Aniket

Aniket is a solar engineer who has been working, teaching, writing and speaking for the clean energy sector for nearly a decade. He has experience working in the European, Asian and North American solar markets and looks forward to the solar singularity.

Off Grid Solar System

What to Look for In Off Grid Solar System Packages

What to Look for In Off Grid Solar System Packages

Off Grid Solar System

Aniket

Written by qualified solar engineer Aniket. Last updated:

Overall Rating 9
Portability 9
Compatibility 9
Durability 8
Ease of Use 10
Value for Money 9

Table of Contents

If you have contemplated installing an off-grid solar power system, you have probably searched online for information. It’s likely left you feeling utterly confused at the ridiculously large variety of everything sold under the name of solar power kits.

On the one hand are basic $1000 kits that include a solar panel or two, a tiny inverter, and some cables and connectors. On the other hand are complex, full-fledged systems with dozens of big and small components and a price tag of tens of thousands.

While it is easy to get lost in the sea of options, a slightly technical understanding of your own requirements and a basic understanding of solar power packages and their components and specifications can help you feel confident in making a perfect choice.

Steps in Picking the Right Off-Grid Solar System Package

1. Understanding Specifications

If you were about to buy a car, it would help to spend some time familiarizing yourself with specifications, such as engine capacity, brake horsepower, and fuel economy, to help you understand which model is more suited to your needs.

Similarly, different components of a solar power system have different specifications, and it is essential to understand what they mean if you want to choose the right solar system package for your off-grid requirements. Let’s take a look at these specs:

a) Power (W)

In physics, power is simply the rate at which work is done. So, an athlete running faster is consuming more power than someone slower than they are.

Power is measured in watts and tells us how much energy something is consuming or generating per hour. For example, a solar panel with a 200W power rating produces 200W (every hour), while a TV set with a 200W power rating consumes 200W of power (every hour). 

Different electrical appliances have different power ratings, and your solar panels and batteries must be capable of providing the total power consumed by all the appliances you will run at any point.

b) Energy (Wh)

Often confused with power and used interchangeably (wrongly), energy is the total power consumed over a certain period, such as in a day, month, or year.

Energy is an important factor in load calculations because getting only power consumption is incomplete information when designing a solar power system. Since energy is a product of power and time, its unit is watt-hours (Wh). Most batteries available in the market today specify their energy capacity in Wh.

c) Current (A)

Electric current is the flow of electrons from point A to B or in a circuit that facilitates the transmission of power. Current rating is important in solar system specifications since it helps select the correct size of cables, correct charge controller, etc.

d) Voltage (V)

To define voltage in simpler terms, one can say that it is the force with which current travels or power is transmitted.

All electrical devices have a specified voltage rating, and when connecting things, it is important to match their voltage ratings. For example, when connecting solar panels and batteries to a 24V inverter, the panel array rating and batteries rating should also be 24V.

2. Understanding Your Requirements

Getting an off-grid solar system package should be as easy as buying a TV. Unfortunately, that is not the case, and you have to spend some time learning how to choose wisely.

When it comes to solar kits, there is no one-size-fits-all. The first and most important selection criterion is how much power you need from your system and when you need it.

One way to calculate this is to find the power rating (W) of every appliance you have and the hours (h) of operation of each, then find the energy consumption (W x h) for every appliance, and sum it up for the total energy consumed.

Here’s an example:

Sr. No. Appliance Watts (Power) Duration of Use (hours) Energy (watts x hours)
1 Lights 100 6 600
2 TV 200 4 800
3 Water Pump 400 1 400
4 Refrigerator 200 6 1200
  TOTAL 900W   3000 Wh

Another option is to use an online load calculator, which has the power consumption values of several appliances pre-fed into it.

Example of Online Load Calculator

Example of Online Load Calculator

Once you have the total energy consumption in Wh, divide by the number of sunshine hours per day at your location, and you will have your required solar panel rating.

For example, if your location receives an average of 5 hours of sunshine daily and your total Wh consumption per day is 5000, then you will need

5000 Wh ÷ 5 h = 1000 W solar panels

Next is a simple calculation for batteries. Since you’re building an off-grid system, you will need batteries, but, the battery does not need to store every Wh of energy produced by the panels. A considerable amount of the energy generated by panels is consumed instantaneously during the day, while the consumption during darker hours varies from person to person. For instance, if you need about 60% of your energy overnight, you can choose a battery with an energy capacity that is around 60% of your calculated daily consumption value. In our example,

60% x 5000 Wh = 3000 Wh battery capacity

Similarly, when selecting an inverter, choose a power rating that is slightly higher than the size of your solar panel, such as a 1200 W inverter in this example.

Lastly, you will need a charge controller, which optimizes the charging of the battery. Based on your inverter’s voltage rating, choose a controller that has a similar voltage rating (12V/24V) and a current rating that is slightly larger than your system’s current rating (total amperage of your solar panels)

Another way of ensuring that the system is right for you is looking for a section in the product description that says something like, “What can you power with this?” This section usually appears on the seller’s website and often outlines the types and quantity of devices that you can run using that particular solar kit. Here’s an example from a well-built solar kit:

What Can Your Solar Kit Power?

3. Comparing Parameters

Calculating the size of your solar power system is only half the battle. Once you have noted the specs, you still need to choose among the myriad options available in the market today. Not all solar power systems of the same capacity are the same. Some might produce significantly less power if the component efficiencies are low. Some might have poor build quality, or some might have too few features for the cost.

Here’s a quick list to help you decide what to look for in an off-grid solar power system from the features point-of-view:

Monocrystalline solar panels

Solar panel efficiency has constantly improved since its invention, but the last two decades saw large technological leaps that took the efficiencies of panels from less than 15% to well over 20%. 

The more efficient a solar panel is, the less space it will occupy. Among the major types of panels in the market, monocrystalline silicon panels are rapidly gaining popularity because of their higher efficiencies compared to multi-crystalline panels.

Lithium batteries

Just a few years ago, bulky lead-acid batteries were the norm for off-grid solar systems. They were not only difficult to handle but also required regular maintenance.

In recent years, lithium-ion batteries have become mainstream, thanks to their notably higher energy density, which makes them much lighter than lead-acid batteries. 

But the advantages of Li-ion batteries are beyond just weight. Most of them are highly efficient, meaning you lose very little energy when charging or discharging the battery.

Even in Li-ion batteries, we recommended going for Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePo4) or LFP batteries, which offer strikingly long life (thousands of lifecycles), much better fire resistance, and higher current rating.

Functionality

Suppose you have narrowed it down to a few contenders with similar price points, one of which gets to become your off-grid solar power system. All the specs and major features such as panel type and battery type are similar, how do you choose one?

At this stage, we look at what a component can provide above and beyond its basic role. Many inverters/generators come with several useful ports, such as an RV plug, wireless charging pads, etc.

Some companies offer solar panels that have integrated mounting stands, saving you the hassle of fabrication and mounting structures.

Other things to look for are the weight of the inverter/battery, the build quality of components, etc. Last but not least, you should receive a wiring schematic and even an installation guide that guides you step-by-step in the entire connection and installation process of the solar system package you have purchased.

4. Optimizing Consumption to Optimize Size of Solar System

Prices for solar equipment have plummeted over the past few years, and going solar is easier than ever. Despite that, off-grid solar power systems still require a sizable investment. A wise way of minimizing the cost of a solar power system is to optimize power consumption.

For example, replacing a 300 W air conditioner with a 50 W fan reduces energy consumption by a factor of 6. For an operating time of 5 hours, the AC would use a staggering 1500 Wh, and a fan will use 250 Wh. This approach not only reduces the size of solar panels required but also the battery capacity. It is one of the most decisive factors in the pricing of the system.

Other tweaks include using LED lights and as much natural lighting as possible.

Summary

Off-grid solar system packages are becoming wildly popular, thanks to how much financial and ecological sense they make, plus their ability to power virtually anything anywhere. As a result, many companies have launched off-grid solar power kits, and it is more difficult than ever to choose the perfect kit per your needs.

The main steps to choosing the right kit for yourself include understanding the basics of a solar PV system, calculating your energy requirements, and understanding and comparing key features.

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How to build off grid solar system The Definitive Guide

How to Build an Off Grid Solar System

How to Build an Off-Grid Solar System: The Definitive Guide

How to build off grid solar system The Definitive Guide

Aniket

Written by qualified solar engineer Aniket. Last updated:

Overall Rating 9
Portability 8
Compatibility 9
Durability 9
Ease of Use 10
Value for Money 8

Table of Contents

Today, going off-grid is almost synonymous with going solar. And this is no surprise, given the impressive flexibility of solar power systems as well as the simplicity with which you can install them.

As long as you have the space, you can equip nearly any off-grid structure with solar. With the plethora of different component options readily available in the market, building an off-grid solar system is not so difficult – all you need is a little understanding of system design and some basic electrical know-how. 

We will try to cover both of these in this article, so you can be one step closer to building your own off-grid, solar-powered system.

What You Need

Four main components go into building any solar power system:

1. Solar panels 

Solar panels are the power-producing component of the system. They convert the energy in sunlight into electric current, hence the name “photo-voltaic”. Solar panels are available in two main types – polycrystalline and monocrystalline. 

Polycrystalline panels are cheaper, but monocrystalline panels are more efficient. Monocrystalline is the recommended choice since the prices of solar panels have fallen significantly in recent years.

2. Inverter

Thanks to its similarity in function and importance, the inverter is often dubbed the heart of a solar system. An inverter converts the direct current (DC) coming from the panels into a more usable alternating current (AC) that most of your appliances need.

If you are running only DC loads, you may be able to set up a system without an inverter, but this severely limits your ability to run a variety of everyday household appliances. 

When looking for an inverter, always look for one with a pure sine wave output for proper efficiency and reliability.

3. Batteries

Although solar systems can operate without batteries, it’s difficult to do so in an off-grid setting. Powering your loads at night or on very cloudy days becomes a challenge.

Batteries are chemical devices that are capable of storing electrical energy through chemical conversions happening inside of them. Batteries have evolved a lot, and today, the most advanced are lithium-ion batteries, which pack more energy capacity per unit volume.

4. Charge Controller

As the name suggests, this is an electrical component that controls the charge, or in other words, monitors the current flowing from the panels to the batteries for optimum charging and efficiency.

You can choose between PWM (Pulse Width Modulator) and MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracker), but we recommend the latter for better efficiency.

Besides the above four major characters, the stage for a solar power system requires a bunch of supporting characters as well, also known as Balance of System (BOS), which includes:

  1. Solar Cables
  2. Breakers / Fuses
  3. DC Busbars / Fuse Box
  4. MC4 Connectors
  5. Cable Ties
  6. Metering Device
  7. Terminal lugs
  8. DIN rails

Lastly, you will need tools that will help you install the solar system:

  1. Wire Stripper
  2. Crimping Tool
  3. Plier
  4. Screwdriver
  5. MC4 Spanner
  6. Spanners

Now that we have everything we need, let’s jump on to the step-by-step process of designing and installing an off-grid solar power system.

Steps in Installing an Off-Grid Solar System

Designing and installing an off-grid system isn’t necessarily complicated, but it is complex, involving a more or less fixed sequence of steps.

1. Load Calculation and System Sizing

Before purchasing or installing the components, determine the specifications and quantities you need based on how much energy and continuous power you will be using. 

There are two ways to calculate this. The slightly time-consuming way involves listing all your electrical appliances, their power consumption, and duration of use, as shown in the following example:

Sr. No. Appliance Watts (Power) Duration of Use (Hours) Energy (Watts x hours)
1 Lights  100 6 600
2 TV 200 4 800
3 Water Pump 400 1 400
4 Refrigerator 200 6 1200
  TOTAL 900 W   3000 Wh

Based on how much energy you will use during the day and the night, you may need to store this entire 3000 Wh in a battery or a part of it. It is safer to assume you will store all of it in the batteries, meaning you need a battery with about 4800 Wh energy capacity.

As for the solar panel size, it depends on the location. Some areas receive up to 6 hours of full sunshine on average, while some receive only about 3. You can refer to one of the many sources on the internet for average sunshine hours in the USA.

Assuming you are in a region with four hours of average daily sunshine, you will need a total of 3000 Wh / 4 h = 750 W.

These basic calculations can provide you with a rough approximation for the size of solar panels and the battery required.

Alternatively, you can also use an online load calculator that allows you to calculate your load and system size in a few clicks, saving a significant amount of time and give you accurate numbers with sufficient reliability.

2. Installing the Batteries

As mentioned before, batteries come in various types and sizes. The best choice today is a lithium-ion system for better efficiency, safety, and lifespan. 

Li-ion batteries come in more than one type – the Nickel-Manganese-Cobalt (NMC) chemistry is a pretty common type, but the more advanced Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) is rapidly gaining popularity due to its significantly longer life and safe operation.

Most batteries are rated 12V by default. Depending on your system voltage, you might need to connect the batteries in series or parallel. The input voltage of the inverter you choose to install governs your system voltage.

Series and Parallel Connection for batteries

Series and Parallel Connection for batteries

3. Connecting the Charge Controller

A charge controller, as discussed before, is necessary to optimize the charging of batteries and protect the solar panels from reverse current. For the best results, we recommend choosing an MPPT charge controller.

Controllers come in 12V or 24V ratings, and you can choose the correct one based on your system (inverter) voltage.

As for the current rating, the device should handle the entire current coming from the solar panels and have a little safety margin. We can consider a safety margin of 30% in this case. You can thus calculate the current rating for the controller by a simple calculation:

Solar panel current rating x 1.3 = charge controller current rating

If the system rating of your solar panels is not known, use the following equation instead:

(Solar panel total watts/system voltage) x 1.3 = charge controller current rating

For example, if you have 600W solar panels and a 12V system, your charge controller rating will be 12V and

600/12 x 1.3 = 65 A

4. Installing the Inverter

Unless you are building a purely DC setup that runs only DC loads, you will need an inverter that converts the electricity coming from the solar panels or batteries into a usable form (AC).

Inverters come with a predefined voltage rating. Smaller sizes usually have a 12V or 24V rating. When setting up the entire system, select the solar panels, charge controller, and batteries so they configure to this rating. 

As far as the wattage is concerned, select an inverter slightly larger than your calculated system size. For instance, a 1000W inverter is sufficient if your load calculation says you need an 800W system. Among the modern inverters available, we recommend choosing one with a pure sine wave output for the best efficiency.

5. Installing Your Solar Panels

Your load calculation gives you the solar panel rating required, and you have selected the batteries, controller, and inverter. The next step is choosing and installing the correct solar panels based on the voltage rating. 

If your inverter input rating is 24V and your solar panels are 12V, you will need to connect two panels in series. If you need more than two panels, you can connect multiple pairs of two panels in series and then connect the pairs in parallel. For instance, if you are setting up an 800W 24V system and have four 200 W, 12V panels, you can connect two pairs in series and then both the pairs (technically called “strings”) in parallel.

Solar panels connected in series and parallel

Solar panels connected in series and parallel

When installing the solar panels, make sure they face south (north if you are in the southern hemisphere). Also, ensure there is no shade on the panels during the day from neighboring trees or buildings.

6. Connect Everything Together

The final step is connecting the panels, batteries, and inverter to the charge controller’s terminals. Following is the wiring diagram for the connection:

Off-grid solar power system wiring diagram

Off-grid solar power system wiring diagram (source – ZHC Solar)

While connecting components to one another, ensure that the polarity of the connecting wires is the same throughout (i.e. connect the positive terminals of one component to the positive of another and the same for negatives). It is good practice to use different colored wires for positive and negative, usually red and black respectively, to avoid mix-up.

When you finally connect the solar panels to the controller, cover the panels with a dark cloth so the sudden incoming current does not damage your other components.

Should You Build an Off-Grid Solar System from Scratch?

From the previous section, you can see building an off-grid system is not too difficult and involves only six steps. However, when installing the system, each of these six steps has a dozen sub-steps involved, and however general the procedure might sound, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to building a system. 

Depending on factors specific to you, the installation procedure may require some frugality and last-moment innovation, which is not natural to everyone, especially those new to the world of DIY or even solar power.

Another important thing to consider is the availability of simpler options. While installing modern inverters, batteries, and charge controllers is a little easier than a decade or two ago, you can eliminate a lot of complexity by choosing ready-made complete solar power kits

A typical, custom-built solar power system will include correctly sized panels, supporting hardware, and most importantly, solar generators that integrate the battery, charge controller, and inverter into one unit, massively simplifying the system.

For instance, you can choose a powerful kit that includes a Bluetti AC200P solar generator that boasts a top-of-the-line LFP battery and plenty of ports for easy connecting and disconnecting of loads and/or solar panels.

Bluetti AC200P Hex Kit

Bluetti AC200P Hex Kit

Conclusion

Sustainable, off-grid living is catching up fast, and there is hardly a better option for your off-grid energy needs than setting up a solar power system. Thanks to the incredible flexibility and noteworthy simplicity of solar equipment, building a DIY, the off-grid solar power system is a great idea and often an enjoyable experience.

By using four main components, doing a few basic calculations, and understanding the basics, you can build an off-grid solar unit.

On the other hand, technology has advanced at terrific speed. Building an off-grid solar power system might not be necessary, thanks to the availability of well-designed solar generators which combine three crucial components of a solar system into one device.

There are several complete solar kits on the market, impressively put together using the above-mentioned solar generators. If you want to seriously reduce or even eliminate the complexity and hassle of installing a full-fledged solar power system yourself, these solar kits can be a blessing for you!

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a logo and a hand in front of the solar panels

Solar Panel Recycling: The Ultimate Answer to the Solar Panel Waste Problem​

Solar Panel Recycling: The Ultimate Answer to the Solar Panel Waste Problem

Aniket

Written by qualified solar engineer Aniket. Last updated:

Solar photovoltaic is the technology that provides tremendous hope when it comes to solving the climate crisis. With solar officially becoming the cheapest technology, its widespread adoption is obvious. However, there is a downside. After their lifespan of 30 years, solar panels’ power generation drops significantly – enough to make sense to simply discard them.

With millions of panels installed every year, we will soon be left with gigantic amounts of solar panels that have no use. However, there is an opportunity in crisis. The International Renewable Energy Agency predicts that by 2050, we will be able to extract a whopping 78 million metric tons of valuable material from these solar panels if recycled correctly. And the absolute best thing? To inject these materials back into solar panel manufacturing.

Making the Economy Circular

Solar panel recycling is not a new concept. Some countries and states even have legislation for mandatory recycling of panels. As time progresses and the amount of solar waste increases, these legislations will become more common – and for a good reason. Solar panels generally contain raw material that is non-decomposable and, to some extent, even harmful to the environment.

image – sstimated pv waste increase

Image – Estimated PV waste increase (Source: Greenmatch)

The materials that can be recycled in solar panels are mainly glass, metal, and silicon. However, conventional solar panel recycling focuses on extracting these materials and utilizing them in various industries. But one solar company has adopted a custom technology to disassemble panels and extract materials – to use them in their own solar panels again.

In Ohio, one of the leading solar companies worldwide called First Solar has established a recycling plant right beside its panel manufacturing plant. The company claims to recycle 90% of the materials from end-of-life panels to use them again in their own new modules. First Solar also has similar recycling plants in Germany and Malaysia.

According to the company, if 95% of the semiconductor material can be recovered and put back in a solar panel, and the cycle continues to repeat, the same material could serve us for up to 1200 years – an astonishingly long duration. This would ease the pressure on mining for more silicon, saving resources, and reducing the relatively few emissions caused by solar panel manufacturing.

Solar Panel Recycling: What Comes Next?

outdoor solar field

Though solar panel recycling is not a novel concept, it has a few limitations. There is a significant gap in the numbers of module manufacturing plants and recycling plants. Often, end-of-life modules must be shipped to distant locations for recycling.

The cost incurred in this transportation does not always make financial sense for the materials that get reused. To solve this problem, more recycling plants need to come up. If possible, as Andreas Wade of First Solar says, they should be mobile recycling plants.

As new module manufacturing units come up, it would be a good idea to design and build module manufacturing and recycling units instead. Companies doing this might even have financial benefits in this model since they won’t have to import raw materials from foreign destinations, which is normally the case. Of course, this would happen only when modules will be recycled in huge numbers, which, as we have discussed, is not so much in the distant future.

Solar PV modules, whether they are regular panels or rugged, portable panels, all have a specified lifespan. Although most panels are not near the end of their life, we must act with foresight. It will be wise to plan better for the huge amounts of waste solar will generate in the coming decades – and reusing the recycled materials into building solar panels might be the ultimate answer to the waste problem.

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Bluetti AC300

Bluetti AC300 + B300 Expansion Battery Review

Bluetti AC300 + B300 Expansion Battery Review

Bluetti AC300

Aniket

Written by qualified solar engineer Aniket. Last updated:

Overall Rating 9
Portability 8
Compatibility 9
Durability 9
Ease of Use 10
Value for Money 8

Table of Contents

If you list the top few developments of the year in the solar generator market, Bluetti’s game-changing AC300 solar generator and B300 battery expansion pack will be somewhere near the top. The latest offering in the AC series is not only different from other solar power stations, but it is also unique among Bluetti’s own set of generators.

The AC300 comes without a built-in battery and relies on the B300s for energy storage but promises extraordinary numbers for power output and input. With incredible scalability of up to 24,600 Wh and 6,000 W, this modular combo pushes the limits. Let us dive deeper into this Bluetti AC300+B300 Expansion Battery Review.

Key Specs

1. AC300

Battery No battery inside
Output
  • Rated AC power: 110 V, 3,000 W Continuous (6,000 W Surge)
  • DC output: 5 V DC / 3 A USB Plug, 12 V DC / 3/10/25 A output ports
Input
  • AC/wall charging: 3000 W at 120 V; 6000 W at 240 V
  • Solar: Max 2400 Watts, 12-150 V 
  • Car Charger: 12 V /24 V DC
Size 520 mm (20.5 in) x 343 mm (13.5 in) x 300 mm (11.8 in)
Weight 44 lb/ 20 kg 

2. B300

Battery 3,072 Wh, Lithium-ion (LFP), 3,500+ lifecycles
Output
  • DC output: 18W USB-A Plug, 100W USB-C Plug
  • 12V/10A cigarette lighter
Input
  • AC/wall charging: 500 W
  • Solar input: 200 W 
Size 520 mm (20.5 in) x 358 mm (14.1 in) x 325 mm (12.8 in)
Weight 74 lb/ 34 kg 

Key Features

1. Extreme Expandability and Flexibility

The AC300 does not sit in the segment of solar generators designed with expandability as just an option. It goes above and beyond that. It is designed with expandability to be its forte, its most powerful selling point.

To begin with, the AC300 dares to be just a power management system without a battery in it, needing you to buy the B300 battery unit separately. Despite that, it amazes with how much you can expand the capacity. 

A single B300 comes with a 3,072 Wh capacity, and you can connect up to four such units to the AC300 to achieve an admirable 12,288 Wh. But it does not stop there. Bluetti has also launched a Fusion Box Pro, a device that combines two sets of AC300+4xB300, taking the battery capacity to a humongous 24,576 Wh and the power output to 6,000 W. These numbers should be easily sufficient to power even larger households.

Bluetti AC300

AC300 + B300 Maximum Expansion

The B300s not only serve as great expansion devices, but you can also use them as standalone basic power generators on their own. They have two USB ports, a 12V cigarette lighter port, and a power button, providing segment-first flexibility.

2. Great Input and Output Rating

The word “powerful” is an apt description of the AC300 + B300 combination. It has a continuous AC power output of 3,000W, with a surge capacity of 6,000W. With its tremendous expandability, the largest setup churns out 6,000W of power continuously, a figure hardly any portable solar generator reaches.

The numbers are impressive on the input side, too. An adjustable AC input of 3,000W or 6,000W allows you to charge the device in just an hour (or half for 6,000W), which is a big leap even from the previous AC series models, which support up to 500W AC input.

The solar input rating is equally stunning. At 2,400W, you can charge the device in about 1.5 hours. Combining AC and DC inputs allow a staggering 5,400W into the system continuously (needs 2 B300s for combined charging), which is a remarkable feat.

3. Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePo4) Battery

Like Bluetti’s other offerings, the B300 also comes with a modern lithium-iron-phosphate battery. LFP batteries are the next big step in lithium battery technology, and Bluetti is one of the few brands to adopt it early – beating even more popular brands like Tesla and Goal Zero.

Bluetti AC300

LFP Battery in the Bluetti B300

The biggest advantage offered by LFP batteries over traditional Li-NMC (Nickel-Manganese-Cobalt) batteries is their durability. For instance, Bluetti’s batteries promise over 3,500 lifecycles. In comparison, a typical NMC battery, such as that of a Goal Zero model, would offer only 500 lifecycles.

These batteries don’t just last a long time. They also have much higher thermal resistance, meaning an LFP battery catching fire is very unlikely. This tolerance also allows LFP batteries to have higher current ratings.

4. Split Phase Bonding

A major difference between the smaller AC series models and the AC300 is its split-phase bonding feature. Technically, this means the voltage can be doubled (splitting of the phase) for greater power transfer.

While the regular input or output voltage is 120V, split-phase bonding allows it to be 240V. The power rating subsequently doubles from 3,000W to 6,000W. On the output end, this means you can run heavier loads on the same device, and on the input side, it means you can charge the unit by almost twice the speed.

5. Practical design

Bluetti’s generators have got more than just good looks, and the AC300 is no exception. The makers have designed it thoughtfully to include many practical features. For instance, the AC300 comes with a 30A RV port. You can now run any appliances in your RV by simply plugging one cable into the RV port. The B300 has enough juice to power pretty much everything in your RV for a few hours.

Speaking of practicality in design, the AC300 + B300 also supports hot-swapping, meaning if the battery level in a B300 is too low, you don’t need to turn off the entire unit to charge the battery, just unplug it plug in a new one in a hot-swap and your generator’s operations continue seamlessly. 

6. Advanced Functionality

Unlike a decade ago, a good solar generator today is a lot more than just a good battery and inverter. Most manufacturers are trying to make using their power station as simple and intuitive as possible, and Bluetti does not disappoint on this front.

The AC300, like the other models in the AC series, comes with an exceptional display screen. The screen is a high-quality, responsive LCD touch-screen with excellent visibility and superior functionality. It shows a large variety of information such as input and output parameters and more, and also allows regulating voltages and currents. 

Bluetti AC300

Bluetti AC300 Display Screen

But you don’t have to walk up to the solar generator to look at the screen each time, Bluetti now offers a mobile app with the device. The app comes with an interface that is slightly similar to the LCD screen on the unit, and you can also use it to turn off the device remotely.

Bluetti AC300

Bluetti Mobile App

Design and Construction

Bluetti continues its streak of aesthetically pleasing designs with the AC300, mainly by sticking to the metallic grey and textured black combination with the cool blue branding. The AC300 resembles the other AC series generators but looks slightly boxy, suggesting a more powerful look.

Despite being mostly built out of ABS plastic, the AC300 and B300 manage to exude ruggedness through the design. Usage-wise, the AC300 is very similar to the AC200s. The front sports all the ports, the display screen, and the power button.

Bluetti AC300

Bluetti AC300 Output Ports

Bluetti AC300

Bluetti B300 Output Ports

On the top are two wireless charging pads, and on the side of the unit are battery connection ports as well as input ports – for solar DC input and AC wall input.

Bluetti AC300

Bluetti AC300 Input Ports

Pros

Bluetti’s most powerful generator + battery combo to date – the AC300 + B300 – is more than just a larger version of their existing products. It is a uniquely powerful device. Let us list down the reasons why buying the AC300 + B300 makes sense:

5-digit battery storage capacity in Wh was unheard of when it came to portable solar generators, but Bluetti shattered the norm with the extreme expandability of the AC300 with the B300s. The modular design and a maximum of 24,600 Wh mean you never have to worry about running out of energy storage. 

The power output is equally impressive at a maximum of 6,000W and should run heavy appliances for quite a long time.

The LFP battery inside the device is not only energy-dense, but it is also less susceptible to fires or explosions and lasts significantly longer.

A 30 A RV port allows for convenient powering of RV appliances, plus the hot-swapping feature lets you do quick and easy battery changes when the unit is in operation. Coupled with a superb LCD touch screen and an intuitive mobile app, the AC300 and B300 provide guaranteed peace of mind when it comes to functionality. 

One would expect the B300 battery expansion pack to be secondary to the AC300 in importance, but it impresses as much as the AC300 itself – its independent input and output capabilities turn it into a basic solar generator itself, adding tremendous flexibility to the combination.

Cons

There aren’t many things that should deter you from buying the AC300 and B300, but these machines do come with some flaws.

The AC300, however well-built, does not include a battery, unlike the previous AC models. So, you MUST buy the B300 with it. You can use the AC200 Max or AC200P, on the other hand, as full-fledged generators without necessarily having to buy the B230 or the B300.

At 44 lb, the AC300 is not particularly heavy for its power output, but as mentioned before, you will need a combination of the AC300 and B300 to have any energy storage in it. With the B300’s 74 lb, the total weight comes to a grueling 118 lb. 

Without a wheeled cart, moving the AC300 + B300 combo is a big hassle and questions the “portable” tag of the devices.

Final Words: Should You Buy the Bluetti AC300 + B300

There is no such thing as the ultimate solar generator that suits every single user, but Bluetti’s AC300 + B300 comes as close to claiming that title as possible. Its outstanding expandability and high power rating make it suitable for everything from off-grid adventures to powering large homes.

The unit boasts one of the highest solar input ratings at 2,400W and one of the highest total input ratings of 5,400W, allowing it to charge it in an impressively short time. Its split-phase bonding is another unique selling point, thanks to which you can double the input or output voltage for double the charging speed or power output.

A state-of-the-art LFP battery promises exceptionally long life and safe operation, while a well-designed display screen and mobile app make using it super-convenient.

The devices do have their flaws, such as the battery-less AC300 and its unimpressive mass. But if a couple of minor drawbacks are not a big turn-off, the AC300 and B300 are certainly an excellent combination to own.

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Bluetti AC200 Max

Bluetti AC200 Max Solar Generator + B230 Expansion Battery Review

Bluetti AC200 Max Solar Generator + B230 Expansion Battery Review

Bluetti AC200 Max

Aniket

Written by qualified solar engineer Aniket. Last updated:

Overall Rating 9
Portability 8
Compatibility 9
Durability 9
Ease of Use 8
Value for Money 9

Table of Contents

Bluetti has recently launched two intriguing products in what they tout as the Grand Debut of full home battery backup. These include the AC200 Max, a solar generator that feels like a slightly stronger twin of the original AC200P, and the extension battery pack B230, which is a noteworthy addition to Bluetti’s line-up.

Though it’s similar to the previous model, the AC200 Max does offer a couple of exciting new features, such as a 30 A RV plug and a mobile app. What excites us most about the B230, though, is a segment-first battery extender you can use as a simple generator in itself and is compatible with older Bluetti power stations too. 

In this Bluetti AC200 Max + B230 Expansion Battery review, we cover the new 200 series model and compatible battery expansion pack in detail.

Bluetti AC200 MAX Solar Generator Key Features

1. Expandability and Flexibility

Arguably the biggest highlight of Bluetti’s new launch is the expandability of battery capacity, with the incredible B230 extension pack. If you are someone who likes Bluetti’s generators but wants a larger storage capacity like that of a Goal Zero Yeti 6000X, which is great news!

Bluetti AC200 Max connected to B230 Expansion Battery

With a single Bluetti B230 battery, the AC200 Max can provide an impressive 4096 Wh storage, but the best part – up to two B230s can be connected with the Bluetti AC200 Max to expand the battery capacity to a staggering 6144 Wh. Interestingly, Bluetti is also offering the B300 expansion battery, which is also compatible with the AC200 Max, and with two B300s, you can achieve a whopping 8192 Wh capacity.

Bluetti AC200 Max with two B230 Batteries Connected

But the B230 and B300 aren’t just expansion devices. You can use them as standalone battery banks, too. This feature is an industry-first that beats other close competitors such as the EcoFlow Delta. 

The B230 has three different ports, and you can run a variety of basic appliances from it. It even has its own charging port, a power button, and a design resembling the AC200s, with strong handles for carrying it easily.

As for input, the device provides impressive flexibility by allowing you to charge it with 900W solar and 500W AC input – simultaneously. Using a 1400W input charges the battery in just 1.5 hours. You can also use solar to pump in the entire 1400W. All you would need is Bluetti’s charging enhancer, which is sold separately.

2. Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePo4) Battery

In the increasingly crowded space of solar power generators, only a few brands stand apart with state-of-the-art battery technology. Bluetti is one brand that can lay such a claim, with a long-lasting LFP battery that promises an excellent 3500+ lifecycles. In comparison, a Goal Zero battery with Li-NMC technology offers around 500 cycles.

But the LFP technology offers more than longevity. It also promises better safety. These batteries have exceptional thermal resistance, so there is a low chance of catching fire, even in extremely hot regions. Additionally, LFP cells are also known to offer better current ratings, which is evident from the 30A RV port the makers have offered on this product.

Furthermore, Bluetti leaves no room for complaints by choosing to go with cells manufactured by LG Chem.

3. High Power Output

If you look at any solar power station in the market today, it will probably have a power output in W that is about half or a third of the battery capacity in Wh. This ratio is another area where Bluetti’s generators triumph.

The Bluetti AC200 Max has an excellent power rating of 2,200 W, which is slightly higher than the AC200P. For a 2048 Wh battery, this is a striking amount of continuous power you can draw out of it. It does mean that you can drain the entire battery in less than an hour if you pull the entire 2,200 W, but it is always good to have that option available rather than not. 

What can the Bluetti AC200 Max Power do?

Additionally, the battery expansion packs can help improve discharge times by two or three times if needed, so the high power output shouldn’t always mean you will be left out of juice pretty soon.

4. One of the Best Display Screens

Display screens on solar power stations are no longer a new feature, but the quality of the screen on Bluetti’s AC200 Max is certainly exceptional. It is the same resistive, LCD touch-screen on the AC200P and eliminates the frustration of barely haptic, squishy button screens with poor visibility.

The screen is capable of more than just displaying a bunch of information. While it does show a large amount of information, it also allows the management of the generator. You can turn AC or DC power on or off and even regulate parameters.

Bluetti LCD Touch-Screen

5. 120 V/30 A Shore Power/RV Plug

A big difference between the Bluetti AC200P and the AC200 Max is the 30 A RV plug on the latter. For those who are into off-grid adventures that involve a camper, this is a boon. Using appliances in an RV by keeping an engine running is inefficient and expensive.

Connecting the RV battery to the Bluetti AC200 Max through the 30 A plug can help operate even relatively heavier appliances like an air conditioner for a decent amount of time. If you have solar panels on your RV, it increases flexibility and efficiency even more.

AC200 Max 30A RV Plug

AC200 Max 30A RV Plug

6. Hot Swapping

Another upgrade over the AC200P, the Bluetti AC200 Max allows hot-swapping of batteries. If your generator is on and you need more energy, you can add a new battery module without turning the system off, adding flexibility to the use of the power station.

7. Mobile App

Here’s another area where the newer AC series generator is better than the older one – it comes with a mobile app with an intuitive layout and animations. It allows not only to check real-time status without having to go near the generator but also to control parameters and turn the device off when needed.

Bluetti Mobile App

Bluetti Mobile App

Key Specifications: Bluetti AC200 MAX + B230 Battery

1. Bluetti AC200 Max

Battery 2,048 Wh, Lithium-ion (LFP), 3,500+ lifecycles
Output
  • Rated AC power: 110 V, 2,200 W Continuous (4,800 W Surge)
  • DC output: 5 V DC / 3 A USB Plug, 12 V DC / 3/10/25 A output ports
Input
  • AC/wall charging: 500 W
  • Solar Charger: Max 900 Watts, 10-145 V / 12 A MPPT
  • Car Charger: 12 V /24 V DC
Management System
  • MPPT charge controller
  • Low battery protection
  • Short-circuit protection
  • Overload protection
Size (L*W*H): 420 mm (16.5 in) x 280 mm (11 in) x 386.5 mm (15.2 in)
Weight 48 lb/ 22 kg 

2. Bluetti B230 Expansion Battery

Battery 2,048 Wh, Lithium-ion (LFP), 3,500+ lifecycles
Output
  • DC output: 18W USB-A Plug, 100W USB-C Plug
  • 12V/10A cigarette lighter
Input
  • AC/wall charging: 500 W
  • Solar Charger: Max 900 Watts, 10-145 V / 12 A MPPT
  • Car Charger: 12 V /24 V DC
Management System
  • MPPT charge controller
  • Low battery protection
  • Short-circuit protection
  • Overload protection
Size (L*W*H): 420 mm (16.5 in) x 280 mm (11 in) x 226 mm (8.9 in)
Weight 48 lb/ 22 kg 

Design and Construction: AC200 MAX + B230 Battery

The design of the Bluetti AC200 Max and even the B230 battery unit is very similar to that of the AC200P – a sleek, modern design that differentiates the devices from most other solar generators.

A textured black body with metallic grey edges and handles, accentuated with cool blue branding gives a high-tech look to the devices. Despite being built almost entirely out of ABS plastic, the units have a rugged feel to them.

Bluetti AC200 Max Ports 1

Bluetti AC200 Max Ports

But the design delivers more than just aesthetics – it scores full marks for functionality too. All the ports are neatly grouped on the front panel. The display is in the center, and the power button is in the left corner. The addition of the 30 A RV plug as well as improved, fast-charging USB ports is a welcome upgrade from the AC200P.

The top of the unit has two wireless charging pads with input ports for AC and DC charging on the side.

Bluetti AC200 Max ports 2

Bluetti AC200 Max Ports

Overall, the AC200 Max is not vastly different from the AC200P, neither in design nor in specifications, and it is strange why Bluetti did not simply launch the battery expansion pack. In fact, the newer generator is so similar to the older one that Bluetti itself, on its website, writes “Small Change, Big Leap”, acknowledging that the AC200 Max and AC200P models are very similar.

The B230 battery expansion pack, on the other hand, is a different story. It is arguably Bluetti’s milestone product in terms of usability. It is similar in size and looks similar to the generator itself, just slightly shorter. This simple-looking boxy device has three output ports, a battery extension port to connect it with the AC200 Max or AC200P, and an input port for independent charging. 

Bluetti B230 Ports

Bluetti B230 Ports

Pros

Bluetti’s new AC series generator with its new battery expansion packs is an exciting entry into the solar generator market. Together, they make one of the best solar power stations, if not the best. Here’s a quick outline of the reasons why you should consider buying the AC200 Max + B230:

Just like the older model, the AC200 Max looks high-tech, and so does the battery expansion unit, as it carries the exact same design language.

The LFP battery inside the device is not only energy-dense but also safer and lasts longer.

The optimum number of ports and an easy-to-handle construction, coupled with a terrific display screen and mobile app control make the generator as advanced as it can be.

The B230 expansion pack with its multiple model compatibility, independent usage, and hot-swapping feature provides much-needed flexibility of how much energy you want to use and when. The mobile app improves its flexibility even more by allowing remote monitoring.

Cons

There isn’t much to complain about the AC200 Max and the B230, but a few things are still worth noting.

With a top-notch battery, a pure sine-wave inverter, and a thoughtful design, you would expect the AC200 Max to impress in the efficiency department too. However, though not unacceptably low, the device lets down with an 80% efficiency, unlike some competitors that reach well over the 90% mark. So, you could charge the entire 2048 Wh but can only extract just 80% of it.

Although all of Bluetti’s solar generators technically fall under the portable category, the level of portability varies from model to model. Speaking specifically of the AC200 Max, it is portable but not easily. The energy-dense lithium battery does make it relatively less heavy than a lead-acid battery, but at 62 lb, it is not a breeze when just one person tries carrying it. 

Add in the B230, and its portability quotient suffers even more. It would have been terrific if Bluetti provided a wheeled cart, even optional, to carry the entire combo of the generator and the expansion battery.

Final Words: To Buy or Not to Buy

It is easy to find yourself lost in the sea of options when looking for a solar generator, and Bluetti might not be as popular as Goal Zero, but their products seldom disappoint, which applies to the Bluetti AC200 Max and B230 as well.

If a reliable battery, good looks, and flexibility of use are on your must-have list, you will not be disappointed with Bluetti’s recent products. Sure, the units have their tiny flaws here and there, but there’s hardly anything that should deter you from buying it. 

And even if you can’t get a hold of the Bluetti AC200 Max, the original AC200P is almost the same model and compatible with the new battery expansion packs.

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Bluetti AC200P Solar Generator

Bluetti AC200P Review

Bluetti AC200P Review: Is It The Best Solar Generator? (2021)

Bluetti AC200P Solar Generator

Aniket

Written by qualified solar engineer Aniket. Last updated:

Overall Rating 9
Portability 8
Compatibility 9
Durability 9.5
Ease of Use 10
Value for Money 9

Table of Contents

If there were ever a beauty contest for portable solar power stations, the Bluetti AC200P would undoubtedly steal the show. But is it just beauty this solar generator offers? Of course not! The AC200P Solar Generator comes with a 2,000 Wh LFP battery with 2,000 W inverter output and 700 W solar input while promising plenty of handy features in a well-built unit.

But in a market that becomes more competitive every year, does the Bluetti AC200P Solar Generator stand out from the crowd? Is this the best solar generator in its price range? Let us find out in this in-depth Bluetti AC200P review.

Where to Buy

Check Out the Bluetti AC200P
Bluetti AC200P Solar Generator

Bluetti AC200P Solar Generator Design and Construction

If there is one area of the Bluetti AC200P where no other solar generator comes close, it’s its design. The device looks straight out of a star wars spaceship. Its metallic grey edges and black body with a texture resembling carbon fiber makes it look futuristic. The cool blue branding and port labels give it an even more modern feel.

The recesses on both sides act as handles. The output ports are grouped and placed in the front, while the wireless charging pads are on the top. The ports come with soft plastic caps, which prevent dust or dirt from accumulating in the ports. Two input ports are on the side of the unit.

The product is well-designed, even from a functionality perspective. It has a whopping 17 outlet ports:

Bluetti AC200P Outlets:

6 x AC110V AC outlet (pure sine-wave)
1 x DC12V/25A
1 x DC12V/10A
2 x

DC 12V/3A

4 x

5V/3A USB-A

1 x

PD 60W USB-C Faster Charge (5V/3A, 9V/3A, 12V/3A,15V/3A, 20V/3A)

2 x

Wireless Charging (Single Output Max 15W)

Bluetti AC200P Solar Generator

One of the main highlights of the Bluetti AC200P is its 25A DC output port. The only downside here is that the Aviation plug to XT60 cable needs to be purchased separately from Bluetti.

Speaking of cables, the AC200P comes with an AC wall charger that resembles older laptop chargers, an XT90 to aviation plug input cable, a car charger to XT90, and most importantly, solar charging cables (MC4 to XT90). 

The specially designed cables make solar connections simple. All you need to do is place the panels facing the sun, connect the MC4 connectors, and the XT90 side to the Bluetti AC200P and it starts pumping juice into the battery.

Bluetti and Solar panel

Simultaneous AC and DC charging slashes the time required, but that is not the only option for faster charging. You can also use both the DC and AC ports to charge via your regular wall output; you just need an additional adapter and transfer plugs, which you must order separately.

Bluetti and Solar panel

The only question that now remains this – with its well-thought design and features, what can the Bluetti AC200P power? 

Thanks to a diverse set of AC and DC ports, a sizable battery, and its noteworthy 2,000 W output, here’s a list of appliances (and the respective durations) which the AC200P can power:

What Can The Bluetti AC200P Actually Power:

Refrigerator (800w) 2.1Hrs+
CPAP (60w) 28+ Hrs
Laptop (60w) 28+ Hrs
Fan (12w) 140+ Hrs
Smartphone 180+ Hrs
Led lantern light (10w) 170+ Hrs
LCD TV (100w) 17+ Hrs

Bluetti manages to hit a sweet spot in terms of battery capacity and power output, but if someone is looking for a longer-lasting battery, the company has just announced expansion packs and even new generator models which can take your total storage capacity to an astonishing 24,576 Wh, which should be more than sufficient for anyone who plans on going fully off-grid for long periods of times, and maybe even permanently.

Bluetti AC200P Pros

Make a list of the best solar generators in the market, and you cannot leave out the Bluetti AC200P. A top-notch LFP battery, superb power output, and a compelling design make this device a highly preferred choice, to the extent that some experts are even calling it “the number one solar generator right now!”

The usability is worth mentioning, with over a dozen different output ports and a variety of input options, some of which you can even use simultaneously.

The AC200P’s construction is not just aesthetically pleasing but also rugged. Overall, the manufacturer hasn’t left much room for complaints with the device.

Bluetti AC200P Cons

The Bluetti AC200P is one of the few solar power stations that can boast almost no serious drawbacks.

But among the less impacting limitations would be its weight. At 55 lb, it is not among the easiest to carry, despite being labeled as a “portable” generator. The handles on both sides have soft grips and feel comfortable but don’t compensate much for the weight. Bluetti’s store has no wheeled cart yet, and now that they are launching even larger models, it might be a good time to offer one.

The Top 3 Bluetti AC200P Solar Kits

Where to Buy

Check Out the Bluetti AC200P Hex Kit

Where to Buy

Check Out the Bluetti AC200P Quad Kit

Where to Buy

Check Out the Bluetti AC200P Nomad Kit

Final Words

The solar generator market is ripe today with plenty of options, and it is natural to feel lost in choosing the right solar generator for yourself. The Bluetti AC200P makes things easier at such times by offering winning features and aesthetics at a reasonable price tag.

A truly plug-and-play unit with high power output, the AC200P is suitable for someone looking for a safe, reliable battery that will last long. It is also an excellent alternative to more expensive options such as those offered by Goal Zero.

When you consider a solar generator’s specifications, mainly its battery capacity, there can never be a single perfect product for everyone. For anyone requiring anywhere around 2000Wh of storage capacity, the AC200P is a great choice, but if you need less storage, something like the EcoFlow Delta is a better option. Similarly, if 2000Wh does not sound enough, you can move a step up and look at the impressive Hysolis MPS 4500.

Ultimately, it is important to calculate your requirements and choose, but if a 2000 Wh battery with 2000 W power output and killing looks is what you are looking for, you cannot go wrong with the Bluetti AC200P!

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Hysolis Solar Generator

Hysolis MPS 4500 Solar Generator (Honest) Review

Hysolis MPS 4500 Solar Generator (Honest) Review

Hysolis Solar Generator

Aniket

Written by qualified solar engineer Aniket. Last updated:

Overall Rating 9
Portability 8
Compatibility 9
Durability 8
Ease of Use 8
Value for Money 9

Table of Contents

The line between full-fledged home solar systems and portable solar power stations blurs more and more with each passing year, as portable solar generators continue to become more powerful and more practical. A classic example of this is the Hysolis MPS 4500 Wh/3000 W Solar Generator.

The MPS is not just a machine with enormous energy capacity and output – it is also a fabulously designed piece of equipment. It comes with a range of impressive features such as a low-frequency inverter, up to 1500W solar input, and pass-through AC power. Sure, it has its share of limitations, like the absence of an LFP battery or the not-so-impressive 120 lb weight, but if those aren’t big concerns for you, this might be the only solar device you’ve ever needed.

Let’s take a more detailed look at it in this Hysolis MPS 4500 Solar Generator review.

Hysolis Design and Construction

Take a quick look at the MPS 3K and it seems to resemble a small gas generator, but look carefully, and you will notice that it is a high-tech device that is neatly designed and put together.

Hysolis goes with a minimal design for this product, with a simple, boxy design with plain grey and black colors. The build quality, however, of everything from the metal to the plastic components is excellent. 

One end of the device comes with four 15 A AC output ports, which should be enough for most users. It has several circuit breakers for battery, solar, ac input, and ac output, which give a little more control and safety in the user’s hands.

There’s also a 12V car charger DC input port and two USB ports to connect your mobile devices, Bluetooth speakers, lamps or similar, small electronics. Hysolis has also provided a terminal block for AC input and output for connecting a panel or charging from the grid.

Hysolis solar generator MPS
Hysolis generator output ports

On the other end of the unit sits a large orange port, which you can use for battery extension if you need to join multiple MPS units together for higher energy or power capacity. Below the port are a fan vent, an Anderson connector for solar input, and a 12V DC output similar to the cigarette lighter in your car.

On the top surface of the device sits a small LCD screen that displays several bits of information such as power received from solar, battery capacity, power output to load, etc. It also comes with four LED indicators for PV, Line, Inverter, and Fault, respectively. 

The screen is by no means as advanced as, say, your smartphone, but it does not need to be, and the limited functionality it has is sufficient for its purpose.

The enclosure of the MPS has spaces you can use as handles, but it is painfully difficult for one person to lift it, given its 120 lb weight. A pair of wheels or an optional wheeled cart would have been an excellent addition.

Hysolis solar generator

Hysolis Pros

Let’s summarize all the great reasons for buying the Hysolis MPS 3K. Besides its massive, 4500 Wh energy storage capacity and impressive solar power input rating of 1500 W, the generator offers excellent functionality with many conveniently placed ports.

It also comes with durable housing and neatly assembled components, so you don’t have to worry about shocks and vibrations. Inside sits a low-frequency inverter that provides better surge protection and peak power performance, churning out power in a pure sinewave waveform – something suitable even for sensitive electronics such as medical devices.

The device has a 2-year warranty (3 years for the battery), which is at par with other leading manufacturers. Hysolis might be a relatively new company, but it has been said that they offer solid customer service, and are pretty ambitious in maintaining the product as well as service quality.

Hysolis Cons

There aren’t many reasons to discourage you from buying the Hysolis MPS 3K solar generator, but let’s look at a few things.

Of the few areas where the MPS does not score full marks is its weight. The low-frequency inverter adds not just to safety and reliability but also the total pounds of the generator. At 120 lb, this is one of the heaviest solar power stations, especially under the sub-5000Wh category. For comparison, the Goal Zero Yeti 6000X is 106 lb, despite having a 33% larger battery.

Another drawback is that when many manufacturers have started opting for lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) batteries, which are safer and better, Hysolis still sticks to the lithium-nickel-cobalt-manganese battery (Li-NMC). Furthermore, although you can extend the battery capacity, you cannot connect separate LFP (or lead-acid) batteries to the kit through the battery extension connector.

Top 3 Hysolis MPS 4500 Solar Kits

Where to Buy

Check Out the Hysolis MPS 4500 Hex Kit

Where to Buy

Check Out the Hysolis MPS 4500 Quad Kit

Where to Buy

Check Out the Hysolis MPS 4500 1KW Kit

Final Words: Should You Buy the Hysolis MPS 3K?

There is no such thing as the ultimate solar generator that suits every single person on this planet. Each user’s “perfect solar generator” is different and depends on a long list of factors such as storage capacity requirement, frequency of use, type of application (RV, home, off-grid living/adventures), ease of operation, etc. 

Fortunately, the Hysolis ticks a lot of boxes and is suitable for a wide variety of users. It boasts a large capacity, a better inverter and enough flexibility to be used for both RVs and homes. It also comes with a superb price tag that falls on the lower end of the spectrum when you compare the $/kWh for several power stations.

It is also an excellent alternative if you have been waiting for something like the Titan solar generator. It might be one of the more popular power stations out there, but Titan has had some notably serious supply shortages in recent times. The MPS 3K promises to be equally good and delivers many similar advantages while sitting in the same price bracket.

It is also worth looking at if you have thought about Goal Zero products but are hesitant because of the comparatively higher pricing.

Overall, the Hysolis MPS 3K solar power station gets far more things right than it gets wrong, and if you aren’t too concerned about its weight or the lack of an LFP battery, it is one of the best choices you can make as far as solar generators are concerned.

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Tesla powerwall

Best Tesla Powerwall Alternatives

Tesla Powerwall Alternatives

Tesla powerwall

Aniket

Written by qualified solar engineer Aniket. Last updated:

Overall Rating 9
Portability 8
Compatibility 9
Durability 8
Ease of Use 10
Value for Money 9

Table of Contents

It is said that successful people (read: companies) do not do different things; they just do the same things differently. Tesla might not have invented the electric car or batteries, but it certainly came up with ways to improve these technologies and their respective business models. In just a few years, the Tesla Powerwall has established itself as one of the sleekest, most reliable, and reasonably-priced energy storage options in the market. 

The residential energy storage market is expected to grow fourfold to $26.4 billion by 2027, at a striking CAGR of 19.7%. It’s no wonder that CEO Elon Musk said at a recent Tesla conference call that the company might soon be making a million powerwalls every year – a prediction aptly called wild by some experts. But it doesn’t sound so wild when you consider that Tesla already has a backlog of 80,000 powerwalls, worth $500 million!

And that’s exactly why any discussion on residential energy storage is incomplete without Tesla. In the coming sections, we help you discover everything about the Tesla Powerwall, from its specifications to its pros and cons, while also exploring some of the best alternatives.

Understanding the Tesla Powerwall

In Tesla’s own words, “Powerwall is a rechargeable home battery system designed to maximize your home’s energy independence.” The powerwall stores excess energy from your solar power and supplies the same amount of energy to your house at night or during power outages, saving you money and ensuring continuous (more or less) power delivery.

Power Flow: Morning
Power Flow: Afternoon
Power Flow: Night

How the Powerwall Works (source: Tesla)

It also comes with time-based control that allows users to decide when and how much energy to use from the grid, helping them save even more money if they live in areas with time-of-use pricing. 

The makers have added another cool feature into the Powerwall – the device autonomously communicates with the National Weather Service and prioritizes charging in anticipation of severe weather.

Pros

Tesla powerwall

Let’s begin with what matters most for most people – the price tag! The Powerwall has a sticker price of $7,800, which is a price of $577 per kWh of battery capacity. Compare this to other popular products (Panasonic – $701/kWh, LG – $601/kWh), and it does not look so bad. 

Of course, there are additional costs, like supporting hardware costs and installation costs, but for something that will last a minimum of 10 years, it’s not terrible.

Speaking of longevity, the Powerwall might share the same number of warranty span with LG or other brands, but Tesla is the only one that provides unlimited cycles in its warranty, making it a genuine 10-year warranty. 

On the other hand, a battery warranty with limited cycles might be less than 10 years if you complete the specified number of cycles.

The Tesla battery also triumphs in the Depth-of-Discharge (DoD). DoD is nothing but the actual, usable amount of battery capacity. Historically, batteries often had disappointing DoDs like 60% or 70%, where the remaining 30-40% of the battery capacity wasn’t usable, meaning a 10 kWh battery bank was, in reality, a 6 or 7 kWh one. Tesla’s Li-NMC battery offers a 100% DoD. 

Not just that, its round-trip efficiency clocks at 90%, meaning if you put in 10 kWh of energy into it, you will get around 9 kWh when you extract it, which is better than many other options in the market.

Batteries can be AC-coupled or DC-coupled. An AC-coupled battery like the Tesla Powerwall is slightly less efficient but provides greater flexibility and scalability because you can charge it through an AC source. 

DC-coupled batteries are slightly more efficient, but they cannot supply power to the house simultaneously with solar since there’s just one centralized inverter. Also, DC-coupled units would be difficult to scale up, say, in the event of creating a small micro-grid out of the devices.

Tesla powerwall

DC-coupled vs AC-Coupled System Layouts (Source: NREL)

The powerwall is the only battery system in the market which employs a liquid thermal management system. Instead of passive air-cooled systems, like in an LG battery, Tesla’s uses a chemical coolant circulated through the unit to reduce heating.

This design delivers effective cooling, and you can install it without leaving space between the wall, improving the aesthetics of the unit.

Tesla powerwall

Tesla Powerwall Exploded View

Unlike many other companies, Tesla manufactures its own battery cells, thanks to the enormous investment and experience of the company in the lithium battery area from its electric cars. This avoids the hassle of dealing with a different company for warranty procedures when something goes wrong with your battery.

Additionally, while many manufacturers require customers to ship the battery back at their own expense (which can be a few hundred dollars!), Tesla right away sends a new device and picks up the old one once the new one has arrived. 

The powerwall receives updates from the company regularly and automatically, and this not only fixes bugs but also adds some new and cool features every now and then.

Cons

Tesla powerwall

If you already own a solar power system and are looking to buy a Tesla Powerwall, then it’s not your best day. A few months ago, Tesla decided that it would only sell the Powerwall together with its solar panels or solar roof.

So, if you have already bought and installed solar panels from, say, LG or SunPower, then the Powerwall is not an option for you. This is probably its greatest drawback.

The exclusivity is not limited to the purchase but also the installation. Unlike other storage products, you cannot simply buy the Powerwall and install it yourself or call your favorite electrician. You must use one of Tesla’s recognized system installers, which not only takes away the flexibility but also adds to the cost. The installation costs can sometimes take the price to as high as $15,000 per powerwall.

The company website answers the question of “Can Powerwall work without internet?” with “Powerwall needs an internet connection…”. Although the connection is mainly needed to communicate status, update stats and receive software updates, there is less clarity on whether it is essential.

When your internet goes down, or worse, you are planning to install the unit in a remote cabin where there’s no internet, the Powerwall might not be your best choice.

As mentioned, although Li-NMC technology offers many benefits over traditional lead-acid cells, it also brings with it a few concerns. For instance, if not disposed of properly, the cobalt in the cells can enter the environment and prove harmful.

Additionally, while NMC promises 500-1,000 life cycles, LFP (Lithium Iron Phosphate) can deliver up to 3,000 cycles.

However, despite deciding to shift to LFPs for their utility-scale batteries, Tesla is still sticking to Li-NMC for their residential product.

Top Alternatives

If you are either unable or unwilling to buy the Powerwall for one of the above reasons, you need to look at other alternatives. There are many battery products in the market today, and while not all have the benefits of the Powerwall, many are better than the Powerwall in some respects. Let’s take a look at some of the best ones:

1. LG Chem RESU 10H:

LG Chem RESU 10H

The closest competitor to the powerwall is LG’s RESU battery. LG sells a huge quantity of RESU’s every year, thanks to a legacy of decades that makes people trust in them as a brand.

The RESU is a 9.8 kWh Lithium battery and works perfectly with SolarEdge or SMA inverters. Unlike the powerwall, it’s a DC-coupled unit, meaning it is slightly more efficient. It also offers many similar advantages like in-house manufactured cells, brand reliability, expandability, and decent aesthetics.

Where the RESU lags, however, is its warranty. Despite the same 10-year warranty period, the warranty says that the battery will operate with at least 60% of its original capacity by the end of 10 years, which isn’t quite impressive.

On the pricing side, the device, including hardware and installation, costs between $10,000 and $14,000, which is a bit more expensive per kWh than the Tesla Powerwall.

2. Panasonic EverVolt:

Panasonic EverVolt

Another global electronics brand, Panasonic, is a popular name in solar as well as batteries. It doesn’t only make and offer its energy storage systems, but also provides battery cells to other brands.

Interestingly, Panasonic offers both DC and AC-coupled batteries and in two different sizes – 11.4 kWh and 17.1 kWh. The EverVolt offers perfectly reliable batteries, but these too fail to impress with a solid warranty – Panasonic also promises only 60% capacity after 10 years, just like LG.

A typical Panasonic AC-coupled EverVolt costs between $15,000 and $20,000, higher than both Tesla and LG.

3. Fortress eVault and eVault Max:

Fortress eVault and eVault Max

We’ve all seen movies of underdogs winning grand championships, and if there’s a lesser-known brand that threatens to become that champion in the energy storage world, it’s Fortress Power.

Pennsylvania-based Fortress offers two incredible battery options – eVault and eVault Max. Both units offer an astounding 18.5 kWh capacity – claimed to have “the largest capacity in the market”.

The eVault can be expanded to 222 kWh, usable not just for homes but entire buildings, while the eVault Max is AC-coupled, and you can expand it to a whopping 370 kWh.

Both batteries boast LFP technology and a 10-year warranty with an amazing 6,000+ cycles. Not just that, Fortress claims a 98% round trip efficiency, which is significantly greater than that of the Powerwall.

Both the eVault and eVault Max cost around the $13,000 mark and do not require specialized and expensive installations, making them seriously affordable per kWh of capacity.

4. BigBattery KONG:

BigBattery KONG

If you are awed by the eVaults, wait till you meet the KONG! As the name suggests, the BigBattery KONG is a mammoth 12 kWh energy storage unit, but the best part – it comes with a ridiculously low price tag of $4,299, making it the most affordable on this list, at a mere $358 per kWh.

You might wonder about the brand and its experience, but BigBattery is a California-based company that claims to be the “ largest supplier of surplus batteries in the United States”, and has facilities in the USA, Singapore, Hong Kong, and China.

The BigBattery KONG also uses lithium-iron-phosphate battery cells and offers a comprehensive 10-year warranty with up to 3,000 charging cycles and 100% depth-of-discharge, making it one of the most attractive options on this list.

5. Watts Battery:

Watts Battery

Subtitled “Lego-like energy to meet your lifestyle”, Watts Battery is a novel, modular concept that tries (and succeeds) in simplifying energy storage for homes. Instead of one bulky box, one module of the Watts Battery is a tiny 1.2 kWh battery+inverter. Ten such modules can be stacked, quite literally, to reach a capacity of 12 kWh, making it the most innovative item on this list.

Each module supports up to 1 kW of solar power and provides 1.5 kW (3 kW peak) of continuous output. Like the Powerwall, it connects to the internet and provides real-time data on your mobile device. 

Watts Battery advertises its product by saying “no technician, no drilling, no additional connectors, or devices”, which certainly grabs our attention. And although setting up the first module might require some work, the entire system is pretty straightforward to set up, unlike Tesla or LG’s highly technical installations. 

Watts Battery offers a slightly lower warranty period of 7 years, but at over 2,000 lifecycles, which is not bad. Each block of the Watts Battery costs $2,000, making it slightly expensive, but the simplicity and low installation costs compensate for some of it.

6. Pika Harbor 6 Smart Battery:

Pika Harbor 6 Smart Battery

A bright-colored energy storage unit, just like its colorful name, the Pika Harbor is a DC-coupled, Li-ion, modular battery unit powered using 3-6 modules. You can use it for time-of-use optimization, demand charge management, and even zero-export applications, with up to 17.1 kWh of capacity.

The battery can provide up to 10 kW of continuous power when needed. With a decent round-trip efficiency of 96.5%, a depth-of-discharge 84.5%,  and a 10-year warranty, Pika just about keeps up with the competition.

Pika Energy is a Generac company and employs battery cells manufactured by Panasonic, and is quite reliable; however, the RMA process might pose a challenge for the same reason. The Harbor 6 costs up to $20,000 with installation and is more expensive than the Powerwall.

7. Electriq Power PowerPod 2:

Electriq Power PowerPod 2

Electriq Power is another company in the long list of Californian companies that “started-in-a-garage-and-grew-rapidly”. Electriq’s PowerPod 2 is an intriguing energy storage system that comes in 10, 15, and 20 kWh capacities and both DC and AC-coupled versions.

It uses an LFP battery and boasts all the smart features similar to the Powerwall, such as a smart app and real-time monitoring. The unit also comes with a 10-year warranty and promises at least 70% capacity by year 10.

It might not be gorgeous, but Electriq’s offering is one of the best-looking options on the list and even seems to have a personality of its own. Installing the PowerPod 2 costs between $13,000 and $19,000 and is just a bit more expensive than the Powerwall.

Conclusion

Tesla’s Powerwall, like most of its other products, is a thoughtfully designed energy storage product that deserves the tremendous popularity it has garnered. A reasonable price-point, reliable performance, and top-notch service set it apart.

However, the inability to purchase a Powerwall separately, relatively higher installation costs and a long waiting period forces, us to look at other options. 

The best Powerwall alternatives are a mix of legendary brands, like LG and Panasonic, and upcoming but ambitious brands that offer a lot more at a lot lower costs, such as Fortress and BigBattery, and finally, brands that reimagine product design, such as the Watts Battery.

Ultimately, there is no single winner in the never-ending battery storage systems race, and like any other complex piece of machinery, the best option is the one that suits your needs best.

Other Solar Generators You May Like

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Goal Zero Yetti 6000 Portable Power Station

Warning: Goal Zero Yeti 6000X Review + Top 4 Alternatives

Warning: Goal Zero Yeti 6000X Portable Power Station Review + Top 4 Alternatives

Goal Zero Yetti 6000 Portable Power Station

Aniket

Written by qualified solar engineer Aniket. Last updated:

Overall Rating 9
Portability 8
Compatibility 9
Durability 8
Ease of Use 10
Value for Money 9

Table of Contents

“Goodbye gas generator,” says the Goal Zero Yeti 6000X Portable Power Station’s description on the company website, which is a perfect indicator of this gigantic machine and its capabilities. For almost a decade, Goal Zero has offered practical portable products from pocket-sized power banks to large generators. But with the Yeti 6000X, the makers decided to go seriously big, making it one of the largest portable power generators ever built. 

However, with an eyebrow-raising (maybe even fist-clenching) price tag, is this massive box of solar power worth the money? Let’s find out in this Goal Zero Yeti 6000X review and take a look at some compelling alternatives.

All You Need to Know About the Yeti 6000X Portable Power Station

The Yeti 6000X is an enormous battery placed inside a well-designed housing that also sports some useful features like different input and output ports, an integrated inverter, a tiny display screen, and some more simple electronics.

Although often dubbed as a portable generator, it would be more correct to call it a storage device since it does not generate power but simply stores it. Let’s get to know it better:

Pros

Goal Zero Yetti 6000 Portable Power Station

Cons

Goal Zero Yetti 6000 Portable Power Station

The Yeti 6000X is a fantastic product, but only as long as you aren’t looking at the price tag. Let us address this elephant in the room – $4999.95! 

If you were to list all the great things $5000 could buy you, we believe it would be a sizable list, but would the Goal Zero Yeti have a place on that list? Although this is a subjective question, we need to understand two important aspects of a product like this:

Many Goal Zero products can indeed be labeled “portable solar equipment,” but how true is it in the case of the 6000X? As mentioned before, this device is simply a large battery with several charging options and a built-in inverter.

To make it a truly solar-powered unit, you need to buy additional solar panels. The company website says 6 Boulder 200 sets would suffice, meaning another $3000. At a time when several options in the sub-$5000 category also include solar panels and supporting hardware (continue reading to our top alternatives section), $8000 is a questionable amount to spend.

Another surprising limitation we found with the Yeti 6000X is its battery life cycle, which claims to be 500. Assuming moderate to heavy usage and draining the battery twice every week, the unit would last you less than five years, which, again, might not be a wise use of money.

Although portability is a forte of most Goal Zero products, the Yeti 6000X might be an exception. 

Don’t be fooled by its shoe-box-like size. The unit weighs a whopping 106 lbs, which is equivalent to two full-sized travel suitcases. The cart and the wheels make it somewhat easier to move, but if you have to lift it on stairs or load it into your vehicle, it certainly won’t be a pleasant experience.

Additionally, for a unit of this size, just two AC output ports might not be to everyone’s liking, particularly if you want to operate three or four different AC loads on your camping adventure.

Top 4 Alternatives

Like we discussed above, there are valid reasons to buy the Yeti 6000X Portable Power Station, but there are also solid reasons to not buy it, in which case, the following are the top 5 best alternatives you should look at:

Specs

  • 4,000Wh battery
  • 2,000W inverter output
  • 1,200W solar panels kit
  • Connection Accessories

Product Description

Bluetti’s AC200P is a tried and tested portable solar generator kit. At a cost that’s just over that of the Yeti 6000X, the AC200P double hex kit offers 4,000Wh capacity in a reliable lithium battery with LG cells – a battery boasting an astounding 3,500+ lifecycles, which is over seven times that of the Yeti 6000X.

Together, the power generator units have 12 AC output ports and intuitive touch screen LCDs. It also comes with 1200W monocrystalline solar panels and all necessary accessories. This kit is with equivalent Goal Zero components would cost over $8000!

Where to Buy

Check Out the Bluetti AC200P Double Hex Kit

Specs

  • 2,600Wh battery
  • 3,600W inverter output
  • 800W solar panels kit
  • Connection Accessories

Product Description

Here’s another well-built kit by a reliable brand. The EcoFlow Delta Double Quad Kit may have less than half the storage capacity of the Yeti 6000X, but comes with a staggering 3,600 W AC output and an 800W monocrystalline solar panel set, so you can run heavier appliances with it.

At almost 40% lower price than the largest Yeti, this is a steal, especially with the solar panels, an array of accessories, and performance.

Where to Buy

Check Out the EcoFlow Delta Double Quad Kit

Specs

  • 4,500Wh battery
  • 3,000W inverter output
  • 1,000W solar panels kit
  • Connection Accessories

Product Description

A true blue portable solar power station with 1,000W solar panels, 3,000W AC inverter output, and 4,500Wh battery (just 25% smaller than the Goal Zero Yeti 6000X) – the Hysolis MPS 1 kW is the perfect example of what you’d call “the best bang for your buck”!

With nearly all the great features that the Yeti models boast of, plus solar panels, plus a fantastic 2,000+ battery life cycle, you could never go wrong with this incredible kit.

Where to Buy

Check Out the Hysolis MPS 1kW Kit

Specs

  • 6,000Wh battery
  • 6,000W inverter output
  • 1,860W solar panels kit
  • Connection Accessories

Product Description

So here comes the first Yeti alternative that’s considerably costlier than the Yeti, and you must be wondering why. But let’s talk about value instead of cost. The Complete All-In-One Solar Kit is a high-selling kit due to its amazing specs.

A staggering 1.8 kW of solar, a 6 kW (18kW surge) AC inverter output, and a 6kWh battery capacity make this the mightiest system on the list. It might not be a truly portable unit, but for someone who wants to be prepared to face anything from blackouts to hurricanes and is looking for some customization, too, this is an unbeatable choice.

Where to Buy

Check Out the Complete All-in-One Solar Kit

Final Words

Goal Zero has proven itself as a reliable brand, time and again, with high-quality products, and the Yeti 6000X is no exception. However, if you are like us and want to extract maximum value out of every penny you spend, you are better off exploring some other interesting options.

Here’s a quick summary of the features and pricing of the Yeti 6,000X with some other spectacular alternatives.

  Goal Zero Yeti 6000X Bluetti AC200P Double Hex Kits EcoFlow Delta Double Quad Kit Hysolis MPS 1kW Kit HBK Complete All-in-One Solar Kit
Battery 6,071Wh, 500+ lifecycles to 80% capacity 4,000 Wh, 3,500+ lifecycles 2,600Wh 4,500Wh,
2,000+ lifecycles
6,000Wh
Inverter AC output 2,000W 2,000W 3,600W 3,000W 6,000W
Solar Not included 1,200W 800W 1,000W 1,860W
Price $4,999.95 $5,309 $3,187 $4,689 $5,809

In short, a “solar generator kit” with a long-lasting battery beats a “generator kit” without solar or a long-lasting battery on any given day.

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goal zero yeti 3000 featured image

Goal Zero Yeti 3000X Review

Goal Zero Yeti 3000X Review

Overall Rating 9
Portability 8
Compatibility 9
Durability 8
Ease of Use 10
Value for Money 9

Aniket

Written by qualified solar engineer Aniket. Last updated:

Our Verdict

Goal Zero’s second largest power station in the Yeti series appears to be beast. The makers call it the ‘epitome of on-demand power’, however we’re not sure if it justifies the price tag or not. It houses a large 3,000 watt hour battery that can power everything from the small appliances to refrigerators, sump pumps to basic tools. But the Yeti 3,000X commands a large price tag and has an unimpressive 500 lifecycles.

Our Goal Zero Yeti 3000 review looks at different aspects of the product. From wi-fi connectivity, built-in MPPT, a weight of 70 lbs. (32 kg.) and it’s overall build quality. Keep reading for a more in-depth look at the Yeti 3000 or check out alternative solar generator options.

Where To Buy

Compatibility

Throughout their history, batteries have been able to simply produce DC power at a given voltage as well as be charged in the same way. Any other requirement, such as AC, required connecting an inverter and making those dreaded (at least for beginners) connections. On the input side, charging with solar required connecting a charge controller, not essential, but it was always recommended. For starters, charge controllers are devices which modify the fluctuating input voltage of the solar current into a more constant current at a more efficient power (Voltage × current).

The Yeti 3000 breaks this image by being a lot more than just a battery. It includes an in-built inverter to directly supply AC power. It is a pure-sine wave one, meaning the output power is exactly like a wall output. All Yeti models were perfectly compatible with the Boulder series solar panels. They did, however, require an external charge controller unit to optimize the charging. This large model goes a step further and houses a Maximum Power Point Tracker (MPPT) charge controller inside. This improves charging time as well as battery life.

Additionally, the unit comes with wi-fi connectivity. With the Goal Zero app on the mobile phone, the phone can act as a nicely-sized display screen, showing all information about the machine. It also acts as a remote control that can switch the ports on or off.

front facing goal zero yeti 3000

Durability

At a price that is much higher than that of any other battery device, this product cannot win solely on the basis of connectivity features. Labeled as a portable unit, it has to be durable. The battery sits securely in a high-quality plastic casing. This casing has rounded vertical edges that have some reinforcement on them.

The handles are thick and securely fastened and show no possibility of coming off the unit. The base has four rubberized stoppers that hold the box in place.

Although it is true that a 70 lb. (32 kg.) device is not meant for falls, this unit feels strong enough to take some from a low height. For lead acid batteries of similar capacities, the weight can be more than twice that. This relative difference in weight also makes the Yeti 3000 less susceptible to damage.

Being weatherproof is an essential requirement in being durable and portable. The unit can sustain sunlight and temperatures up to 40 degrees Celsius, which is seldom crossed by North American regions. It comes with a water tight enclosure which can save the battery from small to medium rains and splashes. This is an important addition over smaller models, as charging with solar panels may demand setting up the device out in the open.

Ease Of Use

This product will not make much sense if it is not significantly more convenient and easier than regular batteries, which require playing around with wires, wire strippers, and multimeters. It succeeds in becoming a straightforward device to use by almost anyone.

There are 10 ports, to which 10 devices can be connected at a time, and yet it is not very confusing. The ports are grouped and marked neatly with their type and voltage. There are no MC4 connectors or positive-negative jumbles. It is as easy as plugging something into a wall or a laptop’s port, if not easier.

The mobile app is equally as simple to read as the display on the unit. It also keeps updating itself over the internet, bringing possible new features or design.

It used to be especially difficult to charge batteries using solar panel because of keeping track of the voltage, the charge controller’s connections, etc. Charging any of the Yeti models from solar panels is noticeably easy, however.

Features

This model by Goal Zero is among the few power stations in the market that are loaded with features. The high energy-density lithium ion battery is the prime highlight that makes it compact and modern. DC and AC connectivity on both input and output sides is one more feature that makes it more efficient than simply enlarged power banks.

In-built MPPT is a rare feature and deserves praise, as Goal Zero claims an almost 40% faster charging. As such, using this power station with Goal Zero’s high efficiency monocrystalline panels would mean a lot of extra space and less time. Its dark and elegant display gives information about remaining battery percentage as well as remaining hours of charge, depending on which device is connected. It also displays power input, from solar panels for instance, and output, by whichever appliance(s) is connected to it.

The integrated inverter has a surge protector to it, which can power devices up to 1500W and can tolerate surges up to 3000W. This is useful in devices such as fridges, small pumps, and some power tools. The Yeti 3000 comes with a lot of attractive features, but if you would like to check out more options before finalizing, here are some other generators we reviewed.

Design

We mentioned before that this Goal Zero model is a beast. It is the largest in the entire Yeti series. The design is elegant, with a cubical structure that neatly houses the ports and display in the front, plus a lid and charging ports as a wi-fi button on the top. The sides have slatted plastic panels that provide some space for ventilation and also add some strength.

The front has the brand name and ‘lithium’ printed in black on either side of the rectangle, while the center has the model name printed over a lime green background. The handles also sport the green color, so do the feet. The body is a mix of black and shiny grey. Aesthetically, this power station stays subtle and elegant and yet commands considerable attention to itself.

Portability

Today, there is a huge spectrum of portable battery devices. These range from the 5Ah units that can fit in your shirt pocket to over 200Ah units that may need two people to lift. The Yeti 3000 sits on the upper end of this spectrum. Despite of a weight that is low for this capacity, it is still heavy and cannot be carried around effortlessly in one hand.

Goal Zero has provided a roll-cart with wheels and a telescopic handle that weighs less than 10 pounds and has good material quality. It is far easier to carry the unit on it and setup for use.

Other factors that improve the portability are its superior battery size and a durable casing over it. None of the dimensions exceed a foot and a half. This makes it possible, though not simple, to carry it in almost any car’s trunk.

front facing goal zero yeti 3000 with its handle extended

What We Like

We do agree on the fact that this giant 3000Wh power station can burn a hole in your wallet. But if you are someone who goes on outings and adventures very regularly, that might be worth it. From the technological point of view, Goal Zero has really not left any stone unturned in the case of this model. The inclusion of a charge controller and wi-fi are standout features. Even the regular Yeti series features such as the sine wave inverter and 10-port output never cease to impress.

Having the roll-cart as part of the purchase and not having to buy it separately is a relief, considering the weight of such a large battery. To summarize, the Goal Zero Yeti 3000 is a magnificent power station that is highly capable and well-built.

Pros:

  • Multiple input and output possibilities (wall/solar charging and DC/AC output)
  • Wi-fi connectivity and remote mobile control
  • In-built MPPT charge controller and pure sine-wave inverter
  • Durable build
  • Easy to read display and easy to connect/disconnect ports

Cons:

  • High cost
  • Low Lifecycles (500)

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Average rating 3.5 / 5. Vote count: 31

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a portable solar panel on a rock

Goal Zero Nomad 10 Review

Goal Zero Nomad 10 Review

Overall Rating 9
Compatibility 9
Durability 7
Portability 10
Ease of Use 9
Value for Money 7

Aniket

Written by qualified solar engineer Aniket. Last updated:

Our Verdict

Goal Zero’s portable solar panels are rugged, efficient and thoughtfully designed, and the Nomad 10 is no exception. A lightweight, foldable design offers sufficient compactness, while the 10-watt rating is capable of charging nearly all mobile devices efficiently. The panel’s integrated USB port and dock make charging power banks easier.

The device is convenient to setup with its mounting kickstand. Its clip loops also help attach it to a backpack or a tent. For a 10-watt panel, this is a notably small device. When folded, it can fit in a hand or a backpack, almost like a small booklet. Overall, though, with so many small portable chargers to choose from, is this panel worth buying? Let us find out in this Goal Zero Nomad 10 Review.

Compatibility

The Nomad 10 is a small but mighty portable panel. Rated at 10 watts, it can charge phones, power banks, headlamps, and smartwatches. Lighthouse lanterns and other small USB devices aren’t an issue either. Depending on the device, it may take a few hours to fully charge.

Durability

Being a foldable panel, the Nomad 10 is pretty durable in terms of storing or transporting it, as the solar cells fold inward. It does not have an aluminum frame like traditional panels, but with the tough plastic and nylon/TPU lamination, the panel should be able to withstand some shocks. The panel lacks a water resistance rating, but setting it up in the rain would not be helpful anyway.

side facing goal zero nomad 10 portable charger

Ease Of Use

Unlike a traditional solar panel, the Nomad 10 sports an integrated USB port, making connecting and disconnecting it a piece of cake. Its mounting kickstand clicks at several angles and makes setting up the panel effortless. You can also strap the panel to your backpack or tent using the clip loops on the corners.

Features

Among the most interesting features of the panel are its high efficiency monocrystalline cells and a lightweight design. The ready-to-connect USB port and a charging dock make charging power banks a breeze, while the mounting kickstand and clip loops help set up the panel within seconds.

Design

If this portable panel is to be described in one word, the word “sleek” might do justice. Its slim profile and minimal use of colors make it look elegant. Unlike the Goal Zero Nomad 5 version, the Nomad 10 adopts a foldable design to make itself more compact.

Portability

The Nomad family of solar panels is surprisingly compact, all the way up to the Goal Zero Nomad 100 model. The longest side of the Nomad 10 is just over a foot and it weighs just over a pound. The thin, foldable design allows you to throw it into any backpack without even noticing its presence.

side facing goal zero nomad 10 portable charger

What We Like

At the given price tag, the Nomad 10 would not stand a chance against conventional panels if it did not add some noteworthy features, but the panel does well with these handy features and its thoughtful design. Our favorite part about the Nomad 10 is its foldability and ease of setup, similar to the Goal Zero Nomad 20. We also liked how easy it feels to carry, with its surprisingly low weight and volume.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Foldable and compact
  • Mounting kickstand
  • Easy to carry

Cons:

  • Slightly expensive
  • No water-resistance rating

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there is a solar portable charger near the sea

Goal Zero Nomad 20 Review

Goal Zero Nomad 20 Review

Overall Rating 9
Compatibility 9
Durability 8
Portability 9
Ease of Use 9
Value for Money 7

Aniket

Written by qualified solar engineer Aniket. Last updated:

Our Verdict

Goal Zero’s 20-watt foldable solar panel is an impressively compact yet powerful device. Its thoughtful design makes it so much more than a package of solar cells. The makers claim that it can charge mobile devices as fast as charging from the wall would, which is not a common claim in the world of solar panels. 20 watts is a significant amount of power, and the Nomad 20 is surprisingly compact for it.

Made from high-efficiency monocrystalline cells, the panel performs quite well, and is also chainable with other panels if you want a greater power output. A variety of ports on the rear make connecting it to most devices easy. Let us find out more about the panel in this Goal Zero Nomad 20 Review.

Compatibility

Compatibility is one department where the Nomad 20 truly shines. It can charge everything from small chargers to power stations like the Yeti 400. Its chainability with other solar panels allows you to churn out even more solar power, for faster charging or charging larger devices. The panel comes with 4 different outlet ports, including a USB port for easy plug-and-play.

Durability

The Nomad 20 is a decently durable panel, with barely any use of metal in its structure. Its collector surface does away with brittle glass and opts for a flexible plastic cover. These collecting surfaces fold inward when storing the device, and secure the cells inside. The outer layer consists of a thick fabric covering, which is lightweight yet durable. Goal Zero claims the panel is weatherproof, but there is no IP rating so water-resistance is not guaranteed.

front facing goal zero nomad 20 portable charger

Ease Of Use

Goal Zero’s 20-watt Nomad is fairly easy to carry as well as set up. The foldable design makes it one of the few 20-watt panels that can fit in a backpack. It comes with 4 different outlet ports that allow you to connect a wide variety of devices to the panel. The device does lack a mounting kickstand, unlike the Goal Zero Nomad 10 panel, but mounting it is still not a difficult task.

Features

The Nomad 20 could easily be counted among the most feature-rich portable solar panels available on the market. Its high-efficiency mono-Si cells and a frameless design make the panel compact and lightweight, while the availability of multiple ports adds versatility. This device does not offer anything wildly creative, but its thoughtful selection of features certainly makes it an excellent solar charger for camping.

Design

Its unconventional design is the area where the Nomad 20 truly triumphs over traditional solar panels. With its sleek profile, lack of a bulky frame or glass, tough fabric, and a host of useful ports, the Nomad 20 has one of the best designs when it comes to portable solar panels. The device is not flawless, but it ticks most of the right boxes.

Portability

When folded, the Nomad 20 is almost similar in size to the Goal Zero Nomad 7 version. This makes it exceedingly portable for its rated power capacity. Its 2.5 lbs. weight is the lowest you can find on a 20-watt panel. The Nomad 20 is pretty rugged and weatherproof – it can handle any amount of dust and even some water splashes.

front facing goal zero nomad 20 portable charger

What We Like

By now, Goal Zero has become a trusted name in portable solar modules, and its foldable, 20-watt offering is an excellent balance of power capacity and size. It is noticeably lightweight and employs high-quality materials. For a panel that can charge mobile devices in as much time as your home charger, we really liked how easy it felt to carry around and use. The size is perfect for moderate camping activities, but if you are looking for some serious outdoor activity, you can opt for larger sizes – check out our review of Goal Zero Nomad 100.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Foldable and compact
  • Chainable
  • Easy to carry

Cons:

  • Slightly expensive
  • No water-resistance rating

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portable solar charger sitting on wooden surface next to tablet

Goal Zero Nomad 5 Review

Goal Zero Nomad 5 Review

Overall Rating 9
Compatibility 9
Durability 7
Portability 10
Ease of Use 10
Value for Money 7

Aniket

Written by qualified solar engineer Aniket. Last updated:

Our Verdict

The Nomad 5 is another thoughtfully designed product from Goal Zero, the company that makes innovative portable gadgets. It is a solar panel, and yet feels like a lot more than just that. With its 5-watt rating, this panel is mostly suitable for smartphones and tablets.

The panel feels rugged and comes with handy design features, such as a built-in charging dock to snap on a power bank, and a kickstand for mounting the panel at the desired angle. The panel can even be strapped to your backpack or your bike rack. Weighing less than 13 oz, it is hardly noticeable. This entry-level solar panel is great for hikers and campers. Let us check out the product in some more detail in this Goal Zero Nomad 5 Review.

Compatibility

The Nomad 5 is ultimately a solar panel and is compatible with everything that 5V solar panels are compatible with. Its 5V USB port can be treated like a 5V charging adapter when in sunlight. Nearly all smartphones and all solar powered portable chargers can be charged with it.

Durability

The frameless design on the Nomad 5 is an interesting choice and shows the makers’ confidence in its strength. Instead of a frame, it uses a thicker glass on the front. It also does not come with a fabric enclosure, as the 20-watts version of this solar charger does. The rear of the panel has plenty of plastic on it and can take mild shocks.

front facing goal zero nomad 5 portable charger

Ease Of Use

Two things set the Nomad 5 totally apart from traditional solar panels in terms of user convenience – the mounting kickstand, and the integrated USB port. The kickstand allows users to set up the panel at the perfect angle within seconds, and the USB port allows easy charging of power banks or phones.

Features

In this price range, this is possibly among the most advanced solar products available on the market. Its monocrystalline cells make for a compact size and light weight. The mounting kickstand and built-in power bank dock mean there will be less struggling with wires when setting up charging.

Design

Even with the limited scope for design innovation that solar panels have, Goal Zero does a good job with the Nomad 5. The frameless design, with holes on all corners, allows for strapping the panel to backpacks or tents. Its kickstand, too, makes mounting it on most surfaces a breeze. The company’s minimal design language repeats itself here with a black body and lime-green branding on the top and bottom edges.

Portability

The Nomad 5 is smaller than both the Goal Zero Nomad 7 and the Nomad 10 model. It weighs less than a travel mug, meaning carrying it into the wilderness is nothing to worry about. Most of the panel is made from lightweight materials. Setting up the panel for charging is also straightforward, thanks to the simple kickstand.

side facing goal zero nomad 5 portable charger

What We Like

We like the thoughtful design on the Nomad 5 and its capable solar cells, but our favorite thing about this product is its ease of use. There are a ton of options in the 5W panel category, but this is a wonderful product for those who want reliability and convenience.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Integrated USB port
  • Built-in power bank dock
  • Mounting kickstand

Cons:

  • Slightly expensive
  • Frameless design may reduce durability

We hope you liked this article. Please rate it or leave us a comment.