Global warming is a big deal. Thus, environmentalists and those who are worried about the buildup of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere are switching to solar generators. However, there are those that are making the switch because of the rising cost of fuel. Others detest the noise pollution from gas generators. If you are reading this, it is because you are probably considering buying a solar generator. Whatever your reason may be, green energy is the future.

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Technological evolution is making access to renewable energy such as solar generators easier. This evolution is also making it more affordable. At best, the earlier versions of the best solar generators could only serve as a backup. However, with the development of better lithium-ion batteries with higher capacities, some solar generators can power a house for days. 

With the growing number of products on the market, choosing the best solar generators can be a daunting task. However, we want to make that easier for you. That is why we came up with this exhaustive list that will tell you all you need to know about solar generators as well as suggest the best products for different kinds of users. 

3 Things to avoid when buying a solar generator

1. Solar generators that need additional components

When buying solar generators, avoid those that will need you to purchase additional components. Choose products that come as a complete kit. The reason is that additional components may be hard to find. Also, it can push up your overall cost. 

2. Solar generators without replaceable parts

Always choose a solar generator with a replaceable part over those without replaceable parts. In the latter, if any component goes bad, the entire system is useless. This is particularly important knowing that batteries have limited charge cycles. 

3. Solar generators that are not waterproof

Be wary of solar generators that are not waterproof especially if you will be using them outdoors. Even when you do buy them, look for a way to shield them from spills. 

Types of solar generators

There are different types of solar generators. Although all solar generators make use of solar power as a primary energy source, they vary in terms of energy storage and wattage. Below are the types of solar generators. 

  • Solar Backup Generator: As the name suggests, solar backup generators serve as an emergency power source. They are portable and can be used on the go. It comes with a solar panel that captures and stores the sun’s energy in a battery for later use. They are usually used for RV, camping, backup power sources when there is a power grid failure, and boat tours. 
  • Whole House Solar Generator: Whole house solar generators deliver anywhere between 1,000 and 10,000 watts. With this, you can power an entire home for hours. If paired with the right amount of panels, you can go completely off-grid
  • Solar Generator Kit: These are ready-made solar units that require no assembly. They usually feature multiple charging methods including a car outlet, wall outlet, and solar input. You can purchase them with or without solar panels. This means you can use larger panels on them.

Solar generators for Home and Outdoor

There are solar generators designed to be used in the homes while others are better for outdoor use. The portability of the generator and the wattage often determine the use. 

For homes

Solar backup generators for home use: These generators can power different household appliances for a limited amount of time. They are usually useful during power failures from the main grid. Alternatively, you can use them to cut back on your energy bill. 

  • Solar generators for apartments: An average American apartment use about 30kWh (30,000) of electricity every day. Lighting and low-energy appliances should consume less than 2,000W a day. Check the watt rating on your solar generator to make sure it has a battery capacity of over 2,000W to power your apartment for 24 hours.
  • Solar generators for refrigerators: Conventional refrigerators usually require 800 to 1200W to start but run at 150Wh per day. Because of their electric motor, they require more energy to start but lower energy to run. Over a full day, a fridge is likely to consume 1,000 to 2,000Wh. When looking for a solar generator for refrigerators, bear this in mind. To be absolutely sure that your solar generator can power your fridge for 24 hours, it needs to have an energy rating of 3,000W.

Outdoor

These solar generators are usually small and lightweight so that you can carry them around. The accompanying solar panels are sometimes foldable for easier carriage. They are most suitable for campers and those on the move.

  • Solar generators for camping: If your purpose for camping is to immerse yourself in nature, you may not need electricity at all. However, for the sake of powering your phones and tablets to take pictures and lighting the camp bulbs, a solar generator of up to 250W should be able to see you through a 24hour period. 
  • Solar generators for recreational vehicles (RV): Some recreational vehicles have mini-refrigerators. If you don’t know the watt rating of the appliances in your RV, use a general rule of thumb. An RV fridge will usually require 600W to start and 180W to run. Slow cookers will take about 270W from start to finish while a microwave with an energy rating of 650W will require 1,000W. Depending on the size of your RV and the number of appliances it has, you will need a solar generator with a 250W to 1,500W energy rating to run it for a whole day.
  • Solar generators for boats: The energy requirement for 10 hours cruise on a sailboat is about 600Wh. This can become a problem because there is no place to recharge it. A solar generator of up to 800W should be able to take you through a successful tour.

Review of 10 best solar generators 

There are different portable generators to choose from. However, we have categorized these generators based on their strongest qualities and which purpose they fit best. Hopefully, this will make it easier for you to come to a conclusion on the best product for you. Without further chitchats, here is our list. 

Goal Zero Yeti 1500X portable power station – Best overall

  • Capacity – 1,516 Wh portable lithium battery
  • Wattage – 2,000 watts
  • Weight – 43 pound
  • Voltage – 120V 
  • Ports – 2x USB-A, 18W USB-C, 60W USB-C PD, 2x 12V Power Port

The Goal Zero Yeti 1500X is a remarkable improvement from what was obtainable when the brand first hit the market over 10 years ago. It is designed to power most household appliances making it suitable for a mini-cabin. This innovative solar generator comes with 7 different power output ports allowing you to power your laptops, phones, coffee makers, blenders, refrigerators, power tools, and so on. Its 1500 watt-hour lithium power can power a full-size fridge for over 24 hours. 

Arguably the most unique feature of this solar generator is the integrated 2,000W AC inverter. The manufacturers tout it as the best in the industry. Another important feature that is worth a mention is the integrated MPPT charge controller which increases charge efficiency by 30% during recharge. Also, users will get an app (the Yeti App 3.0) that allows them to control and optimize their generator from anywhere. 

Goal Zero Yeti 1500X is user-friendly and doesn’t require excessive technical knowledge to operate. Its security features are topnotch including voltage protection, a battery management system for monitoring battery health, and temperature protection. The greatest turnoff would be the huge price tag. However, it’s backed by a 2-year warranty. Hopefully, this will pay for the cost over time. 

Pros

  • Expandable battery capacity by connecting to Yeti Tank Expansion Batteries
  • Pure-Sine Wave AC inverter with a capability of 2,000W continuous output
  • Multiple charging options totaling up to 600W input
  • Informative LCD with LED backlight display
  • Compatible with Goal Zero Yeti smartphone app

Cons

  • Extremely heavy at 44lbs due to aluminum casing
  • Battery is not replaceable like older versions
  • Highly expensive

Jackery Solar Portable Generator – Best for outdoor camping

  • Capacity – 240Wh (16.8Ah, 14.4V)
  • Wattage – 200 watts
  • Weight – 6.6 pounds
  • Voltage – 110 V
  • Ports – 1x AC 110, 2x USB-A ports, 1X DC car port

You don’t carry a lot when going on outdoor camping, do you? Nevertheless, Jackery Solar Portable Generator should be able to handle all your camping essentials. It is equipped with a 240Wh lithium battery which should be able to power a mini-cooler, fan, light, laptop, and phones. This portable solar generator has a handle that makes it easy to carry. 

Thanks to the inbuilt MPPT controller, you can recharge this generator using 60W solar panels. However, you can resort to other flexible charging options including wall outlet, car outlet, and Jackery Solar Saga solar panel (sold separately). Unlike most products, this one comes with a free 1x car charger cable. Perhaps, you will find this extremely useful for office routers and security systems at home. 

Another area that Jackery Solar Portable Generator stands out is the extremely low price. However, don’t be mistaken, the low price doesn’t equate to low performance. It is not surprising that the product is getting rave reviews. It is important to mention that the battery capacity is low. So, keep your expectations low on the type of devices you can power with this generator as well as how long. Most of the poor reviews reference the poor battery capacity. The manufacturers are offering 2-year customer service but no warranty. 

Pros

  • Highly affordable
  • Lightweight and easy to carry
  • Up to 4 output sockets
  • Compatible with 60W Jackery Solar Saga solar panel

Cons

  • Device that draws less than 10 Watts will read as inactivity and the generator will turn off after 3 hours of inactivity
  • Has limited use due to low capacity

MaxOak Bluetti Portable Power Station – Best solar generator for boats

Capacity – 1500 Wh (101,351mAh, 14.8V)

Wattage – 1000 watts

Weight – 38lbs

Voltage – 110 V

Ports – 2x AC Outlets, 1x DC12V, 1x PD Type-C, 4x 5V3A USB

Notwithstanding the compact size, the Bluetti portable power station is able to store plenty of power. It makes use of a lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 1500Wh. It has a PD Type-C quick port. By plugging this power station into a wall outlet, you can get a full charge in 10 hours. This deviates from the 6hrs charge duration of most devices. At 38 pounds, it is portable and lightweight enough to follow you on a fishing trip. 

Unlike Jackery portable generator, it can power more electricity-demanding appliances like the hairdryer, blender, electric drill, and so on. Just make sure that the energy rating of the device is less than 1000W. One of the most impressive features of this generator is the robust battery management system. This safety feature prevents your generator from overcurrent, overvoltage, short-circuit as well as temperature control. 

There are different ways you can charge your Bleutti portable station. Besides plugging it into a wall socket, you can use solar panels of up to 500W to power it up. The LCD display allows you to track the performance of your generator. This huge battery power and portability comes at a great cost. However, it delivers just the right amount of power for a seamless boat trip. 

Pros

  • Medium weight and portability makes it easy to carry
  • Large battery capacity
  • Features PD Type-C quick port
  • Multiple ways to charge

Cons

  • Pricey 
  • Longer waiting time to get a full charge
  • Battery is not expandable

Tacklife P50 500Wh Portable Power Station – Best for wireless charging

Capacity – 500Wh

Wattage – 300 watts

Weight – 15.59lbs

Voltage – 110 – 120V

Ports – 1x car port, 4x USB-A port, PD 45W USB-C Port, 2x AC Output port

The most innovative feature of this solar generator is wireless charging technology. You can charge Qi-compatible devices by dropping them on the Wireless Charging Pad on top of the generator. It is important to mention that this generator can only power devices with an energy rating below 300 watts—and that is not really much. Another important feature of this solar generator is the fast-charging PD 45W USB-C Port. 

The nature of this generator allows you to charge multiple devices at the same time. Like many other solar generators, the Tacklife P50 500Wh portable power station allows you to charge it through multiple channels. With a 150W solar panel (sold separately) you will get a full charge in 3 hours. From a car port, you will get full charge within 5 hours. However, when charging from a 40W AC wall charger, you will have to wait for 10 hours. 

This portable generator has some safety features too. This includes a BMS system that offers overload protection for electronic equipping. It also has a clear digital display that allows you to monitor battery status. When you purchase this generator you will get an AC wall charger, MC4 cable, car charging cable, USB-C cable, and Cigarette lighter adaptor. This is way more than most manufacturers are willing to offer. The biggest setback is the fan which could get really loud. Nevertheless, it is a great product at a great price. 

Pros

  • Powerful yet lightweight
  • Supports wireless charging technology
  • Full charge in just 3 hours with 150W solar panel
  • Sturdy rubber case and carrying handles

Cons 

  • Fan can get really loud with load
  • 12V DC output is not regulated

Point Zero Energy Titan Solar Generator – Portable solar power generator for home 

Capacity – 2,000 Wh (74 Ah)

Wattage – 1,500 watts

Weight – 35lbs

Voltage – 120V

Ports – 4x regulated 12V, 6x smart USB, 2x USB-C, 6x 15A, 1x 30A RV outlet

When it comes to the best solar generators delivering the most power, Point Zero Energy Titan solar generator is a force to contend with. The manufacturers allow you to customize your offer including the option of up to four battery packs. It comes with a 2,000 watt-hour lithium battery, a high efficiency 3,000-watt inverter as well as fast AC 400 watts charging. The charging capacity can be extended to 1,450 watts with two 25A chargers. It should be able to power most of your home appliances for hours.

The removable and expandable battery gives greater portability and flexibility on how you can use your solar generator. Its 3,000-watt pure sine wave inverter has an efficiency of 92% with a low power draw of 5 watts. With the 25A charger, you can get a full charge in about 3 hours notwithstanding the size of the battery capacity. You can double the charging capacity with an additional 25A charger. 

Interestingly, Point Zero Energy Titan is compatible with nearly all 24V batteries. Since this solar generator allows multiple customizations, the price and weight can quickly shoot up. Included in the box are cigarette to SAE for charging from a car, MC4 to Anderson adapter, 30 watt USB adapters, and AC charger. If you need a powerful generator that can power a house, this will be your best bet. 

Pros

  • Highly customizable
  • Separate battery compartments make transportation easy
  • Full charge in just 3 hours
  • Highly efficient 3,000 watts inverter with a power consumption of 5 watts

Cons

  • Weight and price can quickly shoot up
  • Not suitable for camping 
  • No warranty

Goal Zero Yeti 500 Portable Power Station – Best for outdoor use

Capacity – 505Wh lithium battery

Wattage – 300 watts

Weight – 12.85lbs

Voltage – 120V 

Ports – 2x USB-A, 1x USB-C, 1x 60W PD, 2x 12V AC

Planning an outdoor party and need an energy source to power the lights? Goal Zero Yeti 500 will be your best bet. It has variable ports for charging your devices as well as powering most of your electronic gadgets. Like all other Goal Zero solar generators, you will get a 2-year warranty on this one. You can fully charge this solar generator using a 100W solar panel in 6 hours. However, you can shorten the charging time by chaining panels together. 

Yeti uses an aluminum exterior which is tougher than plastic. This can provide better protection for your battery from accidental puncture. It is also environmentally friendlier than plastic. A combination of lightweight and a foldable handle with a comfortable grip makes it easy to carry. Like all other Goal Zero products, the Yeti 500 has a robust BMS for safety. It offers protection from overcharge, overload, and short-circuiting. 

You can charge the device in multiple ways including the 120W 8mm port and USB-C PD 60W port. Both can charge concurrently, delivering up to 180W. Alternatively, you can charge the generator with a solar panel. Easily read off important stats using the small LCD screen at the front. Notwithstanding that this is a solid solar generator with a tough build, the price feels enormous for the capacity.

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight design makes it easy to carry
  • Input and output ports are regulated
  • Simultaneous AC and DC use
  • Great technical support and customer service
  • Up to 2-year warranty

Cons

  • Continuous output of 300W limits the number of devices you can plug at the same time
  • Price is on the high side
  • Besides the 57W wall charger, there are no other accompanying cable accessories
  • Lacks chaining capability

Suaoki Portable Solar Generator – Best portable solar generator

Capacity – 322Wh

Wattage – 300 watts

Weight – 7.2lbs

Voltage – 110V 

Ports – 4x pure sine wave AC, 4x DC regulated ports, 2x USB, 2x QC3.0 USB ports, 1x 60W Type-C

When it comes to portability, there are few devices that can match the Suaoki portable solar generator. It is designed like a briefcase so that you can easily lift and take it wherever you go. This combines with the low weight to deliver one of the most portable solar generators in the market. As long as your device doesn’t exceed the 300W energy rating, this portable generator can handle it.

With 14 output outlets, your device will easily find a place to hookup and draw electric power. With the AC wall outlet, you will get a full charge in 6 hours. The fastest way to charge this generator would be through a 12V/24V car cigarette socket while driving. You should get a full charge within 5 hours. However, you can also charge it using the 60W USB-C port and 100W or 120W solar panel kit. Included in the box are 4 types of charging cables. 

Suaoki portable solar generator comes with an advanced battery management system for improved safety. The BMS enables temperature, current, and voltage control during use. The inbuilt emergency flashlight makes it a camping essential. The pricing is just OK. However, the biggest challenge users will face is compatibility. The cables are not compatible with older models. Also, finding a compatible solar panel may be a huge challenge. Perhaps, the 18-month warranty on this product should make up for all that trouble.

Pros

  • Built-in flashlight is a great camping essential
  • Lightweight and carrying handle in a compact design
  • Multiple charging options with accompanying accessories
  • Moderate pricing

Cons

  • Highly selective cable system lowers its flexibility
  • Plastic casing looks fragile

Rockpals 250-Watt Portable Generator – Best budget

Capacity – 240Wh (3.7V, 64.8Ah)

Wattage – 250 watts

Weight – 5.5lbs

Voltage – 110V

Ports – 2x USB 2.1, 4x DC 12V, 2x AC 120V

Your options are really limited when you are on a tight budget. However, Rockpals portable solar generator defies the norm by giving you more for less. A combination of lightweight and a handle makes it easy to carry. It can come in handy as camping essential or fit into your RV for powering a mini car refrigerator. You can recharge it using three means. This includes a 60 or 100W solar panel, plugging it into a wall outlet, and connecting it to your car 12V port. 

This solar generator has a unique BMS. You can only charge devices with an energy rating of less than 60W on the DC output. Once you insert a device with a higher energy rating, your Rockpals portable solar generator will switch to protection mode. When this happens, you must charge it with a wall charger to reset it. It also offers surge and short circuit protection, temperature control, and overcharge protection. 

The price is really attractive and is cheaper than most of the competitors while offering a higher battery capacity than the competitors. The built-in MPPT controller optimizes the power source by 40% for faster charging from solar panels. Apparently, the greatest drawback to this device is the limitation on what you can use it to power. Also, most of these solar generator reviews show that its durability is highly questionable. 

Pros

  • Highly affordable
  • Portable and lightweight
  • Robust BMS system
  • MPPT controller optimizes the power source by 40%

Cons

  • Multiple reviews show durability is questionable
  • Limited use due to low battery capacity

Yeti 3000X Portable Power Station – Most powerful solar generator

Capacity – 2,982Wh

Wattage – 2,000 watts

Weight – 78lbs

Voltage – 120V

Ports – 2x USB-A, 1x 18W USB-C, 1x 60W USB-C PD, 6mm, 12V, 12V Power Port, 2x 120V AC Inverter

Yeti 3,000 is arguably the most powerful power station at the moment. It is most suitable for powering an entire home. It has a massive weight of 78 pounds which can limit mobility. However, the manufacturer tries to make up for it by mounting it on a rolling cart. It comes with a massive 3,000Wh battery and an accompanying 2,000 watts inverter. It is capable of powering a full-size fridge for 55 hours making it the best solar generator on the market. 

The integrated MPPT charge controller has the capacity of increasing charge efficiency by 30% when using the Goal Zero solar panel. Unlike other solar generators from this manufacturer, this one has multiple layers of protection. This includes over and under-voltage protection, temperature protection, and a robust battery management system. Yeti continues to stand behind their generators with a 2-year warranty. 

Many users believe the Yeti 3,000 is overpriced—just like every other solar generator from the manufacturer. Also, the product is not waterproof so you need to be careful how you use it outdoor. Regardless of the premium price, if you want to power heavy appliances at home, this will likely be your best bet. 

Pros

  • Massive battery and inverter capacity
  • Powers large home equipment with ease
  • Up to 2-year warranty
  • Comes with a rolling cart for easy transportation

Cons

  • Extremely expensive
  • Large weight limits use flexibility

Renogy Phoenix 337WH Solar Generator – Best solar generator for videography or photography

Capacity – 337Wh

Wattage – 300 watts

Weight – 6.4lbs 

Voltage – 110V

Ports – 2x USB-A, 1x QC USB-A, 1x USB-C, D-Tap, CIG

Videographers and photographers mostly cover outdoor events. In the process, they may need to recharge their camera batteries a few times. That is where Renogy Phoenix comes in handy. It is one of the few solar generators that come with D-Tap which is readily available for videographers and photographers. The foldable handle has powerful LED flashlights on both sides which can also be useful. 

The compact design and lightweight nature of this solar generator make it a camping essential too. Thankfully, it has a BMS that controls voltage, temperature, and provides protection from short circuit and overcurrent. This helps to keep your generator and the device you are charging safe. There are three ways you can charge this device including plugging directly into the wall socket, using the USB-C port, or a solar panel. 

Upon purchase of this portable solar generator, you will also get a USB-C to USB-C cable and a USB-A to USB-C cable as well as a male and female solar panel connector to a 5.5mm DC adaptor cord. When in use, the LED indicator is always on and this can be a huge problem if you don’t like sleeping with lights on. Reviews show that some of these products come defective. However, when it works, it is one of the best you will ever have. 

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight with a carrying handle
  • Reasonable price for 337Wh capacity
  • Inbuilt LED lights on both sides of the handle
  • Multiple output ports including D-tap

Cons

  • Multiple reviews about dead-on-arrival products
  • An always-on LED indicator can cause discomfort for some people

Buying guide: How to pick the right solar generator for your need

Choosing the best solar generator goes beyond price comparison. The first thing you need to consider when making your choice is to determine how much power you will need. Realistically, it may be hard to find a solar generator that will power all your home appliances at once. However, they are great for emergency power.  Below are the things to look out for when buying a solar generator. 

Battery Capacity and Energy Rating

Arguably the most important and the first feature you need to consider when searching for the best solar generator is the battery capacity and wattage. The larger the battery capacity and wattage, the bigger the appliances they can carry—and for a longer time. Since solar generators run on stored energy, the bigger the battery capacity, the more energy it can store. The presence of replaceable batteries and battery chaining features will be a huge plus.

Battery Type               

Earlier versions of solar generators used lead-acid batteries. However, manufacturers are switching to lithium-ion batteries because of their obvious benefits. Some of the benefits of Lithium-ion batteries include lightweight, compact, and longer lifespan. These benefits tend to cancel its higher price. 

Invert Rating

An inverter converts the direct electric current (DC) from your solar panel to an alternating current (AC). The latter is the form of energy that home appliances can use. The inverter rating shows the maximum power output they can handle. The number of connected devices must be lower than the inverter rating. 

Charge Controller

For a solar generator to work with a solar panel, it needs a charge controller. The function is to regulate the current between the battery and the panels. Once your device reaches the maximum voltage, this controller cuts off the power. However, MPPT charge controllers do more. Really, this should be your benchmark. 

Solar Panels

Solar panels for solar generators are usually smaller (Photo credit: CleanTechnica)

Some solar generators are selective when it comes to charging with solar panels. There are three types of panels namely monocrystalline panels, polycrystalline panels, and thin-film/amorphous crystal panels. Be sure to know the type of panel that is compatible with your generator to avoid wasting your money.

Weight

The weight of your solar generator will determine how you will use it. Nevertheless, it is important to mention that the bigger the battery capacity, the heavier the generator will likely be. So, it is up to you to find the balance depending on your power need. 

Power Outlet Ports

The number and type of ports that come with your solar generator will determine how you will use it. The presence of a 60W USB-C port will come in handy if you want to power your devices faster. 

Warranties

Solar generators are relatively new products that are still evolving. Therefore, you can easily encounter defective products or those that don’t run as they should. Buying a product backed by some years of warranty will save you lots of trouble. 

What are the advantages and disadvantages of solar generators?

Like every other technological innovation, solar generators have their pros and cons. While they solve two huge environmental problems (noise and air pollution), they also have their own challenges. Nevertheless, their pros far outweigh their cons. 

Pros of solar generators vs gas generators

  • Renewable energy from the sun: Gas or diesel generators need to be refueled. This means recurring expenses each time you want to use them. Solar generators, on the other hand, tap energy from the sun—and you don’t have to pay for that. 
  • Low maintenance cost: Gas or diesel generators have moving parts that suffer from wear and tear. Therefore, some parts may need to be replaced often. Also, because of the burning of fossil fuels, they will need frequent maintenance to get rid of the soot from the combustion chamber. 
  • Highly durable: Solar panels can last 25 to 35 years. Diesel generators will usually not last that long. Diesel generators will usually require a total engine overhaul after 20,000 hours (or 20 to 25 years)—and that depends on how often you use them. 
  • Environment-friendly: Apart from the long-term energy bills saving benefits, solar generators are environmentally friendly. They don’t cause air pollution like fossil generators. Also, they operate noiselessly because of the lack of moving parts. Gas or diesel generators are often too loud thereby jarring your focus. 

Cons of solar generators vs gas generators

  • Limited power supply: Diesel or gas generators usually have a higher wattage meaning they can power more appliances than solar generators. Also, as long as you have fuel in your tank, the diesel generator will keep running. Solar generators, on the other hand, quickly run out of battery and you have to wait till the sun comes up again to use them.
  • Requires high budget: Solar generators have lower operating cost. However, that stacks up into a high price tag. Diesel generators are usually more affordable—albeit the price builds up over time. This is why solar generators with up to 1,000 Wh rating run into thousands of dollars.
  • Slow recharging: Unlike diesel generators where you can fill the tank immediately and get your power back up, you need to wait for sunrise to be able to use your solar generator if you ever run out of power at night. This waiting time may be costly in an emergency situation. Also, it mostly takes up to six hours to fully charge your solar generator.

How many watts does a device use?

To know the energy consumption of your device, multiply the voltage by the Amperage. That means a device with 120V and 9.5A will use 1,240W. If a device draws more than the maximum watt rating of your solar generator, your generator will likely shut off as a safety precaution. Mind you, doing this can shorten the lifespan of your battery.

How do solar generators work?

The components of a solar generator (Photo credit: Powered Portable Solar)

Solar generators have two main parts namely solar panels and a storage system. The solar panels capture solar energy and convert them to electrical energy. This energy is stored in a battery for future use. Solar generators use an inverter to draw the stored energy from the battery for use. To capture solar energy, the solar panels are placed under direct sunlight.

Solar panels used for solar generators are usually smaller in size and wattage compared to commercial solar panels. This allows you to easily move them around. Just like the solar panels, the batteries used in solar generators are usually smaller, more portable, and have built-in outlets where you can plug your appliances for charging. However, some solar generators allow you to add more batteries to them for better storage. This process is called ‘chaining’. 

How to use a solar generator

C:\Users\Anthony Emecheta\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Word\How to use a solar generator (Photo credit Vivint Solar).jpg

How to use a solar generator (Photo credit: Vivint Solar)

Solar generators are used the same way you would use your wall socket. All you need to do is to plug your device into the appropriate output port on the generator. For smartphones, you can plug them into the USB ports. Laptops that support USB Type-C charging can also go into the appropriate port. It is possible to use some solar generators while charging them.

FAQs

  • Can solar generators be used indoors?

Solar generators are safe for indoor use. Unlike gas generators that give off Carbon monoxide which is dangerous to health, solar generators are powered by clean and renewable energy. They are noiseless and void of air pollution.

  • Can solar generators power a house?

A solar generator may not be the right solution to power an entire house. However, for a small cabin with few gadgets, you can easily go off-grid with a solar generator with the right battery capacity and solar panels. 

  • What are the best solar generators?

Goal Zero Yeti 1500X remains the product to beat when it comes to solar generators. However, the biggest drawback is the huge price tag. 

  • Are solar generators worth the money?

Solar generators will prove their worth if your primary aim is to charge devices or run appliances. Campers and those on a boating trip will find them priceless. At least, you don’t have to deal with the noise and air pollution of gas generators. The sun shines on us all so you will always have fuel—unlike gas generators where you have to carry your own fuel.

  • How much are solar generators?

The price of a solar generator will vary depending on the battery capacity and rating. Solar generators rated 150 to 300 watts usually go for $120 to $400. Those with a rating of 400 to 800 are usually sold from $500 to $900. Lastly, the price of solar generators with a rating of 1,000 watts and above is usually above $1,000. It is always important to identify your energy need and budget accordingly. 

Roof-mounted solar panels (Photo credit: Green Mountain Energy Company)

Conclusion

For campers or those that are always on the move, solar generations will make a great option. It will allow you to keep your devices charged throughout your adventure. Also, you won’t have to be yelling at the top of your voice like you will do if you are using a gas generator. However, Property owners that want to power an entire house should consider ground or roof-mounted solar systems. Unlike solar generators, they are not portable and may not easily move from one place to another. However, they will be able to provide energy during the day and store the leftover in a battery which you can use when the sun goes down. 

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