The solar revolution is here, and many people are now buying solar powered appliances to save money and Environment in the long run. Thanks to the constantly improving technology related to solar energy, the appliances are now more efficient than ever before.
One of these things is solar portable generator or portable power station. These useful piece of technology can help you generate electricity in the middle of nowhere, as long as there is some sunlight available. These are easily portable, and do not require you to buy any type of fuel with you. This is especially useful when you are going on distant trips into the wilderness, and do not want to carry too much weight of fuel with you.
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Here is a brief guide to buying the best solar power generator/ portable power station that you can follow. This will help you choose the best solar generator that fits your personal needs.
How Do They Work?
While the solar generators themselves are not new to the market, portability is a new thing. Recent advances in technology has allows manufacturers to fit everything into a small form factor in order to make it portable.
These solar generators work just like the conventional solar setups to generate electricity, but they are compact enough to be moved around easily. They are perfect to be used in case of an emergency. They can come in handy when there is no other power source available.
Here are the components a solar power generator is made out of.
- Solar panels.
- A charge controller
These are all the things that help deliver the electricity to your wall outlet. They might also have usb ports to directly charge your devices.
At a quick glance, this looks just like your regular home solar setup.
Consider This Before Buying
Since everyone has his own particular needs and expectations, solar generators come in a variety of different shapes and capacities that you can choose from.
If you are looking to buy a solar generator, the best starting point can be determining the total electricity you will need to run the important appliances in case of power outages.
Usually, an average house will use anywhere between 1000 to 2500 watts per hour power output depending on the appliances running inside it. Most of the solar generators sold there days range from 500 to 6000 watts per hour of energy generation capacity.
These numbers might suggest that a solar generator can easily provide enough power to accommodate all the appliances in your house, but there is a catch. Unlike the gas powered generators, solar generators can not produce a constant amount of electricity, as their efficiency depends on their sunlight exposure. That is why these generators use batteries that they charge over time, and then those batteries are used to power up our appliances in an outage.
Look For These Features in Your Solar Generator
Large home solar setups can help you create lots of energy, and hence can keep all the appliances running without any difficulties. Lots of solar panels are installed to gather more energy to start with. This way, all of the batteries keep charging at the same or a faster rate than they are being discharged.
But this is not the case when it comes to investing in the best solar generators. Even heavy duty ones do not have the resources to store enough energy that will run your whole house. But they are your best companions on off road trips and in emergencies when you need some amount of electricity urgently.
Take a Look at The Solar Panels
When buying a portable solar generator, you must consider the capacity of solar panels it comes with. The capacity is also written in watts. You can multiply the efficiency with the number of hours of daily exposure the panel would get. This will give you an idea of how much power the panel will make per day. This way, you can have an idea about the maximum power production capacity of your solar generator. However, keep in mind that a cloudy day can decrease the efficiency and power production of your solar panel considerably.
Here are three different types of solar panels that you can choose from.
- Monocrystalline Solar Cells
- Polycrystalline Solar Cells
- Amorphous Crystal Panels
Consider The Power Rating
Before making the purchase, consider the overall battery capacity of the portable solar generator you are buying. However, this number only indicates the maximum capacity, and not the actual amount that it can provide at any given time.
Batteries with high capacity and high power rating discharge faster, while the ones with high capacity and low power rating provide less power, but last for a longer time per charge.
Solar generators keep constantly creating power and storing it in the batteries. You can have a solar panel setup that generates thousands of watts per hour, but you can only store this energy up to the maximum limit of your batteries. You can increase the available energy by increasing the number of batteries that store energy, or by investing in a battery management system for trickle charging.
Buying the batteries that charge and discharge at the same time can be a but expensive. But it becomes a necessity if you do not want to invest in many batteries, but need to use the solar generator for long periods of time. For example, if the lead acid or lithium ion battery on your solar generator takes around 4 hours to charge fully, you will be out of electricity for as long as the battery is not done charging. On the other hand trickle charging (charging and using the battery at the same time) does not have this issue.
What size solar generator do I need?
That purely depends on the intensity of your intended usage. If you can going to use in in your house, you will have to invest in a heavy duty system. Trips only need lighter setups.
Can a solar generator power a refrigerator?
Well, as long as the power required by the refrigerator falls within the solar generator’s power capacity, it should power the refrigerator without any difficulty. Refrigerators use a lot of energy, so, you might need to invest in a more powerful solar generator for this purpose.