Some solar generators are like marathon runners, they don’t put out a ton of energy at a time but last a very long time, while other solar generators are like sprinters, they can put out a ton of energy but don’t last quite as long.
This means that some portable solar generators are designed just to charge a few cell phones, while high-powered generators can provide plenty of power to meet the needs of most homes. While this list is certainly not definitive, solar power generators are most commonly used to power:
Food storage (refrigerators and coolers)
Electronic devices (phones, laptops, tablets, etc.)
Entertainment (TVs, gaming systems, speakers, etc.)
Appliances (kitchen, medicine, power tools, etc.)
Lights, Fans, Electric Blankets & More!
3 steps to choose the best solar generator for your needs
This is usually the hardest part of shopping for a solar generator or solar panel battery, trying to figure out which one is best for you. You can watch YouTube videos until you’re blue in the face, but it can still feel daunting! But don’t worry – we’re here to save the day and make buying a solar generator super easy.
The first step in figuring out which solar generator makes the most sense for you boils down to one question: what do you want to power? So write down the top 3-5 things you want to run a solar generator on so the rest of this section makes more sense.
It is also important to note here that while solar generator technology is advancing rapidly, it is still quite unrealistic to think that a solar generator would be able to power your entire home including heating, cooling, water pumps, etc. As previously mentioned, these work more like portable gas generators than a Generac whole house solution.
Still, it’s not unrealistic that a solar power box generator could be able to power multiple fridges, freezers, lights, electric blankets, chargers for phones, laptops, TVs and more while having the generator on your dinner table!
Now that you know what you want to power. It’s time to get a little technical. There are 3 main specs/numbers on any generator that you really need to look out for when it comes to choosing the best solar generator for your needs:
The 3 most important numbers/features we need to look at when sizing our solar generator are:
Battery Size / How Long It Lasts – Measured in Watt Hours (wH)
Input / Charge Rate from Solar and/or AC/DC – Measured in Watts (W)
Output / Inverter Size – Measured in Watts (W)
#1. Battery size / operating time – watt hours
The size of your solar generator battery is basically its fuel tank. Therefore, we should look at the watt-hours when trying to figure out how big the battery is. This number has nothing to do with “what can he do” but more to do with “how long can he do X” (more on that in a moment). The size of the battery is almost always directly proportional to the cost of a solar generator, because the more 12V lithium battery, the more expensive the generator. However, this almost always means more storage capacity = you can keep your electrical devices running for longer periods of time.
#2. Charge Rate / Solar Input
When weighing your options, one of the most important real-time factors to consider is the efficiency and speed with which you can charge a solar generator battery. If you’re hoping to run your system continuously on solar energy, you should find a generator that’s rated to quickly charge your battery with your campers or marine solar panels.
On the other hand, if your main plan is to charge your solar generator at home by plugging it into the wall socket before your next adventure, then you should pay special attention to AC (socket) charging times. With both solar and AC charging, time is everything when it comes to generating and using your electricity. Highly efficient charging systems result in the best overall experience for the user.
Input / charge rate from solar and/or AC/DC
The second thing to consider is “how long will it take to charge the generator from 0%”. This is determined, however, by the amount of input on each generator. So you can see up to 500W from solar input, or 1200W from AC input when charging from the wall. Generally speaking, the greater the input power, the faster the generator will charge.
#3. Output / inverter size
Last but not least, the size of the inverter is very important when considering which devices to power your solar generator. This number determines the question “Can it run X?”, since you need an inverter big enough to run e.g. to run an air conditioner (battery size only tells you how long you can suck that much through the inverter before it runs out.
3000 watt inverter are designed for continuous and peak power (e.g. 1500 W continuous power, 3000 W peak power). Continuous output is rated to illustrate the electrical load that a solar generator can handle over an extended period of time. Peak power is more of a “safety net” for short periods of high demand, e.g. B. when you put an air conditioner into operation. If you want to run high-wattage devices, you need to buy an inverter that has more power than the sum of your electrical devices.