How To Choose a Whole House Solar Generator
A power outage can be a minor inconvenience for some and a deadly interruption of service for others.
To mitigate the frightening effects of a power outage, homeowners can install a whole-house solar generator. These devices allow your home to stay powered even during a days-long blackout. The batteries in these generators have enough capacity to run a household—including all large appliances, electronic devices, and even heating and cooling systems. You can also connect multiple generators and batteries to expand the capacity.
A whole-house solar generator kit is a great way to attain energy independence so that you aren’t at the mercy of power outages and aging grid infrastructure. There are several options to satisfy the electricity needs of different households.
How Do Whole House Solar Generators Work?
Whole-house solar generators allow homeowners to switch between on-grid and off-grid power at their convenience. They are the latest devices homeowners use to build their Smart Home Ecosystems.
A solar generator gathers power from PV solar panels or an AC outlet and stores it in an internal battery. The self-contained unit operates while harvesting the sunlight or keeps the energy in reserve for use during a power outage.
At some point, you’ll want to use your stored power. You can plug the solar generator into a power inlet box or transfer switch. Then, the transfer switch near your electrical panel lets you change from on-grid to solar-generated power. The home’s electricity is now drawing from the solar generator’s battery bank and can switch back when the blackout ends.
Why Should You Get a Whole House Solar Generator?
The effects of climate change are growing stronger every year. Annual wildfires are burning down forests, snowstorms black out entire states, and hurricanes have devastated the coasts. Aging electrical infrastructure can’t always handle the weather — or increased demand — so blackouts are becoming more and more common.
Whole house solar generators provide a solution for mitigating the impacts of an unreliable grid, but they have other benefits too.
Here are the top reasons to consider getting a whole home solar generator.
Solar Generators Run Clean and Silently
Gas and diesel generators are known for their deafening operation noise. A whole house solar generator is virtually silent, as there are no moving parts.
Portable gas generators typically produce between 80-100 decibels (dB) of noise when operating — at least 10dBs above the recommended safety threshold, as shown in the chart above.
By contrast, the EcoFlow DELTA Pro produces less than 50dB of noise when charging or operating — more than 20dBs below the safety threshold and comparable to average room noise.
Gas generators also emit dangerous fumes like carbon monoxide. Using one indoors can kill you in minutes. Solar generators do not create deadly fumes, making them significantly better for the environment and usable indoors and out.
Solar Generators Can Go Off-Grid
When you add PV solar panels to a whole home solar generator, you can power your home without worrying about gas or utility companies. Harvesting the clean, renewable energy of the sun allows your solar generator to be recharged during a blackout and provides sufficient power to keep your home running.
Solar Generators Provide Peace of Mind
A whole-house solar generator allows your family to weather a power outage while maintaining your day-to-day life. You can use lights and appliances, and your refrigerated food won’t spoil.
The Best Whole-House Solar Generator Kits
The EcoFlow DELTA Pro, combined with a power inlet box or transfer switch, is the perfect whole-house solar generator starter kit. This setup provides around one full day of essential power. The 3.6 kWh battery bank can power lights, device charging, and other essentials for a family when the power goes out.
You can charge the kit by plugging it into a regular outlet. Or, you can go green by adding solar panels to the setup.
The starter kit also serves another purpose—the DELTA Pro can go on the road to provide power while camping! You can bring modern luxuries into the wilderness and keep them powered. When combined with photovoltaic solar panels, the DELTA Pro can be a complete off-grid power solution.
DELTA Pro DELTA Pro Smart Extra Battery
You can expand the capabilities of the Starter Kit by adding a DELTA Pro Smart Extra Battery. It increases the total battery storage capacity to 7.2 kWh. This setup is ideal for large families or areas where blackouts often last more than one day.
The advanced kit consists of the following:
- 2 x DELTA Pro Solar Generators
- 1 x Double Voltage Hub
- 1 x Power Inlet Box
The advanced kit expands the output capacity to 7.2 kWh. This setup can supply essential power to a family home for around 48 hours, depending on usage. It’s useful for areas where blackouts are common and more prolonged.
The Double Voltage Hub raises the system’s voltage to 240V. It’s the robust, high-performance output you need to power major appliances like washers and dryers during an outage.
You can expand the advanced kit to provide even more power with the addition of EcoFlow DELTA Pro Smart Batteries. Each unit provides an additional 3.6 kWh of power — two DELTA Pro generators combined with four extra batteries can potentially power a home for up to 1 week with 21.6 kWh.
Smart Control Kit
The Smart control kit consists of the following:
- 2 x DELTA Pro Solar Generators
- 1 x Smart Home Panel
- Optional Extra Batteries
This Smart control kit provides 7.2 kWh of backup power, expandable up to 21.6 kWh with extra batteries. It’s perfect for homes that experience frequent blackouts or for families that don’t want to sacrifice modern amenities during a power outage.
The EcoFlow Smart Home Panel allows a whole house solar generator system to shine with modern functionality. You can view your battery levels and control your system using the iOS or Android app. The panel automatically switches to your solar generators when a blackout hits—no need to manually flip a transfer switch.
Each integrated circuit has its own monitoring system so that you can regulate power use throughout your home. The Smart Home Panel can also be programmed to draw power from the solar generators during peak energy hours, lowering your monthly electric bills.
EcoFlow Smart Generator (Dual Fuel)
The EcoFlow Smart Generator (Duel Fuel) is a last line of defense when you cannot generate enough solar power to meet your electricity needs. Unlike most gas generators, the Smart Generator can utilize LPG (propane). Propane is easier to store, cleaner and greener, and emits fewer fumes.
A standard LPG tank can produce around 20 kWh of energy, enough to power some homes for almost a week. With enough propane tanks in storage, you could power a home indefinitely.
How to Choose the Best Whole House Solar Generator
Everyday vs. Emergency Use
The frequency of use can help determine which kit works best for you. Will your whole house solar generator be used regularly or only in times of emergency?
The Starter or Advanced Kits work well if you only need the system for an occasional, short power outage. Larger homes with more occupants will benefit from the expanded battery capacity and output capabilities of the Advanced Kit.
A Smart Control Kit will perform well for those needing backup power for everyday and emergency use. The robust system can power a whole house for emergencies. The Smart Control Kit will also save you money by regulating your peak-hours energy usage and allowing you to tap into free solar electricity.
What will your kit be powering? If you want to do laundry and run other large appliances, you will need a higher battery capacity. A smaller system will fit the bill if you just want to keep the lights on.
Pros and Cons of Whole House Solar Generators
- No Fumes: Gas generators release toxic fumes and pollute the environment. Solar generators do not emit any smoke, fumes, or other pollutants.
- Quiet: Gas generators are notoriously noisy. Most neighborhoods and campgrounds set strict time limits for their use. You can utilize a solar generator 24/7 without bothering your neighbors.
- Low Maintenance: Solar generators rarely require maintenance. There is no engine, which is the common point of failure in gas generators.
- Eco-Friendly: Whole house solar generators can recharge with PV solar panels, an eco-friendly alternative to gas and propane.
- Off-Grid Capable: With a whole home solar generator and a few PV panels, you can power your home with sunlight—no more relying on expensive fuel!
- Limited Power: Unless you have solar panels, you can’t recharge your solar generator until the power comes back on. Gas generators can run as long as you have a supply of fuel.
- Slow Recharge: When you’ve depleted a solar generator’s batteries, recharging from solar sources can take a while. How long depends on the hours of peak sunlight your panels receive and other environmental factors.
- Upfront Cost: Whole-house solar generators have a higher initial cost than gas generators. Local and federal tax incentives may defray a substantial chunk of your upfront investment. Also, the ongoing operation is much cheaper, as no fossil fuels are required. Solar generators require much less frequent maintenance and replacement than their gas counterparts.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, a solar generator can power a whole house. Like a traditional gas generator, a solar generator can connect to a power inlet box to distribute electricity throughout the house. Just flip the power transfer switch near your electrical panel to draw power from the generator instead of the grid.
The cost of a whole-house solar power generator will vary depending on your electricity requirements. The cost of your system depends mainly on the number of solar panels and the battery storage and output capacity you need.
There’s never been a better time to install a whole-house solar generator. have dropped significantly, and technology has improved— just in time for the increasing frequency of power outages due to natural disasters and an aging electrical grid.
Investing in a whole-house solar generator can give you and your family peace of mind. And with EcoFlow, you can prepare for the worst and rest easy—and keep the lights on—when a power outage inevitably hits.
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.
Off-Grid Power for Your Tiny House on Wheels: Portable Solar Generators vs. Propane
Living in a tiny house off-grid is a unique lifestyle choice that requires careful planning and resource management. If you are considering off-grid living in a tiny house on wheels, one of the most critical aspects to think of is your power source. There are two main options for powering your tiny house on wheels: portable solar generators and propane generators. Portable solar generators use solar panels to convert sunlight into electricity, which is then stored in a battery bank for later use. This makes solar generators an environmentally friendly power source that does not produce any emissions and has low maintenance requirements. Propane generators, on the other hand, use propane gas to generate electricity. Propane is a clean-burning fuel that produces fewer emissions than gasoline, making it a popular option for off-grid living. In this article, we discuss the pros and cons of using a portable solar generator and propane generator as an off-grid power source for your tiny house.
What Is a Portable Solar Generator?
Solar generator refers to a technological device that can be powered by the energy from the sun. These advanced systems work by integrating solar panels, a battery, an inverter, and a charge controller into a compact system that captures, stores, and converts solar power into a usable form of electric current.
What Is a Propane Generator?
Propane generators typically consist of an engine, a propane fuel tank, an alternator, and a voltage regulator. When the generator is turned on, the engine burns propane gas to generate mechanical energy, which is then converted into electrical energy by the alternator. The voltage regulator ensures that the electricity generated is of a consistent voltage and frequency.
Portable Solar Generators vs. Propane Generators for Off-Grid Tiny House Living
In this section, we compare portable solar generators with propane generators over three main areas: dependability, environmental-friendliness, cost, and portability.
Solar generators are generally very reliable, as they don’t have any moving parts and require very little maintenance. Once installed, they can operate for years with minimal upkeep. However, solar generators depend on the availability of sunlight to generate power, so they may not be suitable in areas with low sunlight or during extended periods of cloudy weather. They may also be less reliable during the winter months when daylight hours are shorter. Propane generators are also generally reliable but require regular maintenance, such as regular oil changes and fuel filter replacements. Propane generators can provide power continuously for many hours as long as there is a steady supply of propane gas. However, propane generators are dependent on the availability of fuel, and if the propane supply runs out, the generator will no longer provide power. Another major downside of using a gas-powered generator is that you depend on external fuel sources. There’s a chance of gas running out during a natural disaster. Plus, continuously paying for gas can be quite expensive over time. Propane-powered generators also emit dangerous fumes, which means you need to place them outside in a well-ventilated area. Ultimately, a solar or propane generator’s reliability will depend on the specific circumstances of its use. Solar generators may be more reliable in areas with high levels of sunlight, while propane generators may be more reliable in areas with limited access to solar energy.
Gas-powered generators emit air and noise pollution, releasing harmful pollutants such as carbon monoxide that pose a danger to health and the environment. Because they need to be installed outside for safety reasons, they can be an unsightly addition to your tiny house on wheels and produce excessive noise. In contrast, solar-powered generators produce no air pollution and can significantly reduce your carbon footprint, especially when powered by solar panels or plugged into an outlet. Our latest Bluetti solar generators feature modern and sleek designs that you can place in various locations without causing excessive noise or interfering with the appearance of your tiny house.
- Maintenance and Service: Solar-powered generators typically require minimal maintenance, whereas propane generators need yearly service to ensure they are safe, functional, and clean.
- Fuel Costs: A solar generator recharges for free using the sun’s energy, while a propane generator requires costly fuel to work.
- Incentives: There are various local, state, and federal incentives available for using solar energy. On the other hand, gas-powered generators typically do not have any monetary incentives.
Space Usage and Portability
In a tiny house, space is a premium commodity, so it’s crucial to choose a solar generator that doesn’t take up too much space while still meeting your energy needs. The generator should also be lightweight and easy to move, as you might like to travel and explore new locations in your tiny house on wheels.
Propane generators are typically portable, but they are heavy and bulky. They require a fuel source, so you must carry propane tanks with you. Propane tanks can be quite heavy and require proper handling, transportation, and storage, which can be inconvenient. Additionally, propane generators produce exhaust and heat, so you will have to place them outdoors in a well-ventilated area, which can limit their portability.
On the other hand, solar generators are much lighter and more compact, making them highly portable. They don’t require any fuel source, which means you don’t need to worry about carrying heavy tanks or running out of fuel. They are also silent and do not produce any exhaust or heat, which means you can use them inside your tiny house on wheels. This increases their flexibility and portability significantly.
How to Choose the Right Solar Generator for Your Tiny House on Wheels?
Choosing the right solar generator for your tiny house allows you to enjoy a sustainable and self-sufficient lifestyle without sacrificing modern conveniences. Here are some steps you can take to find the right solar generator for your tiny house lifestyle.
Step #1 – Identify Your Needs
The first step in choosing the right solar generator for your tiny house is to consider your energy needs meticulously. You’ll have to assess how much power you require on a daily basis to run your appliances and devices, such as lights, water pumps, and refrigerators.
You can determine your power needs by identifying the electrical appliances and devices that you plan to power with the solar generator. You can then make a list of the wattage requirements for each item and add them up to figure out the total wattage you need.
Once you have determined your energy needs, you can choose a generator with the appropriate solar panel size, battery capacity, and inverter power output.
Step #2 – Consider the Efficiency and Capacity of Solar Panels
The solar panel capacity is the second thing you need to consider for off-grid living in a tiny house. The solar panel capacity is the amount of power generated by the solar panels included with the solar generator.
You can determine the minimum solar panel capacity you need by referring to the total wattage of the appliances you calculated in the previous step. It’s important to note that the solar panel capacity should match or exceed your power needs. If the solar panel capacity is lower than your power needs, the solar generator will not be able to generate enough power to meet your needs, and you may experience power outages.
In addition to the solar panel capacity, you should also consider their efficiency. The efficiency of a solar panel refers to the percentage of sunlight converted into electricity. The higher the efficiency, the more power the solar panels can generate from a given amount of sunlight.
Higher-efficiency solar panels can be more expensive, but they may be worth the investment if you need to maximize the power output from a limited amount of space on your tiny house roof. Additionally, if your tiny house is located in an area with limited sunlight, you may need higher-efficiency solar panels to generate enough power for your needs.
Step #3 – Pay Attention to the Battery Capacity and Type
The battery capacity is the next thing you need to consider for your portable solar generator. This refers to the amount of energy that can be stored in the battery of the solar generator.
Battery capacity is important because it determines how much energy you can store and use when the sun is not shining, such as at night or on cloudy days. If your solar generator’s battery capacity is too small, you may not have enough energy to power your appliances and devices during these times.
It’s important to note that the battery capacity should also match the solar panel capacity. If your solar panel capacity is larger than your battery capacity, you may generate more power than you can store, which will result in wasted energy. On the other hand, if your battery capacity is larger than your solar panel capacity, you may not be able to charge your battery, which can reduce its lifespan fully.
over, you should consider the type of battery used in the solar generator. Lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries are the most common types of batteries used in solar generators. Lead-acid batteries are less expensive but don’t last long and need more maintenance. In contrast, lithium-ion batteries are costlier but have a longer lifespan, are lighter, and are easier to maintain.
At Bluetti, we have a vast range of portable solar generators and solar power stations that you can use in your tiny home on wheels. Our generators are available in several different capacities to make sure they meet all your needs in the best possible way. Visit our website to check our range of products here.
Portable solar generators are a quiet, green solution to powering up during electrical outages or off-grid excursions. The best generators vary in size, power, and battery storage capacity.
By Donna Smith | Updated Mar 2, 2023 5:36 PM
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Harnessing the sun to create backup power is an alternative to fuel-guzzling gas generators or dual fuel generators. The best solar-powered generators are easy to transport, safe to use indoors and outdoors, and nearly silent when in operation.
Though gas generators have more power, the cost of fuel is expensive and not always accessible. Instead of using gas, diesel, or propane, a solar generator gathers energy from the sun and stores it in a high-capacity battery. Read on to learn about some of the best solar generators on the market for a comfortable night at home or your next travel adventure.
- BEST OVERALL:Jackery 1002Wh Explorer 1000 Portable Power Station
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK:Aimtom 155Wh PowerPal X Power Station
- BEST HIGH-CAPACITY:Maxoak Bluetti 1500Wh EB150 Portable Power Station
- BEST FOR SMALL HOMES:Rainier 155Wh R150i Portable Power Station
- BEST FOR LARGE HOMES:Ecoflow 1260Wh Delta Portable Power Station
- BEST FOR CABINS OUTDOORS:Maxoak Bluetti AC200P Solar Generator With Panels
Before You Buy a Solar Generator
The portability of the best solar-powered generators makes them ideal for traveling, camping, and outdoor events because they are easy to pack, store, and move. The units are also a solid backup source for when emergencies occur at home due to severe weather or blackouts.
While solar generators are a clean energy source, they do have limitations because of a low-wattage capacity and slow recharging. The solar backup generator power they produce can keep the lights on and run portable televisions and electronic devices like smartphones and laptops for hours. However, they don’t harness enough power to run all of the large appliances in a residence at one time or for an extended period.
How We Tested the Best Solar Generators
We researched the most sought-after solar generators in their respective categories and discovered that the best models are determined by their type, power output, weight, ports, and other special features included by select brands.
While searching for the best solar generators available, the portable options proved the most popular among users for their ample power output and versatility. While not as popular, the backup generators available provide enough power for large appliances and are handy in a power outage. No matter the type, the above generators range from 115 watt-hours (Wh) to 2000Wh of power based on power needs.
Select models are lightweight enough to take on camping trips while others may be too heavy to transport, but all of the generators come with ample outlets including USB, alternating-current (AC), direct-current (DC), car, and wall ports. Plus, these solar-powered generators can be charged quickly via wall outlet, car charging cord, or via solar power. While the majority of these options do not include solar panels, many have LCD or touch screens, carrying handles, sine wave inverters, or maximum power point tracker (MPPT) technology.
Our Top Picks
Around the world, the demand for solar energy continues to grow. Now is the time to think about taking steps to secure access to a renewable energy source for recreation and emergency preparedness. The following products represent some of the best solar generators manufactured by reputable brands in terms of size, power, battery capacity, and special features.
Jackery 1002Wh Explorer 1000 Portable Power Station
The Jackery portable solar generator provides a green power solution for outdoor activities and emergency preparedness. The battery delivers a higher wattage of 1,000 watts (W), with a peak of 2,000W. It features a lithium battery capacity of 1,002Wh in addition to three standard pure sine wave AC outlets for extra capacity to power multiple AC appliances at the same time.
The Jackery solar generator also includes MPPT technology for faster solar recharging rates. Users can recharge the generator with solar panels, a wall or car outlet, or another generator. Recharging time is about 17 hours with a single solar panel and 8 hours with two solar panels but varies depending on location, temperature, and weather.
This solar-power generator provides enough power supply for appliances, medical devices, computers, security systems, and lights. Recreation vehicle (RV) travelers can expect no extra setup to power mini-fridges, portable coffee makers, pellet smokers, and more. Including the handle, the generator measures 13.1 inches long by 9.2 inches wide by 11.1 inches deep and weighs 22.04 pounds. It is fully equipped with an AC adapter, car charger cable, SolarSaga parallel adapter cable, and a user guide. Solar panels are sold separately.
- Type: Portable
- Wattage: 1,002Wh; 1,000W (up to 2,000W surge power)
- Ports included: 3 AC ports, car-charger port, SolarSaga parallel adapter port
- Has multiple output ports, including 2 USB-C, 2 USB, and 1 DC car port
- Can be charged through solar power, wall or car outlets, or a generator
- Takes 8 to 17 hours to charge fully, depending on number of panels connected
- Safe to use with appliances, medical devices, computers, security systems, and lights
- Some users report difficulty charging some electronic devices using this product
- Pricey; solar panels not included and must be purchased separately
Get the Jackery solar generator at Amazon, Lowe’s, or Jackery.
Aimtom 155Wh PowerPal X Power Station
Its attached ergonomic handle and lightweight nature support the portability of this solar generator by Aimtom. However, at just 3.48 pounds and measuring 7.67 inches long by 6.73 inches wide by 3.54 inches deep, this small solar generator doesn’t sacrifice power, given the generator’s 155Wh lithium-ion battery storage capacity that provides 100W with a maximum of 180W.
A built-in Battery Management System keeps electronics safe from damage while charging the generator and also allows users to charge or power multiple small electrical items at the same time. This portable solar generator can power items like lights, laptops, cell phones, tablets, drones, coolers, fans, and CPAP machines.
Recharge the generator via a wall outlet, car port, or a solar panel (not included), noting that the recharging time depends on location, time, and weather. It also comes equipped with a 12V DC cigarette lighter adapter, car charging adapter, user manual, and a wall outlet charging power adapter.
- Type: Portable
- Wattage: 155Wh
- Ports included: 110V AC outlet, 3 USB ports, and 3 12V DC outputs
- Ergonomic handle and nature support, with built-in Battery Management System
- Can be charged with solar power, a wall outlet, or a car port
- Cigarette lighter, wall, and car-charging adapter are all included
Get the Aimtom solar generator at Amazon or Aimtom.
Maxoak Bluetti 1500Wh EB150 Portable Power Station
Weighing 37.9 pounds, the Maxoak Bluetti EB150 portable solar generator has a lithium-ion battery capacity of 1,500Wh with a 1,000W maximum. The massive power output of this generator makes it an indispensable green and clean energy source for home use, camping, boating, and off-grid traveling. Users can rely on it to charge higher power devices like microwaves, hair dryers, and blenders.
Recharge this portable solar generator in around 8 hours with a wall outlet and around 5 to 10 hours with a solar panel (sold separately). It measures approximately 14.6 inches long by 6.5 inches wide by 14.4 inches deep and provides four USB outputs, two AC outlets, a car port, and carrying handle. It also includes an AC wall charger, PV solar charging cable, and user manual.
- Type: Portable
- Wattage: 1,500Wh; 1,000W
- Ports included: USB port, 2 AC output ports, and 12V car port
- Green energy source that’s great for those who want an eco-friendly option
- Suitable for use with large appliances, including those for the kitchen, and other household electronics
- Has a built-in carrying handle; is suitable for outdoor use
- Some users say the unit abruptly stops registering wattage usage
- Intended for light use; unit may stop working if overused
Get the Maxoak Bluetti EB150 solar generator at Amazon or Maxoak.
Rainier 155Wh R150i Portable Power Station
Rainier’s R150i is a great solar generator for household use, able to power small appliances, laptops, power tools, tablets and smartphones, drones, cameras, lights, speakers, and headlamps. Measuring approximately 10 inches long by 6 inches wide by 4 inches deep and weighing 3.75 pounds, it’s lightweight and portable, with a built-in carrying handle and flashlight.
Since this battery generator for home use is a clean energy source, buyers won’t need to fill it with gas, propane, or diesel. This means they can expect no noise or fumes in smaller residences. It is powered by a lithium-ion battery and has a 155Wh capacity.
The control panel for the generator contains a traditional household outlet and three USB ports, combined with three 5.5 millimeter 12V outputs. The solar generator includes both a wall outlet and car charger and provides solar-panel capability, though compatible panels are sold separately. Recharging time varies depending on location, temperature, and weather.
- Type: Portable
- Wattage: 155Wh
- Ports included: 3 DC ports, 1 wall port, and 3 USB ports
- Suitable for small appliances and electronic devices, including smartphones, drones, GoPros, cameras, and speakers
- Lightweight and compact; portability makes it a great choice for outdoor use
- Affordable price point compared to other similar portable power stations
- Solar panels not included and must be purchased separately; not suitable for large appliances Charging time varies depending on environmental conditions and device type
Get the Rainier solar generator at Amazon.
Ecoflow 1260Wh Delta Portable Power Station
The Delta solar portable generator from Ecoflow features a 1,260Wh lithium-battery capacity and 1,800W pure sine wave AC power (with a surge to 3,300W), which uses six AC outlets to power up to 13 devices simultaneously. It creates enough energy to keep lights, televisions, freezers, toasters, coffee makers, hair dryers, electric frying pans, laptops, and medical machines running for hours. If users live in a large home and the electricity goes out, their appliances and devices should remain functional.
The generator uses X-Stream Fast Charge technology to offer an accelerated recharge rate. Recharge to 80 percent power in just 1 hour and a full charge in around 90 minutes by plugging it into a wall outlet or another generator. Additional recharge times are 4 to 8 hours via a solar panel or 13.5 hours via a 12/24-volt car port. While the solar panels aren’t included, the generator is compatible with most solar panels on the market.
Three types of charging cables (AC plug, car charging cable, and solar panel cable), a bag, and a user guide are part of this solar generator package. The generator measures about 15.7 inches long by 8.3 inches wide by 10.6 inches deep and weighs 30.9 pounds. A handle helps with transporting.
- Type: Backup generator
- Wattage: 1,260Wh; 1,800W (up to 3,300W surge power)
- Ports included: 6 AC ports, 4 USB ports, 2 USB-C ports, and a car port
- Extremely versatile product; can power up to 13 devices simultaneously
- X-Stream Fast Charge technology ensures accelerated device power-up
- Carrying bag and handle included; suitable for portability and maneuvering
Get the Ecoflow solar generator at Amazon, Lowe’s, or Ecoflow.
Maxoak Bluetti AC200P Solar Generator With Panels
A long-term trip requires ample power supply, durability, and reliability, which is why the Maxoak Bluetti AC200P solar generator is our top pick for camping and the outdoors. With its lead-acid battery, it offers 2,000W of power with a 4,800W surge and has a 2,000Wh capacity for ample power provided for charging small appliances, phones, and power tools. For ease of use, this model also has a built-in touch screen.
Included with this generator is a user manual, an AC adapter and six AC ports, an MC4 solar charging cable, car charging cable, an aviation plug, two USB ports, a DC port, and built-in carrying handle. Plus, this option comes with a 1,200W scratch-proof foldable solar panel made of monocrystalline silicon cells, making this option 5 percent more efficient than comparable solar panels. These solar panels are also easy to transport and set up with their 9.8-pound weight and built-in kickstand.
With the advantage of having the panels included with purchase, this set is ready to use out of the box. Charging times depend upon environmental conditions, and the generator weighs a hefty 60.6 pounds.
- Type: Portable
- Wattage: 2,000Wh; 2,000W (up to 4,800W surge power)
- Ports included: 6 AC ports, 1 car charging port, 2 USB ports, 1 DC port, and 1 aviation port
- Scratchproof and lightweight solar panel included along with a built-in kickstand
- Quick charging times; suitable those those who need to recharge devices while on the go
- Some users report that the solar panels randomly stop charging the unit
- Item may fail to recognize its solar panels and not recharge the battery
Get the Maxoak Bluetti AC200P solar generator at Amazon or Maxoak (without panels).
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Solar Generator
While shoppers search for the best solar-powered generators available for home or travel, they will want to consider the intended use. How and where they plan on using a solar generator will determine the size, power, and capacity of the unit they’ll need.
Purpose and User Activity
The reasons for purchasing a solar-power generator may be different for everyone, so it’s important for shoppers to zero in on their purpose for purchasing a solar generator and the activities they hope to accomplish with it. Solar generators are useful for anyone who travels and stays in remote places that are off-grid. Conversely, shoppers may simply desire a reliable backup source of energy for their home to prepare for the occurrence of a natural or man-made disaster.
If the primary purpose is travel, look for solar generators that help make traveling simpler. RV connectivity allows users to power appliances when they’re on the road. Car-charging capabilities make it convenient for travelers to drive and charge their solar generators without having to stop and set up solar panels.
Size and Solar Input
Shoppers choosing the appropriate size solar generator for their needs will need to keep in mind battery capacity and power requirements so that they avoid overloading it. Most solar generators can keep portable electronics, smartphones, tablets, power tools, small appliances, and cordless tools powered up for hours. However, buyers may need a separate generator, say, to keep a refrigerator running for an entire day.
Solar input refers to the solar panels. The solar panels collect and convert sunlight into energy that is stored in the generator’s battery. Ample solar input controls a generator’s operating time and how long it takes to recharge.
The solar panels used in conjunction with a portable solar generator are mobile and easy to manipulate. Unlike the panels found on residential or commercial properties, they are smaller in size and have a lower wattage capacity, which means less solar input than their larger counterparts.
The output of power from a solar generator should match shoppers’ electrical needs. Battery power is measured in watts, which is the maximum amount of power a generator provides when it’s running. Battery capacity—referred to as watt-hours—is the total amount of stored energy.
When the generator is in operation, the watts represent the rate of power flowing from its battery to an electrical device, and the watt-hours are the maximum level of energy it can deliver. For example, a solar generator with 500Wh can store a total of 500W when it’s fully charged. Thus, a 500W solar generator is only able to power electrical appliances and devices that don’t exceed 500W to run.
Battery Storage Capacity
The battery in a solar generator is where the energy captured from the solar panel is stored for later use. Solar generators usually have lithium-ion or lead-acid batteries. Battery storage allows users to run the generator at night or on days with limited sunlight.
The capacity of the batteries determines the duration of the generator. The more power an electronic device requires, the faster the battery charge will run out. The length of the battery charge is also based on the number of devices drawing power from the generator at the same time.
A larger battery capacity is necessary to power electrical appliances that require higher watts. Lower capacity is sufficient for lights, cell phones, and laptops. For instance, a 500W solar generator can power an LED light for 100 hours, while it will only power a mini-fridge for about 10 hours.
Direct current and alternating current are the two forms of electricity. DC is electricity that flows only in a forward direction. AC is electricity that flows both forward and backward. The energy harnessed by solar panels is DC. A solar generator inverter converts low DC power from the batteries to AC power for usage.
The inverter rating translates to the maximum watts a solar generator can extract at any time. For example, a 1,500W inverter can draw up to that amount of wattage in AC power. Keep in mind that the inverter size or rating doesn’t always correlate to a solar generator’s overall firepower. Battery storage is also important.
Expandability of Power
Eventually, users may want to expand the capability of their solar generator, especially if they find they need more power. However, upgrading a solar generator is not always feasible.
Expanding power is based on the sustainability of the charge controller, which sends power in one direction from the solar panels to the batteries. As the integral component of the solar generator, the primary job of the charge controller is to protect the durability of the batteries.
The charge controller can only process the maximum number of watts and voltage that it’s built to manage, so users may not be able to expand beyond its charging ability. If battery capacity doesn’t support additional solar panels, power expandability is unachievable.
Types of Solar Generators
For individuals who live in areas with frequent power outages, a generator allows them to have an interim source of electricity. Two types of solar generators are available for at-home use: solar backup generators and portable solar generators. Both generators provide solar power but differ in terms of wattage capacity, energy storage, and cost.
Solar Backup Generators
Solar backup generators are designed to power up when the electrical grid fails and are an efficient alternative to installing a complete system. These generators use several batteries to store energy for high-wattage output. They provide sufficient backup power to turn on lights, televisions, computers, and small to midsize appliances.
Typically, it takes less than 48 hours to charge a solar backup generator to full capacity, but the time can vary depending on the size of the solar panels and the amount of sunlight. Buyers can keep these generators either indoors or outdoors. The disadvantage of solar backup generators is their weight, making them somewhat difficult to move. Additionally, a generator that is large enough to power an entire residence is expensive.
Portable Solar Generators
Portable solar generators are lightweight, so users can take them anywhere. They are ideal for homes, cabins, campsites, RVs, cars, and boats. Some generators are equipped with a pull handle or attached handgrip for effortless transporting. Solar panels recharge the battery in a portable solar generator.
Portable solar generators do have drawbacks. They may either have inadequate wattage capacity to power larger appliances, such as refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, hot water heaters, and sump pumps, or may not be capable of powering multiple devices at the same time.
If they use low-wattage solar panels, it may take a long time to recharge the generator. On the plus side, portable solar generators don’t emit noise or carbon dioxide, are affordable, and are low maintenance, unlike gas generators.
Tips for Using a Solar Generator
With a multitude of solar generators from which to choose, shoppers may find it difficult to decide which one fits their requirements. To begin, they will want to pinpoint how and where they plan to use it.
Solar generators are available in a variety of sizes with various wattage and storage capacities. They are primarily for powering homes during electrical outages or for outdoor activities like camping, hunting, sailing, fishing, and traveling. Solar generators are also an ideal power source for outdoor events, such as parties, festivals, craft fairs, and farmer’s markets.
How much shoppers want to spend on a solar generator is another important consideration. As solar generators increase in size and capacity, so does the price. Keep in mind that most solar generators don’t include solar panels, so that extra purchase will add to the expense.
- The solar generator should match shoppers’ intended purpose.
- It’s important to select the appropriate size, wattage, and storage capacity for usage.
- Focus on the features that suit an individual’s plans for the generator, such as the number of plug-in ports, charging speed, portability, carrying handle, flashlight, expandability, and weight.
The Advantages of Owning a Solar Generator
Owning a solar generator frees users from dependency on fossil fuels when they want a back-up system for emergencies, traveling, or camping. Plus, solar generators are portable and compact, so they are easy to store and move, unlike huge gas-powered generators.
Solar generators are also quieter, safer, and require minimal maintenance since they don’t have motors, moving parts, or emit harmful carbon dioxide. This alternative kind of generator is a green solution that collects energy from the sun to store in its battery and then produces power when it’s in operation.
The charging rate and power capability of a solar generator depend on its size, so shoppers will want to consider carefully where they’ll want to use it and how many electrical devices and appliances they want it to power.
- No fuel is needed to operate a solar generator.
- It’s a clean, renewable source of energy.
- A solar generator is low maintenance.
It makes sense to own a solar generator so you’re not left without source of power either during an electrical outage at home or simply while enjoying outdoor activities and travel. The portability of solar generators makes them ideal for packing and toting on trips, and they’re especially handy for stowing and using in RVs, cars, boats, and cabins. If you still have some questions about which solar generator power option might be best for your needs, check out some of the most frequently asked questions about solar generators and their corresponding answers.
Q. How does a solar generator work?
A solar generator works when a solar panel converts sunlight into DC electricity that passes through the charge controller. The solar energy is stored in the battery, and thus a solar inverter generator turns the electricity into usable AC power.
Q. Can a solar generator power a house?
A solar generator most likely won’t power every item in your house at once. Depending on the size of the generator, it can charge and power a variety of large and small appliances, electronic devices, and medical machines.
Q. How do I choose a solar generator?
To choose a solar generator, think about your intended use and budget as well as how much battery capacity and wattage you need to power your appliances, electronic devices, and other equipment.
Q. What size solar generator do I need?
The size of the solar generator you need depends on the amount of wattage you require to power your devices and the duration time for charging.
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What Is a Solar Generator
Solar generators are a popular alternative to standby and gas generators. But many people often ask questions like, what is a solar generator, whether it is worth it, etc., before they make their final purchase. In simple words, a solar generator is a portable power station that uses solar panels to convert sunlight into electricity. The electrical energy is stored in a battery called a power station, which is then used to power appliances.
As climate change is impacting the world, people are switching to renewable energy for all their power needs. Portable solar generators emit no harmful gases and are more reliable than their fuel-powered counterparts. That is why many homeowners are switching to solar-powered generators, like Jackery Solar Generator.
The combination of Jackery SolarSaga Solar Panels and Explorer Portable Power Station can help you use solar energy to charge appliances for long hours. In this solar generator ultimate guide, we will reveal everything related to the clean power solution, the differences between solar and gas generators, and how to choose the right generator.
What Is A Solar Generator
Technically, a solar generator means a power generator that works on solar energy. It is a term that refers to the combination of portable power stations and solar panels to capture, store, and distribute the sun’s power.
Most powerful and reliable solar generators are used during RV trips, emergency power backup solutions, camping, or other outdoor activities. Unlike gas generators that require diesel, propane, or gas, a solar generator comprises of:
- Portable Solar Panels
- Portable Power Station ( including Rechargeable Battery Solar Charge Controller Solar Inverter)
Different sizes and capacities of solar generators are available, ensuring you can choose the one that suits your needs without overspending.
The Components Of a Solar Generator
Now that you know what a solar generator is, it’s time to explain the critical components of the system.
Also referred to as photovoltaic cells, solar panels convert sunlight into electricity. Solar generators use portable and foldable solar panels to differentiate them from rooftop panels.
When the electricity is generated by the solar panels, the first component it reaches is the charge controller (or regulator). As solar energy is generated at variable rates, the charge controller’s job is to shape and condition electricity to avoid overcharging. The highly efficient solar generators are equipped with MPPT technology that ensures nothing is damaged when power flows through the system.
Another core component of the portable solar generator is an inverter that turns direct current output from solar panels to alternating current. The job of the inverter is to draw energy from the solar system and transport it to appliances.
The electricity generated by solar panels is stored in the solar battery until it’s needed. Most modern solar generators have an in-built lithium-ion battery to store current collected by solar panels.
The Usage Of A Solar Generator
A solar generator can be used in multiple ways, including but not limited to:
- Emergency Backup Supply: Frequent power outages and emergencies are the main reasons homeowners choose solar power systems. A reliable and efficient solar solution can power essential appliances like medical equipment, refrigerators, lights, etc.
- Off-Grid Living: Solar generators with high-capacity batteries can help you enjoy off-grid living. With a high-power solar generator, you can charge small and large appliances and keep them running for hours.
- Outdoor Activities: As solar generators are portable, they are a perfect charging companion for camping, hiking, RV trips, or outdoor activities.
- Sustainable Living: Homeowners wanting to choose a sustainable and eco-friendly power source can switch to solar generators. They can reduce electricity bills, lower reliance on fossil fuels, etc., by harnessing the sun’s power.
How Does A Solar Generator Work
A portable solar generator works when a solar panel converts sunlight into usable energy, which is electricity. Solar panels collect the sun’s energy during the daytime and transfer it to the battery storage system. Compact and transportable solar generators are convenient power solutions that charge appliances anywhere.
Here is the breakdown of the process:
- Solar panels convert sunlight into DC electricity which then passes through the charge controller.
- The charge controller regulates electricity voltage before storage, ensuring the proper current flow to the battery.
- The built-in battery stores all the power to charge the electrical devices later.
- The inverter converts DC to AC power to power most appliances and devices for hours.
The Types Of Solar Generators
Below are the three main types of solar generators.
On-Grid Solar Generator
This type of generator connects to the power grid to charge appliances. Solar panels capture sunlight to transform it into electricity in the form of DC. Then, the direct current is converted to AC in the power board. The board transfers electricity to power homes and buildings.
Also referred to as standalone or autonomous solar generators, they involve using batteries powered by solar panels. They are portable solar generators that can be carried during leisure travels, RV trips, etc.
Hybrid Solar Generator
This new-age solar generator is a combination of traditional generators with a controllable power source. The environment-friendly and fuel-efficient power supply source is preferred in areas where there is little access to petrol, LPG, or diesel.
Why Choose Solar Generators
Many benefits are available when you choose solar generators, especially compared to fuel-powered or traditional gas-powered generators. Here are some key benefits of solar generators.
Solar generators are lightweight and more portable than non-solar generators. It is a convenient power solution that allows you to supply power anywhere and everywhere. Portable generators are popular when living off-grid, traveling in an RV, or camping.
Another best thing about solar generators is that they are quiet. Traditional gas generators are often noisy and can be particularly annoying in small spaces like RVs, tiny homes, etc. Alternatively, solar generators are quiet and ideal for indoors.
Unlike conventional diesel or gas generators that require fossil fuels, solar energy is a low-emission, renewable energy source. As no pollutants are emitted from a solar generator, it is an eco-friendly and low-cost option.
Solar generators need little to no maintenance. You can just remove dust to enhance photon absorption. Furthermore, there are no moving components, so you don’t have to FOCUS on machine part replacement.
Solar Generator Vs. Traditional Generator
Solar generators and traditional generators are two widely popular power solutions available. However, they are entirely different from each other.
Let’s quickly compare solar and gas generators in the table.
– Low maintenance and quiet solution
– Lightweight and sleek design
– Cannot generate electricity at night
– High maintenance required
Here we compare both generators in detail, so you can make an informed decision.
Pros and Cons of Solar Generator
Below we have explained the pros and cons of solar generators.
- Compared to traditional gas generators, solar generators are portable. They are ideal for camping, emergencies, outdoor events, and general on-the-go activities.
- They are even equipped with easy-to-carry handles to enhance portability and convenience.
- Solar generators do not have any moving parts like gas generators. Therefore, they have fewer chances of repair and require low maintenance.
- They generate clean, renewable energy that does not hurt the environment while running.
- Solar generators typically require high upfront costs.
- Solar batteries can be recharged only when solar energy is available.
Pros and Cons of Traditional Generator
Generators powered by fossil fuels are technically known as traditional generators. Below we have mentioned some of the main advantages and disadvantages of conventional generators.
- Traditional generators produce electricity on demand. That is, you can produce electricity as soon as they receive fuel.
- Different sizes of gas generators are available in the market, making them a little portable. However, you’ll need to carry gasoline, making them less convenient than solar generators.
- As they have been on the market for years, traditional generators are more familiar to people and have high market dominance.
- Traditional generators require costly fuel, which increases long-term costs.
- They emit toxic gases like carbon monoxide, nitrous oxides, and sulfur oxides, leading to pollution.
- Because of the moving parts in the gas generators, they are extremely noisy. Thus, they are not suitable indoors or in small places like RVs.
- Gas generators require regular maintenance as they have moving parts. You need to clean, oil, and replace them over time, leading to high maintenance costs.
As you see, solar generators have more advantages compared to gas generators.
How To Choose a Solar Generator
Understanding “what is a portable solar generator” is not enough; it’s essential to understand the factors to consider while choosing a solar generator. Since not all portable solar generators are the same, you must check out their features to select the ideal generator.
Battery Storage Capacity
No matter your use case, choosing a solar generator with a high battery storage capacity is vital. When the solar generator has a high capacity, you can store more power for later use. This, in turn, ensures that you have easy access to solar power during emergency blackouts or outdoor trips.
Pure Sine Wave Inverter
These devices transform power from a battery into energy that resembles that of the wall outlet. The primary aim of the sine wave inverter is to convert the direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC). A solar generator equipped with pure sine wave inverter supplies exact voltage, ensuring that the sensitive electronic devices are safe.
Portable electronic devices like solar generators should have lithium-ion batteries. Choosing a solar-powered system with a high-quality lithium-ion battery ensures you can charge appliances safely and without overheating.
No matter what your reason is behind choosing the solar generator, a little bit of research ensures that you spend your money on the right product.
Why Jackery Solar Generator
Portable solar generators are the best way to use the sun’s energy and power your gear. Jackery is a leading brand that manufactures high-quality SolarSaga Solar Panels and Explorer Portable Power Stations.
You can select from a vast range of solar generators available, depending on the number of appliances you wish to charge. Jackery Solar Generators are quiet, portable, and affordable, ensuring maximum sunlight is converted into electricity.
Here are a few main benefits of Jackery Solar Generators over other similar products on the market.
Reliability: Jackery offers the most reliable solar generators with advanced features. Equipped with a high-capacity battery, they are powerful enough to support RV, van, and cabin life.
Ease of Use: Even if you are using a solar generator for the first time, you won’t regret investing in Jackery Solar Generators. The plug-and-play operation helps you pair Jackery SolarSaga Solar Panels with Explorer Portable Power Station in a few clicks.
Lightweight: All the Jackery Solar Generators are portable, making them ideal for outdoor activities or off-grid living. Whether you plan to go camping or RV, you can take your solar generator with you.
Cost-Efficient: Jackery Solar Generator offers excellent value for your money. Furthermore, the wide range of sizes available makes them excellent options for those having different budgets.
Efficient Panels: Jackery SolarSaga Solar Panels have the highest efficiency. That is, the panels can absorb maximum solar energy in less time. In addition, they feature adjustable kickstands that help you adjust the panels and generate maximum power output.
Now that you know the pros of solar generators, here are the most popular bundles available.