Solar power generators are devices that capture sunshine energy via solar-based panels and store the power in cells to be used later. They present a backup electricity option for your home or portable energy for camping, RVing, or off-grid living environments. But are they worth it? How do they compare to the traditional gas generators? And how do you go about in choosing the best one that will fit your needs? Stay around as this article is all-in. We will also introduce you to some of the top solar generator models from BLUETTI, a leading brand in the industry. By that time you reach the end of this article, you are left with a much clearer judgment of both the pros and cons that solar generators bring to the table and in turn make an informed decision of your own.
How Do Solar Generators Work?
So, at a higher level, the major solar generators contain portable solar panels, a solar-based charge controller, a solar-dependent battery, and an inverter as the four main components.
The mobile panels are in charge of gathering sunlight and changing it into direct current energy. The controller manages the electricity from the panel in such a manner that the cell is neither over-charged nor under-charged. The DC energy, as and when required, stays stored in the battery. The DC power then will be converted to alternating current (AC) electricity that most appliances and other devices can use by the inverter.
In most cases, solar generators are normally constructed having a singular unit that carries the charge controller, the battery, and the inverter. They further have varied plugs and outlets to attach things like the USB, AC, or even the twelve-volt vehicle output socket.
What Are the Solar Generator Pros and Cons?
The solar generators have many advantages over gas generators though not without falls. Here are some of the main pros and cons of solar generators that you need to take into account before making a purchase.
Pros of Solar Generators
- No fuel costs: The sun powers solar generators for free. Solar energy is available and abundant almost everywhere. Forget about worrying about purchasing, stockpiling, or transferring gas or diesel for your generator.
- Clean and green energy: Unlike the gas generator in which it pollutes the air and is a high source of sound pollution, solar generators are environmentally friendly without emitting any gases in their operations or even producing noise. They are environmentally friendly and will assist in your efforts to reduce your carbon footprint.
- Quiet and little/no maintenance: Since solar generators lack movable parts, this essentially means they produce minimal to no noise at all as well as low to no maintenance. There will be no need to change the oil in it or replace filters or spark plugs.
Cons of Solar Generators
- High upfront costs: The high cost of the generator; getting the solar panels, the battery, the inverter, and the charge controller makes it way more expensive when compared to a gas one. On average, the solar option goes for around $2000 while a gas one can go as cheap as $1000.
- Slow re-charging: Due to the fact that the battery of solar-based generators is refreshed through sunlight, this may be a very slow process. Based on your panel as well as battery size and power, it may take some hours to some days in order to get a full recharge of your solar-dependent generator. For example, on a cloudy or rainy day, your solar generator may not harvest enough sunlight to recharge at all. However, most batteries nowadays also offer a variety of charging methods, so you can choose according to your needs.
- Limited power output: A gas generator can provide power as long as it keeps chugging away but a solar generator has a set power it can store and provide for use. Probably for an extended time, your whole house or heavier power appliances may not run purely on a solar generator. You might have to ration the use of power or switch to a gas generator for increased power supply.
Is It Worth It Purchasing a Solar Generator?
Indeed! Solar generators are an apt investment. They act as a trustworthy power backup during grid failures or for camping. These devices are handy, and many of them are of compact size compared to the normal gas portable machines. Whether illuminating your house during a blackout or even charging your phone while out camping, solar generators will ensure you have electricity as per your need when the time is right.
Related articles: How to Choose the Best Solar Generator for Home Backup Power?
What Can You Do with Solar Generator?
Solar generators are flexible and versatile enough to provide power to a variety of appliances and devices. They enable the running of big appliances like refrigerators, microwaves, or air conditioners for preserving fresh food, cooked meals, and normal room temperatures respectively. Besides, they can power cookers to enable easy preparation of hot drinks, soups or rice. They can also propel building tools like drills or saws for do-it-yourselfers. Furthermore, they can light up your space with lamps or flashlights, and power mini fans for cooling and air circulation. They also maintain electronic gadgets like phones, laptops, or cameras that are used for communication, work, learning, and entertainment in a running state.
How to Pick the Best Solar Generator?
Check some of the indispensable considerations one needs to note when deciding on the best solar-linked generator:
- Power Output: It is the output power that will determine the number of devices a generator can charge at a go. Its wattage should be within its power limit from the wattage of your essential appliances and devices.
- Battery Capacity: This gives us the time the generator will be able to supply before going for a recharge. Go for one with a battery capacity equal based on your trend of consumption.
- Portability: Pick a generator that's lightweight and compact enough to be easily moved from one place to the other if you intend to use your unit on the move.
- Charging Options: Examine the charging choices available from the generator. Some may only be charged through solar panels while others have workarounds such as charging from an AC outlet or even charging it using your car charger.
BLUETTI Top Solar Generator
Solar generators offer an environment-friendly and energy-efficient power solution. BLUETTI’s sunshine generators are high on this contention record in the field. Let's take a look into these generators
BLUETTI AC200MAX + PV200 KIT
The BLUETTI AC200MAX + PV200 Solar Generator Kit would arguably be the power horse of the crew. It's flexible, meeting the power needs for a various set of devices. It provides AC 2,200W pure sine wave inverter, surging as high as 4,800W. The kit's LiFePO₄ battery has over 3,500 life cycles to 80% from its 2,048Wh capacity. Need more power? Expand the battery up to 8,192Wh with additional units.
This kit comes is installed with a 200W solar panel that can charge the battery for about 10hrs based on sunlight availability. Also, the generator has seven ways of recharging emanating from AC, solar, car, among others. It brags smart control applying the BLUETTI app for status checks as well as setting adjustments. Furthermore, it utilizes seventeen inputs to energize gadgets via AC outlets, 12V ports, and USB-A and USB-C ports and a range of wireless charging pads.
BLUETTI AC200P + 3*PV120 KIT
The BLUETTI AC200P + 3*PV120 is a robust and versatile sunlight generator. Supporting several choices of gadgets by the virtue of its 2,000W AC pure sine wave inverter, the surge volume support from this inverter might shoot as high as 4,800W. The kit comprises a LiFePO₄ battery that has 2,000Wh capacity with longevity of over 3,500 cycles to 80%.
Moreover, the system comprises three 120W solar panels capable of carrying out recharge of the battery within six hours in the event of sunlight. The generator brags of having seven recharge methods which include AC, solar, car among others. It has 17 outputs that gives power to the various devices all at once through the AC outlets, 12V ports, USB-A and USB-C ports as well as wireless charging pads.
BLUETTI AC300 +B300 + 3*PV200 KIT
The BLUETTI AC300 +B300 + 3*PV200 Solar Generator Kit is a flexible source of power, answering to all type of gadgets. Has a 3,000W AC pure sine wave inverter, supporting surges up to 6,000W. Besides, the LiFePO₄ battery at the heart of the kit is a very capable power asset with its 3,072Wh capacity and capable of lasting over 3,500 life cycles to 80%. Need more power? Further expand the battery up to 12,288Wh with additional units. In positive weather conditions, it can take as little as 5 hours to replenish the battery with three 200W solar panels.
The generator is equipped with seven recharge methods to include AC, solar, car, and others. This has 240V split phase bonding for heavy appliances such as air conditioners, refrigerators or washing machines. Moreover, it also has 24/7 UPS home backup that automatically switches over to the battery during power failure. The generator has 12 outputs for multiple devices, including AC outlets, 12V ports, USB-C and USB-A ports.
Ultimately, the right choice of solar generator should take into consideration factors such as power output, battery power capacity, portability and charging options. Understanding these elements and having them aligned with your specific needs should guarantee a solar generator that integrates into your lifestyle and energy needs perfectly. Remember, the journey of clean and sustainable energy starts right from our choices. By opting for the right solar generator, we each play a part in fostering a greener future.