What Are The Best Uses For Solar Generators
Solar generators are best used for charging devices and running small appliances. Theyre a great source of backup power for a boating or RV camping trip because of their portability, plus theyre clean and dont require you to keep lots of fuel on hand.
Solar generators can power some key appliances in your home in the event of an emergency. But no portable generator will be able to truly power your entire home off-grid.
Instead, you should consider installing a rooftop solar panel system paired with battery storage. Not only will this allow you to have backup power for most of your home in case of an emergency, it will help cut down your electricity bill all year long!
Use our solar calculator to get an estimate of how many solar panels you need to power your home, and how much a home solar panel system costs in your area.
See how much solar panels will cost for your specific home
How Much Does A Portable Generator Cost
Once youve decided on the size and type of generator you require, it becomes simpler to narrow down your choice according to what you can afford. Im going to list the portable generator prices under headings according to the type of generator and the fuel type. This will be Open Frame Generators, with sub headings for the fuel types gas , diesel, dual fuel, or tri-fuel. Inverter generators are generally gas-powered, so this will be under one heading.
Ill the list the generators of each type in a specific wattage range :
- 1 KW to 2 KW
- 3 KW to 4 KW
- 5 KW to 6 KW
- 7 KW to 10 KW
- 11 KW +
Because there is such a huge variety of generator brands , Ill supply an estimated low price to an estimated high price. At the lower end of the price range, you can expect to find brands like Champion Power Equipment, DuroMax, WEN, Ford Power Equipment, Westinghouse, and Briggs & Stratton. I may not have listed them all, but I consider these to be affordable, good quality, medium-duty portable generators.
The higher end of the price range will more heavy-duty brands, like Honda, Yamaha, DeWalt, and Cat. Both Generac and Westinghouse can fall into both the cheaper and more expensive categories as they produce cheaper, medium duty generators, as well as heavy-duty more industrial grade machines and are priced accordingly.
What Size Generator Do I Need
Use the watt usage chart for generators below to calculate the size required for a house. In general:
- Large 20 kW standby generators power a whole house.
- Mid-range 10 to 16 kW generators power major appliances, including central air conditioning, or an entire home if paired with a smart load manager.
- Portable 5 to 10 kW generators power multiple appliances and ten lights.
- A 4 kW generator powers an RV.
|Type of Load|
|Protects the generators base from rodents and insects.|
How Much Do Generators Cost To Run
A small 7 kW portable generator costs $30 to $70 per day to run, while a larger 15 to 20 kW whole-home generator costs $50 to $150 per day to run all day. Costs depend on the generators size, fuel type, and local gasoline, propane, diesel, or natural gas prices.Daily Generator Running Cost Calculation
Three Tips For Solar Shoppers
1. Homeowners who get multiple quotes save 10% or more
As with any big ticket purchase, shopping for a solar panel installation takes a lot of research and consideration, including a thorough review of the companies in your area. A recent report by the U.S. Department of Energys National Renewable Energy Laboratory recommended that consumers compare as many solar options as possible to avoid paying inflated prices offered by the large installers in the solar industry.
To find the smaller contractors that typically offer lower prices, youll need to use an installer network like EnergySage. You can receive free quotes from vetted installers local to you when you register your property on our Solar Marketplace homeowners who get 3 or more quotes can expect to save $5,000 to $10,000 on their solar panel installation.
2. The biggest installers typically dont offer the best price
The bigger isnt always better mantra is one of the main reasons we strongly encourage homeowners to consider all of their solar options, not just the brands large enough to pay for the most advertising. A recent report by the U.S. government found that large installers are $2,000 to $5,000 more expensive than small solar companies. If you have offers from some of the big installers in solar, make sure you compare those bids with quotes from local installers to ensure you dont overpay for solar.
3. Comparing all your equipment options is just as important
Don’t Miss: Can You Sell Solar Panels
Diy Home Generator Installation
Installing a permanent backup generator involves complex electrical work and gas plumbing that needs a licensed professional for safety. Improper wiring can damage the generator, fry appliances, and endanger utility workers by back-feeding the grid.
Portable generators dont always require professional installation, and appliances can be plugged directly into the generator. To power more appliances, hire an electrician to install a manual transfer switch to connect the generator directly to the homes electric panel.
Ready To Build Your Own Solar Generator For 1/2 The Cost
This is related to the lack of repairability. When you buy an ordinary, ready-made solar generator you cant upgrade the inverter, you cant add a bigger battery, nor can you increase the photovoltaic surface area or install a better inverter. Solar energy is such a good thing that youll want to do more of it. Thats where a build-it-yourself approach cant be beat.
Recommended Reading: Can You Put Solar On A Metal Roof
Take It Everywhere You Go
Gas-powered generators need an IC engine and a fuel tank, both of which add serious bulk to the whole rig.
Solar generators, on the other hand, use lithium batteries that make the total package much more compact and portable.
You dont see any carrying handles on gas generators, eh?
How Much Is A Generac Whole House Generator
We dont care about power outrage if we have a generator in our house! It automatically shifts the power and provides electricity! Fun, right? And if you dont have any, you can plan to get one!
Generac, being one of the top-notch brands for generators affords you whole house generators an affordable price. Stay tuned to learn how much a Generac whole-house generator and whats the total cost!
Recommended Reading: How To Start A Solar Company
Benefits Of Diy Over Ready
A 2000 W solar generator is usually sold at around $2000 plus the shipping fee.
If you were to build a solar generator of similar capacity by yourself,
It Has 2500 Battery Life Cycles
The Patriot 1800 supposedly has 2,500 life cycles according to the manufacturer, though thats obviously quite hard to test out anytime soon. In theory, this means that you could use this product every single day for almost 7 years before you would need a replacement.Its a nice feature, but I highly doubt anyone would ever use a generator that often unless they live totally off-the-grid.
You May Like: How Much Solar Power Is Needed To Run A House
How A Solar Generator Works
The battery is a power bank. Depending on the voltage of your battery, it holds power until youre ready to plug-in and run your device. These batteries are also used to charge phone, computer, and power tool battery packs as well. Solar batteries are often finicky and delicate. While many of these solar generators use higher quality lithium ion batteries, its still best to use caution so you dont damage them.
When people think of solar, they forget about the battery component, but its essential. If your power source is the sun, then what do you do on a cloudy day? What happens at night? Solar isnt consistent. The battery stores the power, so its available whenever you need it. If the sun is making enough power, then its shunting the energy into the item youre powering. If you overuse your solar source, then your generator goes into the battery.
The other component of a solar generator is the inverter. The inverter converts DC power into AC power, which is used by most tools and appliances. AC typically runs at 110-240 volts in the USA, so the inverter ramps up the voltage from the battery to 100-240 volts.
Some people prefer the DIY approach to solar generators. They buy the base pieces of a DIY system and put it together themselves. This is certainly possible, but its often a challenging project for a beginner. What Ive seen happen time and time again is people start down the DIY path but get frustrated and go out and buy an off-the-shelf solar generator instead.
Bluetti 2000w Portable Power Station
BLUETTI Portable Power Station can be used not only to power various appliances but can also be relied on in the case of unexpected power outages. It not only has a decent 2000Wh of energy capacity but is also charged fast within 3-3.5 hours on a 700W solar input.
It can also power up to 17 devices simultaneously and has the option of an automatic Eco mode which shuts the generator down when not being used. Theres also a smart LED screen displaying how much battery is remaining.
Should You Buy A Solar Generator
If youre looking to charge small appliances when camping, travelling on an RV, or boating, a solar generator might be right for you! Given their portability and ease of operation, solar generators offer a unique energy solution for those people on the move who need some extra electricity. That being said, the limited power capacity, slow recharge time, and dependence on the sun limit the usability of solar generators as whole home power backup systems.
For property owners interested in backup energy supply from a renewable power source, the best option is to install a rooftop or ground-mounted solar system with a home solar battery attached. During the day, your panels will produce energy and store anything unused in your battery so that you can draw from that battery when the grid goes down. Importantly, a solar energy system without a battery usually cannot operate during a power outage, so installing a solar-plus-storage system is a great way to up your propertys resilience against electrical grid issues.
What Size Generator Will Supply Enough Power For My Needs
Calculate the size generator you need by calculating the wattage of the appliances you use on a daily basis. As a rule of thumb:
- A backup home generator should be a minimum of 5,000 watts.
- An RV generator should be around 2,000 watts if planning to run all systems entirely off of the generator.
- A 500-watt generator being used as a backup power source for an RV would likely suffice.
Also Check: Is Pine Sol Safe For Wood Floors
Howmuch Is A Solar Generator
Solar generators will collect solar energyfrom the sun then store power for use when you need it. They work pretty muchlike the gas-powered generators, with the main difference between the two beingthat you wont have to worry about replenishing the fuel, or worse, deal withfumes, smell, noise, or even the risk of fire.
To determine the cost of a solar generatorfor your home or office, you first need to determine the amount of power youneed to run your home appliances.
For the most part, the solar generatorshave different capabilities, and they come in different sizes, with pricesranging from $100 to a few tens of thousand dollars.
For example, if you need a low-power solargenerator, youd spend an average of $100, and this would give you a $100generator that generates between 5 watts and 10Amp hours. With such generators,you get to enjoy access to a number of power outlets, a DC socket, and a USBoutlet but the power offered isnt that much, although there are models ofsolar generators that would give you up to2 days of power. To chargeyour phones and laptops, youd need a solar generator that offers more power.Such a generator would cost about $500 or more.
But for larger solar generators designed topower your by generating between 1,800 and 3,000 watts, or as much as 245amphours, you would need to spend anything between $2000 $4000 or more.
Is asolar generator a worthy investment?
Patriot Power Generator Shortfalls
Im not going to lie there are a lot of things that I dont like about this product. First of all, if you look up YouTube reviews for the Patriot 1800, youll find that basically all of them are on the 4Patriots YouTube channel. Thats never a good sign.There are a few downsides to this product, here are some to consider:
Don’t Miss: How To Make A Solar Panel With Cd
Buy Yourself A Battery
We recommend rechargeable batteries from these green companies: Greenbatteries Store and Batteries.com. Get any size deep cycle 12 volt lead/acid or gel battery. You need the deep cycle battery for continuous use. The kind in your car is a cranking batteryjust for starting an engine. Look for bargains, the cheapest ones should cost about $50-60.
You Can Build A Solar Generator With More Energy Output Than Commercial Models
The commercially made and preconstructed generators are known to lack optimal power. This has a lot to do with the parts used. When you build your solar generator, you can use an inverter rated at higher capacities. Also, you can install a battery that best meets your situation.
And, of course, you can install a much larger solar panel. Many solar generators come with an undersized solar panel. Your solar panel size will directly impact how fast your battery charges and how much power you can use for extended periods.
Many people report that their self built solar generators charge faster than the ready-made models. When you build yourself, you can optimize the solar panels to their full potential.
Don’t Miss: How Often Do Solar Panels Need Cleaning
How Do Gas Generators Work
Gas generators converts gas energy through motion into electrical energy. The process is very similar to the mechanics of a car.
- Injects fuel and air into combustion chamber
- Piston compresses the mix
- Spark plug ignites the fuel
- Crankshaft spins the generator rotor in an electromagnetic field to generate electric current
Buyers Guide To Portable Solar Generators
When the lights go out, a portable generator can meet critical household energy needs. A gas-powered model is an option, but its loud, dirty and when you run out of gas, youre out of luck.
Solar generators harness energy from the sun to make electricity. Theyre clean, easy to use and require no dependence on fossil fuel. If youre considering one as a backup power supply, but find the technology intimidating, keep reading to learn more about how they work and how to choose the best portable solar generator for you and your family.
You May Like: What Are Solar Panels And How Do They Work
The Patriot Power Generator: Should You Buy It
The Patriot Power Generator 1800 might have its place in some households, but not mine.
For me, I prefer the Jackery Explorer 500 for both camping trips and backup household power.
If you need more power, there is also the Jackery Explorer 1000.
One of the reasons why I prefer the Jackery 500 is because it weighs just 13 lbs 3 times less than the Patriot.
Granted, it doesnt have as much battery capacity, but if you just need backup power for a few basic devices, its more than big enough and doesnt weigh a ton.
Im always clumsily stumbling around with generators during a blackout, but the Jackery 500 comes with features that make it very convenient during a power outage, in emergency situations, or while out camping, such as a built-in carry handle, backlit display screen, and a built-in low-power LED flashlight thats perfect if the lights go out.
In the same scenario, the Patriot weighs a ton, is hard to move around, and has no built-in flashlight feature. Boo.If youre looking for a lightweight solar generator with a ton of features that are great in an emergency, or even just during camping trips, go for the Jackery Explorer 500.
Which Is Better Battery Backup Or Generator
Home battery systems hold less energy capacity than a home generator, however, home batteries are more reliable in providing completely uninterrupted power. Although newer generators have automatic transfer switches, they can take up to a minute to activate, requiring all appliances to turn off and back on again.
You May Like: Are Solar Panels Worth It In Pennsylvania
Six Dirty Little Secrets About Portable Solar Generators
Thinking about investing in a portable solar generator to protect yourself and your family during power blackouts? Watch out. Most of the so-called best solar backup generators promise far more than they deliver.
Ordinary people pay good money to buy energy security for tough times, only to find theyve bought a piece of expensive, short-lived solar junk that delivers no security at all. But things can be much better for you.
Portable solar generators really do have something to offer, but only if you know enough to avoid being fooled.
This blog shines a light on the most common dirty solar generator secrets. It explains some of the typical design limitations and false claims in plain language, but more importantly it shows you how to get yourself the kind of real, reliable, long-lasting solar energy protection you and your family need. No tricks, no slimy language, just plain facts on how to build, maintain and expand your own super-reliable solar generator so you can take effective responsibility for yourself.