Your Next Solar Generator – The Complete Guide

Man grabbing drink out of cooler powered by the Inergy Kodiak solar generator
Whether you are in search of a practical off-grid living alternative or want a standby power supply in case of a complete power outage, solar generators provide a green solution that can be as effective and in many cases more effective than propane or gas generators.

Having backup power for your home is essential and is a must-have as more and more people rely on connected devices including laptops, tablets, and phones.

Solar generators are not only used to power home appliances like air conditioners and refrigerators, but they are also useful for providing reliable backup power for critical medical devices such as CPAP machines and other at-home health monitors.

Solar generators can also be used for recreational activities such as fishing, camping, or RV trips.

When it comes to these activities, you need to invest in a more portable power generator system.

Solar Generators vs Fuel Generators

While fuel generators may work in this instance, they have several drawbacks.

They are contaminating, noisy, and also rely on close fuel sources.

When caught up in emergency situations like floods, blackouts, hurricanes, or earthquakes, you may not be able to access a fuel source.

This renders your generator useless.

Now, thanks to the new technology that combines solar power with lithium-ion batteries, you can obtain a green energy backup source any time you need it.

This article is an in-depth guide for beginners to experts regarding the topic of solar-powered generators.

What Is a Solar Generator and How Does It Work?

Yeti 400 Lithium on picnic table

Before we can dive into solar generators, it is important that we first examine the basics.

It is essential to understand what a solar-powered generator is and how it works.

A solar generator is different from a fuel-based generator.

While both convert raw energy into a useable energy source, solar generators harness the power of the sun instead of using fuel as raw energy.

A solar generator is a compact electronic box that consists of three main components:

  • A Charge Controller
  • Batteries
  • An Inverter

The solar energy is collected through solar panels and is stored in a high-capacity battery.

The inverter then converts the stored energy in each battery to AC power for use with a wide variety of appliances and devices.

Solar generators that are more advanced may have a circuit breaker, which stops the connected devices from taking up too much electricity.

A portable DC power supply is often used as a backup energy source. Depending on the use, you could also use solar array mounting racks.

The racks may be attached to the roof and require minimal maintenance.

How Do Solar Generators Work?

Man holding solar panel to sun

A solar generator integrates a charge controller, a battery pack, and an inverter into a compact system to convert solar energy into an electrical current.

Each of these components is created in a way that it matches the electricity rating of the device that is being powered.

The average voltage rankings for solar generators are 48, 24, and 12 volts.

To better understand how solar generators work, we will discuss each of the components and their functions individually.

Solar Generator Component #1 – The Battery

Animation of large battery

A solar generator needs to store the energy it collects from the sun for later use. The battery functions as the storage unit.

Lithium-ion batteries are the ones that are mostly used in solar generators today, but you can also use lead-acid batteries, which are abundant and cheaper than Lithium-ion ones upfront.

However, lithium-ion batteries have more advantages than lead-acid batteries and are more affordable in the long-term.

Solar Generator Component #2 – The Charge Controller

Renogy Rover charge controller

The charge controller is a vital component of a solar-powered generator.

Its main purpose is to protect and promote the durability of the battery.

Charge controllers usually have differing features for charging and discharging based on the type of battery that you are using.

The charge controller is the most important component of the solar generator unit.

Solar Generator Component #3 – The Inverter

The inverter converts the low DC current from the battery to AC power that can be used to power appliances and devices in your home.

DC items can actually do without the inverter since the electricity does not need to be converted.

The inverter steps up the generator voltage rating from 48, 24, or 12 volts to the appliance voltage rating of 110 volts or 240 volts.

In summary, a solar generator works by trapping the solar energy through the solar panels and then storing the energy in its built-in battery.

It then converts the energy into AC power through an inverter before it is released for use in home appliances and other electrical devices.

When combined, the three components make an efficient solar generator.

Solar Generators vs Gas Generators: Why You Should Opt for Solar Generators

From the look of things, it seems that solar-powered generators are becoming serious contenders to gas generators.

More manufacturers are developing innovative solar generators that can challenge the dominance of gas generators.

Of course, fuel-powered generators have been in use for many years.

They offer a good solution to power appliances, tools, and more for emergencies and recreational activities. 

However, a solar-based power generator is proving to be a new replacement to fuel generators for various reasons which we will get into next.

Why Invest in a Solar Generator?

Jackery 240 power bank on desk

As you already know, a solar generator is a simple system with immovable parts as is the case in gas generators.

In other words, it consumes nothing but solar energy to run and produce energy.

On the contrary, a gas-powered generator burns fuel to change the chemical energy it possesses to electricity.

During this process, harmful emissions are released into the atmosphere, they are noisy, and heat is released from the unit.

Meanwhile, the solar power process emits no fumes or noise and therefore causes no impact on nature. However, the viability of a portable solar generator is largely debated.

A solar generator, though a good concept, is not suitable for all situations, especially if you live in an area with little sunlight.

Another downside is that it cannot yet generate as much surge electricity as a gas generator could.

Solar power production completely depends on the capacity of the solar panel and the availability of sunlight. Also, there are limited models of portable solar generators on the market compared to gas generators.

In the case of needing portable power for outdoor recreational activities, you might want to carry a source of power that is eco-friendly and silent.

We are living in a time when people prefer to avoid machines that run on traditional sources of energy and opt for their green, renewable alternatives.

Furthermore, there are a variety of incredible generators in the market. Many firms have launched great models of solar generators, solar power banks, and folding solar chargers.

RavPower 25,000 mAh solar power bank

Here are some additional reasons why you should opt for solar generators over gas generators:

1. Eco-Friendly

Environmental pollution is one of the major concerns of modern-day. As already mentioned above, gas generators generate heat, fumes, and noise as direct pollutants.

On the contrary, solar generators cause no harm to nature since they run silently without emitting greenhouse gases.

2. Efficient Source of Power

Light bulb animation with orange sunset background

In terms of efficiency, solar power has an edge over a gas generator if there is sufficient sunlight for the majority of the day.

To have a gas generator running for a long time, you will need to have additional gas on hand to keep it running. When it comes to solar generators, they do not use any costly resources to generate power.

Solar generators work whenever there is sun in the sky. Sunlight is a totally free resource, so it becomes one of the best ways to recharge your devices while in the wild.

Metal gasoline can on gravel background

You won’t have to carry a can of gasoline or worry about running out of stock. But, if you will be going places with limited sunlight, solar generators make less sense.

3. Solar Energy is Everywhere

Certainly, solar energy is available anywhere where the sun is out and about. Therefore, it becomes one of the most reliable sources of green energy.

You can survive in the wild with a solar charger or generator with no worry. Depending on what you’re powering, you can charge all your devices and run some larger appliances, thanks to the sufficiently available sunlight.

A gas generator is not a reliable source of portable power. It can run out of fuel anytime during an emergency or when you are on a trip.

It is advisable to choose a solar-powered generator over a gas generator if you live in an area with sufficient sunlight and if you aren’t using high surge power.

Keep in mind that when there is an emergency, it does not make sense to rely solely on a gas generator as the gas supply will run out eventually.

It may be wise to have a gas generator as well as a solar generator on hand, just in case you run out of gas in an emergency.

4. Ideal for Outdoor Applications

You will need to carry a canister of backup gas along with a gas generator when going for an outing. If you will be camping alone, it is impractical to pack extra gas.

Also, it is not safe to transport gasoline in your RV, trailer or camper.

In all these cases, a solar generator with the needed solar panel is a perfect solution, which allows you to safely explore the wild.

In addition to the big solar generators, there are also a wide variety of small solar power banks and solar chargers to enhance your individual outings. You will only need to connect your devices to these chargers to power them up under the sun.

5. Variety of Brands to Choose From

As already mentioned, there are numerous new brands in the solar generator market today. This offers you a good reason why you should opt for solar generators over the gas generators without giving it a second thought.

Several companies are now producing portable solar generators, making it easy to find a good quality product that meets the need for your off-grid living.

Thanks to the multiple brands, you have a good number of options for advanced and practical solar-powered generators and related products like solar power banks and solar chargers among others.

Most brands feature a handy and ultra-portable design and the solar panels are flexible and foldable. 

Five reasons to invest in a solar generator infographic

Who Should Get a Solar Generator?

Solar panels are not just for rooftops anymore. There are many other portable solar products that you can use as an alternative power source especially when you are on the go.

Need to charge your laptop, a fan, a stereo, or a vent fan?

A solar generator is an excellent investment that you can use to charge all your electronic devices in an environmentally-friendly manner.

There are many benefits when owning a solar generator. You will get to enjoy free unlimited energy from the sun rather than using expensive fossil fuels AND this energy is free for as long as your solar panel lasts!

Maintenance costs for the solar generators are quite low; they are easy to clean, have a quiet operation, and some can last for over 20 years!

Some of the drawbacks of buying solar generators include the higher upfront cost, not collecting enough power during cloudy or rainy days, heavy lifting due to the batteries which limits how portable they are to some users, and slow recharging.

The benefits of solar generators far outweigh the cons, and they can work effectively in several areas for a significant number of situations.

Here’s a breakdown of who should invest in a solar generator as well as the cases where they are most beneficial.

1. Home/Apartment

Boulder 100 foldable solar panel outside of garage

Solar generators are invaluable assets for home and apartment owners. Emergencies can happen at any time at home, and it’s prudent to be prepared with a solar generator.

Natural disasters, storms, unexpected power outages, and transformer malfunctions may happen at any given time making your family vulnerable.

This may cause your family members to become anxious, frustrated and stressed out.

When these emergencies happen, the solar generator can act as an alternative power back up solution and offer electricity for your home for as long as you may need.

More often than not this need is very temporary until power is restored but its best to be prepared than to get caught off-guard.

For medium to large solar generator kits, you can use these systems every day by harnessing energy from Mother Nature, and there is no need to purchase fuel.

When your neighbors are in the dark, you will continue to power your electrical appliances in your home, like laptops, fridges, phones, home alarms, television, lighting, stereos, TVs, sump pumps and much more.

You can even purchase a whole house solar backup generator that has enough capacity to power the entire house or apartment.

2. Camping

Goal Zero solar panel with map and accessories

Campers will, without a doubt, enjoy numerous benefits when using solar generators.

Since solar generators are remarkably portable, they can offer campers lots of comforts when they are out to satisfy their quest for adventure in their outdoor campsite.

Solar generators have a silent operation and do not emit exhaust fumes that pose a danger to the environment at your campsite.

You can use the solar generator to power many tools, including tablets, laptops, electric lamps, electric cooking stoves, digital cameras, phones, portable fridges, e-bikes, and portable fans, making your camping experience more comfortable.

Most solar generators are easy to pack for all your camping adventures. All you need to do is ensure the battery is fully charged.

Or if there is sunlight during your hike and you have a small solar generator, you can carry the solar panel on the back of your backpack to recharge.

Ensure you buy a solar generator for camping that is made of high-quality materials to withstand the harsh outdoor environment.

You can have the solar panel placed at the top of your car for it to access direct sunlight better.

3. RV/Trailer

RV at nighttime with stars in background

Leading an RV/Trailer lifestyle is indeed a surefire way of enjoying the countryside or wild environments to the maximum.

A solar power generator for RV /trailer users ensures you’ll enjoy all your favorite sights and sounds without having to wake up and power noisy traditional gas generators.

Solar generators are ideal for a weekend warrior or a boondocking full-timer, and will power your RV for long periods, giving you the freedom to travel as far as you can while out in the wild.

A solar generator can effectively power your water heater, small to medium-sized air conditioners, laptops, space heaters, among other electrical appliances, letting you achieve a lot of independence in your RV.

All you need is to do is mount the solar panel on top of the RV or trailer when you are on the go.

4. Boating/Fishing

Fishing pole on fishing net

Solar generators are increasingly gaining popularity in the marine industry.

Using a portable solar generator on your boat or when fishing can open up numerous possibilities.

You may be able to power your phone, a compact refrigerator, an air conditioner, a coffee maker or even a microwave.

When night fishing, you can power lights. The solar generator provides a backup for you to charge your batteries or call for help immediately should your boat malfunction when you are out on the water. 

How to Choose the Best Solar Power Generator + Panels

Boulder 200 briefcase solar panel with Yeti 1400 generator

Solar generators have now become the most popular way of creating green energy.

Deciding to invest in a solar power generator for your home, office, RV, boat, or outdoor camping activities is one of the best investments you can ever make.

However, selecting the best solar powered generator can be quite challenging.

It takes a lot more than reading solar power generator reviews on the internet and comparing prices.

There are also many different styles of solar power generators sold in the market, making the process more challenging.

Besides the fact that all solar power generators perform a similar function, some have more advanced features while others showcase higher efficiency.

That said, there are several factors that you have to consider when you are shopping for the best solar powered generator to suit your unique needs and budget.

Read the list below to help you make an informed decision on your next big solar generator purchase.

Portable Generator Use

It’s important to consider how you plan to use the solar-powered generator. Determine if you plan to use it as a power backup solution in case there is an emergency at home, or if you plan to use it as a portable option for generating power during outdoor activities such as camping or fishing.

In this light, there are two major types that you can choose:

Portable Solar Generators

A portable solar generator will be the perfect fit for you if you plan to use it while you are on the go.

You will find the machine particularly helpful during activities such as fishing, picnicking, camping, among other fun outdoor activities. Portable solar generators provide outdoor independence.

They have lower watt-hours compared to solar backup generators but will surely satisfy all your power needs to make you more comfortable in the outdoors. They are also portable, making them easier to pack and carry.

Some examples of portable solar generators include the Jackery 240, the Yeti 400 Lithium, and the Suaoki G500.

Solar Backup Generators

Solar backup generators are commonly used at home. They’re used in case there’s a need for a secondary power source if the power goes out.

They have higher wattage capacities as compared to portable solar generators. They also come with several batteries to save up more solar power.

Solar backup generators have a profound ability to power most essential electrical appliances in the home, such as:

  • Televisions
  • Laptops
  • Electric sump pumps
  • Stereos
  • Phones
  • Lights

However, it’s important to note that you may not find one that powers everything in the home.

Two examples of solar backup generators include the Goal Zero Yeti 3000 Lithium and the Inergy Apex K2.

Type of Solar Panel You Plan to Use

Another essential feature that you ought to look at in your selection is the type of solar panel that the solar generator has.

You will find three most common types; Monocrystalline solar panels, polycrystalline solar panels as well as thin-film solar panels. Their efficiency determines how many watts they produce for their size.

You need to check the energy production measured in watts. For example, when you expose solar panels with a 100-watt solar rating, they produce about 600-1200 watts of energy during that particular day depending on your location and exposure to direct/indirect sunlight.

Monocrystalline Solar Panels

Boulder 100 folding solar panel on desert floor

Monocrystalline solar panels offer the best quality and are the most expensive on the market. 

They possess the highest efficiency since they are made using the purest silicon. You will notice this through their uniform blue color. Monocrystalline panels are shaped into distinctive, identifiable patterns. 

They yield an impressive energy efficiency rate and also have a profound ability to withstand high temperatures and other harsh weather conditions.

Polycrystalline Solar Panels

Polycrystalline solar panel

Polycrystalline solar panels have a lower energy efficiency rate compared to monocrystalline solar panels. This is because the silicon used to make them have slight impurities. 

Polycrystalline panels are less expensive, though, making them popular with most homeowners.

Thin-Film Solar Panels

Thin-film solar panels have the lowest energy efficiency compared to monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels.

Usually, they are made using lower quality silicone and have a low energy efficiency rate.

You will find them at the lowest price point in the market and most commonly used in areas whereby their silicon counterparts are hardly available.

Battery Capacity

Battery capacity is also a vital consideration when shopping for the best solar generator.

Proper battery storage is what makes it possible to use the solar power generator when you do have an emergency, or when there’s not enough sun to collect energy; this is where all the power you receive from the panels is stored.

A solar generator with a higher battery capacity enables you to use your generator for an extended period in between charges.

Small-Scale Batteries

There are portable solar generators that come with a battery capacity that produce as little as 150 watt-hours of power.

This is quite ideal if you plan to use the machine for charging your essentials over the weekend during camping as well as other outdoor activities.

Large-Scale Batteries

A solar generator with a higher battery capacity (1,000 watts and above) would be ideal to function as a home electricity backup system.

You can comfortably power the essential appliances in the home, including computers, phones, sump pumps, blenders, coffee machines, and TVs.

If you need to power appliances such as refrigerators and air conditioners, a solar generator with a 2,000+ watt-hour battery capacity would do.

Be sure to select a solar generator with a battery capacity that produces a high enough wattage/hour to suit all your needs.

Understanding Your Battery

You can start this selection process by understanding the differences between volts, amps, and watts, and then calculate what type of solar generator is best for you.

Most of the solar generators on the market have lead-acid batteries, which makes them more affordable than lithium batteries.

On certain models of lead-acid solar generators, like the Yeti 1250, you can swap out 12V lead-acid batteries when the other is out of juice. This makes it more convenient for you to have power when you need it most.

You can opt for a solar generator with a lithium battery if you are looking for higher efficiency in terms of charging, power, and discharge rate.

Lithium-ion solar generators generally tend to be more expensive than any lead-acid battery because of this.

Portability

Person holding Honda 290 solar panel generator

Portability is also another important feature that you should consider if you are to find the ideal solar generator for your needs.

If you plan to use the machine at home only, this might not apply.

However, if your primary purpose for buying the machine is to travel with it, the portability factor is a big deal.

You don’t want to be lugging a giant battery around with you if you can have a lighter, more compact one that suits your needs.

You have to be sure that you are able to easily carry the device from one place to another and/or transport it in a vehicle.

A solar generator that weighs 10-20 pounds is ideal if you need a good amount of power on the go.

Or you can choose a portable power bank for smaller energy needs, like recharging your laptop once or twice. But be sure not to compromise the battery capacity since the battery carries the most weight.

You may also want to consider a battery that has wheels for more comfortable transportation. Or you can invest in a solar generator cart with wheels and a handle.

Inverter Rating

The inverter rating tells you the number of watts that you can draw from the generator at any particular point in time, which determines the kind of devices that you can power or charge.

The inverter functions to convert the DC power that is stored in the battery into AC current, which is used to power your gadgets.

An inverter with 1000W-1,500W will do just fine for smaller devices such as phones and laptops.

If you need to power bigger gadgets, you will find a solar generator with an inverter rating of 2,000W or more ideal for your needs.

However, the inverter size alone does not determine the overall performance of the solar power generator.

In other words, it would be pointless to have a generator with a 1,500W inverter with a battery capacity of only 300Wh.

For maximum efficiency, consider a solar generator that features a ratio of 1.5:1 – battery watt-hour: inverter rating.

For instance, a 1,000W inverter to a battery of 1,500Wh would be ideal for maximum efficiency.

Also, check the surge rating.

The surge rating refers to the utmost power amount that the battery supplies over a limited amount of time, usually a few seconds.

Most solar generators have a surge rating that’s twice as much as the continuous power rating, so be sure to confirm the specifications.

Solar PV Input

Man installing solar panels on roof

The photovoltaic input refers to the exact number of solar panels that are required to power your solar generator.

Verify that the voltage, as well as the amps, are within a range that the generator battery can effectively handle.

Also, check that the solar panels can adequately charge the battery in a timely fashion.

You can determine the approximate hours it takes to charge the battery by dividing the battery capacity wattage (Wh) by the total solar panel wattage (w).

For instance, if the battery capacity wattage of your solar generator is 1000wh and the solar panel wattage is 200w, then it would take roughly 5 hours for the battery to be fully charged in good sunlight.

Remember, if it takes too long for the solar panels to charge the battery, then the generator will be inefficient if you depend on it for frequent use.

If you need a more powerful solar generator, it is wise to get one with high wattage solar panels too.

But if you want the solar panel to only power smaller devices like laptops and smartphones, then a typical 100w solar panel should do the trick.

Power Output Options

Goal Zero Yeti Lithium display with labels

As you shop for a solar generator, another critical factor to pay close attention to would be the connectivity options.

How many gadgets and cables can it accommodate?

Most solar generators have several USB, AC, and DC outlets.

AC outlets come in handy when you need to power smaller devices such as small refrigerators, lights, televisions and other similar gadgets.

DC and USB outlets will prove helpful when powering smaller gadgets such as tablets, smartphones, flashlights, and stereos.

The number of outlets may vary from one type of generator to the other.

For example, you may find one with 3 AC outlets, a single 12V DC socket, and about 4 USB ports.

Extra Features

Additional advanced features worth researching include wireless connectivity, fast-charging USB ports, LCD display, and stackability.

Some solar generators come with LCD displays which help motor how much charge is in the device and how much is remaining in the generator’s battery.

Thanks to advanced technology, you can also find a solar generator with wireless connectivity.

Woman holding wifi symbol with green pasture background

By connecting the generator to Wi-Fi it’s easier for you to monitor power consumption as well as PV input.

There are also solar generators that have fast-charging USB outlets.

This charges your gadgets in a shorter time, especially if you are in a hurry to charge or power several devices.

Additionally, you may want to invest in one that’s stackable.

To stack or connect the solar generator to one or several external batteries, check if it has the ports to create this chain of battery cells.

Best solar generators and kits infographic

Best Solar Generator KitsYeti solar generator kit

1. Goal Zero Yeti 1250 Solar Generator Kit with Boulder 100 Solar Briefcase 

Goal Zero, a leading manufacturer creates this solar generator kit that powers a wide array of gadgets from refrigerators, phones, fans, and more.

It’s a 1,250 watt-hour solar generator kit and will expertly handle multiple power needs while also being easy to use, silent, and safe.

It can be used at home or for outdoor activities such as camping, tailgating, fishing, light-duty construction, and more.

The package includes a Yeti 1250 Portable Power Station, a Boulder 100 Briefcase solar panel with cord and kickstand, a roll cart, and a wall charger.

 

Goal Zero Yeti 1250 front

Features

    • The kit features a battery dimension of 16 x 14.5 x 11.5 in, and the panel’s measure is 40.0 x 26.75 x 1.75 in (101.6 x 70 x 4.4 cm)
    • It comes with a Boulder 100 briefcase solar panel to charge the Yeti 
    • 1250Wh lead-acid battery which is portable and can power as much as ten devices at the same time.
    • 4 USB ports, 120W 12V ports (2) to make it easier to charge and power multiple small appliances/electronics and outdoor gadgets at the same time.
    • You can chain the power station with other 100Ah lead-acid batteries that you can achieve a much longer run time with.
    • The solar panel is light in weight, a Monocrystalline type with a 100w rating, offering you the much-needed energy efficiency.

Boulder 100 solar panel with kickstand out

    • The solar generator kit does not emit any fumes or noise, making it an ideal option to be used in indoor areas.
    • You can plug into the wall to completely charge it in around 18 hours.
    • The battery level indicator is super easy to read, weighs a little bit over 100lbs and comes with a roll cart to make it easier to move closer to electrical appliances.
    • The Yeti 1250 can power both large and small devices, including smartphones, refrigerators, POV cameras, headlamps, laptops, lights, and LCD TVs.
    • There are three ways to charge this solar generator: Through the sun, plugging into a wall for around 18 hours, or through the car 12V adapter for approximately 44 hours.
    • Features a pure sine inverter
  •  

Thumbs up thumbs down animation

Pros

  • Silent and safe
  • No fumes
  • Can be operated indoors
  • Comes with roll cart for easy maneuvering
  • Solar panels included in the package
  • Powers a wide array of electronics, devices, and appliances

Limitations

  • Heavy to carry  (103 lbs)

Summary

The Yeti 1250Wh solar generator is an excellent option for emergencies. The battery effectively powers a wide range of devices for both the indoors and outdoors.

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2. HQST 200 Watt 12 V Monocrystalline Solar Panel Kit

The HQST 200 Watt solar panel kit is ideally suited for home/RV/trailer use. It’s perfectly designed for ease of use and is ideal even for newbies to solar energy generation.

 

The Solar Kit does not have a battery that comes with it, I would recommend starting with a high-quality AGM deep cycle battery, like the VMAX 12V 125Ah battery.

This kit is easily installed and you can begin using it immediately. The solar generator kit, with good sunlight, can produce at least 1000Wh of power each day.

Features

    • Easy and convenient installation through pre-drilled holes on the solar panels. Also included are Z-bracket holes that facilitate easier securing/mounting.
    • The solar generator kit can be used in several off-grid applications, which include 12V and 24V options, signaling systems, water pump systems among other off-grid systems. You can use the solar generator kit in a wide array of off-grid applications including trailers, boats, among others
    • Comes with two Monocrystalline solar panels of 100W at 12V, a set of Z brackets, a PWM LCD charge controller as well as a 12 AWG, 20A adaptor cables measuring 20 ft.

HQST monocrystalline solar panel front with dimensions

    • For the Monocrystalline solar panels, the warranty of five years for both material and workmanship, the output power warranty is 25 years, for accessories the warranty is one year for workmanship and material.
    • The Monocrystalline solar panels each measure 42.2 x 19.6 x 1.38 in and have a weight of 16.5 lbs making them easy to carry.
    • Each panel features a maximum operating voltage of 7.9V. The maximum operating current is 6.72A. The solar panel also features an Open Circuit Voltage of 21.6V, a Circuit Current of 6.24 A, and a maximum system voltage of 600 VDC (UL). The junction box is IP65 Rated and waterproof as well.

Pros

Limitations

  • You may find the 20A adapter cables too short during installation, and you may have to buy more fittings

How to Install the HQST Solar Panel KitHow to install the HQST solar panel kit

HQST Solar Panel Kit Specs

HQST solar panel kit specs

Summary

The HQST 200 Watt solar panel kit is an excellent choice for homeowners and camping enthusiasts for the RV, trailer, or tiny home lifestyle. It’s expertly crafted to suit most off-grid applications and has a great design that’s easy to use and install.

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3. ACOPOWER 12V 120-Watt Foldable Solar Panel Kit

ACOPOWER Foldable Solar Panel Kit front and back

The ACOPOWER foldable 120watt solar panel kit is one of the best solar power generation kits that you can find for an emergency backup for your home.

The solar generator kit is relatively more comfortable to carry around compared to other kits. It utilizes Monocrystalline solar panels for the highest energy efficiency. You can easily fold the solar panels into a foldable suitcase as well.

The Kit is made of high-quality materials that make it ideal for outdoor activities such as camping and fishing.

A couple features include three standing legs and a Velcro tab for easy opening and sealing. No tools are required for the setup either! This solar generator kit is both efficient and multipurpose in a highly compact design.

It does a great job charging both lead-acid batteries as well as lithium-ion batteries. The Kit is fitted with a USB port to facilitate the charging of cells as well as phones and other devices.

Once purchase, you can start using the Kit immediately as it is fitted with connection cords as well as battery clips for immediate connection.

 

ACOPOWER Foldable Solar Panel Kit with accessories

This solar generation system is made using highly durable waterproof materials. The overall weight of the Kit is 8.5 pounds, and it measures 22.05” × 17.32” when folded. 

This solar generator kit is recommended to charge generators that are equal to or larger than 400Wh.

Features

    • Contents include a 10A LCD charge controller, user manual, detachable MC4 connector cables, alligator clamps cables, a portable solar panel suitcase
    • The manufacturer offers a money-back guarantee policy in case the item malfunctions. The customer service and technical support are located in California.
    • Monocrystalline cells are 120 watts.
    • The charge controller comes in handy to prevent your battery from overcharging and discharging increasing the lifespan.
    • Ultra-lightweight as well as portable with a weight of 8.5lbs. The solar generator kit measures 56.7x22x0.2 inches and 22×17.3×0.8 inches folded. The handle is pre-installed.
    • Multiple USB charge ports for you to charge many gadgets at the same time.
  •  

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Easy to install
  • Super light making it easily portable
  • Made using Monocrystalline cells that offer the highest energy efficiency
  • Foldable for easier packing for outdoor activities

Limitations

  • Not as sturdy as one-piece solar panels

Summary

This ACOPOWER solar generator kit is ideal for both homeowners and outdoor enthusiasts.

It’s easy to carry and install, offers high watts for charging batteries, the charge controller is also easy to read with an LED display, battery terminal clips, MC4 connections, and several USB ports.

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Best Portable Solar Generators

1. Goal Zero Yeti 3000 Lithium

Yeti 3000 Lithium front view

The Yeti 3000 is an incredible solar alternative to a fuel-powered generator. With its dependable solar charger, the Yeti 3000 is one of the most powerful solar power stations on the market.

It has a capacity of 3075Wh, which is enough to run a full range of AC devices and appliances.

Features

The Yeti 3000 has up to 10 output outlets, including a pair of 120-volt sockets. The generator also equips a 1500W pure sine wave inverter that could peak at 3000W.

Running most of your high-powered appliances using this generator is a breeze.

Another feature that makes this generator attractive is that it features Wi-Fi connectivity, allowing you to wirelessly connect the generator to your mobile device through the Yeti App. This gives you the power to monitor how the unit is working from anywhere at any time.

When it comes to the output ports, the Yeti 3000 has several options besides the AC sockets. It features a 12V Power Port, a 12V carport, a 5V 6mm port, USB PD, USB C, and USB A. With the numerous port options, you can charge and run a variety of gadgets.

The Yeti 3000 features a highly secure Lithium Battery. Goal Zero uses high quality 18650 lithium cells that improve security and stability.

Additionally, the battery pack has a sealed watertight enclosure. It also has an excellent cooling system to regulate the temperature inside the power station. What you get is a solar power station that is highly secure and stable and an ideal emergency power backup.

This unit stores a significant amount of power, making it able to run most emergency household appliances. The power that this generator stores and delivers allows you and your family to have consistent electricity in case the power goes out.

Limitations

The only drawback with the Yeti 3000 is that it is a bulky power station (68 lbs). Therefore, it can be cumbersome for an individual hiker or camper.

It can ideally be used in a camper, RV, trailer, apartment, or remote cabin. Though it comes with a cart, moving the Yeti 3000 is not easy. You will need to transport it using a vehicle from one location to another.

Verdict

The Goal Zero Yeti 3000 is a large and powerful solar generator with many capabilities:

  • When holding an outdoor event, the Yeti 3000 allows can run essential appliances and devices with ease.
  • At the same time, it is a great source of emergency power. A fully charged Yeti 3000 will power up all essential devices.

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2. The Inergy Apex

Front of Inergy Apex generator

The Inergy Apex has modern ports and power handling features. It’s also lightweight for its massive power output (25lbs) and is expandable.

Features

The Apex has a 1500/3000 watt surge, pure sine wave AC inverter.

The pure sine wave inverter increases the efficiency of the device and controls its heat among other benefits.

The Apex comes with an internal Lithium Nickel-Manganese-Cobalt battery, which is gradually overtaking iron-phosphate as a cathode material.

Li-Phosphate batteries have a high current rating and cycle life. They are more rugged when they are exposed to high voltage recharging over long periods of time.

However, the Lithium Nickel-Manganese-Cobalt (used as cathode materials) is less expensive than iron-phosphate and has a lower power density.

 

Inergy Apex front right side with labels describing features

The Apex has an MPPT Charge Controller, allowing it to maximize the electrical output of the panels connected to it.

The generator has a max input of 500 watts, but thanks to the MPPT it will charge fully in about 2-3 hours of sufficient sunlight with the proper number of panels.

It can pass DC power to several of its charging ports, 12V, USB-C, and USB without turning on the inverter.

All inverters use power, so keeping AC appliance use down will significantly boost the performance of this generator.

The Inergy Apex is lightweight, at only 25 pounds – That cannot be overlooked considering the amount of power it packs.

It can charge anything from a three-day camping trip to most of the electricity used in your RV or trailer.

Limitations

The main disadvantage of the Apex is that it doesn’t support the Neutrik adapter.

The adapter makes it easy to connect the first generation of the Apex generator, the Kodiak, to other brands of solar panels not made by Inergy.

The other issue is with the 500-watt max input. Its predecessor, the Kodiak, boasted a 600-watt max input.

However, with the MPPT charge controller that is included in the Apex, the charge times have been maintained.

Verdict

It is apparent that Inergy is continually innovating.

The MPPT, with its upgraded screen and three-position power switch, make the Inergy Apex a leader amongst other generators on the market.

Its 1500-watt continuous output and 3000-watt surge coupled with its lightweight construction make this one of the best options for portable power.

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3. The Goal Zero Yeti 1400 Lithium

Goal Zero Yeti 1400 Lithium front side

The Goal Zero Yeti 1400 is a portable power station that can power up to ten devices simultaneously.

The generator has a high-capacity lithium battery that provides enough power to charge laptops, smartphones, and power small appliances and power tools.

Features

The Yeti 1400 provides 1,500W of continuous pure sine wave output. This ensures that all your electronic devices and appliances are well protected.

In addition to the 1,500W output, this generator has a surge capacity of 3,000W, allowing you to power higher wattage appliances including fridges, coffee makers, medical devices, and televisions.

The Lithium battery has an energy capacity of 1,425 watt-hours.

This is enough power to charge several devices and power multiple appliances before you need to recharge.

According to the estimates provided by the Yeti, on a single charge, this unit can recharge a 4Wh self-powered LED spotlight 200 times, a standard laptop 24 times, and a smartphone 70 times.

This makes it handy to have as a portable power station for outdoor events and camping. It is also a reliable backup for large homesteads.

Goal Zero Yeti Lithium front view with labels

The generator features two-120V AC outputs with a continuous flow capacity of 1,500W and a surge capacity of 3,000W. These are perfect for common home appliances like a TV, fridge, or coffee maker.

It also has four 2.4A USB ports for charging small devices such as smartphones and tablets.

How to charge Yeti solar generator and what devices to power with it

This will take up to 25 hours to fully charge. The other method of recharging it is by using solar panels, which take up to six hours to fully charge the generator, depending on the sunlight. When the weather is ideal, it is possible to max out at four hours to fully recharge.

Limitations

The only downside of the Yeti Lithium 1400 is that it’s costly.

When considering the weight, power, and capacity of this generator, the price tag is higher than the majority of portable generators.

This is because Goal Zero arguably makes the highest-quality solar-powered generators on the market today.

Verdict

If you are looking for backup power to charge your phone and laptop in case there is a power outage or when hiking, you should choose cheaper models or even consider a portable power bank.

But if you need as much power as you can get without resorting to a dedicated home power station, the Yeti 1400 is one of the best deals on the market today.

It is an appealing option for campers, those doing extended fieldwork, and off-grid living enthusiasts. It will prove to be an indispensable option during extended outages.

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4. Suaoki G500

The Suaoki G500 features an LCD display

The Suaoki G500 is a 500Wh power station for camping trips and off-grid adventures.

This generator could power almost all your portable electronics from laptops, CPAP machines, and lights.

Features

The Suaoki G500 comes with four output charging options. It has two AC outlets, two USB-A ports and one USB-C port, two 12V DC ports, and one 12V carport. You can use the USB-C port to charge compatible tablets, smartphones, and laptops.

Suaoki G500 with labels describing it

The 12V port is used to charge laptops with DC to DC connections or any appliances that be powered through a DC port.

The generator features both an AC adapter and a DC car adapter. The AC adapter charger can be used with the DC port to recharge it. It and has a recharge rate of 14-40V.

The DC car adapter allows you to connect the adapter to a 12V car port within your car and recharge the power station while driving.

The G500 power station has a built-in MPPT controller which boosts solar charging times.

When charging using the solar panels, the included MC4 charging cable connects to an Anderson Powerpole connector.

This method doesn’t require an external controller, thanks to the built-in MPPT controller.

Different uses of the Suaoki G500

The G500 power station has an ideal design for portable use due to its strong handle and lightweight (15 lbs) profile.

The unit comes with a battery management system that boosts surge power and internal performance.

When the internal temperature rises beyond 45 degrees or the total wattage is over 150W, the unit will automatically turn on the cooling fan.

It automatically shuts down if it overheats, and it also has a protective chip to prevent short circuits, over-voltage, and over-current.

The generator features a pure sine wave AC output, making it favorable for CPAP machine users who like to go camping regularly.

Limitations

The battery cannot be replaced once the 500x lifetime charge cycle is over.

Verdict

The Suaoki G500 is a new addition to the expanding market for portable solar power and has been dedicated to manufacturing eco-friendly and portable power solutions.

This company has gained popularity among outdoor enthusiasts and this specific machine is powerful and handy.

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5. Suaoki 400Wh

The Suaoki 400Wh Solar Generator Front Side

This power station is ideal for both outdoor and indoor use.

It can be used in offices, homes, camp grounds, and on farms and construction sites.

However, it is not powerful enough for large appliances such as fridges and freezers. It will easily power small appliances, lights, and various devices for several hours though.

Features

Suaoki 400Wh with solar panel on grass by tent

The Suaoki 400Wh has a peak capacity of 444 watt-hours.

This will not power everything in your home but it is sufficient to power small appliances and devices.

For outdoor use, the generator can power a 12V lamp and devices such as a mini-fridge, laptop, and smartphones.

The Suaoki 400Wh features several output options:

  • Four USB ports to charge devices such as tablets, lights, or smartphones. The USB power output is 5V.
  • Two DC ports for charging devices such as a cooling fan or halogen lights
  • Two AC ports that output 300W continuous and 600W surge, providing enough electricity to power a printer or laptop.

Another feature is that it comes with an easy-to-use LCD screen and buttons.

The screen displays the charge/discharge status, the type of power input you are getting, and battery consumption.

To the left of the screen, there are three buttons each with a display light on its side.

The first is an on/off button, while the 2nd and 3rd are AC ON and DC ON buttons respectively. On the right are the output ports:

  • AC adapter port
  • Solar input port
  • Jumper starter port

The Suaoki has a battery management system that helps protect it from surges and other electrical risks. It is also lightweight which makes it easily portable.

Lightbulb image with black background

Limitations

The Suaoki 400Wh does not include a solar panel. You need to factor that additional cost into your purchase.

This generator is not appropriate for large appliances; only suitable to power small appliances and devices.

Verdict

The Suaoki 400Wh is an excellent tool for campers and others on the go. It’s not a big power station that’ll run a household, but it’s powerful enough for the essentials.

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6. Goal Zero Yeti 400 Lithium

Yeti 400 Lithium front

The standard Yeti 400 was already a commendable generator, but Goal Zero has made the lithium version even better.

The unit has a lithium battery and is also lightweight with extra features like additional indicators on the display and an extra USB port.

Features

The wall charger will take up to 7 hours to fully charge, while the duration of charging through the solar panels will depend on the panel capacity.

A 200W panel set can charge the unit in less than 5 hours, provided there is sufficient sunlight.

On the output end, the unit comes with 5V USB ports for tablets and mobile devices. It also has 12V outlets and two AC outputs.

Yeti 400 Lithium Being Carried Into Pick Up Truck Bed

The power station also has a surge shield that can manage surges of up to 1200W!

The Yeti 400 lithium comes with a tightly enclosed battery in a strong casing to enhance durability.

The pillar-like edges and the boxy design ensure that the unit can easily fight mild shocks. The sides also have plastic panels reinforced with projections similar to the corners.

Another feature of the Yeti 400 lithium is its ease of use.

The unit has clearly labeled ports. Plugging in a solar panel requires less than five seconds with a single pin and port.

The most attractive feature is that the unit uses a lithium-ion battery.

Lithium-ion batteries have a high power density that weighs less for higher energy storage capacity. Additionally, the upgraded display is a plus in this segment. It displays available energy in Wh or remaining hours based on the devices connected to it.

Limitations

If you are looking for something portable when traveling, then this is not the best option. Many airlines do not permit high-capacity lithium batteries on board.

I recommend calling the airline you intend to fly with ahead of time to clarify this.

Also, the unit doesn’t include USB-C (the new charging standard for USB).

Verdict

The Goal Zero Yeti 400 lithium is a little more expensive than competing options. However, it’s likely to pay itself off over time with its durability and engineering.

Even with heavy daily use, you can replace depleted cells.

Combined with the fact that you only need a few solar panels to change it into a portable solar generator, this is a much more affordable alternative than full-size generators if you are only looking to charge electronics and run small devices and appliances.

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7. Jackery Explorer 500 Portable Power Station

Jackery Explorer 500 Portable Power Station

Jackery is a respected brand that makes solar generators, solar panels, and other accessories.

They have also released a unique series of portable solar generators and power packs with Honda! One of them being the Honda 290 power station.

Features

The Jackery Explorer 500 has a fairly compact design, measuring about 11.84 x 7.59 x 9.2 inches, the same size as a handheld radio.

The unit weighs 13 pounds. Fortunately, the elongated handle at the top gives you a firm grip to carry it with ease.

It has an LED flashlight to its left side which runs at five watts, so turning it on doesn’t empty the battery.

Five watts may not seem bright, but since these are high-efficiency LEDs, it’s ideal for a handheld flashlight.

Jackery Explorer 500 with solar panel off grid

The unit has numerous USB options. These ports are type-A and use 2.4A output. There is also a standard AC outlet.

In addition, there’s a 12V car charger port. You can use these ports to charge smaller appliances and most mainstream electronic devices with ease.

This includes cameras, laptops, drones, smartphones, among others.

The Jackery Explorer 500 comes with a clear two-inch LED display, indicating how much power is being taken out of the system and how much power is available in the battery.

It displays the power amount in percentages so you won’t be left guessing how much power is remaining.

Next to the display, there is a small round button labeled “Display.”

This is the on/off switch for the LED display so it won’t drain your battery when you are not looking at it.

This is a smart design for someone wanting to conserve as much power as possible per charge.

On the left side of the LED display, there is an input port intended for solar power connection if you want to recharge the unit using a solar panel.

 

Jackery Explorer 500 features

Limitations

Weighing at about 13lbs, the system is not practical when traveling on foot. It has a nice carrying handle but is not conducive for extended carrying.

This unit is best suited for vehicle-based or relatively static applications.

Verdict

For appliances that are not overly power-hungry, the Jackery Explorer 500 can prove to be handy.

Jackery is also up there with Goal Zero in terms of quality, so you can expect longevity with their products.

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Limitations of Portable Solar Generators

Let’s review some factors that limit the use of portable solar generators.

1. They Have a Limited Output

Portable solar generators are not complete home grid power replacements.

If that were the case, everyone would be rushing to buy and live off of solar generators.

Some large and expensive solar array systems can offset all your energy needs. But this takes thousands of dollars and permits and contractors to achieve this.

A portable backup generator can be inexpensive but doesn’t provide the same amount of electricity as full-blown solar systems.

Solar generators collect a fair amount of energy.

However, the energy is not enough to replace the amount of energy a typical household uses on a daily basis.

Gas generators are also much more powerful than most solar-powered generators.

But, as mentioned earlier, you’ll need to weigh the power differences out with the fact that solar generators don’t need fuel, emit no noise, and can be used indoors with ease.

While the upfront costs for a solar generator may be more than a gas-powered one, consider long-term costs as well.

Whether you choose the gas or solar-powered generator for backup power, you need to prioritize.

Figure out which appliances and devices are essential and which ones you can do without.

Remember that if you are buying an emergency backup power system, you will have power for only a few emergency necessities.

2. They Are Expensive

Coins and cash

We already touched on this, but solar generators are an investment. The best generator will cost more upfront.

Remember that fuel-powered generators have continuing fuel costs that need to be considered.

The more your solar generator is used; the more affordable it becomes. This is true when compared to the use of fuel-powered generators.

Also, there are several other intangible costs to consider such as:

  1. The cost of running out of fuel
  2. Harmful emissions
  3. Excessive noise
  4. Fuel stowage concerns.

When considering which type of generator to buy, think long-term. Decide whether the upfront investment is the best option for you.

3. No Room for Expansion

Most ready-made solar generators have components that are not designed for easy expansion. Once purchased, most of these types don’t allow you to:

  1. Upgrade the inverter
  2. Add a bigger battery inside the generator
  3. Upsurge the photovoltaic surface area

Make sure to know the maximum solar input of the generator before considering buying it.

If you go beyond this limit, you massively increase the risk of burning out the battery.

Many medium to large solar-powered generators can have external batteries attached to them. This is a huge asset if you don’t need the generator for maximum portability.

Basically, what you receive with a ready-made solar generator cannot be changed.

If this is a big concern, consider some DIY solar generator options, which we’ll get into in the next section of this piece.

4. Not Instantly Recharged

It takes time for a solar panel to recharge the battery. The power they collect varies depending on the amount of sunlight available.

Solar panels are greatly affected by the angle of the sun to their surface.

If your panel is in a fixed position, you will get a curve of power production considering the movement of the sun.

It will start out with little power, increase to a peak, and hold at this position for a while and then go flat.

The hope is that you can be able to generate sufficient power during this time to run your appliances and charge your battery. 

You can do this by storing backup power in the battery overnight.

Then, use the daylight to charge the generator while it uses the previously stored energy throughout your home.

Consider the appliances you need and how often they are used. Aim to be as power-conservative as possible, unless you plan on investing in many batteries and generators.

The more panels you have, the more power you can produce in a given period.

But if your battery charges fast, you will need to have extra batteries to store any extra energy.

As mentioned earlier, make sure that you know the maximum input for the battery or generator you intend to use so you do not burn them out with too much solar power.

Build Your Own (DIY) Solar Generator vs Buying One

Compared to buying ready-made, you may find building your solar generator beneficial in two ways:

  • It’s affordable
  • Incorporates all the customized features that you need.

DIY solar panel and battery on roll cart

Building a solar generator is not as daunting as you think.

The procedure is simple and easy to understand. A solar generator is composed of a solar panel, an inverter as well as a battery.

Ensure that you make a model that suits your power needs.

It’s essential to buy high-quality components so that the solar generator will be able to withstand any environment or season.

You will have to conduct plenty of research to find out the best components for your project. In this post, we have listed everything you need to know about building your solar generator.

You will be surprised that the whole project can cost under $300.

Purchasing the Solar Panel

Back side of solar panel with charge controller and battery

The model you go for should be cost-effective and at the same time, produce enough solar power.

Consider a high-quality panel(s) that’s weather-resistant to serve you for a longer time.

Single solar panels typically cost around $100 at local home improvement stores, electronic shops, and online.

Selecting the Right Battery

The type of battery is dependent on the amount that you want to save. Consider what you want the solar generator to power, the power needed, and the battery type.

Usually, solar generators use 12V batteries but you may go for high-end solutions that contain 24V or much higher.

Lithium-ion batteries are ideal, but lead-acid batteries work great as well.

Battery Box

The battery box protects it from harsh elements such as rain and other particles that could fall into the system.

This extends the longevity of the battery and keeps everything portable and intact.

You can buy one or use hard camera cases, hard-locking plastic cases, or any other sealed, weather-resistant containers.

The Charge Controller

The charge controller is also an essential addition to your solar generator. It ensures that the battery does not overcharge and gets damaged.

The Inverter

This tool is essential, especially if a considerable number of the devices you want to power use AC current.

The Inverter works by converting direct power already stored in the battery into AC current.

This lets you effectively charge all your electrical appliances.

A suitable inverter costs about $50.

DC Input Device

A DC input device is a pivotal element to buy. It allows you to plug in a DC appliance you need from televisions, radios, or pumps.

A DC input device costs about $10. It would also be wise to buy a 12V DC meter.

Step by Step Guide for Building a DIY Solar Panel

Place your battery into the battery box.

12V DC Meter & DC Input Module

Connect your 12V DC meter (This costs about $25) on top of your battery box. Secondly, connect the DC input module to the battery box as well. This makes it possible to access both connections when you use the generator.

12V DC Meter + Poles

Attach the 12V DC meter to both the negative and positive poles on your battery using the insulated wires. Ensure that you connect the negative poles first followed by the positive poles.

Charge Controller – Battery – Inverter

Also, connect your DC input to your battery with the negative poles first followed by the positive poles. Ensure all your connections are tight and secured for useful reading. Remember to connect the charge controller and the inverter using insulated wires. Do this in the same manner as the 12VDC meter and the DC input.

Solar Panel(s) to Battery

Connect the solar panel to the battery. You may need to wear insulation gloves as you do this to prevent yourself from electrocution. Ensure that the wires connecting the solar panels to the battery are long enough to place in direct sunlight. At this point, your DIY solar panel is practically wholly wired up and ready for testing. Ensure that the battery box is adequately covered up so that as to prevent any moisture from entering.

The last step is to test the solar panel to verify it’s working correctly.

Test it in a place where there is direct sunlight.

The DC meter should start reading the amount of voltage you are collecting from your solar generator.

If you determined that the DC meter is reading correctly, leave the solar panel in direct sunlight until the battery is fully charged.

Conclusion

The DIY solar generator will generate free unlimited electricity customizable to your liking. You can also replace batteries or expand your battery system with ease.

While you can buy a ready-made solar generator for yourself, some homeowners prefer to build and customize their own DIY solar generators.

Solar generators are friendly to the environment, affordable, emit little noise, and offer sufficient power. Build one for yourself and enjoy all the benefits!

Things to Avoid When Choosing a Solar Powered Generator

Keep out sign with desert background

Given the numerous benefits when investing in a solar-powered generator, you may be super eager to buy one for yourself.

You may even end up purchasing a solar generator without doing proper research or factoring in the long-run operational cost.

Many homeowners, RV owners, fishing enthusiasts as well as campers end up making costly mistakes because of this.

There are solar generators where the battery cannot be replaced when a part breaks.

  • Some solar generator companies make it costly to get a replacement from the manufacturer directly.
  • Some things you need to avoid if you are going to purchase the best solar generator for your needs.

Avoid Extremely Low Battery Capacity

Low battery animation

As a standard, it’s advisable to buy a moderately sized solar power generator.

However, do not buy a solar generator that has a capacity of less than 150Wh.

If you’re looking for something smaller than 150Wh, purchase a portable power bank instead.

A portable power bank is basically a small battery with some different ports.

Since it’s smaller and doesn’t need many components it’s much more reasonable in price.

If you need to power larger appliances such as fans, printers, and coffee makers, consider investing in a solar generator with a capacity of more than 1,000Wh, or even 2,000Wh on the higher side.

Avoid Making Random Impulse Decisions

You don’t want to spend several nights in the dark when there’s an emergency or the weather is cloudy all because you didn’t make the right generator capacity decision.

If you are excited to buy a new solar generator, conduct research to avoid making an arbitrary impulse decision that can cost you in the long run.

Stay Away From Solar Panels With Extremely Low Solar Wattage

You ought to avoid solar panels with low wattage since they take a longer time to charge the battery.

For instance, a solar panel with a capacity of 50w can take several days to charge your 100AH battery completely.

Construction worker animation working on solar panel

  • A solar panel that charges your battery for between 6 and 8 hours would be ideal.
  • If your battery is around 1000 w, then a 200-watt solar panel would be a great investment
  • For smaller-sized devices such as phones and tablets, 100-watt solar panels are sufficient.
  • You can buy multiple solar panels and put them together as well to form a series. This is great for rooftop solar.

Avoid Low-Quality Solar Generators

Some companies try will try to convince you that their products are indeed the “best.”

Avoid cheap solar generators, especially when they suspiciously boast of high wattage as well as capacity.

Be sure to buy from brands that have a good reputation. A few of these companies include Jackery, Inergy, and Goal Zero.

An excellent place to start is reading customer reviews about the products.

Things to Consider Regarding Solar Generators and Solar Panels

Does the solar generator come with a solar panel?

  • Some solar generator power stations do not come with solar panels.
  • Confirm to see if the package has a solar panel.

If the package does not include the solar panel, then confirm if the power station can connect to solar panels from other brands or it only operates using proprietary solar panels.

How much solar power do you need?

Calculate the sum total power rating of all your gadgets; tablets, phones, mini coolers, laptops, drones, electric stoves, among other devices that want to include in your off-grid power.

99% of you will not be able to power all of your gadgets simultaneously using the solar generator.

Thus, you will have to prioritize powering those devices that are most important first.

For a home backup solution, it is best to invest in a heavy-duty solar generator.

Will solar energy be enough for you?

Usually, charging a solar generator can take hours, so keep the battery charged in case of an emergency.

Bear in mind that there are some solar generators that you cannot use while they are charging.

Animation of person with stop sign labeled "silence" on background

Are you looking for a silent operation with no emission of dangerous fumes?

Solar generators have become increasingly popular because they are perfectly safe for use both indoors and outdoors.

Do you know how the whole system works?

It’s essential to figure out how the solar generator systems work before buying one.

  • Conduct research on the different types of batteries available
  • Also, research the wattage of the devices that you plan to power
  • Know how the panels and batteries work in unison to easily incorporate it into your lifestyle

Conclusion

Kodiak solar generator in the outdoors

Investing in a solar generator for your home, RV or other camping activities is undeniably a great choice.

  • Master emergencies such as unwarranted power outages or storms with the peace of mind 
  • Increase outdoor independence on an extended camping trip
  • Sightsee with a luxury RV
  • And do much more with a tool like a solar-powered generator

Find What’s Right for You

There are advanced features such as:

  1. LCD screens
  2. High-Wh generators
  3. Durable waterproof materials
  4. Many other features to ensure you are comfortable during emergencies

There are also models that are ultra-lightweight, making them easier to transport in your car or move around.

Affordable, super silent, eco-friendly, and versatile solar-powered generators are a must-have for all enthusiastic campers, RV owners, and homeowners.

Be sure to research the internet extensively so you can learn how solar generators and solar panels work.

This will allow you to make the best decision for your wants and needs!

Max Peters

Hi! I'm Max and I am passionate about off-grid solar technology and adventure! I'm using my knowledge of solar generators, solar panels, and everything in between to provide you with the best tools to keep you powered while off the grid. Read more about me here: About Max Peters."

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