On many building sites and do-it-yourself projects, easily accessible power sources are not always available. Whether you are working in a shed or starting from scratch, your power tools are crucial to getting the job done accurately and efficiently.
So, what are your options if you cannot rely on grid electricity?
The number of portable solar-powered systems is increasing exponentially, and these systems employ cutting-edge technology to efficiently capture solar energy and convert it into usable electricity.
Whether you are having a blackout, the electrical system at the job site is down, or the closest plug point is beyond reach, a portable solar generator for outdoor work can fulfill your needs. Read on to see how.
What is a Portable Solar Generator?
Solar generator typically refers to a unit that consists of portable solar panels, an inverter, a battery, and a battery charger, which allows you to collect, store, and distribute solar energy.
Unlike conventional generators, solar generators do not have any moving parts.
As mentioned, a portable solar generator generally consists of four components:
- Portable solar panels: used to collect energy from the sun
- Rechargeable batteries: help store the energy collected by the portable solar panels
- Solar charge controller: Regulates the amount of energy going into the battery
- Solar inverter: converts solar energy into usable electricity
Essentially, a portable solar generator is a battery attached to some PV (photovoltaic) cells that help collect sunlight.
A portable solar generator can be an excellent alternative source of power for when you need to power your hardware tools for outdoor work. Depending on your requirements, you may need a portable solar generator with multiple outlets, particularly if you need to use a number of tools at the same time.
Solar generators typically contain USB connectors, AC outlets, and 12-volt plugs so that you can power multiple gadgets simultaneously. The benefit of having a portable generator with a variety of charging options is that you can receive the electricity you require when you need it. For instance, you could hook a rechargeable flashlight directly into the USB port to charge it, and then connect an extension wire to the AC outlet and use your solar-powered chainsaw.
In most situations, you can choose to buy parts like solar panels and battery storage individually. However, you can also purchase them as parts of a comprehensive kit. Regardless, we advise you to get the accessories needed to generate and store enough electricity for your intended purposes.
How Does a Portable Solar Generator Work?
Portable solar generators work by collecting sunshine and then converting it into usable electricity. This process comprises four key parts:
- Solar panels convert solar energy into DC electricity. This electricity then passes through the solar charge controller.
- To ensure that the right amount of electricity enters the battery, the solar charge controller regulates the electricity voltage prior to storage.
- The rechargeable battery stores the solar energy for future use.
- The inverter transforms this stored solar energy into AC electricity, which can then be used for solar drilling and any other machines that need to be powered.
Portable Solar Generators v/s Traditional Generators
Benefits of Portable Solar Generators
Solar generators, which are typically lighter than conventional gas-powered generators, are perfect for outdoor gatherings, camping, emergencies, and other on-the-go activities. Some solar generators even come with a pull handle that further increases portability.
The moving parts in conventional generators tend to deteriorate over time and lead to high maintenance expenses. Solar generators, on the other hand, do not have any moving parts or rely on gas or diesel to produce electricity. For this reason, portable solar generators are significantly low maintenance and less likely to require costly repairs.
Cleaner Source of Energy
Portable solar generators rely on sunlight, which is a clean and renewable source of energy. In contrast, the fossil fuels used by traditional generators lead to climate change and air pollution. Also, since solar energy is free, you do not have to worry about bearing the costs of expensive fossil fuels.
Solar generators are easily operable since they do not require any fueling, oiling, or maintenance. All you need to do is switch the generator on, connect your power tools, and use the electricity.
Cons of Portable Solar Generators
Higher Initial Cost
Compared to conventional generators, portable solar generators often demand a larger initial capital outlay.
However, due to their lower operational costs, solar generators will more than compensate for this higher initial cost in the long run.
Lower Energy Storage
If your power needs are too great, solar generators are not the best option. For instance, if there is a power outage, your generator might not be able to power all of the appliances and equipment in your home.
That said, if you are looking for an alternative power source primarily for your hardware tools, a portable solar generator is an excellent option.
Slower Energy Production
Solar generators do not offer the same level of instantaneous power as conventional gas-powered portable generators. If your solar battery has run out of power, you will need to wait for it to charge (which can take a while if the weather is not favorable) before it can power your hardware tools or other electrical appliances.
With traditional generators, you only need to add more gas or fuel to increase the amount of electrical power.
Benefits of Conventional Generators
There are smaller varieties of traditional generators that can be carried on trips or used for hardware projects.
However, keep in mind that you will also need to carry gasoline, which means conventional generators are not as portable as their solar counterparts.
Classical generators are more well-known to some people because they have been on the market for a longer time.
But, the lack of market competition also means that the technology for traditional generators has not evolved much over the years.
Solar generators will need to be charged before they can supply electricity. Conventional generators, on the other hand, can start producing electricity as soon as they receive fuel, which makes them more practical for when you require instantaneous power.
Cons of Conventional Generators
Traditional generators rely on expensive fossil fuels to produce electricity, which raises their overall expense beyond the purchase cost. If you do not have a gas station or any other fuel source close to you, you may have to pay even more money to be able to gain regular access to that fuel.
Traditional generators have a reputation for being polluters. A single gasoline gallon creates around 20 lbs of CO2 (Carbon Dioxide), and a typical camping generator produces approximately 2 lbs of CO2 every hour – even when functioning at a quarter of its maximum capacity.
Alongside CO2, gas-fuelled generators release a number of other toxic gases into the environment, including nitrous oxide, carbon monoxide, and sulphur oxides.
Since a conventional generator is made up of a number of moving parts, it makes a lot of noise while running.
This is especially true for portable, smaller traditional generators which are optimized more for size and weight than for noise.
Conventional generators must undergo regular maintenance in order to stay functional. As mentioned, the moving parts of a traditional generator are subject to wear and tear, and therefore require cleaning, lubrication and, if needed, replacing. Other than that, if gasoline stays unused for an extensive period, it starts to degrade.
All these additional expenses unquestionably make conventional generators more expensive over the long run.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Portable Solar Generator for Your Hardware Tools
The capacity of solar generators (the amount of solar power that a generator can store) is measured using Wh (watt-hours). If you need to power a lot of gadgets or power them for lengthy periods, you will need a portable solar generator with a higher capacity.
However, having less capacity isn't always a bad thing. You do not get the full return on your investment if you only use a portion of your solar generator's capability. In this situation, a smaller-capacity generator would be considerably better suited to your needs.
The number of times you can charge and discharge your solar generator before it starts losing its capacity is known as the generator’s life cycle. As you can expect, the greater the life cycle of your generator is, the longer it is going to last.
Generally, the higher a generator’s capacity, the longer its life cycle is going to be. That said, this is not a given: some lower-capacity generators may have longer life cycles than those with higher capacities. For this reason, it is important to go through the specifics of your chosen generator model before making a decision.
Input and Output
A generator’s input is the amount of power it needs to charge. The output is the amount of electricity that the generator can produce at a given time.
You want a generator that can produce a high output using a low input. This will allow you to power your hardware tools for longer and more frequently.
A generator’s size determines how easy it is to move around and store.
Say you need your portable solar generator for a contracting job where there are no nearby outlets. You would need a generator that is portable enough for you to be able to carry it around whenever and wherever you want.
Along with size, the weight of your solar generator will also define its ease of transport. If you plan to carry your generator around with you when you travel for your jobs, you will need one that is lightweight and compact, particularly if you need to use the stairs.
However, if you only want to go from one point to another and stay there while you use the generator, a larger, more capable generator is worth considering.
Power Your Hardware Tools With Solar Energy
Solar generators are the best option when you need extra electricity. They do this by converting solar energy into electricity, which can then be used to run your equipment or other appliances. Additionally, unlike conventional generators, all that a portable solar generator needs to operate is the sun.
If you are looking for a portable solar generator for your hardware tools, explore our wide range of options. We offer a number of portable solar generators and can help you pick the one that best serves your budget and power requirements.
To learn more about portable solar generators for outdoor work, please feel free to reach out to us.