The Best Solar Generators of 2023, Tested and Reviewed
Whether you are outfitting your home in case of an extended power outage or looking for a steady supply of off-grid power for your overlanding setup, it’s never been a better time to purchase a solar generator. But sifting through all the available options on the market—power stations that are lunchbox-sized to luggage-sized, solar panels that can pack in a backpack to multiple eight-foot long panels you chain together—can take a lot of time and effort. To help you choose the best solar generator for your purpose, we tested some of the most powerful models from Anker, Jackery, Goal Zero, and BioLite side by side to see how they stacked up.
- Best Overall:Jackery Solar Generator 1000 Pro
- Best Value:Anker 555 Solar Generator
- Most Portable:BioLite BaseCharge 1500 Solar Panel 100
- Most Customizable:Goal Zero Yeti 1500X Boulder 200 Briefcase Solar Generator
- Best for RVs:Anker Solar Generator 767
How I Tested the Best Solar Generators
There are two components to a solar generator—a solar panel and a power station. To understand the performance of the overall package, I looked at each component and then also assessed how they worked in tandem.
- Solar Panels were tested in tandem (to ensure similar conditions) under clear skies. Testing was conducted in late fall, when the angle of the sun is less ideal than it would be at the peak of summer, affecting the potential of each panel to reach its claimed maximum output. Solar panels were tested using power stations of the same brand, but where possible, I also used different panels with different power stations to see if that affected the results.
- Power stations were evaluated on a number of criteria. After fully charging all the power stations, I left them in a climate-controlled room for three days and then outside for twenty-four hours in near-freezing temperatures—none of the power stations registered any loss of power during this test. Next, I plugged various appliances into all of the power stations to see how they handled the volume: a dehumidifier, a sunlamp, two laptops, one of the best power banks for camping, a pair of headphones, another power station, etc. Using these setups, I ran each power station down to half its estimated output. Finally, I considered how compatible each power station was with other solar panels, as well as additional features, such as Bluetooth-compatible apps, display panels, wireless charging, USB-C input ports, and more.
Solar Panels Tested
I tested six solar panels rated for both 100W and 200W capacity from Goal Zero, Anker, Jackery, and BioLite.
I checked that all the solar panels were pointed in the same direction and at the same angle when testing their measured output against their claimed output.
|Jackery SolarSaga 200W Solar Panel
|540 x 2320 x 25 mm
|Goal Zero Boulder 200W
|40 x 53.5 x 1.75 inches
|High Power Port (HPP)
|Anker 531 Solar Panel
|23.75 x 83.75 x.75 inches
|Goal Zero Boulder 100W
|40 x 26.75 x 1.75 inches
|High Power Port (HPP)
|Anker 625 Solar Panel
|57 x 20.75 x 1.75 inches
|BioLite Solar Panel 100
|20 x 57.5 x 1 inches
|High Power Port (HPP)
Power Stations Tested
The power stations I tested ranged in size from 1,002Wh to 2,048Wh, and were capable of either 110 volts or 120 volts (the latter is what you’ll need to run most major appliances).
All of the power stations were capable of holding a charge for extended periods of time, losing no power in either the three-day indoors test or the 24-hour outdoors test in subfreezing and near freezing temperatures.
|Input Max for Solar
|Max voltage for the AC outlet
|Goal Zero Yeti 1500X
|USB-C, 8mm, high power port (HPP)
|Jackery Explorer 1000 Pro
|AC and DC
|AC and XT60
|DC and USB-C
|BioLite BaseCharge 1500
|USB-C, high power port (HPP)
Best Overall: Jackery Solar Generator 1000 Pro (Explorer 1000 Pro Solar Saga 200W)
- Power station capacity: 1002 watt hours
- Solar panels: four 200-watt solar panels
- Energy created by one panel in direct sunlight: 184 watts
- Max AC output: 120 volts and 1000 watts
- Also available with a 2000Wh power station
- Also available with two 80-watt panels
Along with the BioLite BaseCharge 1500 and Anker 555, the Jackery Explorer 1000 Pro had one of the more streamlined user interfaces. There are separate buttons to activate the USB outlets, AC outlets, and DC outlet, along with a button to turn on the power station’s light (in case you want to light up your camp or home) and one to turn on the display. The display here gives you the bare minimum of information—watts in, watts out, percent of the battery remaining, and the time to charge or deplete the battery based on the current conditions.
The Explorer 1000 Pro has a max output of 1000W (peaking at 2000W), which is enough juice to power many modern refrigerators. But given that its battery life is only 1002Wh, it can only supply that power for about a day (assuming it’s not charging anything else) unless it’s also being supplied with fresh juice from a solar panel setup at the same time. For some, this won’t be an issue, as they’ll simply be using the battery to channel power to their other devices during the day while it’s charging, and then using the battery at night to power more low-key items like the best camping fans or maybe one high-energy device like a portable fridge.
At over 25 pounds, the Jackery Explorer 1000 Pro, is one of the more transportable units I looked at, but it’s still not something that you’d want to lug more than a hundred feet or so at a time.
The Solar Panel
I originally tested the SolarSaga 200W solar panel as a full setup, with four panels plugged into a single power station. This test showed the full power of the array, which registered 650W of power generation on a sunny (albeit hazy) day. I retested a single panel in tandem with the rest of the units in this review more recently, and under completely clear skies, the panel was even more impressive: It registered 184W of energy coming from a single panel. If you don’t have much time to recharge your power station from the sun, then the full setup with all four panels is a no-brainer.
It is, though, a little complicated. Each panel comes with a carrying case and a cable that connects back to the two DC ports on the Explorer 1000 Pro. If you see a math problem here, that’s correct: You’ll also need two of the Jackery Solar Panel Connectors, which, strangely, are not included in the purchase price. Two of these can be used to double the number of panels you can connect to the Explorer 1000 Pro.
Setting up and taking down this many panels takes some time, but I was impressed by how easy and intuitive it was. That’s because Jackery streamlined the number of ports on each unit, making it that much clearer what cable connects to what unit in what port.
While there might at first glance appear to be a disconnect between the charging time capabilities of this setup and its battery life, it’s worth keeping in mind that conditions are not always optimal. One of the things that impressed me most about these units is the panel’s ability to generate electricity in lowlight conditions. Even in complete shade—dusk fast approaching—a single SolarSaga was generating a 6W input.
Best Budget: Anker 555 Solar Generator (555 PowerHouse with Two (2) 625 Solar Panels 100W)
- Power Station Capacity: 1024 watt hours
- Solar Panels: two 100-watt solar panels
- Energy Created By One Panel In Direct Sunlight: 94 watts
- Max AC output: 110 volts and 1000 watts
- Also available with a 1229Wh power station and three 100W solar panels
- Max power station output is 110V
- XT60 port on the solar panel needs an adapter to be compatible with the power station
If your family has a bevy of devices that seemingly all need to be plugged in simultaneously, you are in luck with the Anker 555 PowerHouse. It was the only unit in my test that boasted six AC outlets, as well as three USB-C outlets and two USB-A outlets. There were so many outlets that it was actually hard to find enough things to plug into it in my home—I ended up with an air purifier, sun lamp, two fans, a laptop, and a battery pack plugged in. The 555 PowerHouse had no problem with this—it barely used a third of its total output power. If your family has a bunch of devices that simply must be charged at all times, then this is a great option.
Note that this would not be the best choice for someone looking for backup power for their refrigerator, as its 1,024 watt hour capacity was on the smaller side in my test and only has up to 110-volt output.
Something else I liked about this unit was the utility—and comparative simplicity—of its charging abilities. It has one DC input port in the back and a USB-C 100W port that plays double duty with input and output. As someone who struggles to keep track of the sheer number and variety of cords that are always floating around, I appreciated the ability to recharge this unit without tracking down the original cord.
The Solar Panel
The Anker 625 was easily the best of the 100W panels I tested—it was one of the best solar panels for camping I tested back in the spring, and it’s still one of my favorite pieces of gear. It even beat out the 200W Jackery SolarSaga if you consider that this panel generated 94 percent of its claimed output, while the Jackery only managed 92 percent. Part of this is the inclusion of a sundial in the top center of the panel, which helped me align the panel correctly during setup. This sundial is such a useful feature, that after I had correctly aligned the Anker 625, I went back and adjusted all the other panels to match it—an instant uptick in power was measured. Two of these panels is a great choice for recharging a power station the size of the 555 PowerHouse.
I’ve been testing this panel for a while—unlike some of the others in this test—and in that time I’ve noticed that it’s picked up a bit of scuffing along the edges of the fabric backing. While not ideal, this has not impacted the functionality of the unit in the slightest.
Most Portable: BioLite BaseCharge 1500 Solar Panel 100
- Power station Capacity: 1521 watt hours
- Solar Panels: one 100-watt solar panel
- Energy Created By One Panel In Direct Sunlight: 52 watts
- Max AC output: 110 volts and 1200 watts
- Also available with a 622Wh power station
- Lightest unit I tested
- Power station is easy to use
- Power station is compatible with the Goal Zero Boulder 200 (up to two)
Like the Jackery Explorer 1000 Pro and the Anker 555 PowerHouse, the BioLite BaseCharge 1500 has a sleek and streamlined user interface that is easy to read and understand. The display panel shows the percentage of your battery left, the estimated number of hours it will take to either run through or finish charging the battery, the watts coming into your unit, and the watts going out. It also shows you the number of watt-hours the unit has used in total—watching that number was a bit like watching the odometer tick up on your car. Not super useful daily, but a nice thing to know in the aggregate. There are separate buttons to turn on the ports for USB, DC, and AC power, as well as a button to turn on the display. (A second button allows you to reset the display of how many watts you’ve used, useful if you are interested in getting an accurate read on your total power needs).
There were three details that made the BioLite BaseCharge 1500 stand out next to the competition:
- A wireless charging option on top of the unit. (Unfortunately, I was not able to test this as I do not have a device with this capability.)
- The choice to put the input port on the front of the unit, as opposed to the back. During testing, I found that this configuration was easier when plugging in solar panels.
- This power station is surprisingly lightweight, especially compared to the Yeti 1500X, which has a comparable watt-hour capacity. If you plan to move your power station from room to room, this is a no-brainer.
During testing, the BioLite BaseCharge 1500 was one of the few power stations where the “hours to empty” estimate kept jumping around. It probably accurately reflected the change in power needs of the bigger devices, but was confusing to look at and made the time estimates less useful than they would have otherwise been. (The percentage estimate of the amount of battery life remaining, however, stayed fairly consistent.)
The Solar Panel
While the BaseCharge 1500 ended up being one of my favorite power stations, the BioLite Solar Panel 100 was my least favorite solar panel. First off, two kickstands simply don’t provide enough support for the panels. This is partly because two just isn’t enough, but also because one of the kickstands is situated closer to the middle of the unit, rather than both being on the outer edges. I was able to use the BaseCharge 1500 to help prop it up a bit, but it wasn’t an ideal solution.
One thing that I did like about this unit is that, like the Anker 625, it incorporated a sundial, which helped me to situate the panel at the right angle to maximize the energy output.
However, even with that advantage, this was by far the weakest panel in my test, only generating about half of its claimed output even on a clear day with sunny skies. If you choose to go with a BaseCharge 1500, it’s worth considering pairing it with a Goal Zero Boulder 200W, a pairing that proved successful during testing.
Best Customization: Goal Zero Yeti 1500X Boulder 200 Briefcase Solar Generator
- Power Station Capacity: 1516 watt hours
- Solar Panels: one 100-watt solar panel
- Energy created by one panel in direct sunlight: 73 watts
- Max AC output: 120 volts and 2000 watts
- Solar panels also available at 200-watt and 300-watt capacity
- power station s available in sizes ranging from 187 watt hours to 6071 watt hours
- Possible to monitor the power station from another room using the app
- The larger power station s could power major appliances for days without recharging
- Less intuitive than other power station s I looked at
- Difficult to recharge if you lose the original cables
The Yeti 1500X was one of the most complicated user interfaces to navigate, and included several details that I have mixed feelings about. The most glaring one is that when the unit is plugged into a power source, a light blinks blue continuously until it is charged, when it switches to solid blue—if you are in the same space as this unit when it is charging, this is very distracting. Next is the three buttons above the display—which read “unit,” “light,” and “info.” Unit is fairly straightforward—it toggles the input and output measurements between volts, amperes, watts, etc. This is pretty handy if you’re curious about how much power a given device is chewing through. Next is light—on other power stations, this button turns on an actual light, which is useful if you’re trying to see what you’re doing in the evening hours. The Goal Zero, however, does not have a built-in light; what this button turns on and off is the display screen showing the power supply. The info button only seemed to turn on the display (not off)—it was unclear what other use this was meant to have.
Interestingly, despite having one of the most powerful AC ports in my test, there was only space for two plug-ins. Most of the time, I suspect this will be plenty for people (and it does help to cut down on the unnecessary juice being lost out of these ports), but others might find themselves digging out a powerstrip to make up for the lack fo ports.
One of the more unusual features of the Yeti 1500X is a top lid, which has storage for charging cables, or anything else you want to throw in there. Underneath, it also has detailed descriptions of all of the power limitations of the various ports, plus evergreen reminders about not letting your power station get wet—all in semi-legible font. Surprisingly that can’t be said for any of the power stations in my test (including the Anker 767, which despite having the largest surface area strangely didn’t include this information at all). There is also a second 8mm port under the lid as well as a 12V HPP output port.
The amount of power it was being charged with supplying—1385 watts through a single AC port (I had plugged it back into the Anker 767 unit) was higher than anything else I tested, due to this being the only combination where that was available—the maximum input capability of the Yeti 1500X is 150V from AC power). The icon showing how much power was remaining did, however, stay consistent.
Like the Anker 767, the Yeti 1500X has an app that you can use to monitor the battery’s power usage. This app was not as intuitive to use as the Anker 767’s, requiring several more steps to get to the point where I could monitor the battery usage (it also asked me to upgrade its firmware seemingly every other time I opened it). However, once you have the whole thing set up, it provides just as much information and control as the Anker 767 app.
The Solar Panel
I tested both the Boulder 100W and the Boulder 200W from Goal Zero. These are basically the same panels (although with different ports (HPP versus DC), affecting what other power stations you might be able to pair them with), just at a different size, so whether you choose one over the other will depend on your energy needs, and your personal strength.
These panels are significantly bulkier and more cumbersome than anything else I tested. While the likes of Jackery’s SolarSaga series and the Anker solar panels are a bit like someone took a backpacking solar panel and just blew it up to 20x the size. The Boulder series from Goal Zero looks like a solar panel off your house that’s shrunken down to something you could throw into the back of your car.
Both the 100W and the 200W solar panels come with carrying cases, which due to the placement of the zippers are kind of a nuisance to use. But use them you should because the way these panels fold up leaves the solar cells on the outside of the package, rather than on the inside (like the rest of the solar panels in my test). While the 100W panel was heavy, but otherwise easy enough to move thanks to the inclusion of a comfortable handle on the long side of the folded-up panels, the 200W had a tendency to drag across the ground (at least this was my experience, as a 5 foot 5 inch individual), forcing me to lean to one side as I walked. Did I mention that these panels were heavy? At 42 pounds, the Boulder 200W is extremely heavy.
While the Boulder solar panels were reasonably easy to set up, the way the legs are designed give you fewer options for maximizing the angle of the sun in the winter months, when it’s lower to the horizon. This showed during testing, when the panels only pulled in 73W for the 100W panel, and 143W for the 200W panel.
Review: Jackery Explorer 2000 Pro – Portable Power Refined
by Patrick Buchanan
Sponsored by Jackery
Jackery Explorer 2000 Pro Loaded With Updates, Improvements, and Power
Having reviewed the Jackery 1500 over a year ago in this article. I initially passed on the opportunity to review the Jackery Explorer 2000 Pro. In my mind I thought, well…bigger and more powerful, what else is there to say? Turns out I was quite wrong. The Explorer 2000 is both of those things, but with a host of refinements that make it clear Jackery has listened to their customers, and they convinced me to check out the latest model.
The naming conventions that Jackery uses are interesting. By itself, the 2000 Pro is called the Jackery Explorer 2000 Pro Portable Power Station. However, when paired with the SolarSaga 200W solar panels, it becomes the Jackery Solar Generator 2000 Pro. Either result is a powerful alternative to gasoline-powered small generators.
The use cases for the Jackery Explorer 2000 Pro are all over the map. For those that are tent camping or have small travel trailers, this power unit packs the same punch as the ever popular Honda EU2000 gasoline generator, offering the same 2200-watt power. The obvious difference here is that you will charge up the Jackery 2000 via its AC/DC/solar sources for use, rather than carrying and using gasoline. For those with larger RVs, the 2000 is a great supplemental power source.
Jackery Explorer 2000 Pro – By the numbers
The Jackery Explorer 2000 Pro provides 2160Wh (43.2V 50Ah) through its lithium-ion powered battery, monitored and managed by a 2-chip battery management system. As mentioned, it sports 2200W (4400W Peak) of power AC power at 120V. The two USB-A Quick Charge 3.0 ports offer 18W Max, while the two USB-C ports offer their standard fare of 100W Max, (5V, 9V, 12V, 15V, 20V up to 5A). A 12V, 10A car output (think cigarette lighter, if you remember those) is available as well.
The Jackery Explorer 2000 Pro weighs a hefty 43 lbs. That’s a couple of pounds less than the Honda gas generator we cited earlier and about 8 lbs greater than its predecessor, the Explorer 1500. Interestingly, as we’ll see in a few moments, the comparison to the 1500 doesn’t quite do it justice, as it is almost the same size as the 1500, yet with a much smarter and more efficient form factor.
As noted, the Jackery Explorer 2000 Pro is powered by a lithium-ion battery. The first-rate lithium battery houses two computer chips for dual-battery protection and four temperature core detectors. The battery can be charged via AC power in just 2 hours, and of course via the Solar Saga panels in times ranging from 2.5 hours to 7.5 hours, depending on whether you have 2,4, or 6 of the 200W panels. DC charging takes about 24 hours.
Of interest to most of course is, how long does it last! I’ll note my personal testing below, but here are a few common examples that RVers can expect from the Jackery Explorer 2000 Pro. I’ve broken them down into long term uses and short term uses, based on how I see these items being used. Some of the numbers provided by Jackery are continuous use numbers; for example, a 1160W microwave can run 96 minutes, but unless you are cooking a Thanksgiving turkey, you won’t use a microwave for that long in a single stretch…probably ever.
In the tables below, the time element represents how long the Jackery Explorer 2000 Pro would last on a single charge if dedicated to that task.
Long term uses for the Jackery Explorer 2000 Pro:
- Starlink Router/Dish (90W) – 15 Hours
- Laptop (50W) – 30 Hours
- 32-inch TV (50W) – 30 Hours
- Coffee Maker (550W) – 3 Hours
- Electric Cooler (90W) – 15 Hours
- iPhone Charging (20W) – 75 Hours
Short term uses for the Jackery Explorer 2000 Pro:
- Microwave oven (1160W) – 96 minutes
- Portable air conditioner (1400W) – 88 minutes
- Electric Grill (1600W ) – 65 minutes
Of course, some things like RV coffee makers are subjective. A Keurig might use 1500W initially when heating and 200W-400W to brew after that, then sit for hours at 60W until needed again. A residential refrigerator might use 550W and be good for 3 hours, whereas the small absorption refrigerator in your camper might use half of that, or less.
Improved shape and additional features
I was most pleased and surprised by the form factor changes with the Jackery Explorer 2000 Pro. To begin with, they got rid of the fixed handle present in the 1500 and other models. Now, instead of an effectively useless space, the fold-down handle yields a wonderfully positioned flat space to lay those phones and tablets that you are charging with the 2000.
We said it was 8 lbs heavier as compared to the Jackery 1500; however, dimensionally it’s only 1-inch longer, and the height and width are basically the same. Here again, the use of vertical space and the change in the handle have made a huge difference.
Another Smart change was to move the power inputs to the back of the unit. This not only makes it easier to see and manage your connections on the front, it’s less confusing. Jackery (thankfully) also got rid of the giant power brick for the AC power input. You now only need to plug in the easy-to-identify Jackery-orange standard power cord directly into the unit.
That input, like most of the open orifices on the Jackery Explorer 2000 Pro. is protected by an attached rubber guard to keep water out. A similar cap also covers the built-in, brighter LED light, which has been moved to the front of the unit, where it belongs.
One thing the 2000 shares with the 1500 is the attention to detail; it’s the little things that speak of thoughtfulness and quality. As mentioned, the cables, with branded velcro organizers, are outfitted in Jackery-orange, to easily identify them for use with the Jackery Explorer 2000 Pro. This seems like a small touch, but when you pack up everything for a camping trip, it’s easy to get cables mixed up. The packaging is very Apple-esque, almost warranting an unboxing video.
Jackery 200W Solar Saga Panels
I saw some of that attention to detail spill over into the solar panels too. The 200W SolarSaga Solar Panels are more rigid than the 100W panels I previously reviewed. That rigidity includes a full extra pair of panels built in, creating a four-panel expanding set. Each set of SolarSaga 200W panels comes in its own chique carrying case, with the requisite orange connection cable. These panels take up about the same amount of storage space as their 100W counterparts when folded.
Jackery Explorer 2000 Pro Testing
Having used and reviewed the Jackery Solar Power Generators before, I already knew what they were capable of. I’ve powered TVs, laptops, phones, and tablets with the Jackery Power Stations, with great success in the past. In all of those uses, my time or need always ran out before the battery in the Jackery did. Sure, I could power a few random devices with the Explorer 2000 as a test, but this time, however, I wanted to do a bit more…I really wanted to push this unit to its limits.
The Texas heat gave me a great opportunity to see what the Jackery Explorer 2000 Pro could do, and I wanted to hammer this thing with a full power draw. I rolled a Toshiba portable air conditioning unit that draws 1400 watts out into the 100-degree heat. I plugged the AC unit into the Jackery 2000, and just let it run.
As it was outside, there was no danger of it ever getting cool enough to shut down or even back off the power. The result was a non-stop run at 1400 watts for a full 88-minutes. During this time, the Jackery also had its own internal fan running, to keep its internal battery cool. We were operating just barely under the 104 degree recommended limit stated by Jackery. It was hot outside.
The resulting time and power draw fit comfortably within the stated use metrics that Jackery claimed. In other words, the Jackery Explorer 2000 Pro performed as expected, as claimed, even under near-extreme conditions. Campers and RVers will use the Jackery 2000 Pro in a variety of ways. The above scenario isn’t practical, nor is it a real-world scenario RVers might find themselves creating, so let’s look at some that are.
How RVers might use the Explorer 2000
Supplementing existing power
Depending on whether you are boondocking or already hooked up to 50-amp power, the Jackery Explorer 2000 Pro can provide all the power you need or supplement your power needs. Boondockers will obviously lean on a portable power pack such as this for many creature comforts, while those with plenty of available power may simply use the 2000 Pro for a variety of other power uses. In either case, with its own self-contained power, with or without the SolarSaga solar panels, you’ll have an additional, flexible power source to supplement your existing battery, solar, and electrical sources.
In keeping with the air-conditioning theme for a moment, a more practical use for the Jackery Explorer 2000 Pro might be to power a small portable air conditioner or fan to take the edge off those hot summer nights so you can sleep better in your RV. Of course, in the confines of a small camper or a single bedroom in a large RV, short-term usage to cool that small space will be all that is needed, so you won’t be draining the 2000’s reserves right away.
In the evening, that same fan might serve well to keep the campfire smoke moving in a favorable direction, as well as keeping some of the mosquitoes at bay. The near-silent operation of the Jackery 2000 means you won’t be disturbing other campers when it gets late, after traditional “generator hours” have passed.
Making remote work even more remote
We think of remote work as working from anywhere on the road, in an RV. But when there is a lake, or a stream, or a mountain outside your RV door, the Jackery Explorer 2000 Pro lets you take remote work to the next level. You can fire up that laptop outside on the picnic table, or next to the stream. With the kind of power the 2000 generates, you can keep your phone and tablet charged as well. Content Creators will love the Explorer 2000 to keep cameras and lighting running while filming those great shots in remote areas.
Should something happen to the power pedestal at your campground during off-hours, or your RV is in need of some kind of emergency power, the Jackery 2000 will be enough to power lights, water-pump, and other items for an extended period. Maybe you are really interested in giving dry camping a try, but want a little insurance power at the ready in case things don’t go as expected. The Jackery Explorer 2000 Pro fits that bill. Those that rely on a CPAP machine will appreciate having emergency power available as well.
Kids will be kids, and sometimes that means TV or video games. If you need a way to get them settled somewhere with enough power to keep them happy and/or quiet for a couple of hours, the 2000 Pro would serve you well.
Of course, charging our phones, tablets, flashlights, 2-way radios, TPMS monitors, laptops, and everything else under the sun suits the Jackery Explorer 2000 Pro perfectly. With 3 AC ports, two USB-A, two USB-C, and a 12v car port…you should be able to charge anything.
With the move to ban generators and other small engines in California, a ready alternative is needed. The Jackery 2000 is one such alternative.
The gasoline elephant in the room
When we think of the word “ generator ”, particularly in the RV realm, we think of a device that can generate electricity on its own, typically using gasoline or diesel fuel. Portable generators, like the Honda EU2000 we have mentioned, do just that.
If we throw out the price of gas from the equation, a gasoline generator does a great job of creating power from fuel. The downside of course is that you have to have fuel available and carry it with you. There is the additional noise created by the engine, and that noise is often regulated by the aforementioned allowed generator hours. Then there is the exhaust management. You must contend with the engine exhaust emissions created by the generator.
With the Jackery Explorer 2000 Pro. much of that downside is mitigated. We still must remember that when charging the 2000 Pro with an AC input, that power still originates from somewhere. where some of those unpleasantries may still exist. EV power isn’t complete magic, fossil fuel is still burning…somewhere, just not at your campsite.
Still, where a gas-powered generator must run at all times to generate power, the Jackery unit contains that power, only needing a periodic recharge. For those blessed with sunny skies, that power can come from the RV industry’s favorite darling…solar power.
The long-lasting power emitted from the 2000 is silent, save for the small internal fan that runs occasionally. It’s mess free, and there is no fuel or oil to contend with. For those idyllic early mornings and late evenings when camping, you can have your power and the quiet bliss of your natural surroundings.
To be fair, not all traditional internal combustion engine generators can be replaced with a solar-powered generator/battery pack solution, but many of those used by campers and RVers can. With the deluge of these products hitting the market, Jackery, with their built-in 2 3-year upgradable warranties, high quality, and well thought out products, continues to lead the charge in this space.
There are many options and combinations to choose from, so for complete pricing, head over to the Jackery website. If the Jackery Explorer 2000 Pro is more power than you need, check out the Explorer 1500. or the Explorer 1000.
All around RV industry enthusiast who has been RVing for 8 years and enjoys trips with his wife and dogs in their diesel pusher.
Solar AC: Can Solar Generator Run An Air Conditioner
The Air conditioner is necessary to cool the house, especially on hot days. However, it needs higher energy to power, which means more bills and more pollution on the earth. At that time, solar AC is such an application of renewable energy. The sun can be used as a power source for this heating and cooling appliance. Solar AC has a few advantages, like lower energy costs and little environmental impact.
You can maintain a comfortable indoor climate while saving money on energy costs by using solar-powered air conditioners. Using a solar generator to power your air conditioner is another excellent approach to get around this. Jackery solar generators come in different sizes and are suitable for air conditioners. On this page, you will learn what solar AC is, its types, and can a solar generator run an AC.
What is Solar AC
Any air conditioner driven by solar energy is called a solar AC. Customers may simultaneously minimize their carbon footprint and energy expenditures by using solar air conditioners, which produce no emissions, and their electricity.
Air conditioning accounts for around 12% of household power use in the US and is responsible for an estimated 117 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year. According to the United States Department of Energy, conventional air conditioning systems cost about 29 billion yearly. Also, according to the DOE, around 117 million metric tons of carbon dioxide are released into the environment annually by AC units and systems. Like a standard split air conditioner, a solar AC uses solar panels or generators to gather solar energy instead of relying on the electrical grid.
How Does A Solar AC Work
Solar photovoltaic (PV) and solar thermal systems are the two main ways solar units gather energy. Here is how each one functions to give you cool air.
- Solar PV:Solar PV air conditioners use one to three solar panels to produce electricity. The ideal alternative for more minor, one-level homes and offices is a ductless mini-split system, which attaches to the wall of your choice and includes an inside unit and an exterior compressor.
- Solar Thermal System:A solar water heater are thermal air conditioner. This kind of air conditioner heats water using solar energy, and the heated water then reacts with a refrigerant to create a heat-absorbing gas that cools the air and heats the water in your home.
- Solar Generator for AC:The energy necessary to run the specific air conditioner. Suppose the solar generator has a larger storage capacity and is the best option for the power supply of off-the-gird AC, home AC, and RV AC.
Why Choose a Solar AC
Numerous advantages to solar AC make them worthwhile. The upfront expense is the only real drawback, but even then, converting to solar energy will result in longer-term financial savings.
- Environment-Friendly:According to the US Department of Energy, conventional air conditioners release 117 million metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere each year.
- Save Bills:You could reduce your energy costs by 40% or more depending on whether you must use the grid at night.
- Easy to Maintain:Your solar generator or panels require little maintenance once built. Solar panels are made to allow snow to slide off within a day or two, even in the snow.
Solar Powered AC VS. Solar Generator for AC
There is a paradox when considering how solar AC and solar panels interact. While most air conditioners use alternating current (AC) power, PV panels convert the solar energy they absorb into direct current (DC) electricity. The electricity must be converted from DC to AC using an inverter.
Types of Solar AC
You can select one of four solar AC models for your air conditioner to utilize the energy from solar heat.
- DC Solar Air Conditioners:You can do without an inverter by selecting a DC-powered solar air conditioner. With a direct connection to the solar panels, this air conditioner may be powered by the DC electricity produced by your solar panels. A battery can also use this kind of solar air conditioner off-grid.
- AC Solar Air Conditioners:Often referred to as inverter air conditioners, AC solar air conditioners require an inverter to transform the DC electricity from the solar panels into AC electricity. After passing through the inverter with the battery’s stored energy, the air conditioner can utilize the electricity to chill your house.
- Hybrid Solar Air Conditioner:As the name implies, these air conditioners utilize both DC and AC power. For optimum power source management, they can connect to the grid and solar panels simultaneously.
- Solar Generator for AC:Solar generators combine power stations with solar panels. Like solar air conditioners, it operates on the same principles. The solar panel captures and transforms solar energy into electricity, while the power station stores energy in batteries.
Solar-Powered AC VS. Solar Generator for AC
Solar energy is captured via solar panels. They transform it into power. The energy directly powers the air conditioner or is stored in a battery until the AC needs it. For example, a modest solar panel that produces enough electricity to run a fan to cool an attic is the most basic type of solar air conditioning. AC in more sophisticated and potent systems operates similarly to window air conditioners. The comparison between solar-powered AC and solar generators for AC is shown here.
DC Air Conditioner
AC Air Conditioner
Hybrid Air Conditioner
Solar Generator for AC
How Many Watts Does An Air Conditioner Use
Depending on the model, an air conditioner typically consumes 500 to 4,000 watts of electricity. A window AC unit requires anything from 3 to 20 amps and 120 volts, while most central air conditioners utilize between 15 and 60 amps and roughly 240 volts. A window AC unit uses between 500 and 1400 W, while a central AC unit commonly uses 3,000 and 4,000 W.
Air conditioners typically turn on and off 2-3 times every hour for around 15-20 minutes or about 35 minutes per hour. A 1,000-watt window AC unit will use roughly 650 watts per hour, whereas a 3,000-watt central air conditioner will use about 1,950 watts.
How Much Does It Cost to Run An Air Conditioner
You don’t get to see how much each appliance costs when you receive your monthly energy bill; you can only view the entire amount you’re charged. Here is how the cost of running an air conditioner breaks down over a month and a year based on an average running wattage of 950 W for window air conditioners and utilizing state average energy rates. In the US, the average cost of a person’s AC costs is 26.67 per month and 320 annually. Spending 41.3 per month and 496 per year is necessary, particularly in California.
How Much Solar Power Need to Run An Air Conditioner
With an irradiance of 4 peak sun hours per day, an air conditioner would require 1200 watts of solar power for every ton of cooling capacity. For every ton of weight and each hour of expected operation duration, a 100Ah battery is advised. This will enable operation even when there is little irradiance and give a reservoir for motor surge current. Solar generator charging is cost-effective for small to window-sized air conditioners. Contrarily, hybrid solar-powered air conditioners are preferable for large spaces.
Size of AC Unit
Can A Solar Generator Run An Air Conditioner
The answer is an absolute yes. A solar generator is ideal for an off-grid cooling system, an RV air conditioner, and a small or medium-sized residence AC. You can always go right with Jackery if you’re seeking the greatest solar generator for an air conditioner. It combines the portable power station with SolarSaga solar panels. which absorb solar energy and turn it into electricity.
Solar generators for AC are more portable and affordable than solar-powered AC. Jackery solar generators are the best way to power your appliances with clean solar energy. For instance, It can enables off-grid living, charges an RV fan when camping, or powers an AC during a power outage.
Depending on your power needs and the number of appliances, Jackery offers a variety of solar power generators. For example, you can purchase a Jackery solar generator 2000 pro to charge your AC, whereas the Jackery solar generator 1500 pro or 1000 pro can power other appliances during your off-the-grid or camping.
Jackery Solar Generator 2000 Pro
With a capacity of 2,160 Wh, AC power of 2,200 W, and peak power of 4,400 W, the Solar Generator 2000 Pro offers Jackery the fastest solar recharging yet. It is ideal for charging most outdoor equipment and appliances, including e-bikes, air conditioners, refrigerators, and micro coolers. The power station can be fully charged with 6 SolarSaga 200W solar panels in under 2.5 hours and 2 hours via an AC wall outlet. Also, it can be charged by a carport.
Jackery Solar Generator 2000 Pro
AC Output: 120V, 60Hz, 2200W (4400W Peak)
USB-A Output: Quick Charge 3.0, 18W Max
USB-C Output: 100W Max, (5V, 9V, 12V, 15V, 20V up to 5A)
Car Output: 12V, 10A
RV Fan: 37W to 150W
Small Unit: 500W
Medium Unit: 800W to 1000W
Window Unit: 1440W
RV Fan: 50H to 12.2H or more
Small Unit: 3.7H or more
Medium Unit: 2.2H to 1.8H or more
Window Unit: 1.3H or more
Jackery Solar Generator 1500 Pro
The experience of ultra solar charging is superior to fast charging. Solar charging is again on the rise with a 2-hour solar charge that can sustain up to 1,400W of solar power input and an astounding 2-hour wall charge. With sophisticated BMS and 8 advanced temperature sensors for precise, safe temperature control, safety is elevated to a new level. The heat dissipation efficiency of a patented multi-duct design is increased by 30%, resulting in 100% product safety.
Jackery Solar Generator 1500 Pro
AC Output: 110V, 60Hz, 1800W (3600W Peak)
USB-A Output: 5V, 2.4A
Quick Charge 3.0, 18W Max, 5-6.5V, 3A/6.5-9V, 3A / 9-12V
USB-C Output: PD60W, (5V, 9V, 12V, 15V, 20V up to 3A)
Car Output: 12V, 10A
RV Fan: 37W to 150W
Small Unit: 500W
Medium Unit: 800W to 1000W
Window Unit: 1440W
RV Fan: 35H to 8.7H or more
Small Unit: 2.6H or more
Medium Unit: 1.6H to 1.3H or more
Window Unit: 54 Mins or more
Jackery Solar Generator 1000 Pro
It only needs 1.8 hours for a full charge, made possible by 4pcs of SolarSaga 200W solar panels, 3 times faster than Solar Generator 1000. You can enjoy limitless green power wherever you go with a quick and easy 60-second setup. With a lighter body and a battery with a long lifespan of 1000 charge cycles, this portable solar generator allows you to embark on any outdoor adventures.
Jackery Solar Generator 1000 Pro
AC Output: 120V, 60Hz, 1000W (2000W Peak)
USB-A Output: Quick Charge 3.0, 18W Max
USB-C Output: 12V, 10A
Car Port: 120V, 60Hz, 15A Max
RV Fan: 37W to 150W
Small Unit: 500W
Medium Unit: 800W to 1000W
RV Fan: 23H to 5.6H or more
Small Unit: 1.7H or more
Medium Unit: 1H to 51Mins or more
Solar AC FAQs
The following shows the frequently asked questions about the solar AC and the solar generator:
Can I Use Solar Generators to Run RV AC?
Yes, to answer briefly. A solar generator may power RV air conditioners with the appropriate configuration. As we already indicated, portable solar generators could run air conditioners continuously. As a result, the solar power station could be considerably more efficient than an air conditioner included in the RV.
What Size Solar Generator Do I Need to Run An AC?
The capacity of a solar generator, or how much energy it has to run your appliances and devices, is called its size. Consider the scenario when your air conditioner needs 1000W to operate. A minimum output of 1000W is required from your solar generator. If you want to figure out how long it will take to charge your AC with Jackery solar generators, here is a mathematical formula:
Working time = solar generator capacity0.85 / operating wattage of your AC
For example, if you use Jackery solar generator 1000 pro (1002Wh capacity) to charge your AC, and your AC needs to consume 500 watts, the working time equals 1.7 hours (1002W0.85 / 500W). However, this does not mean you can power your appliance for only one hour. Due to the pass-through feature, you can keep it plugged in for charging and power appliances simultaneously. Generally speaking, buying a generator that can accommodate your needs is advisable, like Jackery. which enables you to power your devices steadily and constantly.
What Are The Costs of Solar-Powered AC and Solar Generators?
The cost breakdown of each system component can help you estimate how much you’ll pay for your new solar air conditioner. For example, the solar AC unit typically costs between 1000 and 2700, while PV panels cost between 250 and 350 per panel. The wiring, batteries, inverter, charge controller, and installation costs range from 4350 to 9600. A high-quality solar generator costs only half as much as them, or even less.
You may learn more about solar AC on this page, including what it is, how many watts it uses, and a comparison of solar-powered AC vs. solar generators for AC. Solar generators have become increasingly popular among those who prefer clean energy as solar technology develops. Solar generators provide low maintenance, portability, clean energy, and sustainable living to fight climate change. Jackery could be your top pick if you’re choosing a solar generator for air conditioning!
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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.