The best solar generators for 2023, tested and reviewed
Tap the power of the sun to meet your power needs wherever you may roam.
This is a solid all-around mix of features and affordability.
This powerful pack is easy to transport to a site.
This is the pick if you need lots of scalable capacity.
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If you’re camping and want to charge up your lantern, phone, or other devices, a solar generator sure would be convenient. Or perhaps you’re van-living your way across the country, and you need to work on the go and keep your conversion electrified—yet another solid case for a solar-powered generator. Whatever the case, few things are as useful in today’s tech-driven world as source of reliable, renewable power. The best solar generators can reliably and sustainably meet various energy needs, and we’re here to help you find the right one for you.
- Best overall:Jackery Explorer 2000 Pro
- Best high-capacity:Jackery Explorer 3000 Pro
- Best for frequent use:Anker 767 Portable Power Station Solar Generator
- Best for camping:Goal Zero Yeti 1000 Core
- Best for off-grid living:Bluetti AC200 Max
- Best for homes:EcoFlow Delta Pro
- Best portable:Anker 545
- Best budget:Jackery Explorer 300
How we chose the best solar generators
As an avid outdoorsman, I’ve had the opportunity to test an extremely wide range of outdoor gear, including mobile and off-grid electrification equipment like solar-powered generators, as well as inverter and dual-fuel generators. These became particularly essential when the pandemic forced my travels to become domestic rather than international, which prompted me to outfit a van for long-term road-tripping.
To bring my work along for the ride, I needed a constant power source to charge my laptop, a portable fridge, lighting, and a myriad of devices and tools … even ebikes. As a result, I’ve tried all the leading portable power stations (and plenty that aren’t leading, too), so I know precisely what separates the best from the blah. I’ve written all about it (and other outdoor tech) for publications, including the Daily Beast, Thrillist, the Manual, and more. There were cases when my own opinion resulted in a tie, and I, therefore, looked to reviews from actual customers to determine which solar generators delivered the most satisfaction to the most users.
The best solar generators: Reviews Recommendations
The solar generators on this list span a wide range of budgets, from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. They span several use cases, from camping to a backup for your home. Only you know all the factors that make one of these the best solar generator for you, but we think that one of these will get the job done.
Best overall: Jackery Explorer 2000 Pro
Buy it used or refurbished: eBay
Why it made the cut: This Jackery solar generator delivers the best blend of capacity, input/output capability, portability, and durability.
- Storage capacity: 2,160Wh
- Input capacity: 1,200W
- Output capacity: 2,200W (4,400W surge)
- Dimensions: 15.1 x 10.5 x 12.1 inches
- Weight: 43 lbs
- Price: 2,498
- Fast charging and outstanding capacity
- Durable and easy to use
- Plenty of ports
- Can connect to six 200W solar panels
The biggest portable power station from Jackery, a leading solar generator manufacturer, the Explorer 2000 Pro offers a tremendous 2,160 watt-hours of power, making it capable of charging a full camping setup for a few days. When plugged into six 200W solar panels, an upgrade over the four-panel setup available on the Jackery Explorer 1500, you can fully charge this portable power station in just 2-2.5 hours. That’s less than half the time of the smaller model.
On top of all that, it’s extremely user-friendly. Numerous output ports ensure that you can plug in a wide range of devices and electrical equipment. Its functions are highly intuitive, and the digital display is easy to understand. Like other Jackery generators, it’s incredibly durable, too. The one potential downside is its weight: At 43 pounds, it’s a bit heavy for its size. Even so, for all the power you can store, and the Rapid-charging time, the Jackery Explorer 2000 Pro will keep the lights on wherever you need power.
For more on the Jackery Explorer 2000 Pro, check out our full review.
Best high-capacity: Jackery Explorer 3000 Pro
- Ample power storage for long trips or outages
- Sturdy handles and wheels make it easy to move
- Smooth design makes it easy to load and unload
- High peak output for power-intensive tasks
- Lots of ports for connectivity
This is the big sibling to our best overall pick. Inside the Jackery Explorer 3000 Pro, you’ll find 3,024Wh of power storage, which is enough to power even large devices for extended periods of time. It can charge a high-end smartphone more than 100 times on a single charge. It can also power full-on appliances in an RV or emergency situation.
Despite its large capacity, we learned firsthand that the Jackery Explorer 3000 Pro is relatively easy to move around. Sturdy handles molded into its case make it easy to pick up, while an extending handle and wheels make it easy to roll around at the campsite or any other location.
It can charge in less than three hours from a standard outlet or, under optimal conditions with the 200W solar panels, it can fill up as quickly as eight hours. That full solar array can get large and unwieldy, but a smaller setup can still provide ample charging if you don’t need to max out the capacity daily.
This portable power station offers the best of everything we loved about the Explorer 2000 Pro, there’s just more of it. When you’re living the van life, powering an RV, or trying to ride out a power outage, more is definitely better if you can justify the extra cost.
Best for frequent use: Anker 767 Portable Power Station Solar Generator
Why it made the cut: High capacity and fast charging make this long-lasting battery a solid everyday driver.
- Charges up to 80% in less than two hours
- Solid output and storage capacity
- Optional battery pack doubles capacity
- LiFePO4 batteries survive more charge cycles than traditional models
- Plenty of ports
- Built-in handle and wheels for transport
Anker has equipped its massive portable power station with LiFePO4 batteries, which stand up much better to repeat charging and discharging over the long term than common lithium-ion cells. Anker claims it can charge and discharge up to 3,000 times before it reaches 80% battery health compared to 500 in a similar lithium-ion setup. While I haven’t had the chance to run it through 3,000 cycles, LiFePO4 batteries have a well-earned reputation for longevity.
Regarding overall performance, the Anker 767 does everything you’d want a unit with these specs to do. The bad weather has given me [Executive Gear Editor Stan Horaczek] ample chances, unfortunately, to test it in real-world situations.
The built-in battery offers a 2048Wh capacity and pumps out up to 2,400W. It does so through four standard AC outlets, an RV outlet, two 120W car outlets, two 12W USB-A ports, and three 100W USB-C ports.
I used it during a blackout to keep our Wi-Fi running while charging my family’s devices. Filling a phone from zero barely makes a dent in the power station’s capacity, and it ran the router for several hours with plenty of juice left.
In another instance, it powered our small meat freezer for four hours before the power came back on with some juice still left in the tank. It does what it promises.
There are a few nice extra touches as well. Built-in wheels and an extendable handle allow it to roll like carry-on luggage. Unfortunately, those are necessary inclusions because it weighs a hefty 67.3 pounds. It’s manageable but definitely heavy compared to its competition.
The Anker 767 is compatible with the company’s 200W solar panels, which fold up for easy transportation. I mostly charged the unit through my home’s AC power, a surprisingly quick process. The 767 Portable Power Station can go from flat to more than 80% charge in less than a half hour with sufficient power. It takes about two hours to get it fully juiced.
Anker also offers a mobile app that connects to the power station via Bluetooth if you want to control it without actually going over and touching it.
Best for camping: Goal Zero Yeti 1000 Core
Buy it used or refurbished: eBay
Why it made the cut: Thanks to its outstanding portability, high storage capacity, and Yeti’s famous durability, the Goal Zero Yeti 1000 Core is great for packing along for camping or van-living.
- Storage capacity: 983Wh
- Input capacity: 600W
- Output capacity: 1,200W (2,400W surge)
- Dimensions: 9.86 x 15.25 x 10.23 inches
- Weight: 31.68 lbs
- Price: 1,198.95
- Highly portable
- Incredible durability
- Rapid recharge rate
- Plenty of plugs
Yeti is long-renowned for making some of the best outdoor gear money can buy, so when the company launched its Goal Zero line of solar generators, it was no surprise that they turned out to be awesome. While the whole line is great, the 1000 Core model’s balance between capacity and portability makes it perfect for taking on the road.
While the 1000 Core has a third less capacity than our top pick, it charges up faster, making it a great option for Rapid solar replenishment. That said, its capacity is no slouch, offering 82 phone charges, 20 for a laptop, or upwards of 15 hours for a portable fridge (depending on wattage). Suffice it to say, that it’s more than capable of powering your basic camping gear.
Beyond its charging capabilities, the Goal Zero 1000 Core excels at camping thanks to its hearty build quality. Built super tough—like pretty much everything Yeti makes—its exterior shell provides solid protection.
The biggest issue it presents is the cost. Like pretty much everything Yeti produces, its price tag isn’t small. While there are other 1000-level solar generators for less, this one offers a great balance of power storage and portability.
For more on the Goal Zero Yeti 1000 Core, check out our full review.
Best for off-grid living: Bluetti AC200 Max
Buy it used or refurbished: eBay
Why it made the cut: Thanks to its high solo capacity and ability to daisy-chain with additional batteries, the Bluetti AC200 Max is perfect for bringing power off the grid.
- Storage capacity: 2,048Wh standalone, expandable up to 8,192Wh
- Input capacity: 1,400W
- Output capacity: 2,200W (4,800W surge)
- Dimensions: 16.5 x 11 x 15.2 inches
- Weight: 61.9 lbs
- Price: 1,999
- Massive capacity
- Daisy-chain capability
- Lightning-fast input capacity
- 30A RV plug and two wireless charging pads
- Surprisingly affordable for what it offers
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a solar generator better suited for living off the grid for an extended period than the Bluetti AC200 Max. It boasts a substantial 2,048Wh capacity, allowing you to power your whole life off it longer than most portable generators. Even better, you can daisy-chain multiple Bluetti batteries, expanding its capacity to a massive 8.192Wh. That’s flat-out enormous and translates into the ability to power a full-sized fridge for over a day or several hours of air conditioning. For the more modest needs of people who are used to living off a generator, it will last for a very long time.
At the same time, the AC200 Max has an outstanding input capacity of 1,400W. That means you can plug in a pretty hefty array of solar panels to replenish its stores quickly. This allows you to keep your off-grid setup going with little to no interruption. It also features some specialty charging options, including a 30A plug, which lets you plug it directly into an RV, and multiple wireless charging pads for smaller devices.
Best for homes: EcoFlow Delta Pro
Why it made the cut: The EcoFlow Delta Pro delivers the standalone and expandable power capacity necessary to power your entire home.
- Storage capacity: 3,600Wh standalone, expandable up to 25,000Wh
- Input capacity: 6,500W
- Output capacity: 3,600W (7,200W surge)
- Dimensions: 25 x 11.2 x 16.4 inches
- Weight: 99 lbs
- Price: 3,699
- Enormous capacity
- Daisy-chain capability
- 30A RV plug
- Lightning-fast input capacity
- Wi-Fi and Smartphone connectivity
If you’re looking for the best solar generator for home backup in the event of a power outage, the EcoFlow Delta Pro stands apart from the pack, thanks to an unrivaled power and output capacity. The Delta Pro alone packs a 3,600Wh wallop, and you can expand that to 25,000Wh by chaining it to extra EcoFlow batteries and generators. That’s a ton of power and it has the substantial output capacity necessary to power an entire house worth of electronics when you need it to.
The Delta Pro also offers a companion app for iOS and Android that allows you to monitor energy usage, customize its operation, and monitor and manage a number of other elements.
While it’s not overly large for what it does, the Delta Pro is a heavy piece of equipment. It has wheels, so it is technically portable, but this is meant to be put down in a home or other semi-permanent site. Given its size and power, it’s also a much more expensive device, especially if you’re springing for the add-ons. As the best solar power generator to provide backup power for your entire home, however, it’s worth every penny.
Best portable: Anker 545
Buy it used or refurbished: eBay
Why it makes the cut: If you’re looking for highly portable power, the Anker 545 delivers.
When portability is a priority, the Anker 545 offers the compact size and reduced weight you’re looking for and packs fairly substantial power to boot. Roughly the size of a shoebox and lighter than a case of beer, it’s easy to pack along with camping gear and move around without too much effort.
To get something so light, though, you have to compromise on power. The Anker 545 has a capacity of 778Wh and an output capacity of 770W, which is plenty of power for keeping your devices charged. Specifically, that should provide about 55 phone charges, 10 for a laptop, or 38 for a camera. Unfortunately, the outlets only output at up to 500W, so it cannot power more demanding devices like hair dryers or electric stoves.
That said, the Anker 545 has some bells and whistles, including an integrated flashlight and ambient light. All told it’s a solid option if you need a highly mobile generator.
Best budget: Jackery Explorer 300
Buy it used or refurbished: Amazon
Why it made the cut: With its reasonable capacity, compact size, and solid build quality at a low price, the Jackery Explorer 300 is a great budget pick.
Though it isn’t quite as impressive as our top picks for best overall and best high-capacity, Jackery’s smaller Explorer 300 solar generator is super compact and lightweight with a decent power capacity for its price. Less a mobile power station than an upscale power bank, the 7-pound Jackery Explorer 300 provides plenty of portable recharges for your devices when you’re camping, on a job site, driving, or just need some power and don’t have convenient access to an outlet. Its modest 293Wh capacity isn’t huge, but it’s enough to provide 31 phone charges, 15 for a camera, 6 for the average drone, 2.5 for a laptop, or a few hours of operation for a minifridge or TV. A built-in flashlight would have upped its camping game somewhat, but at 300 (and often considerably less if you catch it discounted), this highly portable little power station does a lot for a little.
We tested this portable power station for several months, and it came in handy numerous times, especially during the winter when power outages abound. At one point, we had it powering two phones, a MacBook, and a small light.
The built-in handle makes it very easy to lug around. It feels like carrying a lunch box. The screen is easy to read, and the whole package seems fairly durable. Our review unit hasn’t taken any dramatic tumbles yet, but it has gotten banged around in car trunks, duffle bags, and other less-than-luxurious accommodations with no issues. If you catch one of these on sale, get it and stick it in a cabinet. You’ll be extremely glad to have it around when the need arises.
What to consider before buying the best solar generators
Over the past few years, solar generators have exploded onto the market. There are now dozens of different brands that largely look more or less the same at a glance. The fact is there are only a few standouts amidst a sea of knockoffs. Here’s what to look for to ensure you’re getting a great one:
How much power can it store?
A portable solar generator comes in an extremely wide range of sizes, but a generator’s size doesn’t automatically make it capable of storing a lot of power. In fact, most are disappointingly limited and unable to store much more juice than a portable charger.
To properly check a generator’s storage, you must look at its capacity, measured in watt-hours (Wh). One watt-hour is the equivalent of 1 watt flowing over the course of an hour. The best solar generators offer capacities of several hundred and sometimes several thousand watt-hours. That doesn’t mean, however, that it will provide power for several hundred or several thousand hours. Any generator will ultimately last a different amount of time, depending on what’s plugged into it.
It’s easy to predict how long a generator will last when you use it to power one thing. For example, if you were to power a 100-watt bulb using a power station with a capacity of 500 watt-hours, it would stay lit for five continuous hours. Add a portable fridge that requires 50 watts per hour, your phone which uses 18, a mini-fan that uses three … you get the picture. The more capacity, the better.
No solar generator will hold a charge forever, so you want one capable of charging as quickly and easily as possible. This is where we put the “renewable” into “renewable energy.”
All of the power stations included in this roundup can be charged by connecting them to solar panels (hence the designation “solar generators”). Still, you also want to look for the ability to charge via other sources like wall outlets and your vehicle’s 12-volt plug. This ensures that you can charge up whether you’re off-grid in the sun, plugged in while preparing at home, or using your dash socket on the go.
You must also monitor a model’s charging input capacity, measured in watts (W). For example, a solar-powered generator with a max input of 100W can take in a continuous flow of up to 100 watts, which is about the minimum that you’ll reasonably want to look for. Most of the generators below have input capacities of at least a few hundred watts when charging via solar, so a few 50- to 200-watt solar panels will max them out.
Solar generators need to keep the power coming in and going out. The best solar generators can simultaneously charge all your intended devices via whatever plugs are necessary.
Any portable power station worth your money will have a high output capacity so you can charge many devices, even if they require a lot of juice. A generator’s maximum output should be much higher than its max input. While a particular model might only be capable of taking in a few hundred watts at any given moment, it will usually put out exponentially more. At a minimum, you’ll want a generator that can put out 300 watts at a time, though you’ll want at least 500 for larger tasks.
The best solar generators should also offer a variety of output plugs, including AC outlets, USB-A, USB-C, and even 12-volt DC outlets like the one in your vehicle dash. This ensures you can charge several devices simultaneously regardless of their plug. The number of ports you’ll need will vary depending on how many devices you need to power, but it should have at least a couple of AC outlets and a few USB-A ports.
While portable battery sources have been around for a while now, over the past several decades, they’ve been pretty heavy, unwieldy things. One of the most exciting aspects of the latest generation of solar generators is that they’ve become much more physically compact.
Suppose you plan on taking a generator camping or working it into a van conversion where every square inch matters; well, size and weight become major considerations. All of the products we’ve recommended are about the size of one or two shoeboxes—three at the most. The lightest is about the weight of a 24-pack of soda, while the heaviest is 100 pounds. Most fall somewhere between 30-60 pounds.
If you’re using your generator as a more or less stationary source of backup power at home, portability isn’t a huge issue. Still, we generally recommend keeping weight and size in mind; You never know when you’ll need it for something other than a backup. (Plus, who wants to lug around something heavy and awkward if they don’t have to?)
Another consideration regarding portability involves the necessity for accessories, which can impact how easy it is to move and use your generator. Some generators, for example, require a lot of removable battery packs, which can be a hassle when you’re on the go or packing a vehicle. All of the inclusions on our list require some accessories—you can’t get solar power without connecting cables and solar panels—but they work well with minimal add-ons.
As with any product you expect to last, durability and all-around quality craftsmanship are essential. This is especially true if you plan on lugging your generator around on camping and road trips. Many subpar power stations are made from cheap components and flimsy plastic that doesn’t feel like it will hold up under the rigors of the road.
Durability isn’t something you can determine by reading a spec sheet off the internet. You’ve actually got to take the generator out, use it a bunch, and see how it holds up. I’ve verified the durability of these recommendations via a combination of my own actual field tests and reviews culled from countless real product owners.
Q: What size solar generator should I get?
It’s easy to underestimate how much capacity you need. A 1,000 watt-hours might sound like a lot, but if you’re going to power a converted van with a portable fridge, lights, and occasional phone and laptop top-off, that 1,000 watt-hours will go faster than you expect. I used a setup like this and know from personal experience that you should always overestimate how much power you’ll need.
A generator with a capacity under 1,000Wh can keep electronics charged. A larger one with 1000-1500Wh should be the minimum for road trips where you’ll need it to last multiple days between full charges. For a house or worksite where you expect to use some serious energy—like a full-sized refrigerator or power tools—you’re going to want to start looking at the biggest possible power stations that can be daisy-chained to external batteries.
If you want to get precise, there is an equation:
Estimate how many hours you’ll need to power various devices. For example, if you want to power two light bulbs for 2 hours: you need 4 hours of operation.
Add up the total wattage necessary: the two bulbs are 60 watts each, so you need 120 watts.
Multiply these together to find the total watt-hours needed: 4 x 120 = 480. So, in this case you’d need at least a 500Wh solar generator.
That might sound like a lot for two lightbulbs, but remember that, in most situations, you won’t really be powering 60-watt light bulbs for hours on end. You’ll be charging phones and laptops for an hour here or there, cooling a fridge that kicks on and off every once in a while, using power tools in short bursts, and whatnot.
Q: How many years will a solar generator last?
Most modern generators are rated to last upwards of 25 years. The best-designed power stations are pretty sturdy, with few to no moving parts, so they should likely keep kicking for a long time, provided that you care for them properly. I’ve been pretty rough with a few of mine, and they show no signs of stopping.
Q: Can I run my house on solar power only?
Yes and no. While it’s absolutely possible to power your house with solar power, you’re unlikely to do so with a portable solar generator unless you use several at once while limiting your power usage. The largest of our recommendations—the EcoFlow Delta Pro—will come fairly close when bolstered with extra batteries. If the power goes out, you’ll be able to keep your fridge cold and use basic electronics for a couple of days without recharging. With quality solar panels, good sunlight, and Smart energy usage, your power should theoretically go uninterrupted.
Final thoughts on the best solar generators
We’re living in a “golden age” for portable solar generators. When I was a kid, and my family was playing around with solar gear while camping in the ‘90s, the technology couldn’t charge many devices, so it wasn’t all that practical.
By contrast, the solar generators we’ve recommended here are incredibly useful. I’ve relied on them to power my work and day-to-day needs while road-tripping nationwide. They’re also great when the power goes out. When a windstorm cut the power at my house for a couple of days, I was still working, watching my stories, and keeping the lights on.
We haven’t even scratched the surface in terms of the potential offered by portable, reliable, renewable, relatively affordable power. What we can do now is already incredible. The potential for what may come next, though, is truly mind-blowing.
Why trust us
Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.
Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.
Nick Hilden writes reviews and recommendations coverage of fitness, outdoor and tech gear for Popular Science. He’s spent over a decade writing about lifestyle and culture topics for a slew of publications, including Scientific American, the Los Angeles Times, Vice, and Men’s Health, among others.
Can You Plug An RV Into A Solar Generator/Power Station?
Would you like to boondock and be able to watch TV and use your toaster or microwave, without having to run a noisy gas generator outside?
This is possible because you can plug a solar generator/power station directly into your RV camper.
Run a camper on a solar generator
You can plug a camper into a solar generator, and I know this since I do it myself as I’ll talk more about down below.
Whether it’s possible or not with a specific solar generator depends on how many watts its inverter can handle.
If your 12V batteries are not full, as soon as you plug the camper into the solar generator, it’s going to start charging the 12V batteries (amongst other things plugged into your trailer outlets). This can use between 100-500 watts.
Therefore I recommend a solar generator with at least a 500W inverter, although higher is to prefer.
How I use my solar generator with my camper
My wife and I travel fulltime in a travel trailer, and our setup is a Goal Zero Yeti 1000 and 400 watts of solar panels.
We boondock 95% of the time, our Yeti and solar panels cover 90% of our energy needs.
The Goal Zero Yeti 1000 is a solar generator, also known as a portable power station, that has a 100Ah lithium battery, a pure sine wave inverter, and a solar charge controller which lets me plug my solar panels directly into it.
The Yeti 1000 has an inverter that changes the 12V DC power into 120V AC power, and it powers several AC outlets on the Yeti, this is where I plug my camper in.
Goal Zero has put a 1500W/3000W surge watts pure sine wave inverter in this unit.
This means that I can use electronics that use up to 1500W. Here are a couple of the things I use in my travel trailer and an estimate of how many watts they use.
- Gaming laptop – 150W
- MacBook – 60W
- Comfee 700W output microwave – 1100W
- BlackDecker 5-cup coffee maker – 650W
- George Foreman 2-serving indoor grill – 760W
- Furnace (fan) – 120W
- 32″ TV and an Apple TV – 60W
- Playstation 4 gaming console – 150W
- Tablet, phone, camera charger – 10W
- Maxxair fan in the bathroom – 20W on high
- AC fan (not cooling) – 200W
- Water heater (electric) – 1300W
- RV fridge – 300W
We don’t usually run the water heater or fridge on electric since that would drain the battery quickly, and that’s not worth it.
Since the Yeti has 1045 watt-hours to work with, I could, for example, run my gaming laptop for about six hours straight (1045/150).
Note that an inverter has an efficiency rate of about 85%, so the most realistic calculation to do is 10450.85 and then split it with 150W (how much my gaming laptop uses every hour while I am gaming) which equals 5.9 hours.
If I have 400W of solar plugged in during the day which usually charges at 250-290W, I can use my laptop without losing any battery power.
My solar panels are two portable Renogy 100W suitcases I plug into the Yeti with the help of an adapter.
In addition to my portable solar panels, I also have two Renogy 100W solar panels on top of my camper.
These panels generate about 120 amps combined on a sunny day even during the winter months, which means that my Yeti 1000 can go from empty in the morning to fully charged in the afternoon.
I’m planning on buying a power station with more battery capacity so I can store more power for cloudy days.
My panels usually generate more watts than I use on sunny days, resulting in the battery being fully charged even while I am using it, wasting excess power.
Another great feature with the Yeti 1000 is the screen that tells me how many watts I am generating with my solar panels, and how many watts I am using through not only the AC outlets, but the USB ports and 12V cigarette plug found on the unit.
What the Yeti 1000 can run in my travel trailer
The Yeti runs everything in my camper, except for the AC compressor.
I haven’t tried because I don’t want to trip the Yeti, but I know that a 13,500 BTU air conditioner requires more power than the Yeti can output.
It also couldn’t run my 900W microwave, but I have since gotten a Comfee 700W microwave that it runs just fine.
My 700W (output watts) microwave requires about 1100 input watts to run, so it’s below the limit.
Being able to heat leftovers in the microwave when we’re boondocking without running a gas generator is awesome.
We use our furnace, toaster, egg cooker, George Foreman, watch TV, charge our laptops all day, vacuum, and charge all of our devices without any issues.
Do you leave your power station outside?
You could put your power station outside or in one of the storage compartments and pull the 30A/50A cable to it, but what I have done lets me keep the power station in the trailer, so I can monitor and turn on/off the outlets as I need.
This also lets me use the Yeti on rainy days without me having to go outside or worry about it getting wet.
What I did was split into the 30A cable going to the 30A plug where I plug my trailer in when I need to use the gas generator or plug into a camping ground.
The plug is located in the back of my trailer, where I have a bunk bed. So I can access the inside of the plug by lifting up the bottom bunk.
This is where I cut the 30A cable in half and put a 30A plug and a 30A receptacle. The 30A plug is on the cable coming from the trailer, and the receptacle is on the wire going to the 30A outlet outside.
I basically added a quick disconnect between the electrical control panel in my trailer and the 30A plug.
So what I can then do is use the 15A to 30A, plug the adapter into my trailer, then run a regular AC extension cord from the adapter to my power station and plug it into one of the outlets on the Yeti.
Here is how it’s set up under my bunk bed when I have the trailer plugged into the Yeti 1000.
- The 30A receptacle, this wire goes to the 30A plug located on the outside of my camper. When I want to plug it into a gas generator or campground, I grab the adapter (3 in the image) and connect 1 and 2 together.
- The 30A plug coming from my trailer’s electrical system. 1 and 2 used to be a solid connection, but I cut into it and installed the 30A plug and 30A receptacle.
- The 15A to 30A adapter that turns the 30A plug into a regular 15A cable.
- My AC extension cord, this cord goes straight to the Yeti 1000 and is plugged into one of the outlets on the power station. Now the Yeti powers my travel trailer.
If I want to plug my camper in using the 30A outlet outside on the back of my camper, I unplug the 15A to 30A adapter and connect 1 to 2 to make the connection.
Then I either plug a 30A cable into the trailer and the campground’s power grid, or I take the adapter outside and plug it into my gas generator.
What About Your Solar Panels?
We have two portable panels and two panels on our roof.
The panels on the roof are wired in parallel so we only have one positive wire and a negative one.
These wires are pulled down through the refrigerator vent that’s on the roof.
We did it this way because we didn’t want to drill any large holes in the camper roof.
We did have to drill two holes to get the wires to the Yeti. One from the outside and one from the inside. The one outside is behind the fridge and was easy to do after removing the fridge vent cover.
After pulling the wires through, we covered the hole with Great Stuff Gaps Cracks foam just in case any water would get in behind the fridge.
This lets us pull the wires down underneath the fridge, which is where our furnace sits, and if you’re going to do a similar setup you might have to do it differently depending on the layout of the camper.
The second hole, inside, is just to get the wire from where the furnace is to our Yeti. We drilled a hole in the furnace cover because we didn’t have enough space to do it anywhere else.
The wires for our portable panels come in through one of our storage compartments under our bunk, so we had to drill two more holes to get those wires to the Yeti.
We didn’t want to drill a hole on the side of the trailer, so we keep the 30ft MC4 cables in the storage compartment until we get to a campsite, then we pull out the panels and the wires.
We had a couple of Smart mice that climbed the MC4 cables and came into the storage compartment, so, the last thing we did was to put steel wool in the holes around the wire, and that has kept the mice away.
So do you have a gas generator?
We do have a gas generator, it’s a small and quiet WEN 56200i generator.
If it’s cloudy for a couple of days, we bring it out to recharge our Yeti. The Yeti comes with a 5A wall charger so you can recharge it from a regular outlet.
Goal Zero recently released a much faster 25A wall charger that you could plug into a gas generator and recharge the Yeti 1000 in four hours.
How long does a solar generator last?
It depends on how big the battery in the solar generator is, and how many watts you’re using.
For example, my Yeti 1000 has 1045 watt-hours I can use. If I charge my laptop that uses 60W for an hour, I have about 985 watt-hours left to work with (1045-60).
The inverter that changes 12V DC to 120V AC is not 100% efficient, so when you use the AC outlets on a solar generator you should expect about 85% to be the energy you can use in the end.
If you want to figure out how much power your RV camper, or electronics use, you can plug it into an outlet through a Kill A Watt which will tell you exactly how many watts the device is drawing.
Note that the Kill A Watt meter can only handle up to 1800W.
How do you plug in an RV camper to a regular 15A outlet?
If you would like to connect your camper to a solar powered generator from the outside, you can use adapters.
My trailer has a 30A plug, so I can use a 15A to 30A cable. Camco also sells a 15A to 50A adapter in case your trailer has a 50A plug.
If you plug your camper into a gas generator, you could put the Kill A Watt mentioned above between the connection to figure out exactly how many watts you’re using as it is, so you know how strong the inverter in a solar generator needs to be to fit your needs.
Again, be aware that the Kill A Watt has a wattage limit (max 1800W).
Remember that just because you can plug in a 30A cable with an adapter does not mean that the outlet it’s plugged into will be able to output 30A.
How much power you’ll be able to draw through the outlet will depend on the source, which in this case is the inverter in the power station.
Will the solar generator charge the camper batteries?
Yes, since plugging a camper into a solar generator is just like plugging it into an outlet in your garage (in the converter/charger’s mind), the trailer batteries are going to start charging the second you plug it in.
The downside with this (in my case) was that it kept trickle charging the batteries even though they were fully charged.
So when the charger started charging my batteries it used 2-300W, then when it had fully charged my batteries it still used 30-80W.
It started to bug me how much electricity was wasted during the day, so I had to come up with a solution.
My solution was to install another 100W solar panel on the top of my camper that is wired directly to my camper batteries.
Now that panel charges my batteries, and my solar generator usually outputs less than 20W when nothing else is being used, even though it’s plugged into the trailer.
By doing this, I can turn on the ports in the morning as the sun comes up, and leave them turned on until the sun goes down.
If your solar generator has a lot of battery capacity and solar panels connected to it, this likely won’t be an issue.
Or if you don’t use a lot of electricity, you can just leave it on and let the charger do its thing.
The reason I had to find a solution is that my wife and I work all day on our computers and we can’t let electricity go to waste, especially on cloudy days.
What is the best solar generator for RVs?
If you’re considering a solar generator for your camper, I recommend one that has at least a 1000W inverter. Then you would be able to run everything in your RV except for the microwave and the air conditioner.
I recommend the Ecoflow Delta which has an 1800W pure sine wave inverter that powers six AC outlets. 1800W is as powerful as an actual 15A household outlet, so you might even be able to power the microwave in your camper depending on what else is running at the same time.
The Ecoflow Delta is equipped with a great MPPT solar charge controller that can handle up to 400W of solar input. It can also recharge from 0 to 80% in one hour.
It has a 1260 watt-hour battery capacity, four USB A ports, two UBC C ports, and a regulated 12V output. The screen shows input/output watts, battery percentage/bars, and time to empty/full.
Ecoflow includes an MC4 to XT60 adapter with the purchase, which means that it’s compatible with a lot of solar panels straight out of the box.
I am extremely happy with my Goal Zero Yeti 1000, but if you’re considering a power station from Goal Zero, I recommend taking a look at the newer Yeti 1500X and Yeti 3000X.
These can output up to 2000W, handle a lot of solar input, and have more battery capacity than the Ecoflow Deta.
What size solar generator do I need?
The easiest way to answer this question is by writing down each device and how many watts it uses.
You can read on the device or its charger how many watts it uses, or use a Kill A Watt that will tell you exactly.
So if your computer uses 60 watts, and you want to use that for 5 hours a day, you’re going to need at least a 300Wh battery (605).
Since inverters aren’t 100% efficient when changing DC power to AC power (usually around 85% efficient), it’s a good idea to overestimate your power needs.
Do this kind of calculation with all of the devices you intend to use, and you’ll get a better understanding of how many watt-hours you use and what size solar generator you’re going to need.
How many watts each device uses is also relevant because the solar generator has an inverter that has to be able to run that device.
If you have any questions please leave a comment down below.
45 thoughts on “Can You Plug An RV Into A Solar Generator/Power Station?”
What could you turn on in your RV with the Yeti? Using a Yeti 3000X, is it safe to turn on devices like an AC 13,000 BTU or microwave with this setup? Reply
You could run the microwave but not the AC. It’s possible that it would work if you had a Micro-Air EasyStart installed on the AC, but I can’t say for sure since I haven’t tried it. Jesse Reply
Will my batteries on my tounge be in conflict when plugged into the solar charger? How does that work? Reply
Hey Tom, Do you mean when plugged into the solar generator, or if you’re charging the batteries with a separate solar panel/charger? If you plug the RV into the solar generator, your RV thinks you’re plugged into shore power and your batteries will start to charge. If you have a separate panel charging the RV batteries at the same time as a solar generator is plugged into your RV, they will both charge the camper batteries. Jesse Reply
Hi Jesse, Great info, I was looking at a solar generator (Jackery 1000) and looked everywhere to see if it would charge my onboard 12v batteries if I plugged my RV directly into the 1000w solar generator. Do you know how fast or how many amps I would top up my batteries if left the trailer plugged into the solar generator before it dies? I would mainly use it for emergencies for charging trailer batteries for longer trips when dry camping instead of running a noisy gas generator. Reply
Hey Eric, sorry for the late reply. I have two 70Ah batteries on my trailer, and if I plug the camper into the Explorer 1000 the converter/charger uses about 200W to charge my batteries, and about 30-70W when they’re close to fully charged and trickle charging. Since it never stops trickle charging I don’t leave it turned on 24/7, but it usually takes 5-7 hours to drain the Jackery if I don’t plug in several things to the outlets in my camper. So it’s going to depend on your converter/charger and how many amps it can handle, I bet you can find this info in its manual. From 100 to 0% via the inverter in the Jackery I would expect around 60-70Ah, but it depends on how fast you drain the battery. Reply
Hi Jesse, no worries! Thanks for the explanation, I also have two batteries at 77Ah each. I think the solar generator option may just work for us, my wife doesn’t like the noisy generator idea since the neighbors are fairly close in provincial parks. We just don’t want to run out of batteries for our longer dry camping trips, we’ve done 4 nights last summer but we were very strict on energy usage (limited water pump and lights usage) so I think having the solar generator we can definitely get by on a couple 5 night trips we have booked this summer. We also like that if we wanted to watch TV for an hour or two or use our coffee machine (900w) we can just plug it into the solar generator! I don’t plan on buying solar panels because we don’t do too many dry camping trips, so the solar generator should work perfect for us for our usage. I’m currently deciding between the Jackery 1000 and Bluetti EB150. but I think I’m leaning towards the Bluetti as it has 1500wh vs 1000 and both are very close in price. I’m thinking the 1500wh will be better for us as I just want to have more energy capacity as we don’t plan on charging it with solar panels during our trip. If we do happen to go for a drive, the Jackery does have the car charging adapter but I believe I can just plug in the Bluetti wall charger into my F150’s truck AC 110v (400w max) outlet to charge the unit? Thanks, Eric Reply
I understand, yes the Bluetti EB150 would be perfect for your needs. The Bluetti can also handle a lot more solar panels than the Explorer 1000, in case you choose to buy a panel or two later on. The only big advantage with the Jackery is the weight, but most days I would rather have an extra 500Wh and deal with a heavier power station. Yeah, just charge it while the vehicle is running. I didn’t know that they could output up to 400W, that’s neat. Reply
That’s good to hear regarding the solar panels, if I decide to purchase in the future. And yes, I did toss the weight factor around, 16lbs difference is pretty big! But the extra 500wh won me over, the solar generator will most likely sit in the same spot. I’ve seen videos from Hobotech where he mentions how to charge the Bluetti in a vehicle using the wall outlet plugin. He talks about the BESTEK 12v 300W Pure Sine inverter you can buy on Amazon, and just plug into 12v outlet. But I can’t seem to find info on why I can’t just plug the Bluetti directly into my trucks built in AC 110v outlet which says right on it 400w max. I understand not all vehicles have this outlet so the BESTEK inverter purchase would work for others but curious if I can just use my outlet. I’m not familiar with Pure Sine technology. not sure if I can damage the Bluetti while charging if my trucks outlet is not a Pure Sine Inverter?
Ah I see, yes it’s probably a Modified sine wave inverter and not a pure sine wave. Whether it would work or not depends on the charger and the quality of the inverter. Since the charger converts AC to DC it might work just fine, but it would be a little bit of a gamble to try since it could damage the charger. The problem with the Bestek inverter is that you need to connect it directly to the truck battery to get the full 300W, since most 12V cigarette ports can only output 10A. If you plugged the Bestek in and used the Bluetti charger it would most likely blow a fuse since the Bluetti charger is rated at 160W. So what options do you have? Well, I can’t say I recommend it but I would still test the charger in the truck, just watch the Bluetti and see if it starts charging or not. Or you could get a small 100W solar panel. Or you can get the Explorer 1000 which comes with a car charger, or get the newer Explorer 1500 that has a 10%-off coupon right now (JACKERYE1500). The 1500 has 1488Wh and a 1800W inverter so you could run the microwave, but it costs more.
Those are very good points, honestly it may not be that much of a deal breaker for me as I can’t see ourselves going out for drives during our dry camping trips to have to car charge the unit. will be too busy biking, hiking, swimming lol. Our longest ride would be back home which then I will charge the generator completely with the wall charger and have it ready for the next trip! I believe the new Jackery 1500 is only available in US right now, I’m in Canada. But like you said if I do need to charge the unit during our trip, easier to purchase a solar panel and set it up on our site vs trying to go for a long drive. Thanks for all your help, greatly appreciated!
Thank you for writing this article. It is so informative and there doesn’t seem to be much out there so it really fills a much needed gap of info. Im curious why the power station wasn’t able to run the 900W microwave even though the Yeti 1000 has a 1500W inverter? Reply
Hi, It’s because the 900W number is the output power. The input power required is higher than the output, in this case around 1400W. The most steady wattage I could get out of the Yeti 1000 was 1300W, which is why it wouldn’t run my specific microwave. The Yeti 1000 is pretty old by now, and the latest power stations do come pretty close to the listed inverter rating. Reply
That was one excellently and comprehensively written piece. You should try to get it published. Thank You! Reply
Hi Thank you for your kind and useful information.what do you think of Yeti 6000x ?can i run a 11.000 BTU air-conditioned on it or still not?Or if you can suggest any other alternative powerful solar generator ? I wanna run my AC and wanna go just for green energy this is why i am just keep searching that if solar generators is good enough for my Promaster camper van Thank a you lot Reply
Hi, The Yeti 6000X is great and has a lot of capacity, but I don’t think it can handle a 11,000 BTU AC unfortunately. I’d recommend taking a look at the new Ecoflow Delta Pro or Max, which would be able to do it. They were just recently released though so it might be hard to get one anytime soon. Remember that an AC uses a lot of energy, and even the largest power stations like the Yeti 6000X would only run for a couple of hours. Reply
Hi, We have a travel trailer and recently purchased the Jackery 1500 with 4 – 100W Solarsaga panels. We are planning to connect the trailer 30amp cord via the adapter to the J1500. I read a lot about the power loss from connecting this way but we don’t have the knowledge to do any wiring and we don’t want panels on the roof as we try to camp in the shade. Our primary concern is running the RV fridge on propane. We don’t need TV, microwave, AC, or even the water heater or water pump. We just want to keep the fridge running on propane which needs 12v power. Do you think the J1500 will be able to run the converter and supply power to the battery to run the fridge on propane for at least 24 hours? We can then hook up the solar panels, or charge the Jackery in the truck if no sun, each day. We also have a Jackery 500 which I wondered if we could connect the J500 via a 12v battery charging cable directly to the 12v battery to keep the 12v battery charged and not pulling that energy from the J1500. What are your thoughts on utilizing/maximizing both our Jackery’s for the trailer? Thanx. Reply
Hi, Yes, that will be more than enough to keep your RV batteries charged up to just run the fridge and lights. If you only leave it on for an hour or two a day to recharge the RV battery, the Explorer 1500 should last a couple of days before needing a recharge. If you leave it plugged in for 24 hours it would drain the 1500 since the converter will trickle charge even if the battery is fully charged. If you want to leave the Jackery plugged in without charging the batteries you might be able to turn off the converter charger by flipping a switch by the converter fuse box. Then you can switch it on as needed, that’s how we do it. Sure, I believe that would work with a 12V to alligator clamps adapter (click to view on Amazon). You could use it with either of the two power stations to trickle charge the RV battery. I haven’t done it myself, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work as long as the voltage is safe (the 12V port on the Explorer 500 1500 outputs a regulated 13.4V) and only used with 12V sources that won’t output more than 10A. Reply
I have a Jackery 2000 Pro and wonder if there’s any kind of converter I could purchase that would work similarly to the plug I have that plugs into the power at RV parks, but instead of plugging in there, use the converter to plug into the Jackery 2000 while it is charging (2 hours to fully-charged) passing through electricity as it is also charging the lithinum ion battery to build up for my next charge. Is there such a adaptor available for purchase? I know most national parks or boondocking situations don’t want generators on at night because they are so darn noisy and the Jackery is smooth as silk, just does its job and doesn’t bother anybody. Any suggestions on where I might find that type inverter to turn my Jackery 2000 PRO into a beast that could run my Class A? Thank you for any suggestions or help you’re able to offer. Reply
Hi, As far as I know, the Explorer 2000 can’t pass-through electricity in that way to where you’ll be able to get 30A or 50A through it. They advertise pass-through as a feature, but I don’t think it’s true pass-through. You can plug the Class A into the Explorer while it’s charging, but you’re going to be limited to the 2200W (22A) the inverter can output. That means that you won’t be able to run things like the air conditioner, but the outlets will be powered and it should be fine running the microwave. If it’s a 30A Class A, you need this adapter to plug it in (click to view on Amazon) or if it’s a 50A you need this one. Reply
So if bought a 2000 Watt Solar generator I would be able to plug our camper directly into the generator using a 30 amp to 15 amp connector? So I could power our lights, fridge, and fans, basic kitchen appliances…but probably not the AC. I have zero knowledge about solar and how it works. It is confusing to me and I don’t understand the terminology when I am trying to read and understand what “Solar” people are talking about. I am interested but confused. Reply
Hi, Yes you could, but I don’t recommend powering the fridge with electric on a power station because it will drain the battery fast. We still have our fridge set to propane, but other than that we power everything with the power station. To charge the solar generator you’re going to have to buy panels and put them temporarily outside or permanently on your camper roof. We have done both, and the wiring from the roof panels come down via the fridge vent. Reply
Thanks for post and pic. I’ve been trying to figure out how to power the truck camper while having a Delta Max 2000 inside without running a cord out of an open window, or God forbid, a hole drilled in the outer wall of the camper. The DM has 20 amp outlets but do accept 15 amp plugs. You really should make a YouTube video for us five year olds. Reply
I have a Jackery 1000 and was going to charge my trailer battery by plugging the 30 amp cord into a n adapter and into the Jackery. I plugged in the adapter into the Jackery then plugged in a circuit analyser before plugging in the trailer. The circuit analyzer is showing the polarity is reversed. I’m concerned about doing damage to the converter in the trailer or the Jackery. I see that people plug into the Jackery, but I would like to know if anybody can explain what I am seeing. Reply
Hi Do you know how many watts of solar you can plug in to a 1000 watt Go Zero generator ? Thank you for all the above information it is very helpfull for me. I have been trying to figure this out for a while. Thanks Drew Reply
Hi – We are just testing out the new Jackery 2000 for shore power. When we plug our travel trailer shore power line into the Jackery, the Jackery display shows that its outputting 1200-1400 watts (which would last about an hour and a half). The trailer’s 12V battery appears fully charged, and nothing is turned on in the trailer. Any thoughts on why the output is so high? The trailer has a Xantrex Freedom X 1200 Inverter, and one built-in 100W panel feeding the 12V battery via a Go! Power setup. Would appreciate any insight you can share. Reply
Hi, Make sure the fridge and water heater isn’t on. If the fridge is set to “auto” it will use electricity when available, same with the water heater. Depending on the water heater, you might have a switch on the heater itself. My water heater uses around 1400W on electric which is why I suspect it’s that. I assume the Xantrex inverter is turned off as well. One thing I would try is to turn off the converter/charger in the trailer. I do this with a switch by the breaker panel inside my RV, but it’s not possible on all campers. Let me know how it goes or if you’ve found a solution. Reply
We have the same problem with a Jackery 1500. Works fine on its own, but a circuit analyzer shows an open ground and a neutral ground bonding plug does not work (circuit tester still shows open ground). When we use a 15-30 amp adapter to connect to the camper (2022 Nucamp [email protected]), the Jackery starts discharging about 685 watts even though nothing in the camper is using power. Jackery support has been unable to tell us why a neutral ground bonding plug has no effect. They were good enough to send a replacement unit and still the same difficulties. All testing on the camper is A OK and works fine when we use a 15-30 adapter to plug into a garden variety 15 amp house receptacle. Any solution, even insight that it we just can’t get it to work as we’d like, would be greatly appreciated. Reply
Hi, Hmm, I am really curious as to why this happens. If possible I would get an electricity usage monitor like this by Mecheer (click to view on Amazon), then plug it in between the house receptacle and 15A to 30A adapter and see what the output wattage reads. Then you’d know whether it’s the Jackery or the trailer that’s causing it. Reply
We are total newbies at Rving. We are looking at a GZ 1000x to power our new to us Airstream Sport 16. Would I use the same sort of extension cord that I use to plug the trailer to shore power at our house? (We currently do that with our teardrop…have the adapter.) Reply
Another question: we have a battery disconnect switch in the trailer. If we “disconnect” the battery while the GZ is plugged into the trailer will that eliminate the trickle charge issue? Thanks! Reply
Would using the trailer rv battery quick disconnect stop the trailer from trying to charge the batteries when your plugged into the solar generator? Since there would be nothing to charge wouldn’t that be like turning off the converter charger on the trailer? Reply
If I am running a coffee maker…will it use less power if I plug it in directly to the GZ vs. plugging it into the 110 outlet (while the trailer is being powered by the GZ)? Thanks again…your information is so helpful and easy to understand! Reply
Hi, No, the coffee maker will use the exact same amount. If it’s higher when plugged into the trailer there must be something else using power as well. Reply
Question from another 5 year old: I am a simple camper, don’t need much power. I discovered in my new camper the camper battery doesn’t get a trickle charge while being towed. It is frustrating as I don’t store my rig where I can plug it in. I use solar panels (60W) but they don’t seem to keep the battery charged. The only things I need power for in my trailer are LED lights, USB device charging (iPad and phone) and the MOST important, my MAXXAIR deluxe fan. This fan simply beeps at me if the battery isn’t charged enough ( I think I read 75% !! WTF, right?). So does a 500 – 800W Jackery with its 3 options for recharging itself sound like it would be a good fit? What do you recommend? Thank you thank you thank you PS I agree, you are a treasure to the electrically challenged like myself. Reply
Hi, If the main reason you’re considering it is to be able to charge the camper batteries I think it would be a better investment to buy a larger solar panel to charge the 12V camper batteries directly. Sure, you could get a Jackery but you’re going to be charging a battery with a battery, which is not very efficient. But it also depends on how much you use your Maxxair fan, mine requires around 30W which means it uses at least 720Wh if I keep it on for 24 hours. Do you happen to know what your camper batteries are rated at in terms of amp-hours? If not you can tell me what it says on top of them and I might be able to figure it out. Reply
Very good information here. I have a camper with a solar package. I believe the panel on the roof is 100Ws. I have a led acid battery that i will soon upgrade to a 100Ah lithium battery. My main concern is my 12V fridge. The solar kit should be good enough as long as the sun is shining. If not, then will a 1000W solar Generator be good enough to keep the fridge running and charge the battery. The park that I want to dry camp allows gas generators to run for 2 hours in the morning and 3 hours at night. So if, I run the gas generator in the morning, and use the solar generator plugged into the 30Amp connector the rest of the day and recharge in the evening with the gas generator, will that run my, 12V fridge, lights, water pump, propane furnace, and two hours of TV for three nights? I will run the Coffee pot in the morning with the gas generator. Reply
Hi, sorry for the late reply. It’s hard to say without knowing how much the panel on your camper produces in a day, it’s going to depend on location, how it’s angled (if at all) and also what solar charge controller is being used. If you’re going to upgrade to a lithium battery, you need to make sure that the solar charge controller between the panel and the battery supports lithium, and that the converter charger in your camper supports lithium. The solar generator might make it possible to do what you’re asking, but only if you can quickly recharge the solar generator while the gas generator is running. How many hours does it take to recharge the solar generator with its AC charger? What’s going to drain the battery the most is the 12V fridge and the furnace fan. I’d get my hands on a good solar generator, like one from EcoFlow that can recharge quickly, and do some tests for a couple of days to get an estimate of how much power everything requires. Then you can decide whether upgrading to a lithium battery or investing in more solar panels would be a good idea. I’m happy to help further if you have any questions. Reply
Jesse: An electric novice here. I have a small teardrop whose electrical system is powered by an ACDelco Voyager Marine/RV Battery system (95 AH). I just purchased an EcoFlow Delta 2 (with plans to later on purchase solar panels) and am thinking that I can use the Delta 2 to recharge the ACDelco battery via the electrical cord that brings in shore power to the RV. And when I get the solar panels I can recharge the Delta 2 as it recharges the ACDelco (I hope!). Is this possible or even practical? The wiring setup for my Vintage Trailer Works XTR Off-Road is pretty simple with an exhaust fan, interior and exterior lighting and USB plugs for charging phones, etc. There are no plans for other electrical devices to power at this time. Thanks for any assistance you might be able to give me. Reply
Hi, Yes, it’s possible. You are going to be charging a battery with a battery though, which means electricity is going to be wasted. Is the Delta 2 going to be used at home or in other ways later on, or why do you feel the need for a power station at all? You could just get a panel that will keep you camper battery charged. Reply
Thank you for this post, its more than my newbie RV brain can absorb. Bear with me. I ordered the EcoFlow River2 Max and two solar panels. My 2003 RV has a regular gas gennie and marine battery setup. In situations where there is no shore power (i.e. boondocking), am I right that I simply set up the EcoFlow power station connected to the solar panels, and then plug my RV into it using the 15a to 30a adapter you linked so meticulously above? I am accustomed to simply charging up my 2003 system at home, plugging the power cord into to plug inside the power box on the outside of the RV (so the gennie powers the house power when it is on) and then just using house power sparingly until its dead. The previous owner said something about how the gennie will recharge the house battery but that has not proven to be true. I’m a too mystified to even ask the right questions. Thanks for you help. All the RV service centers see “” when I try asking them and then perform services that do nothing to change the situation and I end up camping with no power by day three. Reply
Hello there, I am Jesse. Welcome to The Solar Addict. This is where you will find answers to those questions you might have related to solar power and gadgets surrounding it. Let me know if you have any questions by leaving a comment.
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What are the pros and cons of a solar generator?
Whether you need to keep your lights on when the grid goes down or you want to charge your phone on a camping trip, solar generators are a great way to have extra energy on hand.
But how do portable solar power generators stack up compared to conventional gas-powered generators? We take a look at how solar generators work, weigh their pros and cons, and discuss if a solar generator is the right investment for you.
What is a solar generator?
Technically, a solar power generator is any system that runs on solar power. But what most people mean when they say ‘solar generator’ refers to a portable power station that uses solar panels, instead of fossil fuels, to provide electricity.
A portable solar generator uses solar panels to capture the sun’s energy and then stores that energy in a battery to be used later. Most solar generators are used for RV camping, boats, and as a backup power source in the case of a grid power outage.
How do solar generators work?
Solar generators have four major components:
The solar panels convert sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity that is then passed through the charge controller. The charge controller regulates the voltage of the electricity into the battery, where the solar energy is then stored for use later. Most solar generators sold today are lithium-ion batteries.
When you need to use the energy stored in the battery, the inverter converts the electricity into alternating current energy, or AC power, which is what most appliances and devices use.
Solar generators typically have USB ports, AC outlets, and 12-volt carports to allow you to charge multiple devices.
How much can you save with solar?
What are the pros and cons of solar generators?
|No fuel||Expensive upfront investment|
|Clean renewable energy||Slow recharging|
|Quiet and low-maintenance||Limited available power|
Free fuel from the sun
Traditional gas-powered generators require you to constantly purchase fuel. With a solar generator, there are no fuel costs. Simply set up your solar panel and enjoy the free sunshine!
Clean renewable energy
Solar generators rely entirely on clean, renewable energy. This means that not only do you not have to worry about the cost of fossil fuels to power your generator, you don’t have to worry about the environmental impact of using gasoline either.
Solar generators release no pollutants when they produce and store energy. You can rest easy knowing that your camping or boating trip is powered by clean energy.
Quiet and low maintenance
Another great thing about solar generators is that they are quiet. And unlike gas generators, solar generators don’t have any moving parts. This significantly reduces the amount of noise they produce while running.
Plus, no moving parts means the chances of solar generator parts breaking is low. This greatly reduces the amount of maintenance required for a solar generator as compared to a gas generator.
High upfront costs
Solar generators require a much higher initial investment than traditional gas generators. The average cost of a gas generator is around 1,000. Solar generators will usually cost about 2,000.
However, solar generators have much lower operating costs. So, you’ll spend less over the lifetime of a solar generator.
Solar generator batteries can only be recharged when the sun is out. And even then, it takes time for the solar panels to charge the battery. A solar panel with a power output of 100 watts would take over 9 hours to charge most mid-sized solar generator batteries.
Generators that run on fossil fuels can be refueled at any time, so you can get more power right when you need it without having to worry about the weather conditions or the time of day.
Limited power supply
The size of the solar generator battery will limit how much the generator can power, as well. A solar generator probably won’t be able to power your entire home. However, it can charge phones and laptops and keep small appliances running for a short period of time.
Gas generators aren’t as limited in what they can power and for how long since they can be refilled at any time.
What are the best solar generators available?
One of the most important things to look for when buying a solar generator is the battery capacity (or how much energy the battery can hold) in order to know if the generator will meet your power needs. This is usually measured in watt-hours (Wh).
The higher the capacity, the longer the battery will last. For instance, a 1,000 Wh solar generator can power a 60-watt lightbulb for almost 17 hours!
Some of the best solar generators on the market include:
|Goal Zero Yeti 1500, 100-watt Solar Kit||1,516 Wh||1,199.95||Buy now|
|Point Zero Titan||2,000 Wh||2,716.00||Buy now|
|Jackery Explorer||1,002 Wh||999.99||Buy now|
|Renogy Phoenix 300 Power Station||337 Wh||399.99||Buy now|
Most solar powered generators have all-in-one designs, so the solar charger and inverter will be included in the battery pack. However, not all solar generators include solar panels. These generators will typically just come with the battery and inverter.
Check out our list of the best portable solar panels that pair great with battery power stations.
What are the best uses for solar generators?
Solar generators are best used for charging devices and running small appliances. They’re a great source of backup power for a boating or RV camping trip because of their portability, plus they’re clean and don’t require you to keep lots of fuel on hand.
Solar generators can power some key appliances in your home in the event of an emergency. But no portable generator will be able to truly power your entire home off-grid.
Instead, you should consider installing a rooftop solar panel system paired with battery storage. Not only will this allow you to have backup power for most of your home in case of an emergency, it will help cut down your electricity bill all year long!
Use our solar calculator to get an estimate of how many solar panels you need to power your home and how much a home solar panel system costs in your area.
See how much solar panels will cost for your specific home
- Solar generators are portable power stations that use solar energy, instead of fossil fuels, to create electricity.
- Solar generators consist of four main parts: the solar panels, the solar battery, the inverter, and the charge controller.
- Some key advantages of solar generators are that they don’t require fuel, they run on clean renewable energy, and they require very little maintenance.
- The biggest drawbacks to solar generators are that they require a big upfront investment, they recharge slowly, and there is a limited amount of power stored and available for you to use.
Written Content Manager
Catherine is the Written Content Manager at SolarReviews. She has been researching and writing about the residential solar industry for four years. Her work has appeared in Solar Today Magazine and Solar Builder Magazine, and has been cited by publications like Forbes and Bloomberg.
Understand RV Wiring Diagram: Jackery Power Solution
Installing solar panels on your RV roof is one of the best ways to go green and power appliances during outdoor adventures. The trick, however, is to understand the solar RV wiring diagram. If you want to convert your RV into a solar-powered vehicle, it’s vital to connect the electrical components appropriately to avoid loose connections and damage.
If manually setting up the complex electrical system seems confusing, consider choosing Jackery Solar Generators. These alternative power solutions for RVs are portable and easy to set up. Jackery Solar Generator 3000 Pro is the ultimate power solution that can charge 99% of outdoor appliances.
Jackery Solar Generator 3000 Pro
RV Wiring Diagram Basics
The RV wiring diagram describes all the electrical components and connections required to install a power source in your recreational system.
RV Wiring Power Sources
There are different power sources available to charge the RV and appliances. Some of the most common power sources include the following:
Shoreline (AC): RV typically draws power from the AC sources at 120V. However, it’s worth noting that 120V is the rounded estimate, and you may see some variations in shoreline power pedestals.
Generators (AC): The gas-guzzling generators can provide the same 120V AC power from a shoreline connection. However, the AC power source produces a lot of noise while working.
Solar Panels (DC): Many RV owners install solar panels, as these are eco-friendly and cost-efficient solutions to generate electricity. They can generate 12V of DC power to recharge RVs batteries or power stations.
Wind Generators: Wind generators are cheaper to set up than solar panels. However, you’ll have to deal with a bit of a complex implementation.
Engine’s Alternator: It is one of the ways to power an RV. However, alternators are less preferred compared to generators, especially those generators that work on solar energy.
Solar generators combine solar panels and a rechargeable power station. While solar power panels convert sunlight into electricity, the rechargeable battery stores it for later use. Jackery is one of the top solar brands manufacturing premium quality solar products. You can power most outdoor appliances in your RV using the powerful Jackery Solar Generator 3000 Pro.
RV AC Vs. DC Power
You can mainly power the RV with two electrical systems, AC and DC. AC, also called alternating current, supplies power to brick-and-mortar homes. It flows back and forth, making it a less stable powering solution.
That’s why we often use AC to DC converters to make the received power compatible with charging devices. Contrary to AC, DC is a more stable power source. However, one thing to note is that transmitting direct current over long distances is difficult.
RV Converter Vs. Inverter
The terms converter and inverter are used interchangeably, but they are different. The converter converts 120V AC power to 12V direct current.
On the contrary, the role of an inverter is to convert DC power in the RV’s battery bank to AC. This helps you to run appliances that require 120V AC power.
RV Wiring Diagram Components
Here is the list of essential components in a solar RV wiring diagram.
Solar Panels: Connected over the RV roof, these panels convert solar energy into electricity. There are portable solar panels available on the market that allow you to charge the battery without roof installation.
Charge Controller: The device controls electricity flow from solar panels to the battery bank.
Battery Bank: The device is responsible for storing power produced by the solar panels to charge the appliances.
Inverter: Its role is to convert DC to AC, which can then power different home or outdoor appliances.
Fuses Connectors: These devices help connect the solar system components together.
Some optional parts required in the solar RV wiring diagram include:
- Solar panel mounts
- Solar panel extension cable
- Battery Monitor
- Alternator charging options like B2B charger or battery isolator
DIY RV Wiring Diagrams
The RV solar wiring diagram can be confusing, especially if you are trying it for the first time. Before you start the installation, you will need to understand the wiring color code, types of transfer switches, and required components.
RV Wiring Color Code
The RV wiring color code is the standardized set of colors that helps to identify different electrical wires in an RV. Learning the color codes will help you ensure electrical wiring is installed correctly.
Where To Attach (Vehicle Side)
Where To Attach (RV Side)
Vehicle wiring harness (right turn)
Vehicle wiring harness (right turn)
Vehicle ground point (metal, uncoated, and rustproof)
RV’s ground point (metal, uncoated, and rustproof)
Vehicle wiring harness (taillight)