Solar generators are a reliable tool to have as part of your cabin.
These generators are quite environmentally friendly and, while they can be rather expensive depending on a variety of factors, they are something you should consider getting for your cabin.
The ideal cabin solar generator is the Point Zero Energy Titan. For a typical off-grid cabin, it will be able to power all of your devices and appliances daily with the right setup. The Titan has a large battery, powerful AC inverter, and high solar panel input for fast charging.
Solar generators, like the Titan, are capable of powering an entire cabin, but this depends on how much power your cabin consumes.
It is also important to understand if the cost and elements of the product are worth the purchase for you.
In this article, I will go through the qualities of a good cabin solar generator, some of the pros and cons surrounding it, and some of the best and worst ones you can buy for a cabin.
Cabin Solar Generators Explained
To start off, we should have a good understanding of what exactly a solar generator is and the reasons behind why people feel they need one.
In truth, solar generators are not actually generators—they are just battery storage systems. However, because they have similar functions and purposes compared to old-school generators, people just referred to them as such and the name stuck.
Solar generators are devices that usually work alongside solar panels and help provide essential automatic backup power for any of your appliances and devices when you need it most. It’s a source of power that will be available when other options go down (like during power outages).
This is basically how it works: The solar generator is made up of four things: an inverter, solar panels, a solar panel battery, and a battery charger. The solar panels work to capture energy from the sun’s rays and store it in a battery that is built inside the generator.
The inverter is then used to take that stored energy and convert it from DC (direct current) power (where the electric charge only flows in one direction) to AC (alternating current) power (where the electric charge changes direction periodically). Once it is released, the energy can be used to power various devices and appliances.
As for why solar generators can be a helpful asset for a house or cabin, they can be extremely useful when the power goes out or when there are extreme weather patterns (such as hurricanes, tornadoes, heavy snowfall, and extreme temperatures).
People also like to have them as part of their preparedness gear, or even doomsday supplies, just in case something happens and there will be no other forms of power available for a long time.
Many people also use them as part of their camping gear, in their RV’s, and sometimes for backpacking trips as well. If you’re going to be carrying a generator on a hike though, you’ll typically want to go with a smaller, more portable model.
There are many perks to solar generators when they’re used properly. They are not loud at all (especially when compared to all fuel generators) and are one of the most environmentally friendly generators out there. They have no exhaust or fumes and do not run on fuel, just the good old sun!
Because they’re a relatively new piece of technology, their overall lifespan is still being determined. The general consensus so far seems to be between 5 and 20 years. As for how long they run in a day, that will depend on many things, including the size of your generator, but you can probably count on a good 9 hours of operation if you buy a reliable unit.
There are also some cons that people often talk about with solar generators. For instance: They can be an expensive purchase. You will spend less over time, but it requires a big investment upfront. Charging them can take quite a while, especially since you actually need the sun out to do so.
“A solar panel with a power output of 100 watts would take over 9 hours to charge most mid-sized solar generator batteries.”Source
Solar generators only have limited power available before you have to charge them again.
Cost of Cabin Solar Generators
Cabin solar generators cost anywhere from $1,500 to $8,000 depending on the model and solar panel setup you purchase. For example, the Jackery Explorer 1000 with two 100W solar panels costs $1,500, whereas the Point Zero Energy Titan with two batteries and 2,000W of solar panels costs $8,000.
The cheaper Jackery 1000 will be able to power most devices, electronics, fans, and lights in your cabin, but it shouldn’t be used for appliances like a refrigerator or dishwasher (even if they are not full-size).
The Point Zero Energy Titan can power most, if not all of your appliances, devices, lights, etc. in your cabin. The only exceptions are if you’re using it to power several full-size appliances. The Titan cannot power an electric oven, as they require significant amounts of power.
You can find the different kits for the Titan solar generator here on shopsolarkits.com (the price ranges from about $3,800-$8,500). This is an affiliate link, where I make a small commission on every sale.
How Much Solar Power Do You Need for an Off-Grid Cabin?
A typical off-grid cabin will require 500-2,000W of solar panels to consistently power your appliances, lights, gadgets, and other devices. With an average of five hours of full sunlight per day, that equates to 2,500-10,000W of total solar panel output per day.
As for how much power you will need your generator to create, that will depend on how long you need or want to use it in a day, and what appliances and devices you are trying to power with it.
Think about the number of watts the solar panels will generate, and if that will be enough to cover what you plan to power in your cabin. This will help you as you decide which solar generator to get.
The Best Solar Generators for Cabins
Something to keep in mind is that if your cabin is off-grid, you want to make sure that your generator will give you enough energy for all the functions of the utilities and appliances in the house, including everything you want to power.
Here are a few A-grade solar generators to give you an idea of what you should look for:
Point Zero Energy Titan (Solar Generator Kit)
The Titan is the heftiest and most expensive generator on the list, but it will fill your needs with no problem. This brand offers a variety of Generator kits that can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $8,000. Here we will look at a lower-cost kit and a higher-cost kit.
The Titan 1000 Kit costs $4,995 (Titan plus 1,000W of solar panels). This kit is ideal for an off-grid cabin because it has a big battery as well as the solar panels needed to recharge the system daily.
It comes with:
- (1) Titan solar generator (module & 2,000Wh battery)
- (10) 100-watt flexible solar panels (1,000 watts)
- (1) 50-foot MC4 extension wire (2 wires)
- (1) 2-way MC4 branch connector
- (1) 15ft MC4 extension set (2 wires)
- (1) Cigarette to SAE (for charging from a car)
- (1) MC4 to SAE (for resetting battery with solar)
- (1) MC4 to Anderson adapter (for connecting solar panels)
- (4) 30-watt USB adapters (2 with two USB, and 2 with 1 USB, and 1 USB-C)
- (1) AC charger (20A)
- (1) Manual
- 2-year warranty
The Titan 4000 Kit (Titan module, two batteries, and 2,000W of solar panels) comes in at a whopping $7,595.
This system has twice the battery capacity and solar panels as the Titan 1000 Kit. It is ideal for cabins that have full-size appliances. I still do not recommend using this system with any electric range or ovens because they will take a significant amount of energy to power when in use.
Goal Zero Yeti 3000X
With a price range of $3,000-$3,200, the Yeti 3000X is an excellent generator to consider. With a big battery and power output, this system is great for powering TVs, lights, phones, camera equipment, tablets, laptops, CPAPs, fridges, grills, smokers, blenders, power tools, and dozens of other electronics. It can charge any smart device just as fast as a wall outlet and is built with a 3,032Wh lithium-ion battery to ensure long-lasting performance.
This generator doesn’t require gas as it is entirely battery operated (as all solar generators are). Goal Zero has several other models in various sizes, including the Yeti 1500X, Yeti 3000 Lithium, and Yeti 6000X.
The Bluetti AC200P is capable of powering more high-powered devices, such as a grill, drills, coffee makers, and more. It comes with a LiFePO4 battery with 3,500+ lifecycles, meaning that it will last you about 10 years if you were to use the system daily.
Jackery Explorer 1000
The Jackery Explorer 1000 is a smaller, cheaper generator ($1,000) that can power all of your cabin essentials besides appliances (i.e. lights, devices, fans).
At 22 lbs, it is one of the lightest solar generators on the market for its size. This makes it an ideal option for portable use as well if desired.
In addition to these models listed, I have a separate article giving you the best solar generators for your cabin. I also give an example scenario where I total the appliances/electronics used in a cabin to give you a real-world estimate of what each model can power. Find the article here: 5 Best Solar Generators for Cabins (Plus Example Scenario).
The Worst Solar Generators for Cabins
There are many great solar generators out there, but to power a cabin, there are also several smaller options that you should probably avoid.
Keep in mind that if you are looking to power a cabin (whether for short-term or long-term use), you ought to invest in something a little more powerful than the options below.
My best advice is to get a large solar generator because it will be reliable. If you do so, you will not have to worry about losing or running out of power.
Renogy Phoenix 200
While the Renogy Phoenix 200 has many great qualities, you probably do not want to use it to power your cabin. At $200-$400, it is already a lot cheaper than most portable solar generators. It has a weaker output than the other generators mentioned, and that being the case, it will not give you all the power you need.
It is convenient and lightweight which makes its portability a lot greater than others, but do not expect too much from it or you will be sorely disappointed.
This system is ideal for camping or portable use.
Goal Zero Yeti 400 Lithium Power Station
Goal Zero has many generators that are worth using, but its smaller models such as the Yeti 400 Lithium are not reliable for long-term use for a cabin.
If you are looking for a powerful battery and solar panel setup that is going to last for a good amount of time, you will probably have to spend more than $1,000 to get the consistent performance needed to power a cabin.
For more information on the best solar generator options for your cabin including a real-life scenario where I break down the power usage of each appliance/device, read my article here: 5 Best Solar Generators for Cabins (Plus Example Scenario).