watt panels or 235-watt panels.

    Different manufacturers provide various watt panels. In many instances, you have approximately 6 hours of sunlight to capture energy if the panels are situated properly. You can leave them pointing south, but a system on wheels allows you to easily adjust the angle of the panels through the day maximizing your solar harvest.

    Fully recharging the 100 amp hour battery with a 140-watt solar panel can be calculated like this. Total usable watts were 800. Divide this by 140 watts from the solar panel. 800 amp/hours divided by 140 watts, or 5.7 hours charge time. But if you are running appliances during that time, it will take additional time for charging. And batteries just sitting at less than a full charge or not charging to capacity will impact their lifespan. Hence you will design a system to be able to provide usable power and charging power simultaneously.

    Charge Controller

    Between your solar panels and your batteries, you need a way to control the voltage or current going to the batteries. It protects the batteries from overcharging.

    Once again there are many low-end controllers available. If the system is not matched well you will lose a huge amount of power or you will damage your batteries. We highly recommend MPPT controllers (Maximum Power Point Trackers). These electronic components take a high-voltage DC coming off the panels and lower the voltage so the batteries can be charged safely.

    It can get pretty confusing here but a 140-watt 12-volt panel does not provide 140 watts. The MPPT controller checks the output of the panels and matches it to the battery to maintain a safe charge in amps. They are much more efficient than low-end controllers.

    Inverters and Inverter Rating

    The power from the solar panels is DC. Most US standard equipment is AC. So the power must be converted. The inverter changes that DC voltage to useable 120 volt AC. There are also inverter chargers that allow you to charge your battery bank from a grid connect or fossil fueled generator. The inverter charger would take that AC power and change it to DC allowing your batteries to be charged quickly and safely.

    The rating on the inverter refers to the maximum amount of power it can take from the generator. So a 1500 watt rated inverter can take 1500 watts in AC power. But pulling the maximum amount of power will deplete the 100 amp hour battery from our example in about 30 minutes. (800 useable watts divided by 1500 watts) For solar generators the general rule to keep in mind is to allow a 1.5 to 1 ratio where your useable power in this case would be 1500 watts with an inverter rating of 1000.

    Now that you have this information, watch out for:

    • Generators with little or no battery storage.
    • An inverter charger is an excellent choice that allows for quick charging of your batteries with grid or gas/diesel powered generators.
    • Be sure to follow the 1.5 to 1 ratio (useable power to inverter rating).

    Quality Components

    Like everything else, “you get what you pay for.” But in the case of a solar generator, if you are living off grid, reliability is critical. Or if you are using a solar generator for emergency situations it has be dependable and functioning when the need arises.

    American made solar controllers and inverters tend to have 2-5 year warranties. Look for this as a standard and be cautious with low end systems.

    Metal rather than plastic housings will provide much longer and durable protection for your system. Plastics break down over time with sun exposure and are just not as long lived for rugged situations like off grid scenarios, emergency situations or construction sites.

    The solar panels come from China, India, the US, Canada, Germany and other countries. From a sustainable point of view, purchasing as close to local as possible makes sense. And it will contribute to help in building a sustainable solar industry here in the US or wherever you happen to be on our space ship.

    Portability

    Solar generators often come with some type of portability. This provides power where you need it when you need it, and the ability to track the sun. The weight of the batteries can be very extreme even approaching 100 pounds for a single battery.

    Be sure a portable system is not sacrificing storage capacity for ease of mobility. Cheap plastic wheeled units save money but do nothing for ease of moving or long life of the system. Look for good bicycle wheels, proper weight distribution, ease of loading into a truck, or moving from the home to a workshop or outdoor construction area where power is needed.

    Cheap or inexpensive wheels or no wheelsUnbalanced very heavily designed systems

    Balanced System Designs

    Balanced system design simply means all the components of a solar generator system are quality products, fit well together, and have ratings that support the functions you are seeking. Useable storage capacity (2/3 of the rated storage ), good solar module panel input, and the appropriate inverter rating are critical. Remember the ratio of 1.5 useable watt-hours to 1 watt of inverter rating with 6 hours or less of recharging time.

    1500 useable watt-hours is a good starting point for storage capacity. This would look like a 250-watt solar panel (or input) and a 1000-watt inverter.

    Provided by Ron Friedman and Chaz Peling, owner of Sol Solutions.

    Please mention you read about us on the Rainier Yurt blog!

    Glossary

    AC – alternating current. Standard for households here in the US. (The charge can go in both directions)

    DC – direct current (The charge only goes in one direction)

    Watts – amount of electricity used by a power consuming device

    Amps – volume of electricity

    solar, generator, power, space

    Amp/hours – this is the energy rating for a battery or battery system. You can think of this as what is the maxium amperage that can be taken from the battery until it is drained. If you draw 5 amps for a period of time the battery will last for some specific amount of time. If you draw 10 amps, it will last less time. But that will leave the battery drained (lead acid). That is not what you want to have happen. Check the manufacturers guidelines or with your battery specialist. Some manufacturers suggest only draining the battery to 60% of capacity before it would require charging.

    Volts – the amount of pressure of electric power

    Lithium Battery – a relatively new battery technology that allows for very dense power storage. It can store multiple times the amount of energy of lead acid batteries and can be discharged down to 10% of capacity with little or no harm. They are also much lighter than lead acid batteries.

    Lead Acid Battery – a long time established battery technology

    Solar controller – a component that manages the power from the solar panels going to the batteries.

    MPPT controller – an advanced solar controller providing greater safety and charging ability

    Inverter – this component takes the power from the batteries and converts it to AC power common in most households

    Inverter rating – the amount of power that the component can process from the battery system

    Electric Generator – a device that creates electricity. A solar generator takes light energy and converts it to electricity. A gas, diesel or propane powered generator takes mechanical energy and converts it to electricity.

    PGE makes deal for space solar power

    California’s biggest energy utility announced a deal Monday to purchase 200 megawatts of electricity from a startup company that plans to beam the power down to Earth from outer space, beginning in 2016.

    California’s biggest energy utility announced a deal Monday to purchase 200 megawatts of electricity from a startup company that plans to beam the power down to Earth from outer space, beginning in 2016.

    San Francisco-based Pacific Gas Electric said it was seeking approval from state regulators for an agreement to purchase power over a 15-year period from Solaren Corp., an 8-year-old company based in Manhattan Beach, Calif. The agreement was first reported in a posting to Next100, a Weblog produced by PGE.

    Solaren would generate the power using solar panels in Earth orbit and convert it to radio-frequency transmissions that would be beamed down to a receiving station in Fresno, PGE said. From there, the energy would be converted into electricity and fed into PGE’s power grid.

    PGE is pledging to buy the power at an agreed-upon rate, comparable to the rate specified in other agreements for renewable-energy purchases, company spokesman Jonathan Marshall said. Neither PGE nor Solaren would say what that rate was, due to the proprietary nature of the agreement. However, Marshall emphasized that PGE would make no up-front investment in Solaren’s venture.

    We’ve been very careful not to bear risk in this, Marshall told msnbc.com.

    Solaren’s chief executive officer, Gary Spirnak, said the project would be the first real-world application of space solar power, a technology that has been talked about for decades but never turned into reality.

    While a system of this scale and exact configuration has not been built, the underlying technology is very mature and is based on communications satellite technology, he said in a QA posted by PGE. A study drawn up for the Pentagon came to a similar conclusion in 2007. However, that study also said the cost of satellite-beamed power would likely be significantly higher than market rates, at least at first.

    In contrast, Spirnak said Solaren’s system would be competitive both in terms of performance and cost with other sources of baseload power generation.

    Solaren’s director for energy services, Cal Boerman, said he was confident his company would be able to deliver the power starting in mid-2016, as specified in the agreement. There are huge penalties associated with not performing, he told msnbc.com. He said PGE would be our first client but was not expected to be the only one.

    The biggest questions surrounding the deal have to do with whether Solaren has the wherewithal, the expertise and the regulatory support to get a space-based solar power system up and running in seven years. Quite a few hurdles there to leap, Clark Lindsey of RLV and Space Transport News observed.

    Month in Space: January 2014

    From a launch out of the weeds to a special delivery in orbit, see the best space offerings from January 2014.

    In the QA, Spirnak said his company currently consists of about 10 engineers and scientists, and plans to employ more than 100 people a year from now. He said each member of the Solaren team had at least 20 years of experience in the aerospace industry, primarily with Hughes Aircraft Co. and the U.S. Air Force. Spirnak himself is a former Air Force spacecraft project engineer with experience at Boeing Satellite Systems as well.

    The impetus for forming Solaren was the convergence of improved high-energy conversion devices, heavy-launch vehicle developments, and a revolutionary Solaren-patented SSP [space solar power] design that is a significant departure from past efforts and makes SSP not only technically but economically viable, Spirnak said.

    Boerman said Solaren’s plan called for four or five heavy-lift launches that would put the elements of the power-generating facility in orbit. Those elements would dock automatically in space to create the satellite system. Boerman declined to describe the elements in detail but noted that each heavy-lift launch could put 25 tons of payload into orbit.

    SpaceAstronauts’ urine and sweat are almost entirely recycled into drinking water with new system

    We’ve talked with United Launch Alliance, and gotten an idea of what’s involved and what the cost is, he said.

    The plan would have to be cleared by the Federal Aviation Administration as well as the Federal Communications Commission and federal and state safety officials, Boerman said.

    In the nearer term, PGE’s deal would have to be approved by the California Public Utilities Commission, Marshall said.

    He said the space-power agreement was part of PGE’s effort to forge long-term deals for renewable energy, including deals for terrestrial-based solar power. Marshall pointed out that space-based and terrestrial-based solar power generation were really very different animals.

    Unlike ground-based solar arrays, space satellites could generate power 24 hours a day, unaffected by cloudy weather or Earth’s day-night cycle. The capacity factor for a ground-based solar is typically less than 25 percent. In contrast, the capacity factor for a power-generating satellite is expected to be 97 percent, Marshall said.

    The potential for generating much larger amounts of power in space for any given area of solar cells makes this a very promising opportunity, Marshall said.

    He said the agreement called for 800 gigawatt-hours of electricity to be provided during the first year of operation, and 1,700 gigawatt-hours for subsequent years. The larger figure is roughly equal to the annual consumption of 250,000 average homes.

    PGE has 5.1 million electric customer accounts and 4.2 million natural-gas customer accounts in Northern and Central California.

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