Solar powered generators are relatively new and provide battery power for many different situations, but gas generators have been around for longer and have become very innovative and powerful. When comparing gas generators to solar powered generators, it’s important to understand the different attributes for each.
Some might say that there isn’t enough power in solar generators for them to buy one, or that they can get a gas powered generator for the same price or even cheaper than a solar powered generator… This is simply not true, and in this article, I’ll show you why battery operated generators are optimal in most scenarios.
The Internal Battery
First off, the battery technology in solar powered generators is constantly improving. Within the last five years, the batteries themselves have shifted from lead-acid ones to lithium-ion ones. These batteries are more compact, lighter, and have more power than lead-acid batteries. This has all shifted in a span of about five years. Who knows how much battery technology will shift within the next 2-3 years!
Also, they are completely silent and can be applied and used in many more areas where gas generators simply can’t. This is due to 1) Their fumes and 2) Their noise.
Are Solar Generators Worth The Price?
Let’s find out with an example…
With gas and propane generators, gas does not come cheap, especially when being used consistently and with many trips. Let’s get into the example.
An average gas generator uses about one gallon of gas for every 2.5 hours it’s in use. Taking the national average of gas prices in the U.S. today, we’re sitting at about $2.85 per gallon.
Let’s say you go on a full weekend trip off the grid and use the generator for about 20 hours in total. We’ll take the 20 hours and divide that by 2.5 hours to get the total gallons of gas used for that one single trip.
This equals eight gallons. Take the eight gallons and multiply it by $2.85 per gallon and you’re left with $22.80, which is the total cost of gas for that weekend trip.
Say this generator is a reliable one (as most are) and you go on 100 various trips over the span of a few years or more. If you take those 100 trips and multiply them by the $22.80 (the cost of a standard weekend trip or so), you’re looking at $2,280 just for gas alone!
The average price of a gas generator from Home Depot is about $800.
Take this and add it to the gas cost and this totals $3,080 for the entire lifespan of this generator… And it could be more than that if you go on more trips or use the generator for a longer duration.
You could get one of the most expensive solar generators on the market today, the Goal Zero Yeti 3000, for $2,999 dollars on Amazon, and have over 3,000 Watts of power at your fingertips.
This wattage is pretty competitive with gas generators, and as mentioned before, it is completely silent and emits no fumes! This pricing is similar to an average-priced gas generator. Many higher-powered gas generators get into the $1,500-$2,200 range.
If you take one of these and add it to the gas prices from my example, it’ll set you back over $4,000!
Power Output And Versatility
The main differences in choosing a gas one or a battery powered one is a matter of more power versus silent power.
Gas generators have more power than most solar generators, no question in that, but how much power do you need? If you’re running an RV, a gas generator is perfectly reasonable to power everything inside of it.
If you’re using power tools for extended periods of time, then a gas generator is ideal… But for most other purposes, a portable solar generator will give you the power that you need with an upfront price and no need for gas money.
Besides powering RVs and tools for extended periods of time, higher-end solar generators take care of most other electricity needs.
They pack a punch and can power most of what gas generators can as well. If you have solar panels, you can go completely off the grid and recharge wherever there’s sunlight. This feature is exceptional for camping and home backup systems.
These generators can also be recharged for many cycles so they last years. For example, the Inergy Kodiak has about 2,000 recharge cycles, which will last you a very long time.