a couple camping

10 Best Solar Generators in 2022 (Review)

Having a reliable backup generator for emergency situations, like the presence of a blackout or power outage, is essential. The same concept goes for fun activities like camping, fishing or even RV trips: for those, you will need a portable generator system.

Fuel generators may serve this purpose, but they have many disadvantages. They are noisy, contaminating, and they also depend on a nearby fuel source. Under critical situations like blackouts, floods, earthquakes or hurricanes, you may not be able to have access to a fuel source, making your generator useless.

Now, thanks to a new technology that combines lithium ion batteries with solar power, you can obtain a green energy backup source whenever you need it.

Carlos

Written by qualified solar engineer Carlos. Last updated:

Table of Contents

Here you will find all the information you need to know about the best solar generators in 2022.

The Best Solar Generators

best-overall-badge-long
best-overall-badge-long

Key Features:

  • Expandable battery and output capacity
  • Fastest charging rate of any solar generator
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled
  •  

Key Specifications:

  • Battery capacity: 3,600Wh (Expandable to 25kWh)
  • Output capacity: 3,600W (Expandable to 7,200W)
  • Output ports: 12

Where to Buy

Check Out the EcoFlow Delta Pro

When it comes to solar generators, EcoFlow is one of the top brands in the industry. Their highly anticipated EcoFlow Delta PRO certainly lived up to the tremendous amount of hype that preceded its release. With a massive 3,600Wh internal battery that can be expanded to an industry-leading 25kWh, it is safe to say that this unit is suitable for a wide variety of applications.

Users have the option to easily connect the Delta PRO to multiple 3,600Wh expansion batteries, or they can choose to just stick to the unit’s already impressive 3,600Wh LiFePO4 deep cycle battery. The advanced battery contained with the Delta PRO also has a life cycle rating of 6,500 complete charges, which means it will last for many years before users notice any significant changes to the unit’s storage capacity.

It also features industry-leading charging capabilities. Not only can it be charged in 6 unique ways, you can even plug the Delta PRO into a wall outlet and solar panels at the same time and multi-charge the battery in as little as 1.8 hours! When it comes to output capabilities, the Delta PRO also offers plenty of versatility. In fact, it has 12 unique output ports, so it is compatible with 99% of the electronic devices and appliances out there.

The internal power inverter and efficient MPPT charge controller ensure that the Delta PRO can deliver 3,600W of AC power, which can even be increased to 4,500W with the PRO’s X-Boost feature. You even have the option to pair two Delta PROs to achieve 7,200W of power, which is a major advancement for solar generators.

Simply put, the EcoFlow Delta PRO is one of the most impressive solar generators ever released and it has surely lived up to the hype that its announcement created!

premium-choice-badge-long

Key Features:

  • Expandable battery
  • 16 output ports, including 2 wireless charging pads
  • 7 ways to recharge the internal battery

Key Specifications:

  • Battery capacity: 2,048Wh (Expandable up to 8,192Wh)
  • Output capacity: 2,220W
  • Weight: 62lbs

Where to Buy

Check Out the Bluetti AC200 Max

The Bluetti AC200 MAX is another solar generator that created plenty of excitement when it was first announced. It is the first expandable solar generator from Bluetti. By connecting this solar generator to two external battery modules, you can increase the unit’s 2,048Wh battery to 8,192Wh! For a compact and fairly portable solar generator, this is some really serious power!

Speaking of power, the AC200 MAX’s built in 2,220W pure sine wave power inverter is incredibly powerful and efficient. The power inverter has the ability to safely surge up to 4,800W, so you will be able to directly charge all of your electronic devices and appliances.

Where the AC200 MAX really stands out is its unparalleled output port versatility. The unit features 16 unique output ports, including 2 convenient 15W wireless charging pads. If you are planning to use your solar generator as a portable power hub, all of this outlet versatility means that the AC200 MAX is a really practical option. RV enthusiasts will also really appreciate the unit’s built-in 30A NEMA TT-30 outlet, which means you can easily charge all of the appliances in your mobile home.

Charging the internal battery within the AC200 MAX is also really straightforward. Not only does it have a solar charging input rate of 900W, it can be charged in 6 other ways! The built-in touch screen display ensures that it is extremely user-friendly, as does its ability to connect to Bluetti’s smart app through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Whether you are looking for a reliable source of power for your home, or you just want a high-capacity source of off-grid mobile power, the AC200 MAX is an outstanding option.

Key Features:

  • Chaining capabilities, meaning you can connect multiple Delta 1800s
  • Rapid charging (0% to 80% in one hour)
  • 4 ways to recharge the internal battery

Key Specifications:

  • Battery capacity: 1,300Wh
  • Output capacity: 1,800W
  • Output ports: 13, including 2 USB-C ports

Where to Buy

Check Out the EcoFlow Delta

If you are on a tighter budget, the EcoFlow Delta 1800 is a fantastic option. This highly portable unit features a 1,300Wh internal battery and an impressive 1,800W (3,300W surge) pure sine power inverter. This means that this affordable and compact unit can power everything from fridges and CPAP machines, to laptops and smartphones.

It is a really popular option amongst those that enjoy camping and RVing off-grid, as it is portable enough to take with you on any adventure. It also works extremely well as a source of residential backup power in the event of emergencies and power outages. We also really like the fact that it features 13 output ports, including the modern USB-C output ports, which can be used to charge the latest smartphones, laptops, and tablets.

One great feature of the Delta 1800 is the impressive shelf life of its internal battery. After fully charging the lithium-ion battery, you can put it aside for as long as one full year and it will still retain a charge! Most of the solar generators available at this price point will begin losing their charge after as little as 3 months, so it is a really practical option for emergency preparedness.

The Delta 1800 also features pass-thru charging, which means you can use it to supply power to your electronics at the same time that the internal battery is being charged with solar power. Again, this is really useful for emergencies, as well as off-grid situations. Overall, this is an outstanding unit that is practical for a wide variety of applications. When you consider its affordable price and impressive internal components, it is no surprise that the Delta 1800 is one of the best-selling solar generators ever made!

Key Features:

  • 800W input rating, which means you can charge the battery in just 1.8 hours
  • 12-month battery shelf life
  • Expandable battery

Key Specifications:

  • Battery capacity: 2,016Wh (Expandable up to 6,026Wh)
  • Output capacity: 2,400W
  • Output ports: 15, including 2 USB-C fast-charging ports

Where to Buy

Check Out the EcoFlow Delta Max
great-value-badge-long

The EcoFlow Delta MAX is considered to be the updated and upgraded version of the popular Delta 1800. The first major difference you will notice between the Delta MAX and the 1800 is the significant upgrades to the internal battery. Where the Delta 1800 features a 1,300Wh battery, the Delta MAX nearly doubles the storage capacity by featuring a 2,016Wh deep cycle battery.

EcoFlow also upgraded the power inverter, which now has an output rating of 2,400W. This is more than enough stored power to keep just about anything you could throw at it running. While upgrades to the battery and power inverter are impressive, there are plenty of other new features that set the Delta MAX apart. For starters, the battery is now expandable, which means you have the option to purchase up to two expansion batteries. These smart batteries increase the total storage capacity to a staggering 6,026Wh, which ensures the Delta PRO can store enough electricity to be a practical option for off-grid, emergency power, and RV applications.

It is also Wi-Fi enabled, which means it is compatible with EcoFlow’s user-friendly smart app. It also features the same X-Boost Technology found in the Delta PRO, so it can deliver 3,400W of power when required. The addition of Emergency Power Supply Mode (EPS Mode) means your Delta MAX will automatically fire up when your primary power source fails, which is ideal for blackouts and natural disasters!

With 15 unique output ports, a built-in Battery Management System, and an incredibly fast charge rate, the EcoFlow Delta MAX offers the perfect middle ground for those that are looking for a solar generator that is more powerful than the Delta 1800, but more affordable and lightweight than the Delta PRO!

Key Features:

  • 3 USB 5V/2.4A output ports
  • A DC 12V/10A car charging port
  • Comes with an LED lantern

Key Specifications:

  • Battery capacity: 518Wh
  • Output capacity: 500W (1,000W surge)
  • Total weight: 13.2lbs

Where to Buy

Check Out the Jackery Explorer 500

The Jackery Explorer 500 is the ideal solar generator for anyone that just needs basic access to electricity in the form of an extremely portable unit. Jackery specializes in providing portable clean energy devices that are specifically designed for for outdoor applications.

This little unit features a built-in pure sine wave AC power inverter, which can provide 500W of output power. This is enough to charge everything from smartphones and laptops, to TVs, projectors, and LED lights. It even offers an impressive 1,000W surge capacity, which means it can handle some of the more demanding electronic devices.

For added convenience, the Explorer 500 features a 12V/10A car charging port, as well as three 2.4A USB ports, so you can charge and run your electronic devices without needing to plug a power bar into the unit. When it comes to charging the Explorer 500’s internal battery, users can charge it using one or more solar panels, which means it can function perfectly well off-grid. This explains why it is such a popular option for campers and those that travel by camper van and RV. You can also charge the unit with DC power through a standard car port, or with AC power by plugging it into any standard wall outlet.

If you are looking for a lightweight and compact solar generator at an affordable price, it is difficult to beat the Jackery Explorer 500!

Key Features:

  • Lightweight design and built-in carrying handle
  • Color LED display screen
  • Large 2,400Wh lithium battery

Key Specifications:

  • Battery capacity: 2,400Wh
  • Output capacity: 1,000W
  • Total weight: 48.5lbs

Where to Buy

Check Out the Bluetti EB240

The Bluetti EB240 is another extremely popular solar generator. This is because it packs a fairly large 2,400Wh lithium battery into a compact and lightweight unit. Given that the EB240 is roughly the same size as a desktop computer tower, it is small enough to be a practical option for RVs, vans, and can even be put away in a closet for emergencies.

The unit’s reasonably powerful 1,000W pure sine wave power inverter can handle a wide range of electronic devices and appliances. When it comes to charging the EB240, users have the option to use solar panels, or they can simply plug it into any standard AC wall outlet. With a variety of built-in output ports, users will not have to worry about connecting their EB240 to a power bar.

Where the EB240 really stands apart is its affordable price point. While we believe it offers fewer features than the EcoFlow Delta MAX, the EB240 is very affordable for a solar generator that comes with a 2,400Wh battery.

If you are looking for a large battery in a budget-friendly solar generator, the Bluetti EB240 might be the perfect fit!

Key Features:

  • Massive 4,500Wh lithium battery
  • 1,500W solar input rating
  • 3 different ways to charge the internal battery

Key Specifications:

  • Battery capacity: 4,500Wh
  • Output capacity: 3,000W
  • Total weight: 110lbs

Where to Buy

Check Out the Hysolis

The Hysolis MPS 4500 is a heavy-duty, all-in-one solar generator. It features a powerful 3,000W pure sine wave inverter and a massive 4,500Wh lithium battery. This means it can handle just about any task you can throw at it.

While it is a little bit too large to be a practical option for anyone looking for a portable unit, it is a great option for anyone that is looking for a replacement for their current gasoline-powered generator. Unlike a gas-powered generator, you can safely use the Hysolis MPS 4500 indoors, as it does not produce any emissions or fumes. It is an excellent choice for anyone that has an off-grid cabin, RV, or they just want a large-scale solar generator for emergency backup power.

While it supports AC charging through any standard wall outlet, as well as 12V DC car charging, it is its ability to efficiently store solar power that is its main selling point. This is because it contains an advanced MPPT charge controller, which safely and efficiently regulates the flow of electricity from your solar panels to the internal battery.

For added convenience, it even supports pass-thru charging, which means you can pull power from the MPS 4500 to run your electronics at the same time that the battery is being charged with solar panels. This means you can be running your solar generator indoors at the same time your outdoor solar panels are replenishing the unit’s internal battery!

With just a few buttons and an extremely simple interface, the Hysolis MPS 4500 is a great option for anyone that is looking for a simple and practical alternative to a traditional gasoline generator!

Key Features:

  • Rated for 2,500+ life cycles
  • 1-year battery life span
  • Expandable battery

Key Specifications:

  • Battery capacity: 922Wh (Expandable up to 2,970Wh)
  • Output capacity: 2,000W
  • Output ports: 6, including 2 USB-C ports

Where to Buy

Check Out the Lion Safari ME

Those that are familiar with the solar industry should recognize the Lion Energy brand, as their deep-cycle solar batteries are a popular choice for residential solar power systems. With the release of their Safari ME, Lion Energy joins the long list of solar companies that are offering solar generators.

This compact unit weighs in at just under 50lbs, so it is portable enough to be a practical choice for campers, RV enthusiasts, and those that are looking for an all-in-one unit for home use. With a 922Wh internal battery, it cannot store as much power as some of the larger solar generators on our list, but the battery is expandable to 2,970Wh with the purchase of an expansion battery. Where the Safari ME really shines is its robust 2,000W pure sine inverter (4,000W surge), as it is powerful enough to supply power to some fairly demanding electronics, including power tools, kitchen appliances, and more.

The impressively fast charge rate is another selling point for the Safari ME, as the MPPT charge controller can support a solar input rate of 585W. This means you could potentially fully charge the internal battery in as little as 1 hour and 35 minutes using solar panels alone!

While it is not the most impressive solar generator on our list, it is certainly worthy of note. Those that prefer a compact and rugged solar generator might find the Lion Energy Safari ME is exactly what they need!

Key Features:

  • Budget-friendly price
  • Compact design and built-in carrying handle
  • 3 different ways to charge (AC, DC, and solar)

Key Specifications:

  • Battery capacity: 168Wh
  • Total weight: 12lbs
  • Output ports: 5

Where to Buy

Check Out the Goal Zero Yeti 150

The Goal Zero Yeti 150 is the smallest solar generator on our list. In fact, it is so small that some choose to call it a portable battery bank, rather than a true solar generator. With that being said, this compact little unit can be charged directly with a solar panel. In addition to solar charging, it can also accept AC charging through a standard wall outlet, as well as DC charging through any 12V car port.

While it may be far too small for home backup purposes, this little unit is a popular choice amongst outdoor enthusiasts, as it is small enough to fit into a backpack. Its 168Wh internal battery should be enough to keep your portable electronics charged up, and the AC output port means you can even plug in some larger electronics, like laptops, camera equipment, LED lights, and other devices you may want to take with you on your next camping trip.

The straightforward LED battery life indicator allows you to quickly check how much power remains in your Yeti 150. If you are just looking for a basic battery bank that you can use to keep all of your portable electronics topped up while you are off-grid, the Goal Zero Yeti 150 might be a good option; however, if you are looking for more power, you may want to consider one of the larger units we reviewed above.

Key Features:

  • Massive power inverter
  • Dual MPPT charge controllers
  • Fast AC charging, especially with a second charger

Key Specifications:

  • Battery capacity: 2,000Wh (Expandable to 4,000Wh)
  • Output capacity: 3,000W (6,000W surge)
  • Total weight: 36lbs

Where to Buy

Check Out the Titan Solar Generator

The Titan Solar Generator from Point Zero contains a 2,000Wh internal battery, which is fairly impressive; however, it is its 3,000W pure sine wave power inverter that really set this unit apart when it was first released.

The massive power inverter, which can even handle surges of up to 6,000W, is powerful enough to ensure the Titan Solar Generator will be compatible with all of your electronic appliances. The fact it also contains two MPPT charge controllers is another major plus, as this means it can support dual charging.

Given the Titan’s impressive internal components and specifications, you may be wondering why it isn’t higher up on our list. The truth is, the Titan was considered to be a revolutionary solar generator when it was first released, but now it is starting to show its age. For such an expensive unit, you would expect the internal battery to have a much larger storage capacity.

While the Titan is certainly a very capable solar generator and some of its features are still very impressive, for the price, we would recommend one of the more recently released solar generator models, like the EcoFlow Delta PRO.

5 Key Things to Think About When Buying a Solar Powered Generator

solar generator giving light to some spotlights

Surge Power Capacity

The first thing that you need to keep in mind at the moment of purchasing a solar-powered generator is related to the surge pure sine wave inverter rating.

This value will indicate the maximum power capacity that the solar generator system will be able to supply to you loads instantaneously. This applies mainly to motors or fridges, which have an instantaneous electric current surge that lasts only a few milliseconds.

Check the surge power demand of the fridge or small motor that you may need and verify that is located below the maximum surge inverter rating.

If the nameplate of the equipment does not show, then you must take the nominal wattage of the motor and multiply it by 2.5, that should give you a good reference of the surge power needed. Keep in mind this is an average value for typical applications in homes, other bigger electrical machines such as an induction motor may need up to 6 times the nominal value for surge power

Storage Capacity

Another important factor to consider is the storage capacity of the battery which is measured in watt-hours (Wh).

This will indicate the amount of time that your small appliances can stay connected (fridges, fans, mini-coolers) or the amount of times that an electronic device can get fully-charged.

It will also influence the amount of time that you will need to get the solar-powered generator charged. Built-in solar panels are not very common in these sorts of products, so if you are looking for an off-grid power supply totally independent from the grid that is suitable for camping or RVs, then you would need to purchase a solar panel in addition to the generator. Remember that charging times will depend on the weather conditions, as well.

Sometimes you may find the storage value expressed in ampere-hours (Ah). Although it is less common, it simply means a unit conversion. To obtain the value in Wh that can be compared with typical consumption from loads, you must multiply by the voltage output of the battery (typically 12V).

Charging Modes

A high-quality solar-powered generator should have several options to get charged besides using solar panels.

Charging times using energy from the sun will vary according to weather conditions and Sun exposure as well. Sometimes, it might not be fast enough to charge the generator system. Therefore, the power station should be able to get charged directly from an AC source through power outlets, but also through the 12V car battery, suitable under RV and camping trips.

Remember to keep your alternator active when charging the power station, otherwise, you might end up with a dead car battery.

Appliances that you can charge

Not all solar generators are suitable for every application. It does not mean that the product is bad, it just means that it has not been designed for the purpose that you want to use it.

One of the most important details to keep in mind is what do you want to charge? What do you want to back up?

These questions are also important to help you accurately decide which solar-powered generator fits your needs, avoiding under or oversizing.

Evaluate which appliances you can get connected to the power station, how many devices can be connected at once, how much time can you run the appliances or how many times you can get them charged.

Unique features

Something that never misses when you are selecting a new product among many is to take a look at what additional features is this brand or product offering that others do not.

You will find that some portable solar generators on the market will only be able to get charged through solar power, while others will have three possible ways to get charged.

Also, you will find that some power generators will also come with an integrated charge controller, essential for solar charging, while others will demand that you purchase it separately. Furthermore, some will have an integrated PWM chip while others will have an MPPT charge controller which maximizes solar energy yields and charges your generator kit even faster.

Moreover, additional features such as multiple USB outputs with a Quick Charging capacity, integrated flashlight, BMS protection, integrated fuses and surge protection for the sine wave inverter are all interesting features that can help you decide between two similar products.

What Size of Portable Solar Generator Should You Buy for Travelling?

Most portable solar generators have been designed to be easy to transport and easy to set in every situation.

To take a generator like this into the wild, you need to consider two aspects: dimension and weight. Think about the space that you will probably have available on the trunk of the car. If you are going camping it probably won’t be much.

That is why portable solar power generators need to be compact in size, but also effective enough as to power the appliances that you need.

Probably a 12 pounds solar generator would be the heaviest option that you might consider to go on a trip for camping. This weight should be enough to give you up to 400-watt-hours of energy capacity, in some cases such as the Suaoki 400Wh or the Anker PowerHouse solar-powered generators. Although, you may find it more common to see 150Wh options for this purpose.

What Pieces of Camping Equipment Can Be Powered by Solar Generators?

Many of them! Flashlights, for instance, cannot be missing in any camping experience. These devices can get charged via an AC adapter or via a 12V Dc plug-in. Actually, as you could see on this list, many solar generators already include a flashlight and a friendly handle that will allow you to easily carry it everywhere you go in the woods.

A small electric stove is another essential camping item. After all, who enjoys being in the outdoors without good food to share! Besides, not everybody is made to cook in an open-fire situation, it may look easier than it is (not to mention that a campfire is prohibited in many places). These electric camping stoves are generally connected to the AC output of the solar power generators. Unlike fuel or gas generators, solar-powered products will not create any noise and they won’t be dangerous either if you have any kids around.

LED lights to hang on your camping tent are also an important gear to consider. These can be easily powered through the DC output.

Moreover, any good camping experience should have some cold drinks around. A mini-cooler is another useful appliance to keep your drinks cold and that can be powered thanks to a solar generator. It can generally get connected to the 12V DC output of the portable power source.

Also, sometimes camping sites can get hot during the day, this can make the camping experience less attractive. However, a mini fan can help you overcome that short phase during the day to have a good time. Thanks to the AC power outputs, solar power generators can also power mini fans (generally close to 40W).

Finally, who does not like to wake up in the morning in the mountains with a nice cup of coffee? You may use a traditional fire-based coffee maker, but if you want to go for another option, you can also use a solar generator to power a small electric coffee machine. Keep in mind that this will draw a good amount of power, and that only a generator with a continuous power capacity of nearly 500W (Chafon generator system) will be able to supply the required demand for the coffee machine

So bottom line, what useful camping equipment can be powered by a battery powered generator?

  • Flashlights
  • LEDs
  • Camping electric stoves
  • Mini-cooler
  • Mini-fan
  • Coffee machine

Can you Power the Appliances in an RV Using a Solar Power Generator?

a woman holding in her hands a solar generator

Absolutely! For instance, using a solar generator kit, you can power a small fridge (which is a very important RV item). The amount of time that you can power this item will of course vary depending on the size of the power generator. For this purpose, you will need to consider portable generators that have around 400-watt-hours of energy capacity to be able to power the small fridge around 7 hours.

Also, a TV can get powered by solar generators for at least 3 hours. Again, at least a 400-watt hours power station might be needed. Keep in mind that smaller portable stations might not have enough continuous power to turn on the LCD TV. Also, remember that old-style TVs demand more power, and even a 400Wh solar generator might not be able to supply the required demand. Choose an LCD TV for this purpose.

Can we power more devices? Sure! Let’s take a look at some.

  • Blenders
  • Clock Radios
  • Small coffee maker machines (up to 500W)
  • Can openers
  • DVD players
  • Desktop computers
  • Printers
  • Fans
  • Shavers
  • Stereo system

All of these devices can get powered with a 400Wh solar generator. You could expect to get them connected at the same time if you choose a bigger size like the Goal Zero Yeti 1400. However, do not ever think of adding a microwave, an iron, an electric blanket and much less an air conditioner, these appliances demand too much power.

Which Backup Solar Generator Should You Buy for Use in Emergencies?

If you are looking for a backup solar generator system mainly for emergencies, the Paxcess 100-watt station is a great option for you.

The product has been designed as an emergency power supply that is lightweight, compact and reliable whenever your area suffers a power outage. If you have any relatives that are connected to a CPAP machine, you can provide him/her with another power source.

The Chafon backup generator is another good option as well which can even provide more power and that acts as a UPS unit when a blackout occurs.

How Much Should You Expect to Pay for a Top Solar Generator Kit?

a man holding with his hand a solar generator

This is another crucial question for every customer. How much will I have to pay?

Prices change according to power capacity and brands as they do regularly with solar products.

Portable solar generators which have an energy capacity close to 150Wh have a lower capacity and usually have less features available. Therefore, price ranges should be located between $120 and $200.

On the other hand, 400Wh solar-powered generators have more capacity and will have price ranges located between $350 and $450.

Finally, solar generators with capacities over 400Wh can have prices between $600 and $1,500 depending on the size. For these sizes and the American market, there is truly no other brand that is more reliable than Goal Zero.

Goal Zero Yeti 1400 lithium power stations can cost around 1400$. Other available sizes for this brand are the Yeti 1000 (approximately $900) and Yeti 1250 (around $1,000).

For large backup purposes or for RVs, the best choice is to go with a Goal Zero Yeti 1000, 1250 or 1400 option.

How to Calculate the Number of Watts Your Generator Will Need

You need to think of all the appliances that you want to power up before you decide which solar generator to buy.

Here, you must sum up all the power ratings of your appliances: smartphones, laptops, tablets, small fridges, mini-coolers, electric stoves, fans, goPros, drones or any other device that you may want to cover with off-grid power.

You may realize that you will not be able to power all of those devices at the same time for a long time, therefore you must accurately make a selection of which appliances are the most important to you.

Generally, on travel trips you will expect to be able to charge electronics such as laptops, tablets, smartphones, drones, or speakers that have a low power consumption. With a 150Wh portable generator power station, you will be able to charge them.

However, you may also want to power other appliances like small fridges, coffee makers, electric stoves or any other appliance that uses a small motor. If that is your case, you will need to add the wattage consumption and find out which power generators can supply the required wattage demand.

Remember that you must compare this estimated total wattage consumption with the maximum AC continuous power rating of the solar power generators. This is the value that the generator will be able to supply in a long-term scheme. Do not get confused with the surge or peak power capacity, this value is intended to last only a few instants.

Keep in mind that fridges and appliances that use a motor will need a starting wattage which is different from the continuous consumption. This happens because the motor needs an instantaneous current value that can be located between 10 and 12 times the nominal electric current value.

After a few milliseconds, the motor will enter into a permanent regime which will demand its nominal current value. However, if the off-grid solar generator is not able to supply this electric current (or starting wattage if you refer to power), then the appliance won’t even turn on.

In order to know if the starting wattage can be supplied by the portable generator power station, you need to verify that the surge power capacity is located above the starting wattage of the device.

Keep in mind that the surge power needed by the appliance may require all the peak power capacity of the inverter. However, the continuous power demand of the appliance may be low enough as to be coupled with another device. If that is your case, and you want to power both items at the same time, you must connect the appliance that demands the surge power first, and then, after a while, connect the other device.

You can check the typical consumption values of multiple appliances that are used in an RV here.

How Much Power Does the Generator Need?

To charge these generators with solar power, you must know how many watts in solar panels you will need to use to properly charge them within a reasonable period of time.

To find this out, we must refer to the expression below for a quick estimation.

equation for solar panel estimation

The expression above represents the nominal power (P) that a solar PV system must have to cover up specific energy demands. As an example, let’s take the Renogy Lycan Powerbox for reference. The battery capacity of this solar generator is stated at 1,085Wh. This represents our energy demands (Ed in the expression above).

The other parameters in the expression were deeply explained in the best solar portable panels article.

However, to obtain irradiation values you can now use a new tool for this purpose, the Power Data Access Viewer NASA application. By clicking on the Power Layer list icon below and selecting Direct Normal Radiation (DNR) as parameter, you will able to click on a space on the map and obtain the Irr value to be substituted on the expression above. This will give you simple and exact radiation values for your specific coordinates. Now, let’s assume you are located in Sacramento, California and that you want to charge the battery in a single day. The expression results in.

equation for example

This represents the minimum wattage of solar power that must be available (nominal power of the PV system) to charge the battery in a day. However, since the value considers DNR, which assumes that the panel and the sun are perpendicular to each other all the time (case for tracking systems but not for fixed-tilt systems) then we would need to oversize the system between 10-15%, maybe up to 270-280W.

You must remember to keep in mind the limit solar power values for each solar generator which in the case of the Renogy Lycan is 300W. If the size needed would be bigger, then you must set it to the maximum possible value (300W in this case), it simply means that the generator will take more than a single day to get completely charged.

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

Average rating 4.8 / 5. Vote count: 46

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

10 Comments

  1. Thank you!!! Very helpful preliminary info for a newbie to solar generators. How does one calculate the number of watts each appliance uses?

    1. Hello Lesli,

      Thank you! We are glad that you like it!

      Regarding the number of watts that each appliance uses, you can find that out by checking the nameplate of each appliance. There you will find the wattage or power demand. The key is for you to add or sum up every power consumption. If you cannot find your appliance’s nameplate, then you can find a table of similar appliances on the internet and use it as a reference.

    1. Thank you for your comment Paul,

      You can check in Amazon the availability of products that can be shipped to Nigeria. I’m sure that you will find several.

  2. What kind of solar generator can I use for 180w, 4 bulbs, 32inches tv, blender, oven, 2 fans and charging of phones

    1. Hello Favour,

      Thanks for your comment,

      So, you would need to see how many watts are you talking about, but for the appliances that you are mentioning I hardly think its 180W. I would try to remove the oven from the equation since heat generation demands a lot of power that is not intended for these purposes, can be done, but will oversize the system deeply when compared to the demand of your other appliances.

      Once you decide, sum the amount of watts and find out your usage, you can make a little table like the one available in this article. Then you simply go back to our solar generators article and select the one that has an energy capacity above what you will need, and that has the power rating that you want. The power rating will tell you the number of appliances that you can have connected at the same time.

      The process will be iterative surely, but eventually you will find out the setup that you like. If you have further questions do not hesitate in contacting us again

      Best
      Carlos

  3. Andrea Gallerani

    Best, I would like to recharge the battery of my electric bicycle 36 vdc, 14 Ah 504 Wh with a charger 100-240V 2.5 A (max) 50-60Hz, which solar power do I need?
    Many thanks

    1. Hello Andrea,

      Thanks for your comment

      So electric bikes are a topic, you cannot use solar generators because they are rated to work at 12VDC.

      So you basically would need to have a solar panel system that can generate enough power to charge your battery. In that aspect, you can check our article to learn more about how to size the wattage that you need. Use the 504Wh as energy demand in the formula. Since it is an electric bike I’m guessing it wouldn’t be a problem if it got charged in two days, so you could put “2” in “day”, that will reduce the average amount of watts that you need. Keep in mind that you would need a panel voltage higher than 36VDC to make the charging process possible. You can do this by either selecting a single panel with MPPT voltage higher than 40VDC, or by connecting two or three modules in series (depending on the voltage of each one)

      Now you are talking about a charger 100-240V, so it is AC. So, you would also need an inverter for that. Which complicates things because you would also need a lead acid battery to provide stable charge, and that also involves a controller.

      So, you could also try to a charge controller that has a 36VDC output, that’s where you may find more issues. MPPT chargers are generally rated at 12/24/48/60VDC. Charging your battery with a lower voltage will not be possible, and charging them with 48V is not safe, electronics have permissible voltage ranges for a reason and in DC becomes more important. You would need to find a controller with 36VDC nominal output, either MPPT or PWM that works.

      If you can do that, then it should work for you and your electric bike.

      Hope this helps
      Best
      Carlos

  4. Hello, Thanks for your reviews. Would any of these be useful for backup for residential power outages – refrigerator, cell phones, tablets, computer, etc.? If not what brand do you suggest? I am totally new to this and looking for a solar generator with the panel and the generator as one purchase. Thank you.

    1. Hello Melanie,

      Thanks for your comment,

      Absolutely! If that’s what you are looking for I’d recommend you to go with the Jackery 500 or the Goal Zero Yeti 1400. They are a practical solution to a power outage that will not represent a huge amount out of your budget like a Tesla or Sonnen battery would.

      Particularly the Goal Zero Yeti 1400 would be the best option you could get in the solar generators world,with 1425W and 1500W there’s much you can do, but its also the most expensive one. The Jackery one is a very good alternative to consider, with a 1000W surge is enough to power a small fridge and with 500W continuous output / 518Wh, plus you can charge all the electronics you mentioned. I would keep cooling purposes off the equation.

      You can check this or this article to get more info on valuable options to charge these solar generators

      Best
      Carlos

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll to Top

Get Free Personal Solar Pricing

Progress 20%

Do you own your home?

Progress 40%

How much is your average monthly electric bill?

Progress 60%

How much sun does your roof get?

Progress 80%

Would you like to schedule a contact time? (optional)

Progress 99%

Where will the free pricing information be sent to?

By clicking the “SUBMIT” button I agree ecotality.com can contact me by email, text or phone only at the number I have provided, including through automated and/or pre-recorded calls and texts even if your number on any federal, state, or local do not call list. Your consent to this agreement is not required to make a purchase. I also agree to the ecotality.com terms of use and privacy policy. We respect your privacy.

🔒Your information is secure.

Progress 100%

Thank you!

Your form has been submitted. We'll send you a reply after we look over your info.

Error message goes here