How To Use A Solar Powered Generator (For Beginners)

The Inergy Kodiak uses solar power to charge up

When it comes down to the basics of survival outdoors and home backup systems, it’s important to know how to use a solar powered generator….

These tips are super simple, and I just want to give you guys some clarity on how these things work so if you happen to get one yourself, most, if not all of your questions will be answered.

A Solar Powered Generator Needs Panels

We’ll get the most obvious out of the way first. You will need a solar panel to charge the battery bank that you use.

The usual connector that will be used to connect the solar panel to the battery bank will be the MC-4 connector.

 

This is important so you can charge your generator up. However, Goal Zero solar panels use an 8mm cable instead of an MC-4, so understand your Goal Zero products so you get the right connection.

 

The Bigger The Solar Panel, The Better (in most cases)

Solar panels for home backup systems vary greatly in size and power, but if you want solar panels that are great for camping or charging up outside, I recommend checking out two articles.

The first is about the best portable solar panels for hiking or backpacking, and these ones can fit onto your pack while you hike and can charge your devices up.

The second link is about the largest solar panels offered by Goal Zero. These solar panels are ideal for a large camping trip where you don’t have to haul the solar panel anywhere (because they are all pretty big, especially the 200 Watt panel).

These panels can be used for tailgates, camping, and any other scenario where you can see useful.

Wall Charging

Solar powered generators can be charged from the wall and usually charge a lot faster with this method.

Best Uses

The best uses for a solar power generator depend on the power output required for the items you are charging or powering.

If you are looking for a generator to power your drill or other heavy-duty equipment, you will be best with a large generator such as the Inergy Kodiak, Yeti 3000 Lithium, or the Yeti 1400 Lithium.

These all have a larger amount of power and fall in the medium to large solar generator categories. If you just need a generator to charge your iPhone and other devices, I recommend the Yeti 150, Coolis 150wh, and even the smaller and more portable Revlon Battery Bank.

These are smaller than the other generators but deliver you enough power to charge devices with ease.

Home Backup Power

If you are looking for a solution for home backup power, the best generators to use for this would be the Yeti 3000 Lithium and Inergy Kodiak.

These are both exceptionally powerful and can charge fridges, power tools, and do many other tasks with the push of a button.

These are not going to power your entire home, however, because these generators are not powerful enough for those purposes. They can run a refrigerator for a few days and power other necessary appliances like that.

If you’re looking for a backup generator that can power your whole house for an extended period of time, I would look into gas generators, Tesla Powerwalls, or other larger batteries to store in the house.

Charging Times

Solar generators take a while to charge depending on the size. They can be really quick if you are using a big solar panel (100-200W or greater) to charge a small generator, like the Yeti 150 or something similar.

But if that is not the scenario, then it will take longer to charge the generator.

If you want to just charge your phone or small device while hiking or backpacking, I recommend getting a portable solar panel and to not even bother getting a solar generator because you can charge your device directly from the solar panel.

If you need power overnight for a trip, then I’d recommend using a battery pack of some sort to charge it with.

If you have a 200 Watt panel and are charging the Yeti 3000, it will take 30-60 hours to fully charge up depending on the sunlight. If you are using an Inergy Kodiak, it will take significantly less time to do so (8-10 hours to full charge).

If you’re in the Arizona heat or some warm, sunny place, your times may be better.

The best way to find your ideal charge time is to do the math by comparing the wattage of the solar panel to the watt hours of power from the solar powered generator.

Overall, these tips should set you on the right track when looking for a solar generator for your home or camping trip or other outdoor events.

Let me know if you have any questions, I am mostly on YouTube and Facebook.

-Max

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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