Solar generators provide automatic backup power for your home when you need it most, such as in the event of a power outage.
In addition to being quiet, you don’t have to worry your head about getting gas and engaging in costly maintenance.
However, with the multiple types, styles, brands, and sizes of solar generators on the market, choosing the right generator can be difficult.
To have an easy time navigating the market, don’t buy one without going through these factors first!
Do I Need a Solar Generator?
If your answer to any of the following is true, you should consider getting a solar generator.
Do you regularly witness:
• Strong winds,
• Heavy snow or
• Intensive heat or cold climate?
A solar generator can help you cope with power outages during extreme weather, and you can rest assured knowing that in the event of a disaster, you have some form of protection against difficult times.
Other reasons to get solar generators according to PIPower innovation include:
• Unsupported power supply.
• No noise
• No contamination
• Complement energy use in your home or office.
• Free fuel and free energy from the sunlight using solar panels.
• Clean renewable energy without greenhouse gas emissions.
• Portable power whenever and wherever you need it
• To fulfill your Goals for Sustainable Development
• Solar generators are a great backup power source in case of a power outage.
Related >> How to Create a Backup Solar Sump Pump
How Big a Solar Generator Do I Need?
The size of the solar generator you need depends on your needs.
Small generators (less than 1000 watts) power small appliances such as laptops, phones, and flashlights.
Units with power ranging from 1,000 to 3,000 watts can power larger devices such as refrigerators or microwaves.
You’ll need a bigger solar generator of 5000W or more to power the whole house (Gerald, n.d).
The power generation capacity of solar panels depends on three important factors.
These factors are the amount of sunlight, the size of the panel, and the efficiency of the solar battery. The panels need solar power all day long to remain active.
So, its production limit depends on the available sunlight.
The panel only functions through the energy obtained from the sun. On a sunny day, it would produce more energy than on a rainy or overcast day.
Also, the energy supply capacity of the generator is highly dependent on the power of the solar panel and its production capacity.
Sunlight is an indispensable source of energy for solar energy production.
The size of the solar panel also affects the solar system’s energy production. The average size of a solar panel is 65″ long and 39″ wide.
According to the American Physical Society and National Renewable Energy Laboratory, medium-sized solar panels can produce up to 320Wh, which can power a 5 × 60W light bulb.
The ability to produce solar systems also depends on the efficiency of the panels. Panel efficiency is related to the amount of energy the panel can receive from the sun.
The solar panel power production capacity can be estimated by multiplying the size of the solar panel and the efficiency of the cell.
Therefore, your first step to determining a suitable size of solar generator for your needs is listing all the devices and/or equipment you plan to use.
Let’s say you want to use the solar generator for your basic power needs during a power outage.
Usually, when the network goes down, it doesn’t go away for too long. Let’s say you want to play safely and go for a unit that will provide you with enough energy for 48 hours.
Now, most people don’t need to power their homes during a power outage. You only need the basics.
However, the list of ‘default’ appliances can include a variety of appliances, such as refrigerators, non-food box freezers, microwaving twice a day, cell phone charging, room lights, laptops, or a few hours of TV use at night.
To determine how much power you need, you need to know the power in watts used by these devices and appliances.
Then record each watt value and desired run-hours in watt-hours. You can calculate the watt-hours by multiplying the power of the equipment by the time the equipment has to work.
Related >> How to Connect a Solar Panel to a Water Pump
Can You Use a Solar Generator Indoors?
Solar power generators are portable and lack moving parts. Because they require no fossil fuels and do not smoke, you can safely use them indoors as in most cases you charge them with solar panels.
The solar panels in a solar generator capture the energy of the sun and store it in a battery built into the generator.
The converter then takes this energy and converts it from direct current to alternating current before releasing it.
When released, the energy can be used to power various appliances and/or electronics.
What Can You Run On a Solar Generator?
What you can use with a solar generator depends on the size of the generator you buy.
The ideal size of a solar generator for your needs depends on the power required to operate your device and the charging time.
Regarding the size and type of devices that can be used in solar generators, solar generators can be divided into three groups:
• Small solar generator (up to 1500W inverter):
This is a small and compact system that provides minimal power to light loads such as laptops, multiple lights, TVs, or computers, and also charges cell phones.
It is commonly the best solar generator for camping or backups that are very light and portable.
• Medium-sized solar panels (up to 3000W inverter):
These systems can turn on lights, televisions or computers, refrigerators, microwaves, and most kitchen appliances.
These are the best solar generators for backup, camping, huts, or small homes.
• Large panels (3000W or higher inverter):
These solar generators are best for powering your entire home. They can provide generous backup power in case of an emergency.
Depending on the number of solar panels and batteries in the system, these devices can run refrigerators, freezers, microwaves, lights, TVs, computers, borehole pumps, etc. for longer (days or weeks without sun).
If you want the best solar generator for camping, you don’t need a huge standalone system.
On the other hand, if you need an emergency backup to prepare for a power outage, you need a solar generator with autonomous potential to power your entire home.
In short, the best solar generator for you depends on your needs.
Even if you have the best solar generators on the market, they are still useless if you don’t specify the correct battery capacity and solar panels.
The two most important aspects to remember when choosing a battery are size and quality.
Sufficient solar cells can keep solar generators running all day and shorten charging times after overnight use (William, 2021).
Can a Solar Generator Power a Heater?
You can run solar heaters on solar generators to cut costs, but it won’t work directly on the solar panels.
For the heater to run on solar power, other devices, including batteries and inverters, must be installed and connected.
The number of solar panels required to use a heater depends on the size of the heater and the level of energy consumption.
Likewise, there are many types of solar panels on the market with different wattages.
To estimate the number of panels, you need to consider the power and running time. Typically, you need three 500W solar panels to run a 1500W heater.
If you have a 500-watt heater, you can use two 300 watt solar panels to power it.
You can also run multiple heaters from the same solar energy source. Many heaters need enough solar energy to run smoothly.
It’s cheap if you can use multiple heaters from the same solar energy source. This system provides uninterrupted power to reduce energy costs and keep rooms warm (William, 2021).
Solar generator that will run a refrigerator
To get the perfect size of a solar generator for your refrigerator, you need to figure out how much energy your refrigerator or freezer is using.
Power requirements vary widely, and older devices often consume twice as much energy as new energy-efficient models of the same size.
If your generator is the wrong size, you end up spending thousands of dollars more than you need or buying something that doesn’t fit at all.
Let’s first discuss the generator size required.
Refrigerator doors often have a sticker indicating their power requirements. The average home refrigerator consumes 350-780 watts.
If your device needs 6.5 amperes and you’re plugging your device into a standard 120-volt outlet, you’ll need to multiply 6.5 amps by 120 volts to get the average operating power (780 watts in this scenario).
However, refrigerators and freezers require additional power transfer each time the compressor is started, which is usually 2-3 times the average operating power (Medi-Products, 2020).
This means that the minimum generator size required for a refrigerator of this capacity is 1560 watts.
The next thing to think about is how many solar panels are needed to power your refrigerator.
The average refrigerator requires roughly three or four medium-sized solar panels to operate.
The average refrigerator in the US consumes about 57 kWh per month and the average freezer uses 58 kWh. This gives you a total of 115 kWh.
A 100-watt panel with at least 8 hours of sunlight per day produces nearly 1 kilowatt-hour per day or 30 kWh per month.
Dividing the total consumption (115 kWh) by 30 kWh per month gives you 3.8. This means that you will need roughly 4 panels to run your refrigerator on the solar generator.
To get a suitable solar generator for your needs, you need to know how much power you need for your devices.
Are Solar Generators Noisy?
The best thing about solar generators is that they are quiet. There is also the option to use a gas generator during a power outage, but with the moving parts, it makes noise and requires cutting off and refueling after some runtime.
On the other hand, because there are no moving parts with solar generators, they are noiseless and are the best for your eardrum (Vivint Solar, n.d.).
The last thing I’d love is to hear the humming noise of generators in the background when trying to work or relax.
The reasons for buying a solar generator can be different from person to person. So, to meet your purchasing goal, it’s important to focus on what you want to power with your solar generator and for how long.
Solar generators are useful to anyone who travels or lives in remote/off-grid places.
You may want a reliable backup power source for your home in case of a natural or man-made disaster.
If travel is your main goal, look for a solar generator that will make your trip easier. The best solar generators are portable, safe to use indoors and outdoors, and are virtually silent when driving.
In comparison, fuel generators are often bulky, sometimes noisy, and unsafe for indoor use.
Whether you want the peace of mind that a solar generator can provide in the event of an unexpected power outage in your home, or you are ready to take your camping gear and head out into the woods, you’ll always find a suitable solar generator for your needs.