How Long Does a Solar Generator Last in a Power Outage?
With an aging power grid and unpredictable climate patterns, power outages are increasingly an unfortunate fact of daily life, interrupting domestic routines and work schedules.
Given the realities of unstable power supply from the grid, many homes and businesses are increasingly turning to solar generators.
There are many advantages to using this type of generator. Unlike gasoline generators, solar generators are quiet and fume-free. They can harvest low-cost or free energy from the sun — ready for when you have a power outage.
But how long can you rely on a solar generator? From medical services to communication during a natural disaster, there are many situations in which people need a constant power supply, potentially for weeks.
Here, we look at how long solar generators can last and the different life-saving devices and appliances you can run reliably in a power outage.
How Long Will Solar Generator Last in a Power Outage?
Solar generators use solar panels and lithium-ion batteries to generate and store large amounts of energy. How long a generator lasts depends upon the unit capacity, the electricity usage of the connected devices, and the number of devices connected.
Let’s take an EcoFlow solar generator as an example. A DELTA Max generator has a 2016Wh capacity and supplies up to 3400W. It can provide 15 solid hours of run time for a 110W television, 14 hours for a 120W refrigerator, or a crucial 34 hours for a 40W CPAP machine.
Expandable solar generators with additional battery options also let you increase power provision by more than double. Using the DELTA Max Smart Batteries, you can boost the capacity from 2kWH to 6kWh.
Other benefits include the Ecoflow Battery Management System, which provides optimal performance and efficiency using intelligent algorithms, plus extending battery life with no drop-off in performance as the battery ages.
With EcoFlow solar generators, you can rest assured of long-lasting run times for your home appliances and essential medical devices.
Can Solar Generator Outlast a Power Outage?
A solar generator can outlast a power outage, but it will depend on how many appliances you connect to it and how long the blackout lasts.
Tasking it with powering a whole house and a solar generator will not last as long as if it were supporting just a few essential appliances like your refrigerator, washing machine, or computer.
Let’s look at another example with the DELTA Pro. This portable power station has a base capacity of 3.6kWh, which you can expand to 25kWh when you connect it to additional DELTA units for a whole-home system. It integrates with your home circuits via a Smart Home Panel and energy network.
With the DELTA Pro, you can run your 120W refrigerator for 24 hours, a 50” 110W television for 27 hours, and a 500W washer for 6.5 hours. It’s the essential setup to meet household demands in a power outage.
To create a home energy network, connect two DELTA Pro units with the Double Voltage Hub. This energy ecosystem provides an output of up to 7200W and power for 240V devices.
That’s enough energy to run electric heaters, well pumps, and other heavy energy devices. It’s the most reliable option to keep family life running even during an extended power outage.
It’s crucial to ensure that you keep the solar generator fully topped up to maximize the run time and ensure lasting energy in an extended blackout. Solar panels in direct sunlight are best for capturing the energy that the battery will store for use during a power outage.
Adding extra Smart batteries will increase your survival time during a power outage without compromising on which appliances you run.
What Are the Advantages of a Solar Generator?
There are over 43,000 solar installations in Canada. As citizens become attuned to the advantages of solar power, that number is likely to rise exponentially. Besides being a safe and convenient option for when the grid is down, there are plenty of advantages over regular generators:
- Ecofriendly: These generators don’t rely on fossil fuels, so they are better for the planet.
- Reliable backup: You can harvest sunlight from solar panels and always have a generator ready to use in a power outage.
- Cost-effective: There are minimal costs to supply and run a generator with existing solar panels. Charges are on average 30% less than an equivalent gasoline-powered inverter generator.
- Dual-energy supply: The battery allows you to operate your solar generator even when the sun isn’t shining.
- Cross-device functionality: Most solar power generators include outlets so that you can plug household appliances directly into the battery.
- Money savings: Save household costs even when the grid isn’t down and plug some appliances directly into the generator.
- Quiet: Unlike gasoline generators, solar generators run quietly, with little maintenance.
- Stay connected: People working from home never need to worry about disrupted connectivity.
- Lifesaving: Keep medical devices like CPAP machines, oxygen systems, and more operational when conventional power sources are down.
Is It Worth Getting a Solar Generator?
Warnings about the Canadian power grid are becoming increasingly frequent. The infrastructure is aging rapidly and suffering from underfunding and lack of renewal.
Couple this with environmental changes and the increasingly unpredictable forces of nature, and you have a perfect storm.
Solar generators provide a quiet, portable solution to power disruption and are environmentally friendly.
A solar generator will recharge in under two hours, so it is always available. It’s an ideal backup for situations where power is intermittent.
Gasoline generators are noisy and produce fumes, so while they can keep the lights on in your home, there is a price. There are no such concerns with a solar generator, and the portable options are ideal for use in many outdoor situations.
Solar generators are also beneficial for any location without a reliable power supply, whether a rural farm or a lake cabin where you go on vacation with the family.
With so many applications and benefits, the question is not whether it is worth getting a solar generator but can you afford to do without one?
How long a solar generator will last during a power outage does depend on the unit capacity, what you use it for, and how long the grid is down. However, advanced battery technology, expandable energy ecosystems, and boost options mean your household can outlast a power outage and keep using even the most energy-consuming appliances.
A solar generator is versatile and easy to use with no maintenance. It’s quiet to run and environmentally friendly, providing power in any situation where the grid is down or access to a reliable power source is lacking. At EcoFlow, we have a wide range of sizes for solar generators. Look to the River 2 series for portable options for camping or outdoor activities and the DELTA series for robust power solutions that will keep the family home up and running during an outage. With advanced Xboost fast-charging technology and expandable units, EcoFlow keeps you powered for longer.
EcoFlow is a portable power and renewable energy solutions company. Since its founding in 2017, EcoFlow has provided peace-of-mind power to customers in over 85 markets through its DELTA and RIVER product lines of portable power stations and eco-friendly accessories.
Bluetti solar generator expert review: choose the right one for you
Bluetti is a 3-year-old brand that primarily makes portable solar generators, battery backup systems, and foldable solar panels. Their products use LiFePO4 battery technology, which is currently regarded as the best kind of lithium battery on the market and has proven quite popular in the DIY and van life communities, allowing people to power important devices and appliances in off-grid situations.
We recently tested some Bluetti products to see how well they use solar power to keep the batteries charged and ready to deliver power to all sorts of energy-hungry devices. We found our Bluetti power bank and solar panel to be up to many important jobs around the yard, the house, and even in the wilderness.
Here’s a full review of Bluetti products and more information on all their uses.
Find out how many solar panels you need to eliminate your electricity bill
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- Bluetti solar generators use lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery technology that is safer and longer lasting than other designs of lithium batteries.
- The company offers many battery products in capacities ranging from 268 watt-hours to 12.3 kilowatt-hours.
- Most Bluetti batteries are portable and all come with the ability to charge from solar panels, which the company also makes.
- The company offers warranties of 24 months for its smaller portable solar generators and up to five years for its large home backup solutions.
- With the wide range of options available, robust build quality, and great technology behind it all, SolarReviews recommends Bluetti products.
Bluetti’s key value proposition comes from its use of Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries. This combination of chemicals (LiFePO4, or LFP for short) makes Bluetti’s batteries more stable, longer lasting, and less environmentally harmful than typical lithium nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) batteries used by other popular solar generators. Bluetti says its LFP batteries can be cycled 2,500 (EB series) to 3,500 (AC and B series) times before being reduced to 80% of their original capacity, compared to other brands’ 500-cycle lifespan.
The next feature common to Bluetti’s Portable Power Stations is solar input. From the entry-level EB3A to the flagship AC200P, comes with an MPPT solar charge controller built-in, allowing the battery to get the most from solar panels. Bluetti makes its own foldable solar panel, but also provides standard MC4 connections so any compatible solar array can be used to charge its batteries (with allowable input wattage that differs for each of its products).
Finally, Bluetti includes a pure sine wave inverter in each of its batteries and provides multiple DC and AC outlets to provide options for powering devices. Typical outlets include USB-A, USB-C, 120V AC, and 12V DC. In addition, all Bluetti Portable Power Stations come with 15W wireless charging pads built into the top of the unit.
How a Bluetti Solar generator works
In order to provide a good review of Bluetti’s Portable Power Stations, we purchased a Bluetti EB55 along with a PV120 foldable solar panel. With this pair of products, you can provide power to numerous devices away from home, and even provide yourself some peace of mind in the event of a power outage.
We found the EB55 to be a well-built, capable and versatile piece of equipment. It is an excellent option for people who need power on the go, whether it’s in an off-grid camping setting, as an RV accessory, or even just a fun day at the park or beach.
Bluetti EB55 Details
The EB55 has 537 watt-hours (Wh) of storage capacity and can output 700W of continuous power (1,400W surge). That’s not enough power to start an air conditioner, but it is enough to run a full-sized refrigerator for a few hours during a power outage, or several smaller appliances for a full day, even without recharging.
Accessories that come with the Bluetti EB55 (L to R): solar charging cable, DC charging cable, AC cord, velcro strap, and power brick.
Inside the box, the EB55 comes with an AC power supply, a cable for charging from a vehicle’s DC outlet, and a cable for charging from solar panels. The EB55 has 12 outlets:
- Four USB-A
- One USB-C
- Two grounded and two ungrounded 120V AC outputs
- Two 12V/10A DC
- One 12V DC cigarette lighter outlet
The unit is a compact 10.94 x 7.87 x 7.79 inches and weighs in at 16.5 lbs, with a foldable carrying handle on top. There is a built-in cooling fan with vents on the side of the unit, and a small backlit LCD screen on the front that displays the state of charge and input/output wattage using two shades of blue.
The Bluetti EB55 can charge from AC power with the included power brick, DC power from the solar panels, or both at the same time. It can also be charged using a 12V DC output from a vehicle or from a generator. Charging power is up to 200W from AC or solar, or 400W from both AC and solar at the same time.
In our tests, Bluetti’s 120W solar panel delivered its maximum power to the EB55 effortlessly under full sun on a warm day. The solar panel is about 2 feet high by 6 feet wide, with four sections that fold out from the stored position. On the back of these sections are thin “legs” that fold away from the main body and allow the user to adjust the angle at which the panel is placed relative to the ground, between 40° and 50°.
Features of the Bluetti PV120 solar panel: fully folded, zippered pouch with wires, adjustable leg.
The whole solar panel is clad in ripstop-style polyester fabric, with a hard plastic handle at one end that is used for carrying the panel when it’s folded up. The solar sections themselves are laminated inside Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) sheets, which allows them to be flexible and resist fading and cracking due to high temperatures and UV radiation. A zippered pouch on the back of one section contains the cables and a list of specifications.
The fully-extended PV120 solar panel.
We’d recommend keeping the battery out of full sun because it heats up when charging.
Thankfully, the EB55 comes with a 5.5-foot solar charging cable with MC4 connectors, and the PV120 panel comes with its own 9.5-foot cable, making it easy to place the panel in the sun and the battery somewhere nearby in the shade. And because Bluetti uses standard solar connectors, additional cables can be purchased online from a variety of sources if you need more than 15 feet between the panel and the battery.
A word of caution: Bluetti solar panels are IP65 rated, meaning they can handle a little splash of water, but can’t withstand rain and snow. Only put them out on a dry day.
In testing the AC charging, we easily got the promised 200W from the charger, although it should be noted that the charging brick has its own internal cooling fan that can get a little noisy, so it’s best to charge it out of earshot. Either the AC adapter or the solar input is capable of filling the EB55’s 537 Wh of storage in about 3 hours from empty, and combining solar and AC together can increase the power to 400W, decreasing charging time down to just 1.8 hours.
In our tests, the EB55 was capable of powering many important appliances and devices, and we recommend it for medium-light duty applications like phone and laptop charging, camping, or even for short-duration events like small concerts in the park where no power is available.
We tested our EB55 in a few ways: powering a small outdoor pool pump, running live sound through a PA speaker, and running a full-size refrigerator. In all these tests, the EB55 performed very well.
The Bluetti EB55 running a pool pump.
With its 537 Wh of battery capacity, it could theoretically run the 33W pool pump for 16 hours, even without solar recharging. At medium volumes, the PA speaker and some guitar pedals used 25W. Imagine an afternoon pool party with a rock Band at a remote location run entirely by one Bluetti EB55 battery. All you’d need is transportation and a water source.
Closer to home, the refrigerator drew between 105W and 220W, depending on the cycle it was running, so it could be kept running for 3 hours or more during a power outage. If you add 4 hours of solar charging at an average of around 100W, you could extend that time to six hours or more. By plugging in the fridge only sporadically, you could theoretically keep food cold for days during a power outage using a single EB55 and solar panel, and probably have enough energy left over to keep your phone topped off.
Because of its LiFePO4 battery cell chemistry, the Bluetti should be able to fully charge and discharge 2,500 times, which could mean several years of power even with twice daily cycling. That many cycles should still leave the battery at 80% of its original capacity.
It’s a pretty remarkable little battery, and well worth its 499 MSRP. But the EB55 is one of the smallest capacity batteries Bluetti offers, and some of the company’s products can do much more than keep your food cold for a few hours.
Bluetti product comparison
Now let’s look at some of the key specifications of Bluetti’s product lineup. The company has offerings as small as the entry-level EB3A with a 268 Wh battery pack and as large as the expandable AC300 inverter module, which doesn’t come with its own battery but can instead be paired with up to four B300 expansion batteries for 12.3 kWh of storage. That’s nearly as large as a Tesla Powerwall.
The smaller, more portable power stations (basically anything that will fit in Bluetti’s carrying case) are fairly simple; just boxes with batteries, inputs, and output ports, while the larger offerings like the Bluetti AC200MAX and AC300 come with Bluetooth and can be controlled via the Bluetti smartphone app (the newer, small EB3A is also app-enabled). For very large battery backup needs, two AC300 inverter modules can be paired with Bluetti’s AC300 Fusion Box for a 240V system with up to 24.5 kWh of storage.
Here’s a rundown of Bluetti’s portable models and their key specs:
|Product||Capacity||Output (surge)||Max input W||# of outlets||Expandable||Max capacity|
|EB3A||268 Wh||600W (1,200W)||430W SolarAC||9||N||N/A|
|EB55||537 Wh||700W (1,400W)||400W SolarAC||12||N||N/A|
|EB70S||716 Wh||800W (1,400W)||200W Solar/AC||12||N||N/A|
|AC200P||2,000 Wh||2,000W (4,800W)||1,200W SolarAC||17||N||N/A|
|AC300 inverter module||N/A||3,000W (6,000W)||5,400W SolarAC||16||Y||12,288 Wh|
|AC200MAX||2,048 Wh||2,200W (4,800W)||1,300W SolarAC||15||Y||8,192 Wh|
|B230 expansion battery||2,048 Wh||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|B300 expansion battery||3,071 Wh||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
Like a lot of technology products you can find on Amazon, Bluetti products often go on sale, and people looking for the company’s products can often find coupons and discount codes online. For reference, here are the MSRPs of the most popular Bluetti products:
- EB3A: 299
- EB55: 499
- EB70S: 599
- AC200P: 1,699
- AC300 inverter module: 1,899
- AC200MAX: 1,899
- B230 expansion battery: 1,399
- B300 expansion battery: 2,199
- PV120 solar panel: 299
- PV200 solar panel: 499
- PV350 solar panel: 849
Bluetti battery warranties
The warranty is where portable batteries like Bluetti falter a bit compared to purpose-built home solar batteries. The warranty for most Bluetti products covers just 24 months of defects due to materials and workmanship. These products are designed to last for a long time, but the manufacturer doesn’t offer long-term coverage for most of its products.
That said, if you spring for the AC300 with one or more B300 expansion batteries, Bluetti offers 48 months of warranty coverage. Larger home battery backup systems like the EP500Pro come with 5-year warranties. These don’t quite match the 10-year warranties offered by companies like Generac and LG, so if you’re concerned about long-term coverage, one of those battery solutions might be better for you.
Ironically, Generac and LG use lithium NMC batteries, so the Bluetti should theoretically outlast them. Bluetti says its EB-series batteries will last for 2,500 cycles before being reduced to 80% of their original capacity, and its AC- and B-series batteries get estimates of 3,500 cycles before hitting 80%. Assuming one full cycle per day, that’s over 9 years.
How does Bluetti compare to the competition?
When it comes to the best solar generators, Bluetti is among the top contenders. Its LFP battery cells are rated to last five times as long as products from main competitors Jackery and GoalZero, and its products are every bit as durable and easy to use.
With 48-60 month warranties on its flagship products, Bluetti exceeds the standards set by its competitors, which almost all offer only 24 months of coverage. To be fair, their 500-cycle lifespans will almost certainly be up within those 24 months of regular usage, so Bluetti has a chance to extend its warranties and further set itself apart from Jackery, GoalZero, and others. We hope to see that as Bluetti products spend more time in the wild and prove their durability.
Which Bluetti product is right for you?
If you’re on the go and need to keep small appliances powered in an off-grid situation, the EB55 is an excellent choice. If you just want to keep your phone charged in the wilderness, the new EB3A is a great, inexpensive option.
For longer trips and cabin stays, the AC200P provides a robust amount of energy storage and power output that could keep an off-grid cabin very comfortable, especially when paired with a few Bluetti solar panels wired in series.
For home backup applications, we recommend the EP500 Pro over the AC300 with expansion batteries, simply because of the form factor and the 5-year warranty. If Bluetti ever increases its warranty protection for its modular batteries, we’ll update that recommendation accordingly.
Bottom line: are Bluetti products good?
Bluetti’s batteries and solar panels compare favorably with the majority of other portable solutions on the market. The LFP batteries and ETFE-clad solar panels are powerful and well-built products designed for a life lived outside of the boundaries of the electric grid. On top of that, Bluetti meets or exceeds industry standards for portable devices with 2-5 year warranties on its products.
One caveat here is that the company is still only a few years old, and it remains to be seen whether its batteries will match the estimated 2,500-cycle lifespans, and whether the company will prove adept at handling customer complaints if they don’t. But the tech is solid, the products are proving popular and well-liked, and Bluetti reps actively engage customers through multiple channels, including an owners’ group. The company seems to be doing things right.
Another caveat is that Bluetti’s solar panels aren’t as robust as actual home solar panels. For example, they aren’t designed to be outside in the rain and snow. If you’re looking for something to act as a fixture on your home or even off-grid cabin, real roof- or ground-mounted solar panels are much more robust, and can survive the weather for decades. And you can still use Bluetti battery backup with a well-designed solar installation.
The Bluetti PV120; SolarReviews and Bowie-approved.
Regardless of the caveats, Bluetti is making some great products. If you’re looking for a way to keep important devices powered up while in the wilderness, Bluetti batteries and solar panels have our recommendation.
‘Solar generators’ provide flexible backup power for less
Bells and whistles are great, but sometimes the basic model is all that’s needed for energy storage.
When solar customers and power-concerned homeowners aren’t interested in or able to take advantage of load-shifting and demand arbitrage opportunities managed by energy storage systems, there are simpler products available today just for emergency backup. No longer do contractors have to suggest a gas generator or a bank of lead-acid batteries; many companies offer portable and powerful lithium-ion systems that can support customers looking for peace of mind during a blackout.
This category of energy storage is often referred to as “solar generators” and has been mostly marketed to adventurers on the go — those camping, traveling, tailgating and working off-grid. These battery systems have lower capacities than stationary residential systems like the Tesla Powerwall and LG RESU, but they are expandable for specific power needs. They can be charged by portable solar panels or through the grid. Depending on the source of charging electricity, solar generators can be very clean. And best of all, they can be used to back up appliances and loads in the home at a fraction of the price of a stationary system.
Here are a few portable energy storage systems and solar generators that are increasingly being looked at for emergency backup in the home.
Goal Zero Yeti
Likely the most popular portable lithium battery system comes from Goal Zero. The company’s Yeti 6000X Portable Power Station has an initial capacity of 6.071 kWh and uses NMC batteries with a 500-cycle lifespan at 80% depth of discharge (DoD). Yeti 6000X has 2 kW of continuous power and 3.5 kW of surge power. The station has seven output ports, but it can also be connected to a home’s electrical panel to support four essential circuits.
While Yeti 6000X is the company’s most powerful starting unit, Goal Zero offers many setups to accommodate various power needs. Customers just need one Goal Zero power station as a base, and then storage capacity can be expanded through cheaper lead-acid battery add-ons. Because of their size and weight, the lead-acid batteries are stationary, while the lithium power station is portable. The Yeti Tank Expansion Batteries come in a pair for 2.4 kWh of additional power capacity.
Not an especially common setup, Goal Zero can combine lithium and lead-acid battery technologies through its Yeti Link Expansion Module — essentially, a sophisticated battery management system.
“Our expansion tank is a deep cycle, lead-acid battery. This allows you to use the electronics in the Yeti [lithium-based system] but expand the battery,” said Bill Harmon, GM at Goal Zero. “You can add as many [lead-acid batteries] as you want. The customer can just plug them in. Suddenly, you have the portability of the lithium battery and the inexpensive lead-acid batteries sitting at home.”
Harmon told Solar Power World that Goal Zero has recently seen “almost an even split” between customers buying Yeti systems for home backup vs. outdoor recreation, but more than 70% indicate they intend to use the systems for both purposes.
“Our system is for all the people in the country who don’t have 15,000 to spend on an energy storage installation. And then when I’m done, all I have is something permanently installed in my home,” Harmon said. “Yeti is for those who are sensitive to what they’re spending money on.”
The Yeti 6000X is advertised online at under 6,000 with each two-battery lead-acid expansion priced under 1,300.
Renogy Lycan 5000
Renogy, an energy product provider for the DIY crowd, released the Lycan 5000 Power Box in 2021, a 4.8-kWh lithium battery system specifically designed for emergencies, power outages and off-grid homes. Lycan can be expanded up to 19.2 kWh, and the LFP batteries have a 4,500-cycle lifespan at 80% DoD. With the help of a licensed electrician, Lycan can be connected to a building’s main electrical panel.
Renogy reps told Solar Power World that while Lycan is a portable unit (it’s attached to wheels and is rated for outdoor use), most customers are just using it for emergency backup.
“Most customers use Lycan as their source of power generator via solar,” the rep said. “When used in home situations, customers install a sub-panel to divert part of their home’s appliances to be supported by Lycan instead of the grid.”
The 4.8-kWh unit has a continuous power output of 3.5 kW and a peak power output of up to 7 kW, with AC outlets directly on the system. It is equipped with circuit breakers and surge protection devices.
One additional benefit of the Lycan: It does not require a permit to install if it is used for a fully off-grid situation.
The system is advertised online at under 5,200.
Bluetti, an off-grid power solutions company, has a line of solar generators and its own portable home battery backup system. The Bluetti EP500 Solar Power Station is a 5.1-kWh system on wheels, and its LFP batteries have a 3,500-cycle lifespan at 80% DoD. Two units can be connected for up to 10.2 kWh of capacity. One EP500 has a 2-kW continuous power output rating with a peak of 4.8 kW.
A licensed electrician can connect the EP500 to a building’s main electrical box through the Bluetti Sub Panel.
A portion of the user’s manual does show how roof-mounted solar panels can charge the station, as long as they do not use microinverters. EP500 comes with its own sine inverter, so that panel-level inversion would not work with the system.
The system is advertised online at under 4,600.
Growatt Infinity 1500
Growatt, a company largely known for its residential inverter line, also has a portable power system that boasts 12 outlets. The Infinity 1500 has an initial capacity of 1.554 kWh but can be expanded up to three units for 4.662 kWh of total storage power. The NMC batteries have an 800-cycle lifespan at 60% DoD. Infinity 1500 is rated at 2-kW of continuous power output with a 4-kW surge.
In addition to grid and solar charging capabilities, Growatt has the option for the Infinity 1500 to be charged through an EV charging station.
Infinity 1500 is currently only available in the United States, but Growatt has not yet begun shipping the product. No pricing information is listed at this time.
Ford F-150 Lightning
Maybe one of the more interesting “portable” lithium battery systems that recently hit the market is the 131-kWh battery in the new all-electric Ford F-150 Lightning truck. By using a bidirectional charger, the truck’s big battery could provide three full days of emergency backup, based on average home consumption.
The F-150 Lightning hit the road over the summer, with solar installer Sunrun working as the preferred installer of its home charging solutions. California utility PGE is testing Ford’s Intelligent Backup Power bidirectional charging capabilities as on-demand power sources for homes.
Sunrun public relations senior manager Wyatt Semanek said it’s still too early to know if customers are buying the Ford F-150 Lightning for emergency backup, but he did say that initial order data does suggest that consumers are eager to use the bidirectional charger in their homes.
“The size — roughly 10 Powerwalls — and capability of the battery, plus the utility of a truck, makes it a very attractive backup alternative,” Semanek said.
With the successful operation of Ford’s Intelligent Backup Power system, it could more quickly open the door to other bidirectional charging efforts from companies like Wallbox and Emporia, and lead to more EVs being used as standby backup power.
About The Author
Kelly Pickerel has over a decade of experience reporting on the U.S. solar industry and is currently editor in chief of Solar Power World.
Комментарии и мнения владельцев
Performance of Renogy Lycan 5000 in your article is very great, Jim Carr provide feedback from Amazon:Very pleased with the quality and performance of this product. For a battery it stores an impressive amount of power that lets you charge electronics, run modest appliances, and keep some lights on during a power failure. And if you live outside of major cities in the northeast you know that’s becoming more of a problem. Not sure yet if this will run my gas furnace blower, but it keeps on the pilot and runs the blower in my gas fireplace insert. This is a good backup if you live in an apartment, condo or townhouse and can’t have a generator.
Again, here is a sign that TESLA may be the first name off someone’s tongue, there are many others with a FOCUS on portability and function. Yeah, TESLA has a way to go to compete with these guys.
You might also highlight EcoFlow. Their DeltaPro delivers up to 3600 W with 3600 Wh. They can be combined for 240V support and they have a Smart Home Panel to provide seamless backup as well as time shifting for loads. I have two DeltaPros and at this very minute they are providing backup for my home through a planned power outage
Lots of great points Kelly but I would like to add that these are mainly consumer or residential grade solar generators. There are companies like ours, New Use Energy, and others that are developing professional grade solar generators and solar UPS’s. A lot of the use cases beyond home conveniences, are in disaster or humanitarian relief, construction, telecoms, events etc that are being addressed by weatherized tough solar generators. They also need to work with real solar arrays for fast solar recharging. Our company’s equipment is being used in front line hospitals in Ukraine for example, running full surgery rooms. Often after disasters there are many left living in temporary shelters where they need power from that generator for 6-12 months. Let me know if you want to know more about where solar generators go beyond camping and temporary home power.
I thank you know what you’re talking about and I would love to know more. When I was about 17 years old,I worked for a battery company Red Diamond Battery Co. I worked on a acid Iine and one of my jobs was filling the batteries with acid cleaning the batteries and charging them on a heavy wooden cart. You would put about 20 per top and 20 on bottom, then we would hook the first positive to the negative on the second and so on until it completes the circle until there is one positive on the front and one single negative,And put the single positive hooked to the charger system and the the negative to the Negative and If I remember right the next day we would pack and ship makes me wonder how many volts were in the first two. When they were hooked together.
The 7 Best Solar Generators for RVs: A Review and Comparison
You’re looking to jump on the solar generator bandwagon, but you’re not sure where to turn. You’ve come to the right place.
If you’re new to solar energy and attempted to read about DIY solar generators for RVs to no avail, or you’ve bought a solar generator but are ready for an upgrade—this post is for you.
Identifying the best solar generator for your RV can be a challenge! With so many plug-and-play options on the market, let’s walk through the seven best solar generators for RVs.
Our Top Picks
Ultimate Expansion CapabilityDELTA Pro by Ecoflow
Best Entry-Level High Output OptionBluetti AC200Max
Best Solar Generators for RVs
Read about each of the generators on our list, and don’t miss our downloadable comparison chart and buyers guide below!
Anker PowerHouse 767
The Anker PowerHouse 767 comes with HyperFlash technology for charging from 0% to 80% in just one hour. It’s our best solar generator for RV enthusiasts because of its record-breaking charging speeds, expansion ability, and low cost per Watt-hour.
When you upgrade to the Expansion Battery bundle, the system cost comes in at just 0.73/Wh which is very competitive and doubles the capacity of this system.
|4096 with 760 expansion battery||2700||0.66|
Anker provides bundled configurations that include their model 531 Solar Panel rated at 200W.
- Five-year full device warranty included
- Power up to 12 devices—2400W includes an exclusive RV port, four AC ports, three USB-C charging ports, two USB-A charging ports, and two car outlets
- Wheels for power to move this solar generator with ease
- Regular firmware updates resolve most issues reported by customers and expect future updates to continue optimizing this solar generator
- Anker is a trusted brand known for its excellent customer support
- AC charging cable, battery-to-host cable, car charging cable, and solar charging cable included with accessories bag
The award-winning DeltaPro Solar Generator is our runner-up best solar generator for RVs, which comes with a mega expandable system that can grow from 3,600 Wh to 25,000 Wh with extra batteries and/or other EcoFlow Smart Generators. You can purchase expansion batteries for less than a dollar per watt-hour!
EcoFlow’s DELTA series was named in TIME’s Best 100 Inventions of 2021 and won the 2022 Red Dot Design and IF Awards.
|7200 with expansion battery||3500 2800 = 6300||0.88|
EcoFlow sells multiple solar panels compatible with the Pro, including the 400W Portable Solar Panel and the 220W Bifacial Foldable Solar Panel.
- Five ways to charge—EV station charging, solar, wall outlets, Smart Outdoor Generator, or 12 v auto adapter (included)
- Easy-to-read LCD screen or EcoFlow app allows you to view and control charging time
- Can be charged in 1.7 hours with a 3400W EV charging station
- Includes wheels for easy maneuvering
- Regular firmware updates
- Five-year warranty
- AC charging cable, car charging cable, DC5521 to DC5525 cable, and handle cover included
- Level 2 EV adaptor is not included, and you may need an adapter to connect with a mobile EV charger if your EV charger doesn’t have a standard AC plug
If you want to dip your toe in the water of solar generators for your RV with some ability for expansion, we think the Bluetti AC200Max is the best solar generator for you. It can be expanded for less than a dollar per watt-hour.
The solar generator comes with 16 outputs to suit your electrical needs. A 30A NEMA TT-30 port and a 12V 30A DC port are included with RV fans in mind.
|5120 with B300 expansion battery||1700 2000 = 3700||0.72|
Bluetti’s most popular solar panels to pair with the AC200MAX include the 200W PV200 and the 350W PV350.
- Bluetti is known for its excellent customer support
- Easy to set up and run for buyers new to solar generators for RVs
- Mobile app available for reading display
- 24-month warranty
- The solar and cigarette lighter use the same port, which makes the cigarette lighter port unusable while charging with solar
The ALLPOWERS S2000 is our best solar generator for RV for those on a budget because has a significant amount of power for less than a dollar per watt-hour!
It’s an extraordinary budget solar generator for RVs with a 30-A plug-in, and it has 12 outputs. The power station has 2400 wattage with a surge of 4000 wattages.
The ALLPOWERS SP037 400W Portable Solar Panel is an ideal panel to pair with the S2000 for a fast charge or consider the 200W SP033 solar panel if you’re ok waiting a bit longer to charge.
- Five-year warranty
- Fully recharged in 1.5 hours using a wall outlet with included 1500 AC adapter and 3 hours using MPPT 650W max solar input
- Remote control with a phone app
- 10 years of battery life
- The ALLPowers brand regularly has coupons and sales on this product, so keep an eye out for deals to save
Jackery Explorer 1000
You won’t find a Best Solar Generator for RV list without a Jackery model. Jackery has been a fan-favorite solar generator brand for a long time.
The Jackery Explorer 1000 is a trusted unit that will allow you to power 90 percent of appliances. This power station can be charged in six hours with 100W solar panels or 5.5 hours via an AC wall charger.
Without a 30A AC plug, this solar generator isn’t ideal for plugging in your entire RV, but you could still plug in directly with a 15A to 30A adapter.
You can mix and match Jackery’s SolarSaga solar panels to match your charge speed and budget requirements. Jackery has multiple panels in the lineup including a 200W panel and a 100W panel. For an ultra-fast 1.8 hour charge, Jackery bundles the Explorer 1000 with four of their 200W SolarSaga panels, and they also offer a lower-cost bundle that includes the Explorer 1000 with two 80W SolarSaga panels.
- Quiet and strong— little to no noise
- Features industry-leading cylindrical batteries that meet UL Safety Standards
- Jackery is a popular and trusted solar generator brand
- Jackery often has coupons available for this product, so keep an eye out for deals
- AC adapter, car charger cable, and SolarSaga Parallel adapter included
- The display backlight does not have the option to stay on permanently, and it is difficult to read without the light
Goal Zero Yeti 500X
Goal Zero is another brand known for its best solar generators for RV. The Goal Zero Yeti 500X is a small option that is suitable to power your laptop or other smaller devices. It’s small size will allow you to tuck it out of the way when not in use.
The Goal Zero 500x pairs well with either the Nomad 50W, 100W or 200W panels.
- Lightweight and portable—only 12.9 pounds
- Trustworthy brand known for its humanitarian roots and giving back to disadvantaged communities
- Compatible with Goal Zero Light-A-Life for bright LED light (not included)
- Long charging time; expect 10 hours with a wall or USB, and 12-14 hours with solar or buy the Goal Zero X 600 W Power Supply to cut charge time down to five hours
- Relatively expensive when considering its cost per watt-hour in comparison to other solar generators for RVs
The Anker 521 is the best solar generator for RV enthusiasts who need a small charge. If all you need to power is your laptop or a lamp, the Anker 521 is a solid choice.
It comes with six ports, including two AC ports, two USB-A ports, a USB-C port, and a car outlet. Charge it up in two hours with a wall, or four hours with solar energy.
You can get the Anker 521 bundled with a 100W panel, or mix and match separately.
- Anker is a trusted brand
- Long-lasting battery built to last over a decade
- Smart temperature monitoring control system to prevent the device from getting too hot
- Anker’s worry-free five-year warranty
- Lightweight—only eight pounds
- Solar panels can be purchased as a bundle or separately
- Only 200W output, so definitely not intended for powering large appliances
- Solar panels not included, but they can be bundled with your purchase
Best Solar Generators for RV Buyer’s Guide
Keep reading for details on everything you need to know to make the best buying decision you can.
Comparison Chart of the Best Solar Generators for RVs
The following table compares all the important features you’ll want to consider when buying the perfect solar generator for your RV. Download a copy for further reference.
Amount of Power You Need
The first step in determining the best solar generator for your needs is to make a list of every item you want to power. This will help you determine exactly how much power you need.
This chart will give you a general idea of how much power electrical items use in RVs.
To understand this chart, you must understand the difference between rated watts and surge watts.
Rated watts, also known as running wattage, are the amount of electricity required to run the electronic continuously. Surge watts, also known as starting wattage, are the additional wattage needed for two to three seconds to start the electric motors normally found in appliances like fans and refrigerators.
|Appliance||Rated Watts||Surge Watts|
|Rooftop Air Conditioner (15,000 BTU)||1,500 W||3,500 W|
|Space Heater||1,800 W||1,800 W|
|Electric Water Heater (6 gals)||1,440 W||1,440 W|
|Heating Pad||250 W||250 W|
|4 Light bulbs (75 W)||300 W||300 W|
|Blow Drier||1,250 W||1,250 W|
|Electric Shaver||35 W||35 W|
|Vacuum||1,100 W||1,100 W|
|Mini Refrigerator||50 W||120 W|
|Blender||350 W||350 W|
|Chest Freezer||450 W||900 W|
|Microwave (635 W Power)||635 W||800 W|
|Slow Cooker||170 W||270 W|
|Toaster||850 – 1250 W||850 – 1250 W|
|Waffle Iron||1,200 W||1,725 W|
|19” Color TV||160 W||160 W|
|Laptop||50 – 200 W||50-200 W|
|Desktop Computer||600 W||800 W|
|Satellite Dish Receiver||30 W||250 W|
|Cell Phone Charger||5 – 25 W||5-25W|
Capacity is expressed in Watt-hours (Wh). When considering the best solar generator for RVs, the cost of a solar generator is generally associated with the capacity of the generator.
Higher capacity solar generators can go longer without charging the unit either in the sun or, if the sun isn’t shining, plugging it in. The power that can be pulled out from the device usually corresponds with the capacity of the device.
This is the capacity you need to power your whole RV successfully without having to charge constantly. The absolute best solar generators for RVs will be in this range or will be able to be expanded to it.
You will find that most of the best solar generators for RVs in this range can be expanded to much larger power ranges using expansion battery systems.
These systems can occasionally power your whole RV, and some of them include a 30A AC output (ideal for plugging in your RV), but you will need to charge more often.
You won’t be able to plug in the whole RV, but this will allow you to run some small electronics like a laptop, a television, lights, or simply charge your phone.
The best solar generators for RVs can be expanded, allowing you to increase your generator’s capacity to power devices and the time needed between charges.
Total Outlets and Ports
If you have many items on your list to power, you need to be certain you have enough outlets and ports (and the right type) to power your devices.
The most common ports are AC outlets (30A and 15A), USB, USB-C, and automobile auxiliary power plugs (car chargers or cigarette lighters).
Weight and Portability
You want to consider the weight and portability of your solar generation for an RV. Think about how easy it will be to pack it up when it’s time to hit the road. Portability is the number one consideration when researching the best solar generators for RVs.
Review the portability features when selecting the best solar generator for RVs. Some solar generators include wheels for easy maneuvering. All of the best solar generators for RVs list their weight in the product description.
If you’re camping solo, you want to make sure you will be able to move your generator on your own. If not, you will need to plan on asking for help or bringing a second set of hands.
Charging speeds vary for RV solar generators and rely on the power source. They can take anywhere from 1.5 hours to 48 hours to charge. The following factors will impact the charging speed of your RV solar generator:
- The capacity of the solar generator
- Number of solar panels
- Sunlight available to convert to solar power
- Solar panel positioning
Note that solar generators can be charged via outlets if no sun is available. Many campers choose to bring a backup generator for this scenario.
When the sun is hidden behind clouds or you need your RV solar generator charged faster than the sun allows it to charge, you want to have plenty of additional charging options. The most common charging method alternative to solar is charging it with the 110V AC output wall plug-in.
12V auto adapters (car/cigarette chargers) are popular accessories the with best solar generators for RV, and USB-A charging is also possible on some solar generators.
Modern charging methods are becoming more popular on newer models of solar generators. USB-C chargers, for example, are lightweight and charge faster than solar energy.
Some new and innovative RV solar generators come with EV hookups, which are becoming more popular as solar energy takes off. Depending on the EV charger, though, you may need to buy a separate Level 2 EV adaptor, like in the case of the DeltraPRO EF EcoFlow.
Some of the best solar generators for RVs are available bundled with solar panels, but not all of them. If your solar generator does not already come with solar panels, you will need to buy some. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations. Most solar generator manufacturers also make solar panels that are guaranteed to work with your solar generator.
Solar panels can be expanded upon using Y-branch cables. You do want to be careful when mixing and matching solar panels, though.
Carefully consider the electrical parameters of each solar panel. If the panels have different characteristics, you could end up with a performance issue. Solar panels should have the same wattage output for optimal performance.
Lifespan and Warranty
Portable RV solar generators have a lifespan of about 10 years, with the solar panels having a 25-year lifespan. There are steps you can take to increase the lifespan of your investment because if you use your generator often and don’t maintain it, it may fail sooner.
Regular maintenance includes wiping down dust and debris with a soft cloth. Inspect the battery for residue, and always consult your manual for specific maintenance tips.
Store your RV solar generator in a cool, dry area when not in use. Avoid exposing it to extreme cold or heat.
Do not overcharge your battery or float charge your battery. Overcharging the battery shortens its lifespan. Float charging refers to always leaving a charger on your battery so that it’s continuously at 100%.
Cycle your battery to avoid your battery having too low or too high of a charge for a long time by using 25 percent of your battery’s capacity, then charge it back to 50 to 75 percent. Do this at least every six months.
Check to see if your solar generator comes with a warranty before you buy it, and don’t forget to fill out any required paperwork for the warranty to go into effect.
The number one complaint buyers often have for solar generators is they’re difficult, if not impossible, to return. Most solar generators for RV are made from lithium-ion batteries, which opens up a wormhole for those wishing to ship them, either to return them or mail them to someone else as a gift.
UPS and FedEx have strict rules on lithium-ion batteries, which can make it difficult to ship them. It’s important to do your research first before buying your best solar generator for RVs, and it’s best not to plan on shipping a solar generator to your friend on the other side of the country.
Best Solar Generators for RV Frequently Asked Questions
Can you run an RV solar generator continuously?
It’s possible assuming you have enough sunlight and storage capacity. You must generate and store more electricity than you consume to be able to run an RV solar generator continuously without charging.
Can RV solar generators be used at night?
If your RV solar generator is charged, yes. How long it will last throughout the night depends on the battery length and the amount of time you charged it during the day. Prepare for night hours every day by keeping an eye on what time the sun sets so you can charge your generator accordingly.
Are solar generators noisy?
Solar generators do not have any moving parts, so this allows them to run in silence. Other than being better for the environment, their quietness is something that makes solar generators so appealing to RV owners. The last thing you want to hear while relaxing in the wilderness is a noisy generator.
The best solar generators for RVs are not noisy, though some complaints have been made about the devices used to charge them when not using solar energy.
Do solar generators require much maintenance?
They require very little maintenance to stay in top-notch shape. Other than regular dust removal, checking connections, and removing moisture, there’s not much maintenance required. However, since you are spending thousands of dollars, you want to keep your solar generator in tip-top shape.
The best way to keep your solar generator in excellent condition is to have it inspected by a professional electrician who offers generator services. Corrosion is the number one issue with backup generators, caused by moisture getting into the battery banks.
Do I need to purchase an inverter for my solar generator?
Though unlikely, if your solar generator does not have AC ouptut(s), then yes, you will need to buy an inverter.
Solar panels produce Direct Current (DC) power, and the appliances in your RV run on Alternating Current (AC). An inverter inverts the DC power to AC power, allowing it to power your appliances in your RV.
Note that the best solar generators for RV units come with built in inverters, but should you end up buying a unit that does not come with one or you need to buy an extra one, pay attention to the wattage capacity when selecting an inverter. The Giandel Power Inverter has an integrated solar charge controller, 12V input, and supports up to 1200 Watts output.
Wrapping up the Best Solar Generators for RVs
Now that you know all about the best solar generators for RVs, you’re ready to make the best of solar energy.
The Anker PowerHouse 767 will charge for you in just an hour, though the DeltaPRO EF Ecoflow 3600Wh has some innovative features. One of the solar generators for RV on this list is certain to meet your needs!Before you go, read about the Best RV Heater for Winter Camping.
Posted on Last updated: March 30, 2023
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The Best Solar Generator for Off-Grid Living: Top 7 Choices
Whether you’re a hardcore camper or survivalist or simply like the idea of living off the grid, having a solar generator is extremely important. The best solar generator for off-grid living will offer you the chance to live emission-free and save tons of money on gas and fuel for refilling a traditional generator.
Regardless of your motivations, solar generators could be extremely beneficial to your off-grid lifestyle. So, without further ado, let’s dive into how to find the best solar generator for off-grid living and how to go about choosing one.
What Is a Solar Generator, and How Do They Work?
Solar generators use solar panels to harness energy from the sun to convert it into electricity. Each generator can attach to solar panels that harness the energy, then transfer it to the generator. The generator then stores this energy until it’s at total capacity and is ready for use.
Solar generators are mostly designed to power small devices such as laptops and phone chargers or lights. However, advancements are being made in solar technology, and generators are being designed bigger and better than ever. While solar generators are still recommended as a backup or supplemental source of power, there are a few that can power your desire for off-grid living.
How to Choose the Best Solar Generator for Off-Grid Living
When choosing the best solar generator for off-grid living, the main things to keep in mind are your goals and how big of a generator you need. Each of the below considerations affects your generator’s capabilities and what you can use it for.
A generator’s power storing ability is measured in watt-hours. Most solar generators have storing capabilities of less than 100 or 500 watt-hours, which is only enough to power a light bulb or charging device.
However, a heavy-duty generator, the best solar generator for off-grid living, will have power storage capacities of several thousand-kilowatt hours. However, this doesn’t mean that you can power your home for several thousand hours straight. To figure that out, you have to add up the wattage amounts of each of the appliances and devices you want to power.
For example, if you want to power a refrigerator that uses 500 watts and your generator has a capacity of 2,000 kilowatt-hours, you could power your 500-watt refrigerator for four hours. Simply take the wattage of what you’re powering and divide it by the storing capacity.
Along with power storing abilities, the best solar generator for off-grid living should be able to recharge quickly is extremely important. The size and amount of solar panels you have will largely determine how quickly your generator recharges after using its stored power. If you hope to continually run appliances or have permanent power, charging capability and speed is vital.
You’ll also want a generator that you can charge via other means, such as a 12-volt battery. If the sun isn’t shining and you need your solar generator to recharge, batteries, outlets, and other power sources are necessary.
Output capability refers to how many different devices the generator can power at once and how many different sources of power it has. Sources of power refer to the types of outlets, plugs, and ports on the generator itself. The best solar generator for off-grid living should have many different styles and sizes of ports and a maximum output that’s higher than its maximum input.
You also want a solar generator that’s portable and easy to move from place to place. This is especially important for off-grid living, including camping, boondocking, and any other living situation you can think of. The typical best solar generator for off-grid living will range in size from 10 to 100 pounds, but don’t forget about any cords, batteries, or solar panels you have to transport.
Finally, you don’t want a solar generator that works well enough but will need to be replaced often. For true off-grid living, you should have a solar generator to match. Conditions might get rough and dirty, and having the best solar generator for off-grid living means having one that can withstand bumps and bruises and last a long time.
Overall Best Solar Generator for Off-Grid Living
Jackery Explorer 1500
The Jackery Explorer 1500 offers excellent output capability, portability, durability, and comes in a tiny package. Each of these things are important to consider when purchasing the best solar generator for off-grid living. While it might not be as good in each area as other generators, it does the best job of combining each aspect and taking our top overall spot.