The solar power industry was once quite small, surviving off of a small number of dedicated innovators, inventors, and consumers promoting the sector as a substantive alternative to traditional forms of energy. But as scientists have consistently produced research showing the average consumer how their actions can influence the progression of climate change and other environmental issues, the industry has exploded in popularity.
Solar generators are an affordable and sustainable way to recharge your electronics. Today, solar generators are more affordable than ever. A decade ago, solar generators were large, clunky, and expensive. Today, you can buy a high-powered solar generator for $80 on Amazon, thanks in no small part to the extensive work being done by climate scientists to make the general public more aware of how impact these devices can be on limiting our negative influence on the environment while cutting down costs.
Old solar generators used lead acid batteries. Modern solar generators use efficient lithium ion batteries that can hold a charge for months. With so many solar generators on the market, it can be tough to know which solar generator is the best choice for you. As the world continues to advance its higher technology standard and innovational improvements, modern ways of living keep increasing exponentially and portable solar-powered generators have become a trending market due to many precautions emergency preparedness preppers are taking in light of the global pandemic of 2020.
We’ve researched, ranked, and sorted the best solar generators available today. Here’s our guide to the best solar generators of 2020, complete with an informational section that will answer many of the most commonly asked questions about solar generators in 2020.
Ranking the Top 15 Best Solar Generators for 2020
Note that the rankings below are certainly not objective. These devices merely represent our top picks for the best solar generators of 2020. Your opinions, needs, and priorities may be different than those of our writers, so it's best to view our guide as a jumping-off point for your own research, rather than a standalone source of information. The rankings below are our top picks, but they are in no particular order.
- 1 Ranking the Top 15 Best Solar Generators for 2020
- 1.1 Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer
- 1.2 Soyond Portable Solar Generator
- 1.3 Rockpals 100W Foldable Solar Panel Charger
- 1.4 BALDR Portable Power Station
- 1.5 Duracell PowerSource Generator
- 1.6 Sungzu Portable Power Station
- 1.7 MAXOAK Bluetti Portable Power Station
- 1.8 Rockpals 500W Portable Power Station
- 1.9 AIMTOM 540Wh Portable Power Station
- 1.10 Renogy Lycan Powerbox
- 1.11 Goal Zero Yeti 500X Portable Power Station
- 1.12 nrgGo 400 Portable Power Station Battery
- 1.13 Jackery SolarSaga 60W Solar Panel
- 1.14 Anker Powerhouse 200
- 1.15 Westinghouse iGen160s Portable Power Station
- 2 Our Rankings
- 3 Who Should Buy a Solar Generator?
- 4 Benefits of Solar Generators
- 5 Frequently Asked Questions About Solar Generators
- 5.1 Q: What is a solar generator?
- 5.2 Q: How do solar generators work?
- 5.3 Q: What does a charge controller do?
- 5.4 Q: What does an inverter do?
- 5.5 Q: Are solar generators portable?
- 5.6 Q: How do you charge a solar generator?
- 5.7 Q: What can a solar generator power?
- 5.8 Q: How much power do solar generators provide?
- 5.9 Q: How long does it take to charge a solar generator?
- 5.10 Q: How do you calculate charge time on a solar generator?
- 5.11 Q: How do solar panels work?
- 5.12 Q: Do solar panels charge when the sun isn’t shining?
- 5.13 Q: Can you go off the grid with a solar generator?
- 5.14 Q: Will you ever need to replace your solar panels?
- 5.15 Q: How do you maintain solar panels?
- 5.16 Q: Are there different types of solar generators?
- 5.17 Q: What’s in a solar generator?
- 5.18 Q: What are the benefits of a solar generator?
- 5.19 Q: Which size of solar generator is best?
- 5.20 Q: How long do solar generator batteries last?
- 5.21 Q: Should you buy a solar or gas generator?
- 5.22 Q: Do you have to use specific solar panels with each solar generator?
- 5.23 Q: How many solar panels can you connect?
- 5.24 Q: Are solar panels waterproof?
- 5.25 Q: Are solar generators or solar panels protected from EMPs?
- 5.26 Q: Can you charge as solar generator in the car?
- 5.27 Q: How long does a solar generator hold a charge for?
- 5.28 Q: What are the disadvantages of solar generators?
- 6 Final Thoughts
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer
Jackery’s Portable Power Station Explorer is a 518Wh outdoor solar generator with a mobile lithium battery pack. The generator is designed for road trips, camping, and general outdoor adventures. There are multiple outlets along the side, including three USB outlets and an AC outlet.
Jackery claims their generator allows you to enjoy a camping experience like no other: you can do more than just charge small electronics with this generator; you can also charge air pumps, pellet smokers, blenders, and other devices to enhance your camping experience.
You can recharge the Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer using your car port (16 hours to charge), an AC outlet (7.5 hours to charge) or a generator (7.5 hours to charge). You can also use Jackery’s own SolarSaga 100 solar panel (sold separately), which recharges the battery with 9.5 hours of sunlight.
Overall, if you’re looking for an all-in-one portable generator capable of being recharged by sunlight and other methods, then the Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer is a great option. With 500+ reviews on Amazon, the Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer has a near-perfect 4.8 stars out of 5 rating.
Soyond Portable Solar Generator
The Soyond Portable Solar Generator has a unique design and color scheme, but it gets the job done. Your purchase comes with the generator and a solar panel, giving you everything you need to recharge electronics on-the-go.
Soyond’s Portable Solar Generator has a digital LED display, a USB port, four DC power outlets, and other outlets. What make this product particularly unique, however, is that there’s also an MP3 player, radio, and Bluetooth speaker system built-in, making this the ultimate all-in-one portable generator and stereo.
The Soyond Portable Solar Generator recharges quickly, going from 0 to 100% with just 4 hours of sunlight via the 6W solar panel (AC charging is also available). And, at a price of just $78, it’s the most value-packed solar generator on this list.
Rockpals 100W Foldable Solar Panel Charger
Rockpals makes a 100W foldable solar panel that will charge virtually any solar generator – including most of the ones on this list. Some solar generators on this list do not come with solar panels: you buy the solar panels separately. Others come with small solar panels. Whatever the situation, you can significantly expand your solar generator’s power production with the Rockpals 100W foldable solar panel charger.
This solar panel is huge, providing ample power for even the high-end generators. There are also multiple connector sizes, including the 8mm DC adapter, a USB adapter, and adapters for all different brands of solar generators.
If you want maximum solar power for your generator, then the Rockpals 100W foldable solar panel charger may be the best option.
BALDR Portable Power Station
BALDR’s Portable Power Station is a 330W portable power generator that can be used for home, travel, and camping. The generator has a similar appearance to the Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer at the top of our list, even using the same DC, USB, and AC ports. However, at just $280, it’s almost half the price of the Jackery option.
Like the Jackery model, the BALDR Portable Power Station does not come with its own solar panel. However, you can hook in any solar panel – like the Rockpals panel above. You can also charge the BALDR Portable Power Station using the 12V outlet in your vehicle or any ordinary AC outlet.
The unit also comes with an LED light and LCD display, making it easy to light up a campsite at night and determine how much power is remaining in the unit.
Duracell PowerSource Generator
Duracell is one of the best-known names in the battery world, and their PowerSource generator is a popular option for all types of power generation needs. Duracell’s powerful generator has four AC outlets, two USB ports, and one DC outlet. It comes in a stylish, black case. A digital LCD display lets you know how much power is remaining in the unit.
Duracell’s PowerSource Generator supports daisy chaining, featuring threaded terminals for a secure connection to additional batteries. Plus, a built-in solar controller lets you fully charge the generator via a solar panel in just 10 hours.
Duracell PowerSource does not come with its own solar panel, and you have to purchase the solar panel separately. You can also recharge the generator via a standard AC outlet. At $700, the Duracell PowerSource is one of the more expensive options on this list, but it provides reliable battery power from a trusted brand.
Sungzu Portable Power Station
Sungzu’s Portable Power Station is available in 300W, 500W, and 1,000W options. The portable power station lets you connect smartphones, laptops, mini fridges, and anything else for on-the-go power. There are two AC outlets, four USB outlets, and two DC outlets. You can view current power capacity using the OLED screen, which lists the charging and discharging status and battery life.
Sungzu markets its Portable Power Station for home and camping usage, like every other generator here. However, Sungzu also claims their generator works well in construction sites, industrial settings, and other heavy-duty environments. It’s also available at a very reasonable $260 for the 300W option, making the Sungzu Portable Power Station one of the most affordable solar generators on our list.
As with other solar generators listed here, you’ll need to buy the solar panel separately. Sungzu sells its own 100W solar panel, although you can safely connect any other solar panel as well.
Price: $260 (300W), $524 (500W), or $850 (1,000W)
MAXOAK Bluetti Portable Power Station
The MAXOAK Bluetti Portable Power Station offers 1,500Wh and 1000W of power via a LG battery cell. It’s a high-powered, high-end solar generator capable of powering anything from a smartphone to a vacuum cleaner or fridge.
With a distinctive blue and white design, this power generator may also be the most stylish solar generator on our list.
The MAXOAK Bluetti Portable Power Station comes with an MC4 solar charging cable and supports MPPT high efficiency solar charging, although you’ll need to buy the actual solar panel separately. The company claims that a 300W solar panel will charge the generator to full capacity in about 5 hours, while 3 x 150W solar panels in a series can charge it in 3.5 to 4 hours. You can also charge the MAXOAK Bluetti Portable Power Station via a car outlet, although you’ll need to buy a power inverter to do so (you can charge it via any AC outlet without a power adapter).
Rockpals 500W Portable Power Station
We mentioned the Rockpals solar panel above because it’s one of the bestselling solar panels on Amazon. Rockpals also makes its own portable power generators. The Rockpals 500W Portable Power Station features a 540Wh lithium battery capable of being recharged via solar power, an AC outlet, or a car outlet.
The generator includes three USB connections, two AC outlets, and two DC outlets. An LCD display tells you how much power is remaining, including the current charging/recharging status of the generator. A fully charged generator has enough power to charge an average smartphone (2,000mAh battery) about 58 times.
You can charge the Rockpals 500W Portable Power Station via any solar panel, including the popular 100W Rockpals solar panel mentioned above.
AIMTOM 540Wh Portable Power Station
The AIMTOM 540Wh Portable Power Station features a lithium battery pack with 110V/500W AC power. An LCD display tells you how much power is remaining in the generator, including whether the generator is charging or discharging. There are four USB outlets, including a type C USB port for smartphones and other small electronics. There are also two AC outlets and two DC outlets.
AIMTOM markets its generator primarily to outdoorsy people, including campers, hikers, and other nature lovers. It’s a small generator that doesn’t have the same high-end 1,000W power as the solar generators above, although it makes up for it with portability. AIMTOM also sells smaller and larger generators, with the 540Wh generator being the midrange option.
The AIMTOM generator supports solar charging, although you’ll need to buy the solar panel separately. AIMTOM sells a 60W or 100W solar panel. You can also charge your AIMTOM generator using any ordinary AC wall outlet. A solar panel charges the generator in about 14 hours, while an AC outlet charges it in about 8 hours.
Renogy Lycan Powerbox
The Renogy Lycan Powerbox is a high-end generator capable of powering multiple medium-sized appliances. Weighing in at 55 pounds, the Renogy Lycan Powerbox isn’t as portable as other options on this list. However, it offers a 1,200W pure sine wave inverter, a covered charging area, and other nifty features.
One thing that makes the Renogy Lycan Powerbox unique, however, is that you can swap out the actual power cells, letting you charge multiple batteries with the same solar generator. You can keep multiple fully charged batteries on hand, for example, letting you significantly extend the lifespan of a fully charged Powerbox.
Another nice thing about the Renogy Lycan Powerbox is that it comes with a 100W “Solar Suitcase”. You can buy one, two, or three 100W solar suitcases, and the Powerbox supports up to 300W of solar charging. For those concerned about portability (at 55 pounds, you should be worried about portability), the Renogy Lycan Powerbox also includes a carrying handle for easy rollability.
Goal Zero Yeti 500X Portable Power Station
Goal Zero was one of the first companies to specialize in outdoor solar-powered gear. Today, the Goal Zero Yeti 500X Portable Power Station remains one of the most popular solar generator options available.
You can buy the Goal Zero Yeti 500X with a 50W solar panel or on its own. No matter how you buy it, the Goal Zero Yeti 500X can power a wide range of devices using its AC, 12V, and 60W USB-C ports, allowing you to charge anything from phones to portable fridges. A fully charged Yeti 500X can keep a TV running for three hours (or recharge an average phone 40 times).
Goal Zero offers multiple solar panel pairings, including the Nomad (20W), the Boulder (50W), and the Boulder Briefcase (100W), all of which can easily connect to the Goal Zero Yeti 500X for seamless charging.
nrgGo 400 Portable Power Station Battery
The nrgGo 400 Portable Power Station Battery may be the most portable option on this list. It’s also surprisingly stylish, featuring rounded corners and a curved handle on top. The generator is designed for lightweight usage – like charging your phone while camping. However, nrgGo claims it’s powerful enough to keep a fridge or CPAP machine running as well.
The generator features three USB outlets, two AC outlets, and one 12V outlet. It does not come with a solar panel, although you can connect any solar panel to the unit to charge it up. Alternatively, you can charge the nrgGo 400 Portable Power Station Battery in about five hours using a standard AC outlet in your wall.
Jackery SolarSaga 60W Solar Panel
Jackery is one of the top solar generator companies available today. We mentioned the company’s Explorer solar generator above, although it also sells standalone solar panels. You can use the Jackery SolarSaga 60W Solar Panel with virtually any solar generator on this list. Or, you can use it specifically for the Jackery Explorer 160, 240, or 500.
Jackery’s 60W Solar Panel isn’t as large or as powerful as some of the other solar panels listed here (which include 100W and 150W options). However, it’s an affordable way to power up your generator using a high-end solar panel from a trusted, reliable brand. As with other solar panels listed here, the Jackery SolarSaga panel folds up for easy portability.
Anker Powerhouse 200
The Anker Powerhouse 200 is a portable, rechargeable generator priced at a reasonable $225. The generator is designed for camping, home emergencies, and other situations. It’s powerful enough to keep a mini-fridge running for four hours, although it works best for powering smaller electronics.
The unit features fewer ports than other options listed here, including two USB ports and one AC outlet. You can power the unit with a solar generator, although a solar panel is not included with your purchase. You can also charge the generator using your car or a
Westinghouse iGen160s Portable Power Station
Want a portable power generation at a reasonable price? The Westinghouse iGen160s Portable Power Station may be the right choice for you. Priced at $140, this unit includes four USB ports, two AC outlets, and three DC outlets, allowing you to charge virtually anything. The battery only outputs 155Wh, although it’s the lightest and most portable option on this list.
As with other generators, you’ll need to buy the solar panel separately. Westinghouse also has multiple options available, including higher-end options like the iGen 2200, iGen 4500, and more. Whether looking for portability or power, Westinghouse has reasonably priced generators at a number of price points.
Our editorial team analyzed the top solar generators on the market based on the following features:
Power Capacity and Output: A good solar generator powers small, medium, and large-sized electronics. Some buyers only need a generator to power their smartphones while camping. Others use solar generators to power a mini-fridge, TV, and laptop. We featured a range of generators at all power levels.
Portability: Some solar generators are heavy and meant to stay in one place. Other generators are designed to be carried easily in one hand – say, for camping or fishing. We featured a range of solar generators for all different needs.
Durability: Some solar generators are designed for outdoor use, while others will break down quickly outdoors. Generally, solar generator shoppers want a durable generator.
Charging Speed: The best solar generators can be charged with a 100W solar panel in just a few hours. Some generators, however, take 14 hours or more to charge. No matter how you’re using a solar generator, you want it to be charged quickly.
Price and Value: Some people are willing to invest $1,500 in a solar generator, while others are not. We featured a range of generators ranging from $100 to $1,500 in price, letting you pick the best option for your budget.
Compatibility: Some solar generators come with multiple adapters and cords, making it easy to pair the generator with any other unit. Other solar generators work best with their own solar panels.
Recharging Options: Most solar generators support not just solar charging, but also car charging and AC outlet charging.
Inverter Type: The type and rating of the inverter plays a significant role in solar generators. Modified sine wave inverters are cheaper but less capable, producing choppy and distorted power, which makes them difficult to run AC motors like the ones on your fridge or air conditioner. Pure sine wave inverters, meanwhile, provide smooth and efficient AC power, making them ideal for medical devices.
Inverter Rating: The rating of the inverter determines how much power you can access at once. The surge capacity of an inverter is also important, as many electronic devices require a surge of power to startup, then less power to stay on. Solar generators are marketed by their inverter rating and not their battery capacity, so a 500W solar generator offers up to 500W of power at once.
Outlets: A solar generator is only as good as its outlets. The best solar generators have multiple AC and USB outlets, while some have additional options.
Appearance and Design: Design isn’t an important factor for most solar generator buyers, but you still want your generator to look good. Some solar generators are more stylish than others.
Who Should Buy a Solar Generator?
Solar generators are surging in popularity among all types of people. There are the people you would expect to buy solar generators – like preppers and campers. There are also people you may not expect – like ordinary home and business owners preparing for unexpected situations.
Many people buy solar generators to go off-the-grid. You can reduce your reliance on conventional electricity using a solar generator, for example. If the power goes out, then you can use your solar generator to minimize disruption.
Preppers may fall into this category. In a disaster or any situation where the entire grid goes down, power could disappear at a moment’s notice. If you don’t have a generator in your home, then you don’t have power. You lose your fridge, access to your smartphone and TV, your laptop, your internet, and everything else you take for granted. A solar generator can avoid this issue.
Some people buy solar generators for medical reasons. Some people are dependent on CPAP machines to sleep, for example. CPAP machines need electricity to run. Others need home oxygen concentrators or other medical devices to stay healthy (or stay alive). Losing access to a smartphone is inconvenient, but losing access to medical equipment can endanger your life.
Diabetics may buy solar generators for a similar reason. Diabetics need a reliable way to keep their insulin supply at the proper temperature. If electricity goes down, then a solar generator can keep your fridge cool, keeping your life-saving medication safe.
Many people buy solar generators simply to prepare for a disaster. Urban unrest, a pandemic, or a natural disaster, for example, can all have severe effects on your life. A generator can help you maintain normalcy and safety during uncertain times.
Imagine if the power goes out overnight. If you don’t have a generator, and you don’t have candles, then you’re living in the dark. With a generator, you can easily power LED light and other lights. It’s a small thing that has a significant impact on your quality of life.
Many RVers buy solar generators. Solar generators can power RV appliances wherever you drive. If you want to take your RV to an off-the-grid location for a few nights, for example, then a solar generator can help you stay connected on your trip.
Similarly, many people take solar generators with them while camping, fishing, hiking, or engaging in other outdoor activities. You might be miles away from an electrical outlet – but a portable generator can still help you power a stereo and charge your smartphone in the middle of the woods.
Solar generators may also be ideal for those who live in an apartment but still want a backup source of power. You can’t run a gas generator in an apartment, but you can still run a solar generator in most situations – say, by leaving solar panels on your patio during the day.
Or, you might invest in a high-powered solar generator for off-the-grid living or ranching. Some people live away from the electrical grid on a homestead, ranch, or other far flung location. A high-end generator can power your electronics as long as you have sunlight.
Ultimately, there are plenty of good reasons to buy solar generators. Some buy solar generators for medical reasons. Others buy them to charge a smartphone while camping.
Benefits of Solar Generators
Solar generators have several obvious benefits – and some benefits you may not have considered.
First, solar generators are the cheapest and most sustainable off-grid power option for long-term use. If the power grid collapses and all you have is the sun to keep your electronics powered, then a solar generator will let you maintain a somewhat normal life.
The term solar generator can be a bit misleading, however. The devices above don’t really generate power: they collect power from solar panels, then store that power in a battery. It’s the solar panels that generate electricity from the sun.
Of course, sunshine may not be reliable for everyone. Some people live in northern climates with minimal sun during the winter months. Others live in cloudy or forested environments that are less suited to solar power. That’s why some preppers in certain situations prefer the constant power production of a fuel generator instead.
However, fuel generators come with added cost and risk compared to solar generators. Storing a large supply of fuel can be dangerous if you don’t follow proper safety protocols, for example. Fuel is expensive, and you may not be able to access fuel in emergency situations.
Complicating matters further is that fuel can break down when stored long-term. Destabilized gasoline will degrade after three to six months, for example. Diesel lasts a little longer, but still breaks down in six to twelve months.
Yes, fuel generators have their advantages – but they’re not ideal for many situations. That’s why many people use solar generators instead (and why serious preppers use multiple types of generators).
Solar generators suffer from none of the restrictions we just mentioned. Your “fuel” – sunlight – will not degrade over time. The sun will always be there, even if it’s cloudier or sunnier on certain days. As long as the sun keeps shining, even if it’s just for a few hours a day on a cloudy day, you will continue being able to access electricity. And, if the sun ever disappears, then you probably have bigger issues to worry about than charging your smartphone.
Solar generators also have superior batteries to many other types of generators. They use high-quality lithium ion batteries, for example, that can provide reliable power storage for over a decade. Yes, lithium ion batteries degrade with charging cycles, although they’re still an effective long-term electricity solution.
Another benefit of a solar generator is that it’s ridiculously easy to use. You don’t need an engineering degree to use a solar generator, for example. You don’t even need any DIY skills. All you need to do is unfold a solar panel and connect a cord. That’s it.
In fact, many people are surprised by how easy it is to use a solar generator. Many people assume solar generator systems are as complicated as home solar systems, which require professional installation and ongoing maintenance. Unless you’re a trained electrician or solar panel technician, installing solar panels on a home can be dangerous and confusing.
That’s not the case with solar generators at home. Solar generators take the guesswork out of building a solar system. They contain a prewired charge controller, battery, and inverter in a compact and durable shell. All you need to do is plug your solar panel into the labeled port, unfold your solar panel in direct sunlight, and leave it to charge for several hours. Anyone can use a solar generator – regardless of physical ability or technical skills.
Another advantage of a solar generator is that it provides instant backup power. You can keep your solar generator charged using an AC outlet in your home or the outlet in your car, for example. As soon as the power goes out, you can use your fully charged solar generator to power your electronics. Your electricity might only be out for a few seconds as you switch power sources!
Portability is another benefit of a solar generator. All solar generators listed above – even the heavy, bulky ones – are designed with portability in mind. Many small solar generators can easily be carried in one hand, for example. The medium and large-sized generators, meanwhile, can be wheeled around, left in a vehicle, or kept in a home or business. You don’t have to leave the solar generator in any single spot: you can carry it wherever it needs to go.
That’s why some people buy portable generators and take them multiple places. You might have a solar generator that you take on camping trips, for example, and leave that generator in your basement for general emergencies or leave it in your car for long road trips.
Another advantage of a solar generator is that it’s quiet. It makes no noise. An average home gas-powered generator runs between 50 and 60 decibels, while heavy-duty generators can be even louder.
Noise level is important not just for quality of life, but also for survivability. Many preppers want to avoid noisy generators because it alerts people that you have power, for example, which could make you a target in a survival situation. For most people, of course, a noisy generator is just annoying or makes it hard to sleep.
Plus, solar generators don’t create emissions. Gas-powered generators aren’t just noisy: they’re also toxic, creating an environmental hazard. Even if you don’t care about the environment, you don’t want to create a toxic situation in your home or around your campsite.
Another overlooked thing with solar generators is that they can power virtually any device you own, and many generators don’t require any adaptors to do so. The solar generators listed above have a range of AC outlets and USB ports, for example, letting you easily charge your electronics and your laptop at the same time from the same generator.
One final benefit of a solar generator is that it holds its charge for months at a time with minimal maintenance required. You might want to wipe down the solar panels occasionally. Aside from that, however, your solar generator should continue working without issue for a long time.
Because of all of these benefits, solar generators are increasingly popular among all types of people – from preppers to campers to city dwellers.
Frequently Asked Questions About Solar Generators
Years of misinformation campaigns and ignorance about solar power as a concept has created a clear barrier for consumers looking to learn more about the growing niche industry. This section should clear things up by answering some of the most commonly asked questions about solar generators and the companies producing them in 2020.
Q: What is a solar generator?
A: A solar generator is a device that collects power from a solar panel, then stores that power in a battery for easy access. A solar generator typically has multiple charging ports, including USB and AC outlets. Most solar generators can be charged both by sunlight and through a conventional AC or car outlet.
Q: How do solar generators work?
A: Solar generators work by taking the power produced by solar panels and storing that power in an internal battery. The generator contains a charge controller, battery, and inverter, along with any ports, plugs, or adaptors needed to charge your devices. In short, solar generators function to centralize the power obtained by solar panels so consumers can use it to charge and power their devices.
Q: What does a charge controller do?
A: A charge controller modulates the flow of power from the solar panels to protect the battery. It controls how much power is flowing into the battery, preventing any damage. Too much power can damage the battery, while too little power can render it ineffective.
Q: What does an inverter do?
A: The inverter takes the stored DC power in the battery and gives you stable, usable power via the AC outlets or USB outlets. Inverters promote stability in your energy source, which is essential to a functional charging or energy device.
Q: Are solar generators portable?
A: Most consumer-grade solar generators are designed to be portable. Even the larger devices are typically equipped with wheels so that they can be moved around easily. Most solar generators are designed to be stored in a backpack, and many are handheld, as the devices should generally be extremely mobile and versatile.
Q: How do you charge a solar generator?
A: Most solar generators support three charging methods: solar panel charging, AC outlet charging, and car outlet charging. Some require adaptors to support all three types of charging, while others natively support all three charging methods. This depends primarily on the specific brand of solar generator you're considering.
Q: What can a solar generator power?
A: A good solar generator can power just about anything, including fridges and TVs. A small solar generator should still be able to recharge a smartphone from 0 to full about a dozen times. A high-end solar generator can keep a TV powered for hours. As long as you have the inverter strength and battery power, you can plug virtually any household appliance into your electrical generator.
Q: How much power do solar generators provide?
A: Solar generators can provide full strength 110 / 220V AC power, which is the same amount of power as a standard electrical outlet in your home. Again, this will mostly depend on the model of your generator, as some generators provide more or less power than that.
Q: How long does it take to charge a solar generator?
A: It takes about 4 to 8 hours to charge a solar generator via an AC electrical outlet. Meanwhile, it takes anywhere from 4 to 24 hours to fully charge a solar generator using solar panels, so your charging time will depend on the type of energy you're using to charge the solar generator device.
Q: How do you calculate charge time on a solar generator?
A: Charge times and charge time calculations vary slightly between solar generators. However, if you have a 500Wh battery being charged by a 100W solar panel, you can expect it will take approximately five hours to charge the battery. This calculation assumes optimal conditions, including perfect sunlight and 100% efficiency. In most situations, you should double the projected charge time to ensure accuracy.
Q: How do solar panels work?
A: Solar panels absorb the sun’s energy throughout the day, converting it into direct current (DC) electricity. Most homes use alternating current (AC) electricity, so the DC electricity is passed through an inverter to make it usable.
Q: Do solar panels charge when the sun isn’t shining?
A: Yes, solar panels can charge even on a cloudy day, although they work most effectively on sunny days. Solar panels will produce slightly less energy on a cloudy day, and they will produce no energy at night. This should be factored into your calculations when attempting to project when your device will be finished charging.
Q: Can you go off the grid with a solar generator?
A: Yes. Solar generators allow you to draw power from anywhere on the planet where you have sunlight, from the safety of your backyard to the solitude of a mountain. This makes solar generators a popular choice for consumers who want to live off the grid.
Q: Will you ever need to replace your solar panels?
A: Generally, solar panels have a long lifetime and you will not need to replace them. However, solar panels are not indestructible and accidents can make replacement necessary. Solar panels are built to withstand harsh, outdoor elements, and many solar panels today are 40+ years old and still producing at about 75% of their original output. Solar panels generally require minimal maintenance over time and have no moving parts, reducing the chances of needing to replace your solar panels. All solar panels come with warranties to protect your investment, especially in the case that disaster makes replacement wise.
Q: How do you maintain solar panels?
A: Most people just wipe their solar panels with a wet cloth or even a garden hose periodically to remove dirt and grime. Try a solution that’s one part vinegar and two parts water, applying the solution every six months to keep panels operating at maximum efficiency. Routine maintenance can really help to extend the already-long lifespan of your solar panels.
Q: Are there different types of solar generators?
A: There are two main types of solar generators: portable solar generators and mounted solar panels. Both produce electricity from sunlight, but portable solar generators (including the units listed above) are designed to be carried wherever they need to go.
Q: What’s in a solar generator?
A: A solar generator consists of a power pack or high capacity battery, an inverter (for converting DC to AC), a voltmeter to record power consumption, and an AC or USB outlet (or both) to charge devices.
Q: What are the benefits of a solar generator?
A: A solar generator is a convenient and reliable way to produce energy. You can produce electricity anywhere in the world where you have sunlight. You can keep a generator charged at home by leaving it connected to an electrical outlet, giving you instant electricity as soon as the power goes out. Solar generators are also portable, and many of them are designed for use outdoors or in tough environments.
Q: Which size of solar generator is best?
A: The ideal size of your solar generator depends largely on what you need to use it for. For perspective, a TV uses about 200W of electricity, while a refrigerator uses about 600W of electricity, which means an 800W solar generator can keep both these items powered. Meanwhile, even small and medium-sized solar generators can fully recharge smartphones and tablets dozens of times on a full charge.
Q: How long do solar generator batteries last?
A: Solar generators contain lithium ion batteries, which degrade slightly with each charge. However, unless you’re fully charging and recharging your solar generator every day, this degradation isn’t expected to have a significant impact. A solar generator stored in your house and used during occasional emergencies or camping trips should last a very long time.
Q: Should you buy a solar or gas generator?
A: A solar generator has several advantages over a gas generator. Solar generators are silent and do not produce any fumes or odors, for example. You can also refuel or recharge a solar generator without paying a penny. You don’t have to store flammable liquids or buy fuel. Gas generators, of course, can provide a stable and powerful source of energy, so this choice depends on your personal needs and preferences for power sources.
Q: Do you have to use specific solar panels with each solar generator?
A: Most solar generators listed above accept all types of solar panels, and you don’t have to use any specific brand. Always check with the manufacturer before buying to make sure that the device you choose will work with your solar panels.
Q: How many solar panels can you connect?
A: Most solar generators support up to 300W of solar panels, or 3 x 100W solar panels. This again depends on your brand and model of solar panel, so consult the product page and instructions for more complete information.
Q: Are solar panels waterproof?
A: Most solar panels are waterproof and should have no issue handling heavy rain and other precipitation.
Q: Are solar generators or solar panels protected from EMPs?
A: Solar generators, solar panels, and solar generator batteries should not be impacted by an EMP, as long as they are not connected to a grid at the time of an EMP attack. However, some people use faraday bags to increase protection against EMPs.
Q: Can you charge as solar generator in the car?
A: Yes. Most solar generators can be charged using your car, although some require the purchase of an additional adaptor to do so. Consult the instructions for your solar generator to ensure you have access to the correct charging source for the device.
Q: How long does a solar generator hold a charge for?
A: Your solar generator should hold a full charge for 4 to 6 months, although lower-quality solar generators may hold a charge for only 3 to 4 months or less. This depends on the quality, technical specs, and size of the device.
Q: What are the disadvantages of solar generators?
A: Though solar generators are ideal for certain situations and continue to gain traction among consumers, they do have their disadvantages. Solar generators can charge slowly, for example. They can also be expensive. Some have limited battery capacity. You can avoid many of these issues by shopping for the right solar generator.
Solar generators are portable, efficient, and powerful tools. Some people take solar generators camping, fishing, or hiking. Others keep a solar generator fully charged at home or in a vehicle. A solar generator can provide a reliable source of electricity during uncertain times.
Much like the rise in survival kits, first aid kits, and long term food storage solutions, the best solar-powered generators listed above are the top options to consider the harsh reality of the downside of losing power and electricity at home or the office. From UV lights or air purifying ionizers , buying a high quality premium solar generator online is a smart option and calculated measure to take during these uncertain times.
Whatever your electricity needs may be, consider the solar generators listed above for the best solar charging anywhere you go.