Below we have tried to answer the most frequently asked questions relating to solar power systems, known as solar generators.
What is a solar generator?
A solar generator is a system that captures natural solar energy from the sun during the daytime via photovoltaic (PV) panels and then converts this energy into usable solar electricity via an electric power transmission system. All the harvested energy gets stored in a battery bank in which to be used as and when needed. Once set up, solar generators power up automatically when power from the grid fails or you can also switch them on manually if need be.
Are there different types of solar generator?
There are two general types of solar energy generator: there’s a portable version and there’s one that stays at home. A portable solar generator is ideal for use while camping or travelling. They can easily be moved from place to place and are cheaper to buy initially than a stay at home generator. If all you need to power is the equipment you take camping or while on the move, it’s ideal. If you’re looking to use the generator more in times of emergencies or maybe as a backup power supply you’re much better off sticking with a home solar generator.
What makes up a solar generator?
They’re relatively simple objects that are made up of very few components:
- a power pack or high capacity battery
- an inverter that converts the sunlight’s energy/direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC)
- a voltmeter to let you know how much power is being produced and how much is being stored at any one time
- either an AC or USB output depending on the size of the unit
What does it do? The real role of a solar generator is to provide various items with the electrical power they need in which to run effectively, without any help from the grid. They work in a similar way to portable generators except solar generators don’t need to rely on gas to keep them going. This can be especially helpful in times of a power outage or when out camping/traveling.
What are the benefits? First, solar generators will run day or night without the need for you to interfere at all. Second, they will save you a great deal of money over time, as you will spend less money on electricity. They’re also much better for the environment than natural gas or coal as don’t give off any toxic fumes. Another great thing is that they’re relatively easy to install and make barely any noise when in use.
What size do I need? Deciding what size solar generator you need will really depend on what you’re going to use it for. Will it be used at home just in emergency situations? Will it be used to go on camping trips? Will it be used as an at-home standby device that’s plugged into your mains? Once you’ve decided on this, then you need to think about what appliances you need to run during these times. Just to give you some idea, a small/mid-size solar generator that’s around 3,000 to 4,000 watts can power the following:
- TV (200 watts)
- Microwave (1,500 watts)
- Refrigerator (600 watts)
- Sump pump (600 watts)
- Several lights (600 watts)
What do all the numbers mean that solar generator manufacturers list? When it comes to solar generators there are only three numbers you need to worry about: the solar panel’s wattage, the battery capacity, and the inverter’s continuous load rating. Of course, the higher the number the higher capacity, but it also means more weight and the greater the initial cost.
How long do the batteries last? Like with any batteries, how long they will last depends on how they’re used. Constant charging and recharging of batteries weakens them over time. A solar generator that sits in a cupboard being continuously charged for most of its life and only used sparingly will probably a very long time. Maybe even a lifetime. If however, it’s constantly being drained and recharged every other night you may only get a couple years usage out of it.
I live in an apartment. So are solar generators completely out of the question for me? No. Solar power has come a long way over the past few years and is becoming more accessible to everyone. There is no longer a need to have huge amounts of space or own your own home. More and more people today are using solar equipment while living in apartments. Solar generators are perfectly safe to be used indoors as they produce no fumes and the solar panels can easily be arranged in a window or balcony.
Why should I opt for a solar generator over a gas generator? There are many reasons why a solar generator is much more beneficial than a gas generator. Solar generators are silent; they don’t produce any fumes or odors, refueling doesn’t cost a penny, there are no flammable liquids to store, and they’re easy to operate. By comparison, gas generators are noisy, smell strongly of gas, you have to keep buying fuel for them, and you have to find somewhere safe to then store that fuel.
Is there anything else I need to consider before buying a solar generator? A solar generator needs to harness energy from the sun before it will work and you need you make sure there’s sufficient space in which to put your panels for them to be efficient. The only other advice we can really give you when shopping for a good solar generator, is always buy from a reputable source and be careful if you are planning on installing it yourself.