Have you ever found yourself wondering how a solar-powered generator works? Here, we’ll get to answer this question in detail, and if you’re not so much into the nitty-gritty of the inner workings of a solar generator, you’ll probably want to explore the types of solar generators available on the market right now.
It is important to learn a few basic things about how a solar-powered generator works.
What is a Solar Generator?
A solar-powered generator is a compact device that, via solar panels, captures the sun’s energy. This energy is then stored in a bank which releases it as AC power through an inverter. Think of it as a generator that runs on a solar-powered battery.
It has four major components that handle all the series of processes both outside and inside of the generator. These components are the batteries, charge controller, solar panels, and inverter. Strangely enough, there is no presence of solar components of any kind within the solar generator.
This leads to the question: How are Solar Generators Charged? Here’s how.
Solar Generators Charging Process Explained
Solar generators require solar panels to work efficiently. As they do not come together in one package, you’ll need to go deeper into your pockets. Trust me, purchasing solar panels is worth every dime. They are the best alternative when it comes to charging a solar generator’s battery. Does this mean that there are alternative means of charging solar generators?
Well, yes. You could charge a solar generator using a car charger or a 110V wall outlet. Then again, not all solar generators come with this distinctive feature. Different generators come in different builds. Some solar generators accommodate a single mode of charging, while others are open to multiple modes of charging.
What is common about these generators, however, is the fact that they store up enough energy to power a wide range of devices.
Which Devices Can Be Powered by a Solar Generator?
Household appliances that do not run on massive volts of power can be powered by a solar generator. I’m talking laptops, lights, smartphones, a portable radio, and a mini-refrigerator. Solar generators come with car charging outlets, 110V outlets for your computer, and one or two universal serial buses (USB) ports for your smartphone(s).
If you’re feeling uneasy about your solar generator’s rate of power consumption, try this splendid calculator. It gives you an actual estimation of how long you have before it’s lights out for your solar generator.
So far so good. We now understand two significant points about solar generators – what it is and what devices it can power. Now, without further ado, let’s move on swiftly to the technical question, how does a solar-powered generator work?
How a Solar Powered Generator Works
This takes us back to the main components of a solar generator – the charge controller, inverter, lithium-ion battery, and solar panels. These integral parts are not entirely separate but usually are well fused.
Each part of the solar-powered generator has a significant role to play in the complicated process of harnessing solar energy. We’ll have a detailed look at each of these components and get a clear picture of what enables a solar-powered generator to function the way it does.
The Charge Controller
This simple-looking device serves as the solar generator’s most vital component. Its function is to extend the lifetime of the built-in battery of the solar generator. The battery of a solar-powered generator could either be Lithium-ion, Gel or AGM. These batteries have varying charging and discharging features. Over a period of time, the cells wear out, degrade and poof! That marks the final blow of your high-end solar generator.
Therefore, every solar-powered generator comes equipped with a charge controller. The charge controller levels the rate of power within the battery. This ensures that the battery receives the right amount of power. Additionally, it also helps to follow the printed warnings that are visible on either the front or the back of the battery.
The inverter does just that – it reverses the battery’s DC solar energy output into alternating current (AC) power that powers all AC appliances. Solar-powered generators are not structured to power AC devices, such as iron boxes, that consume high AC voltage. They do well, however, with low-power electronics such as TVs and radios.
In solar energy technologies, lithium-ion batteries are the most popular and preferred types of rechargeable batteries. This comes as no surprise thanks to its diversity and benefits including the ability to hold their charge. You may be familiar with it as it is used in smartphones and laptops.
On average, they can last for up to 15 years under the right conditions. It’s worth noting that it helps to follow the printed warnings found on either side of the battery. You know, the one that reads ‘1. Do not dispose of in fire, 2. Do not…’.
Follow these rules, and your solar generator is sure to be running efficiently on a single battery for the next 15 years or so.
Solar panels, as mentioned before, keep the solar generators charged. How they do this? They have reflective surfaces that capture photons from the sun’s energy rays. These photons are then trapped in what we refer to as photovoltaic cells (‘photo’ means light, while ‘volt’ means power).
Before power extraction, the inverter converts the solar DC energy to electric AC. The AC power from the generator is now able to power any device that fossil-fuel electricity can.
This is what goes on within a solar-powered generator. This device was designed as a means of ridding the air of toxic pollutants. Wouldn’t it be grand if the rest of the world would adopt this eco-friendly technology moving forward?
Having the safety and security of knowing that you have a backup source of power is always good to have especially when conditions prove to be less than favorable or ideal.