Solar Generators are portable devices that use the sun’s thermal energy to generate electricity using solar panels. The electricity is stored in batteries which can later be used to power up your electronic devices.
At present, the whole world is concerned about the impact of using massive amounts of fossil fuel in our everyday life. In the United States, 30% of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions are a result of electricity generation. However, solar-powered generators are able to produce green, emission-free electricity that can significantly reduce your carbon footprint.
Today many people are favoring renewable energy sources and manufacturers are inventing newer technologies to make solar generators more reliable and effective for us.
Reading this article will give you a good idea about what a Solar Generator is, its varied uses, and benefits of using a solar generator, and a comparison between a solar generator and a fuel generator to help you choose your ideal generator.
What is Solar Generator?
Usually, Solar Generators are referred to portable solar-powered battery storage devices that can be used as a power source for your laptops, chargers, lights, and other appliances.
These mini powerhouses are equipped with solar panels, batteries, an inverter, and a controller to generate electricity using the energy absorbed from sunlight and storing it.
The solar-powered generators are quite popular among campers and hikers, and also in RVs and boating trips. However, there are larger solar generators found in the market that can actually provide power backup for your entire home!
Read our article Can A Solar Generator Power A House? to get to know more about how you can use these efficient devices as an alternate source of clean electricity.
Components of a Solar Generator
Depending on the size and capacity of the solar generators, the components may change but all solar generators have these four essential components:
- Solar Panels: These are photovoltaic panels that can absorb the energy from the sun’s thermal radiation. They are what powers your solar generators. If your solar panels receive a sufficient amount of sunlight, it can ensure solar generator usage throughout the day and fewer recharging times after nighttime usage.
- Battery: A battery will actually determine how much you can use your solar generators during the night. After converting the solar energy, the electricity is stored in the battery. So, it is important that the solar generator has a battery capacity that can fulfill your electric demands. There are different kinds of batteries available. The most popular are the lead-acid and lithium-ion ones which can last for more than 10 years with almost no maintenance. The lead batteries are heavier but can operate at any temperature. The lithium ones are lighter but cannot operate under 35 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Inverter: The inverters in your generator are used to convert the DC power to AC power in order to power your devices. They are generally built into the generator and cannot be upgraded. So, your inverter capacity should be equivalent to your needs. While choosing your generator be mindful of the inverter’s efficiency. A good inverter can be 90% efficient. Also, ensure your inverter is equipped with power save mode, otherwise, a lot of power is needed just to run the inverter.
- Charger Controller: The charger controller regulates the amount of solar energy that will be converted and stored in your batteries. This is to prevent overcharging. Many people do not think about these controllers when buying generators but they can actually affect your generator efficiency by 40%. Even though it costs more, an MPPT charger controller is the best option since it can increase the efficiency of your solar panels.
How does a Solar Generator Work?
Now that we know what the solar generator is made up of, it will be easier to understand how it works. The process is actually quite simple and easy to grasp.
- As we know solar photovoltaic panels capture the thermal energy from the sun and convert it to electricity.
- Then the electricity voltage levels are controlled and guided by the charger controller.
- Subsequently, the electricity flows into the battery where it is stored. A solar panel produces a smaller amount of energy so a battery is used to accumulate the power and then supply sufficient amounts of it.
- The power generated by any solar generator is DC power which needs to be converted to AC power and then supplied to your devices. This is when the inverter is used for power conversion.
- During the daytime, your generator will charge under sunlight and also supply power to your appliances. But at nighttime, it will use the energy stored in the batteries to power your devices.
Uses of a Solar Generator
These well-organized generators have a varied range of uses. Some of these are mentioned below:
- Power backup for your home: A solar generator of 5000W-10000W can easily back up multiple electrical appliances in your home during a power outage. Other than the initial cost of buying it, you will not have any other fuel costs or maintenance effort. So, they are a resourceful backup system to have in case of emergencies.
- Outdoor use: These compact portable power sources are great for use on camping or hiking trips. They can easily provide the electrical support needed to charge your essential devices. Also, with plenty of sunshine present outdoors, your battery will charge quite fast and provide you with electrical support throughout the night.
- Use in RVs: If you are into road trips and frequently take out that RV, then having a solar generator to power your electrical appliances can be quite handy. They are quiet, non-toxic devices that will not encumber your road trip. And will also save you some money on fuel!
- On Boating Trips: Solar Generators can also be an essential device to have with you when you are taking that boat out for a nice ride. You can charge your devices and also run small kitchen appliances.
- Getting off-grid electricity: Are you looking to avoid using the public electric grid? Then solar generators will work wonders for you. Unlike fuel generators they are very quiet, so you will not know that they are running in the background. It will save money on your fuel costs. Depending on the size of your home and the number of appliances you can set up single or multiple generators to power up your home.
- Remote cabin: Having a solar generator in your remote cabin can be quite useful. You can simply leave the generator outside to charge and use the power to run your appliances. And since these devices run on little to no maintenance you do not have to worry about servicing them regularly.
Benefits of Solar Generator
The unique design and efficiency of solar generators can provide you with plenty of benefits. Some of them are:
- Money Saving: As we know that solar generators are dependent on sunlight so essentially the power source is free unlike fuel generators where you have to spend a lot of money on buying fuels. Also, they can help reduce your electricity bill.
- Low maintenance: These generators are designed in a way that does not require any maintenance. So, you can use the device regularly without having to worry about having it serviced repeatedly.
- Portable device: The compact and lightweight design of solar generators makes them very conveniently portable. The smaller devices can be carried in your backpack even!
- No sound: Solar generators do not produce any sound while generating power. So even when you take the device outdoors you will not have to worry about any loud sounds hindering your peace and quiet. This is also great for people who are sensitive to loud noises.
- Eco-friendly device: Solar Generators will help to reduce your carbon footprint. They use renewable energy and also do not produce any toxic gas or chemical. So, if you are looking for a cleaner source of energy, then solar generators are definitely the thing for you.
Solar Generator vs Fuel Generator
Fuel generators have been here with us for generations but solar generators are comparatively a newer invention. Let us look at a comparison between the two to look at their effectiveness.
1. Fuel Source
We know that solar generators run on solar energy which will not cost you any extra penny. However, traditional generators usually run on fuels and with the rising cost of fuel this is becoming a burden for some people.
Solar generators are basically self-reliant and do not need any maintenance for regular usage. But in case of fuel generators you will need to do regular servicing like cleaning, filter changes to keep the warranty intact.
The initial cost of buying a solar generator is quite higher than a fuel generator. However, in the long run with no additional cost on fuel and maintenance you will actually save some money.
The energy generation capability of fuel generator is faster than that of a solar generator. Fuel generators produce electricity as soon as you provide fuel. But in the case of solar generators, the battery needs to charge first then it will provide you with electricity. Nowadays there are very powerful solar generators available in the market that can support larger electrical appliances like refrigerators and air conditioners.
Fuel generators are notorious for sound and air pollution. They emit toxic gases and produce noises when generating electricity. But in the case of solar generators, they are completely noise free and do not produce any toxic gas or smell.
Solar Generators are advertised to have a life span of 20-25 years without any changes or regular maintenance. But incase of diesel generators regular servicing and repairs make them unreliable at times.
7. Weather Dependency
Fuel generators are independent of any weather influence. It will generate electricity when fuel is supplied despite weather conditions. However, solar generator charging efficiency depends on whether the sun is shining or not. But nowadays solar panels are extremely light sensitive they can charge effectively even during cloudy days and winter months.
Read Morte: Can A Solar Generator Power A House
Solar generators are a smarter and cleaner source of electricity compared to fuel generators. With the American government reducing taxes on the manufacture of solar-powered devices, they have become more cost accessible to people. And with the rapid advancement in technology solar generators have become increasingly powerful. They can generate enough electricity to power up entire houses.
So, if are looking for a power backup system for your home or outdoor activities solar-powered generators can be a great selection. In the long term, solar generators will help to bring down your electric cost at the same time reduce your carbon footprint.
- Solar Generators use renewable energy from sunlight to generate electricity.
- Solar generators are powerful enough to power your entire house.
- It can help keep the environment clean and reduce your carbon footprint.
1. How long will a solar generator last?
Answer: Depending on the quality of your product most solar generators from good brands last between 25-30 years. Most of these products come with a warranty so you can safely generate electricity for years.
2. Do solar generators work at night?
Answer: Solar panels cannot generate electricity without sunlight during nighttime. However, the energy stored in the battery of the generator can power your devices throughout the night.
3. Are solar generators safe?
Answer: One of the reasons why solar generators are becoming so popular is because they are extremely safe to operate. They do not emit any toxic fumes that can harm you rather they are much safer than fuel generators.
4. Can solar generators power a house?
Answer: Yes, a larger generator with an electricity generation capacity between 2500-10000W can easily power a house. The size of the generator required will depend on your energy consumption and the number of appliances you will use.
5. Do solar panels work in rain?
Answer: Solar photovoltaic panels utilize both direct and indirect sunlight to produce electricity. So even during rainy days, the light that reaches earth can help to generate power. Read our article “do solar lights charge on cloudy days?” to know more about how solar panels work efficiently during cloudy and rainy days.