Due to several advancements in technology, most individuals are investing in the best solar generators as an emergency power backup source.
This offers you a reliable source of energy in case of an emergency and also decreases your carbon footprint.
In recent years, the use of solar generators has extended to all walks of life including camping, home backup power, and even natural disaster relief. You’ll find solar power units reviving cars, RVs, smart devices, and numerous household gadgets to name a few examples.
Although they’re becoming increasingly useful in various applications, many are struggling to choose the right system for their power requirements.
To solve this issue, we have come up with a list of the best solar generators in the market that will cater to your needs.
The following is a table listing each solar generator in three separate categories: small, medium, and large. See the table for specifications. After the table, I’ll be going more in-depth on each solar generator, starting from smallest to largest.
Quick View and Specs - 15 Best Solar Generators
|Small Solar Generators|
|Model||Jackery Explorer 240||RAVPower 252.7Wh Solar Generator||Rockpals 300||EcoFlow R600||Aeiusny Portable Power Station|
|Inverter||200W Continuous, 400W Surge||250W Continuous, 300W Surge||300W Continuous, 600W Surge||600W Continuous, 1200W Surge||400W Continuous, 800W Surge|
|Solar Input Max||42W||60W||100W||200W||100W|
|Charge Cycles||500+||Not Listed||500||500+||Not Listed|
|Medium-Sized Solar Generators|
|Model||EcoFlow River 370||YETI 400 Lithium||Rockpals 500||Jackery Explorer 1000|
|Inverter||300W Continuous, 600W Surge||300W Continuous, 1200W Surge||500W Continuous, 1000W Surge||1000W Continuous, 2000W Surge|
|Solar Input Max||120W||120W||200W||200W|
|Large Solar Generators|
|Model||EcoFlow Delta 1300||YETI 1400 Lithium||Bluetti EB150||Inergy Flex||YETI 3000 Lithium||Point Zero Energy Titan|
|Inverter||1800W Continuous, 3300W Surge||1500W Continuous, 3000W Surge||1000W Continuous, 1200W Surge||1500W Continuous, 3000W Surge||1500W Continuous, 3000W Surge||3000W Continuous, 6000W Surge|
|Solar Input Max||400W||360W||500W||1200W w/ MPPT Supercharger||360W||2000W|
|Max Charge Cycles||800||500||1000||2000||500||2000|
Best Solar Generators (Small to Large) – Analysis
The following solar generators are compiled into a list in order of smallest to largest. Here are the top 15 best solar generators in the market today:
1. Jackery Explorer 240
*Best Overall – Small Solar Generator*
The Jackery 240 works as a perfect portable unit, especially when you require power inside where traditional generators can be loud and dangerous.
With a weight of 6.61 lbs and a size of 7.87 x 9.05 x 5.24 inches, you can carry it with you wherever you want. Moreover, it comes with a compact lithium battery rated at 240 watt-hours.
This device consists of several outlets, capable of providing sufficient power to charge your essential gadgets.
As for the standard AC wall outlet, it generates 200W of AC power that has a peak capacity at 400W. You will also find three USB ports that will enable you to charge your smartphone or tablet efficiently.
The 12V DC car adaptor can charge several gadgets suitable for DC power, however, this particular generator is not ideal for CPAP machines as it does not have enough battery capacity for that purpose.
- Easily compatible with a Jackery solar panel
- 500+ charge cycles
- Slow charge rate for solar and AC
- No USB-C ports
Charging this power pack is possible via solar panels, AC power, and from your car.
2. RAVPower 252.7Wh Solar Generator
The RAVPower Solar Generator consists of AC outlets with pure sine wave technology. Using the two AC outlets of 110V can deliver a stable and robust power of 250W.
With just one of the outlets, you will get a maximum of 300W of power, which is sufficient to gear up your small gadgets go on road trips or picnics. However, before connecting your appliances to the outlet, press for about five seconds on the button that’s next to the AC outlet to activate the inverter.
The RAVPower battery can be of use for hours as you go camping. You can easily charge tablets and smartphones at high speeds with this device.
It comes with various modes of lighting, which include solid on, flashing, and SOS modes. This makes it suitable for emergencies if they arise.
- Battery has a reliable capacity of 252.7Wh or 70200mAh
- Can revive your laptop within three hours
- Charges fast from the AC outlet
- Lightweight at 7.84 lbs
- Charging cords are short
- No LCD screen – LED charging indicators instead
While using the PD port, it takes up to four hours and 50 minutes for recharging. As for the DC input, it takes a recharging time of six hours.
You can recharge the power station using a car charger if 12-24V, a wall outlet, or a 60-watt solar panel.
3. Rockpals 300
The Rockpals 300 weighs only 7.5 lbs and is easily portable with dimensions of 6.89 x 6.5 x 3.15 inches.
As for the charging possibilities with its 280Wh battery, it has a single standard outlet that delivers 110V, and around 300W of standard power that peaks up to 600W.
You will also find four USB ports of 5V and a car adaptor port that produces 12V at 8A for charging DC portable refrigerators and powering fans. It also comes with multiple DC ports that help in providing a direct power source.
This lithium battery generator is suitable for charging smart devices like laptops, smartphones, tablets, and GPS devices. You can also power up your TV, lamps, and other small appliances. With the pure sine wave inverter, the AC power is free of distortion, making it apt for delicate appliances.
- Quality LCD screen
- Comes with a utility flashlight
- Displays a plethora of ports
- High surge power for its size
- No USB-C ports
This unit takes only eight hours to recharge itself with the help of a 100W solar panel. The manufacturer claims it can power a laptop for four hours, smartphone 25 times, 60W bulbs for 70 hrs, and a CPAP for four days.
4. EcoFlow R600
*Most Versatile Small Solar Generator*
The EcoFlow R600 has a power rating of 600W coupled with a surge capacity of 1200W and a battery capacity of 288Wh.
It comes with a modular design where you can connect external batteries to enhance the capacity or combine two R600s to produce double capacity.
It consists of three AC outlets and three USB-A ports along with a 100W USB-C port. You’ll also come across a car outlet at 12V and a DC output of 12V for charging directly. You can make use of the car or solar input and the X-Stream AC Input for ultra-fast charging.
It’s capable of relieving and reviving most home appliances such as a coffee maker, rice cooker, TV, and so on. It can power up the TV for three hours and microwave for 30 minutes.
- Can control the power station with the help of their app
- Supports the fast charging feature (X-Stream)
- A chainable power station that can double the capacity
- Charging wattage lessens if the generator is warm
To attain maximum efficiency, it makes use of MPPT charging technology that supports solar panels of a maximum of 200W. These panels enable you to charge the device fully within two hours.
5. Aeiusny Portable Power Station
The Aeiusny Portable Power Station consists of an LCD screen and several outlets to run numerous devices.
With the help of the 60W solar panel, the generator charges fully within just 10-15 hours.
This power station comes with two DC ports in the front area and has three AC output ports towards the backside. It also contains four USB output ports.
These ports make it easy to gear up your drones, laptops, outdoor devices, mini-fridges, and even your smartphone up to 40 times.
With a 296Wh capacity, it charges up to nine appliances simultaneously.
- Manufacturer provides a warranty of one year
- Produces a high power output of 400W
- Has LED light function for emergencies
- Uses lithium-ion battery technology that offers a longer shelf life
- Some reports claim car charging is not effective
This system is compact with a dimension of 6.48 x 12.3 x 4.88 inches. This helps you to place it easily in your car as it consumes very little space.
6. EcoFlow River 370
*Highest Overall Quality*
The EcoFlow River 370 has an integrated lithium battery that can supply energy to electrical appliances up to 300W.
Due to the 370Wh battery capacity; it can provide power for nine varying outputs, including drones, smartphones, and laptops tablets, and other devices. This makes it the best option for taking along as you go boating or camping.
When it comes to charging possibilities, you can charge it using the wall socket with the help of the AC adapter that comes along in the package.
You can also recharge it using the 12V car charger or combine it with solar panels.
It comes with two USB Type-C PD inputs which you can connect solar panels with up to 120W of power.
Since it’s capable of discharging and charging simultaneously, you can use it as an emergency generator for your house or even for outdoor solutions.
- Versatile power options
- Best-in-class build quality
- Best-in-class LCD screen
- Need to purchase an MC4 to USB-C cable to charge via solar
The front area of the generator has a real-time display where you can view several different values.
This includes the input and output, battery level, the remaining charging time, and so on. Within seven hours, you can charge this generator by plugging it into your car port.
7. YETI 400 Lithium
The YETI 400 Lithium delivers a reliable source of power. With a capacity of 428Wh, this lithium-ion battery-powered unit can revive up to seven gadgets simultaneously using 33Ah and 12V.
It consumes a decently-sized volume for its size but can easily be used while transporting storage due to its dimension of 11.25 x 7 x 7.5 inches and a weight of 17.6 pounds.
You will also come across DC ports of 12V that can generate 120W and two USB outputs of 2.1A.
As for the input, you can charge it with the help of solar panels or wall charger. By using the wall charger, it won’t take more than seven hours to charge completely.
As for the solar panel, the charging time is entirely based on the capacity of the panel. You will find that the solar panel connection utilizes an 8mm input to easily connect to Goal Zero solar panels.
- Comes with surge protection
- Consists of solid construction and easy to carry around
- Has a warranty of 24 months
- Compact and durable
- Has a high price range
- It does not have chaining ports to enhance capacity
This power station can power tablets 10 times, laptop 5 times, POV camera 70 times, smartphone 40 times, headlamp 70 times, and mini-fridge for 7 hours.
The LCD screen present on this power station displays the battery capacity, the power consumed, and the remaining charge time.
8. Rockpals 500
The Rockpals 500 is one of the flagship variants of this brand that holds a capacity of 540Wh. This lithium battery packs a 500W continuous pure sine wave inverter that can peak up to 1000W.
This makes it suitable for emergency power requirements and most household appliances.
You will find two AC sockets along with other charging functions. It also consists of a car port of 12V that generates 96W and a set of DC sockets of 12V that can produce 48W max.
Also, it integrates a quick charging 3.0 port and two USB ports of 5V at 2.1A. This power station further holds a Type C bi-directional outlet of 18W.
The Rockpals 500 is capable of recharging your laptop 10 times, smartphone 60 times, mini projector for 7 hours, and your mini-fridge for around 6 hours.
The presence of the battery management system protects your gadgets from various types of voltage variation that may otherwise cause damages.
- Solar charger is compatible with multiple options
- Powerful with high capacity
- A suitable companion for the camper
- Friendly and portable option for traveling
- Comes with a warranty of 24 months
- Carrying handle is low quality
The power unit features a LED light function that is ultra-bright, and underneath that is the LCD display that shows the battery status, the system data, and the remaining charge, making it great for use during the day and at night.
9. Jackery Explorer 1000
*Easiest to Use*
The Jackery Explorer 1000 is the most powerful solar generator from Jackery.
With a capacity of 1002Wh, surge power of 2000W, and numerous outputs, it’s capable of meeting the power requirements of most devices.
When it comes to the output options, in the DC area, you will find two USB-C PD 18W outputs, a quick charge 3.0 USB Type-A port, a car port of 12V, and a USB Type-A port of 5V and 2.4A.
As for the AC section, there are three AC outputs of 110V that are activated by pressing the AC button that’s present above the ports. If you go off the grid, you will be able to run computers, communication gadgets, cameras, and CPAP devices.
The charging opportunities are capable of charging your smartphone 100 times, laptop 12 times, and your portable fridge of 60W for 66 hours.
From the wall charger, you can charge the Jackery 1000 from zero to full within a 7-hour time frame. It takes up to 14 hours if you are planning to charge using your car port and about eight hours with 200W of solar panels.
- Well-encased in a textured plastic exterior with rubber feet
- Available at an affordable price range
- Capable of storing up to 1 kWh of energy
- Can use the USB-PD even while charging other devices
- Has a USB-PD of low output (18W instead of 60W)
- The large battery makes it hard to carry around easily (22 lbs for the entire generator)
Except for the left side, which contains a built-in flashlight, all the other ends are quite bare with cooling vents and plastic backing. The presence of the flashlight with SOS mode makes it efficient for outdoor adventures and emergencies respectively.
10. EcoFlow Delta 1300
*Fastest Charging Speed*
The EcoFlow Delta 1300 consists of a new patented charging platform for its AC. Even after 800 charges (around three years on average), you will find that the battery capacity retains a 60% efficiency.
This lithium-ion battery bank with 100 cells has a capacity of 1260Wh and packs an inverter of 1800W continuous and 3300W surge power through its AC outputs. It comes with four USB-A outlets (two standard and two quick-charge ports), six AC outlets, two USB-C ports, and a DC car outlet.
You can charge this unit in three ways: from a car port that needs only 10-12 hours to recharge fully and from an AC outlet that can recharge the system fully in 1.6 hours.
You can also use solar panels up to 400W, which helps you to fully recharge the generator within about four hours. This generator comes with all the cables that you will need for solar charging as well.
You will also find a huge LCD screen that shows battery charging time and input and output power. Moreover, it has certifications from PSE, CE, RoHS, UL, and the FCC.
- Charging time is only two hours from AC outlet
- Has a shelf life of 12 months
- Can generate an output of 1800W and has a surge capacity of 3300W
- Acts as the best emergency backup option in case of disasters and medical requirements
- Will not charge for up to two hours if the generator is overheated
- Needs more power to fill the battery as it has only 58% round trip efficiency
Round trip efficiency is the measure of how much power can be drawn from the battery compared to the amount of power required to charge it up.
The Delta 1300 is capable of powering your cell phone 188 times, laptop 23 times, a 10W light for 36 hours, and coffee maker up to 60 cups.
It can also run power-hungry appliances like a large fridge for 10 hours, a microwave for 1-1.8 hours, and a CPAP machine for 18-22 hours.
11. YETI 1400 Lithium
The YETI 1400 Lithium is one of the largest power units from Goal Zero with a weight of 43.7 lbs and a dimension of 13 x 18 x 13 inches.
Moreover, you will find that the control center has a Wi-Fi app connection where you can turn on and off ports, review power usage data, and more all from your phone. The lithium-ion battery pack has 1425Wh of total capacity.
You will find numerous plugs which include two USB-A outlets and two USB-C outlets. This allows you to power up multiple devices simultaneously.
The set of standard AC outlets can handle 3000W peak and 1500W continuous. Moreover, the battery is capable of retaining its full charge for an entire year.
This gives you the privilege to store it every day and use it in case of any emergencies like disasters or power outages.
Recharging from a wall charger will fully charge the generator within 25 hours. If this is too slow for you, you can purchase a YETI 25A fast charger and reduce the charging time down to about five hours.
Two Boulder 200 solar panels will fully recharge the 1400 in 4.5 hours in good sunlight. This system can take up to 360W of solar power.
What that means is that you can attach up to about 400W of solar panels to your generator. The reason why you can have a higher wattage of solar panels compared to the actual input is because solar panels tend to produce about 65-75% of the actual rating of the panel. This is due to efficiency losses from the panel.
Another way to reduce charging times is to pair the generator with the YETI MPPT charge controller, which will boost charging efficiency by up to 40% from solar panels and 20% from the wall outlet.
The best aspect is that you don’t have to wait until the generator is fully charged to charge your gadgets as you can use the generator to power electronics while it’s charging up.
- Comes with two handles at the top for easy lifting
- Features display screen that provides real-time data
- YETI App lets you use your phone to turn on/off ports
- High-powered battery and inverter
- Does not alert you when the battery is fully discharged
- Has a PWM charge controller
The massive wattage load is capable of handling big appliances like microwaves and refrigerators.
This power station can provide power for your smartphone 70 times, laptop 23 times, tablet 52 times, camera and headlamp 230 times, TV for 14 hrs, and 2 kW refrigerators for 26 hours.
12. Bluetti EB150
This enables it to power up numerous gadgets for an extended period without needing a recharge.
The Bluetti comes with a pre-installed MPPT charge controller and you can recharge the Bluetti by using solar panels or the AC wall charger.
While using the wall charger, you can recharge the generator in ten hours. You can also fully recharge the power station within to five hours with 400W of solar panels. The generator can take up to 500W of solar reducing its charge time to about 3-4 hours.
The 1000W pure sine wave inverter enables you to run the generator at full capacity without any damage until the battery is fully depleted (1000W continuous, 1200W surge).
Moreover, it comes with four standard USB-A ports, one quick charging USB-C PD 45W port, regulated 12V connection, and two AC outlets. This unit can recharge your tablet 55+ times, a drone 27 times, laptop 21 times, camera 250+ times, LED light for over 128 hours, TV for 15 hours, and your mini-fridge on your RV for 32+ hours.
- Suitable for those having a mobile lifestyle
- Best suited for those who live in areas where grid failures are common
- Made using high-quality components (MPPT, lithium battery, etc.)
- Has a display that shows DC and AC output power, input power, and battery levels
- Has only two AC ports
- Inverter surge power is very low compared to similar-sized generators
One of its unique security features lies in its cold-temperature protection and overheating protection. The operating temperatures are 32-104 degrees F (0-40 deg C).
13. Inergy Flex
*Most Versatile Choice – Large Solar Generators*
The Inergy Flex consists of one Flex battery and a Flex 1500 power console.
These, when coupled with the MPPT supercharger, can charge more rapidly than its counterparts. As for the solar array options, it accepts both parallel and series wiring.
Due to the presence of a pure sine wave inverter, it integrates a 3000W surge power that can discharge 80% of the battery capacity while at max output. The Flex’s continuous output is 1500W, making its inverter’s capabilities identical to the Yeti 1400 and 3000 Lithium.
It’s also capable of providing a regulated DC power of 20A at 13.8V. This enables you to use the battery to its full capacity while reviving gadgets like water pumps, portable refrigerators, and other DC electronics.
As for charging, you can either use the car charger, standard wall charger, or solar input with 14-90V DC.
You can also charge the flex batteries in as little as 3.5 hours. Also, you can combine all of these charging methods to charge the battery at an even faster rate!
- Modular and versatile solar power platform
- Six AC ports for multiple electronics
- Main module comes in AC and DC versions depending on what type of power you need
- MPPT Supercharger is sold separately
- Need to purchase an MC4 to EC8 cable for third-party solar panels
Even though each battery is only 1,069Wh, making it technically a medium-sized solar generator, the best part of this power station is that you can expand its power to a ludicrous capacity by stacking up to 96 Flex batteries to the system.
For this reason (its modular battery set up) it is considered a large solar generator.
The package comes with a Flex battery, shoulder strap, Flex 1500 power console, and a standard wall charger. For further details, watch the video.
14. YETI 3000 Lithium
*Best User Experience*
The YETI 3000 Lithium by Goal Zero is well known as a beast among its YETI series.
Housing a massive battery of 3075Wh, it can power almost anything from sump pumps, refrigerators to basic electronics. With a solid build that weighs 70 pounds, this unit is quite impressive for its price.
The presence of the built-in pure sine wave inverter helps in providing a smooth supply of power to any appliance/device used with the generator.
For solar charging, Goal Zero offers its Boulder and Nomad series solar panels that can easily connect to the 3000 via its 8mm solar plug. However, third-party solar panels can be used with the 3000 Lithium via its Anderson Powerpole input.
The maximum solar input for all solar panels is 360W via the Anderson Powerpole input.
Known as the epitome of on-demand energy, it offers numerous ways of charging and powering your devices and other equipment. On the generator, you will find ten output ports that are neatly marked and grouped based on their voltage and port type.
It also has an easy-to-read LCD screen that displays the charging time, battery life, output, and input power.
- Comes with numerous input (6 total ports) and output (10 total ports) charging possibilities
- Made using high-quality components, giving it better durability
- Makes use of Wi-Fi connectivity that comes with mobile YETI application
- Higher price range
- Only two AC ports
You will find that the batteries are securely placed in a dense plastic casing with rounded vertical edges. Handles are securely fastened at the top of the machine (a definite two-person carry) and the system has four rubberized stoppers at its base.
The 3000 Lithium also comes with a roll cart with a telescoping handle.
15. Point Zero Energy Titan
*Best Overall – Large Solar Generator*
The Point Zero Energy Titan is a behemoth of a solar generator that can be used for almost any situation.
This modular system comes with the ability to stack batteries (just like the Inergy Flex) and also includes a massive inverter, which makes it the strongest solar generator competitor against fossil fuel generators. It also has two high-end MPPT charge controllers that can take in a whopping 2000W of solar input combined.
With one battery, the company recommends not going over 1000W of solar charging because this may damage the system.
The versatility of the integrated lithium-powered battery pack gives it a unique approach.
Moreover, they are expandable to enhance its storage capacity. Each battery connects underneath the main module, just like the Inergy Flex. That is, it can hold 2000Wh of power in each battery.
To understand what is going on inside the power unit, it has an informative LCD screen. This will let you know about the battery life, input and output power, and so on.
It displays two USB Type-C ports, four 12V car ports, a 30A RV plug, six standard AC outlets, and six smart USB-A output ports.
The USB ports are attached to a car port connection that plugs into each of the four sockets on the generator. There are four car port USB 30W adaptors included with the Titan (two with two USB-A and two with one USB-A and one USB-C port).
The 12V ports are fully regulated; hence when the battery is low, the DC ports’ output will not be impacted. This allows you to run DC gadgets like a 12V fridge effectively. The pair of three standard outlets have their own 15A fuse that provides current from these plugs simultaneously.
- Modular design for many batteries
- Extremely high inverter rating (3000W continuous, 6000W surge)
- Extremely high solar input (2000W max)
- Due to its heavy weight, it isn’t portable
This power unit is suitable for off-grid cabins, outdoor festivals, powering food trucks, tailgating, and RV use.
The package comes with an AC wall charger, an MC4 adapter, and a car adapter. For detailed info, Check out the full Titan review here.
What Exactly Is a Solar Generator?
A solar generator consists of batteries, an inverter, and a charge controller.
This device charges itself through solar panels that run current through the charge controller and into the battery.
The inverter emits the power generated from the charged battery to charge numerous devices ranging from smartphones, laptops, lamps, lights to refrigerators, TVs, and even your RV.
Solar Generator Buying Guide
Now that you’re aware of the best options available in the market, let’s look at the essential aspects you need to consider before you make the final decision.
Factors to Consider While Selecting a Solar Generator
Here are some of the factors you need to consider while shopping for your solar generator.
Note the amount of electricity your generator is capable of holding, similar to a water tank.
Battery capacity for solar generators is measured in watt-hours (Wh).
Also, you have to determine the amount of power that the battery can generate at any particular time, which is usually noted in watts.
You don’t have to hunt for the largest battery in the market to get a good solar generator. All you have to question is:
- If the generator delivers sufficient power output (in watts) for your needs
- If the battery is big enough (in watt-hours) to where you don’t have to constantly charge it
As you are searching for the battery type essential for your power station, you will find that there are two main types available in the market.
The two most common types of batteries present in portable solar generators are as follows:
- Lithium-ion battery
Since 1991, these rechargeable batteries have been commercially available in the market. They are well known for their extended life span, energy-dense features, and easily rechargeable formats.
- Lead-acid battery
These batteries are the same as a traditional car battery, which is inexpensive. Moreover, it’s quite heavy and has a shorter life than lithium-ion batteries. For long-term energy storage in a home unit, they act as a powerful backup source.
Size & Weight
Several solar generators are lightweight and smaller in size than traditional gas generators. However, you may also come across some brands that are quite bulky and big, as seen from the Point Zero Energy Titan and YETI 3000 Lithium.
Based on what you’re planning to use the generator for, you can select the size that you prefer. In case you wish to take it to the woods as you go camping, it’s important to get the best generator for you that has a great power output but also is lightweight and compact.
However, if you’re planning to charge your refrigerator or other large appliances in case of a power outage, getting a small solar generator will not be helpful.
While hunting for solar panels and solar-powered generators, you will have to pay careful attention to the wattage rating present on the solar panels.
This is otherwise known as the solar PV input. For instance, the PV panel of 100W is theoretically capable of generating 100W of power when kept directly under the sun.
However, this is almost never the case due to efficiency losses from the panel.
Usually, the full sun rays are between the timeframe of 10 AM to 4 PM. Sunlight may still be available after that 4 PM mark; however, the PV input won’t be as high as earlier in the afternoon.
Benefits of Using Solar Generators
Solar generators are famous for their benefits when compared with traditional fossil fuel generators. Here are some of the benefits that the solar-powered units have to offer.
Free of Emissions
These units are free from all sorts of emissions. I’m referring specifically to anything coming from the generator. Since it’s simply powered by a battery, you can easily use a solar generator inside any space/room.
However, if you’re planning to plug them into an AC wall outlet, it technically won’t be free of emissions as the power outlet most-likely gets at least part of its energy from coal power stations.
Whereas when you charge it from solar panels, it obviously becomes an eco-friendly option.
This is mainly because it does not generate any carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, or any other toxic gases as combustion does not take place to generate power.
If you want to get really technical, solar panels are manufactured in a pretty toxic process. If you’re looking to purchase solar panels with the least amount of carbon footprint in its manufacturing process, look for solar panels made in Europe and the USA. This is because “a solar panel produced in China will have double the carbon footprint than one produced in Europe.”
Zero Noise Pollution
On using the solar generator, you will find that they are nearly entirely silent. It does not produce any noise other than the fans used to cool down the generator’s components.
A few solar generators can create noise at times if they are used to their limits (due to the cooling fans), but this is usually not the case of many solar generator users if they understand the limits and capabilities of their systems.
Other than this factor, solar generators are nearly entirely silent when used within their power limits.
This silence is mainly because the energy used for charging your gadgets comes from the batteries’ stored power, which emits a smooth discharge.
When you compare it with gas generators, the volume of noise from the system depends on the combustion of the internal motor present, which can produce rattling sounds that are quite noisy.
If you prefer to use a generator that does not make any noise, opting for a solar generator would clearly be the best choice.
Since these power stations do not come with numerous moving parts, you won’t have to worry about facing maintenance issues.
You will find that these generators are mostly square-shaped with several sizes of battery packs that are carefully concealed with durable plastic exteriors. Many solar generators also have rubberized bases that are easy to clean.
All you have to do for solar generator maintenance includes four steps:
- Wipe the exterior clean to keep it free of dust and dirt
- Change the battery or replace the generator after 5-10 years of use (depending on how much you use it)
- Keep the generator stored in a cool, dry area
- When in storage, either keep it continually charged with a wall adapter, or charge it every 3-6 months depending on the specifications of your generator
An issue that several lithium-ion solar generators have is their inability to swap out batteries when they are completely used up.
With lead-acid solar generators like the YETI 400 and 1250, they have replaceable lead-acid batteries that are reasonably priced. However, if you try to find replaceable batteries for a YETI 1400 Lithium, for example, you will see nothing there.
This is an important factor to consider, especially for people who are using their lithium-ion generators frequently. Goal Zero is not the only company that follows this trend. There are several manufacturers that do not have replaceable batteries for their systems.
What happens if your lithium-ion solar generator runs out of battery charge cycles? In most cases, you will need to replace the entire system. This is why knowing the lifecycles (or charge cycles) of your lithium-ion system is very important.
There are some solar generators that are void of this issue, and they are the Titan and the Flex generators. They have a modular design that allows many batteries to be stored underneath the system. If a battery goes out after years of use, then you can simply purchase another battery from their company to keep your system going.
Long Term Investment
You will find that the initial cost for these generators is quite expensive, especially when you buy solar panels along with the generator.
However, in the long run, they are sure to pay off. This is mainly because you won’t have to purchase gas, diesel, propane, or natural gas.
Also, you obviously don’t have to worry about paying for the energy that the solar panels bring into the generator.
For instance, a gas-powered generator requires about one gallon of fuel for every eight hours of use.
In case you’re planning to run the generator for about 24 hours each week, you may require around 156 gallons of gas annually. This can result in a fairly significant expense over time.
However, by using a solar generator (other than the initial cost of the unit and the solar panels), you won’t incur many expenses. This will help you to calculate the price between the fuel and solar variants long-term.
Suitable for Indoors
Since solar generators do not release any poisonous gases like carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide and create little to no sound, it is a perfect addition for indoor purposes.
You’ll find that in addition to your house, you can use them inside your tent while you go camping. You will also find it useful for your RV and even inside the car for using a portable heater in case you get stuck on the roads during a snowstorm, for example.
Remember that there are numerous situations and places where you can use a solar generator instead of a fuel generator.
Easy to Use
These gadgets are easy to use, as all you have to do is plug it into your power source of choice and get it charging.
This includes either a solar panel, your car port, and/or an AC wall outlet. Several solar generators can be charged using a combination of the three charging methods, resulting in faster charging speeds.
Next, if you wish to power any of your appliances, all you have to do is check the wattage requirement and plug it into the generator.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How Does a Solar Generator Work Efficiently?
A solar generator functions similarly to a fossil fuel generator in that it provides power to appliances and electronics. However, a solar generator gets its power from the sun or power outlet instead of a combustion motor.
With the help of the solar panels that contain photovoltaic cells, it absorbs energy from the sun’s rays to produce current. The current produced helps in charging the batteries, which are the main components of the solar generator.
What makes a solar generator efficient lies within its main components:
- Solar panels
- Charge controller
A lithium-ion battery has an extremely high charge/discharge efficiency compared to other types of batteries and generators. With a high-quality inverter, the battery is able to convert DC to AC power with a small amount of power consumption.
Solar panel efficiency is dependant on the solar cells used, but on average produces 15-27% cell efficiency.
This is clearly a low percentage and is due to the power transfer from the panels to the battery. But with an MPPT charge controller, a solar generator can capture more power from solar panels than with a PWM controller.
Overall, knowing the internals of a solar generator is important to determine how efficient it is. A generator with high-quality parts determines how efficient it will be.
- Can You Re-Charge Your Solar Generator on a Cloudy Day?
If you are someone who uses only solar panels for charging, then a cloudy day can diminish the quantity of charge your panels can produce. This, in turn, also decreases the speed at which your batteries will recharge.
However, you can use other methods to revive the battery. This includes plugging it into the car port, using the AC wall outlet, or even plugging it into another generator.
- Which Solar Generator Is the Ideal Size for Me?
The critical aspect you need to note while selecting a solar generator is what exactly are you planning to use it for. This is because they vary significantly from compact and lightweight to bulky and heavy.
As you hit the road, small solar generators make a perfect power back up when you wish to charge your laptop or smartphone.
Do you wish to use it as an emergency power backup at your house in case of blackouts or massive power failures?
Then you will have to research carefully and opt for one that has a higher output that will help you charge most of your essential household appliances.
- What Devices Can You Power With the Help of a Solar Generator?
There are several devices that you can plug into a power source that can be easily charged using a solar generator.
However, look out for the wattage output of the power station and compare it with the watt requirements of the appliances you’re plugging it into in order to find out how much power it will require.
At times, the portable unit may not deliver sufficient wattage to charge specific gadgets. For example, an outlet that produces 100W and peaks to 150W will not give sufficient power to work a hairdryer that needs around 1500W.
If the input and output power requirements are measured correctly, you won’t face any powering issues.
Selecting the best solar generator not only provides you power during a camping trip or power outages but also can save your life during emergencies like natural disasters.
Based on your budget and requirements, there are solar generators that can simply power small devices like phones all the way up to power tools and full-size refrigerators.
Choose one that’s capable enough to solve your energy requirements with the help of the above review. Feel free to share your feedback with us. Wish to learn more? Drop your queries in the comments box below.