Best Solar Solar generators are an excellent way to maintain power in your home or business. Solar generators work by using solar panels, which convert sunlight into electricity and store it in batteries for use during the night. Solar generators are reliable power sources, especially when there is an interruption with your main power supply. You can also rely on this type of generator for your power demands when camping, tailgating, or RVing.
There are many reasons why you should consider investing in a solar-powered generator. Unlike traditional generators, solar powered models operate quietly. Furthermore, the increased use of renewable energy is a trend that will continue for decades to come as the world is working to lower carbon footprints. It also saves money in the long run as the generator does not require fuel to run. However, with the many solar-powered generators in the market today, settling for the right one can be a daunting task. In this blog post, we’ll review the best solar powered generators and help you decide which one is right for you.
How Does a Solar Powered Generator Work?
A solar-powered generator will only work when there is a solar panel receiving sunlight. The panel converts sunlight into DC (direct current) power which passes through a charge controller. The inverter inside the solar generator converts the direct current electricity into useable alternating current (AC) power. It then proceeds for storage in the battery; in most cases, solar generators come with batteries for storing this energy.
Best Solar Power Generators Reviewed
1. Jackery Explorer 500 Portable Generator Review
Powered by both solar and AC power, this generator is one of the most versatile on the market. You can conveniently connect your device to this generator using its two USB ports – one of the ports has a 2.1A output for fast charging, perfect for powering tablets and phones! It also comes with a built-in LCD screen which conveniently monitors your energy production levels in real-time. The LCD screen also displays the AC and DC power levels and operating conditions.
The Explorer 500 comes with Panasonic heavy-duty batteries, which ensure the continuous performance of up to 500Wh. Also included is a built-in AC inverter that delivers a pure sine wave AC output ideal for running laptop computers and other small appliances/tools with high power consumption.
Summary of Features:
Powered by both solar and AC power Inverter with 500W continuous, 1000W surge capacity Two USB ports – one with a 2A output for fast charging Two DC ports – one 12V/20A and one 5V/12V/2.4A Panasonic heavy-duty batteries Maximum power output: 1000W Continuous, 2000W Surge
- Portable Good for emergencies (e.g., blackout) Use multiple sources of energy (solar pannels+AC power)
- This solar powered generator is highly-priced
2. Jackery Explorer 1000 Portable Generator
Featuring a built-in inverter with 1,000W continuous and 2,000W surge capacity, the Jackery Explorer 1000 is perfect for larger appliances/tools. Jackery Explorer 1000 is the best solar powered generator for campers and adventurous looking for clean energy.
It boasts an impressive battery life of up to 3 hours when running on AC power alone. With 3AC outlets, you can power several electric appliances of lower power voltage.
The generator can be powered by both solar and AC power. The generator also comes with 2 USB ports and 2 type C USB ports for fast charging, making it perfect for running your tablet and phone on the go.
- The generator has 3AC outlets and USB ports.
- It supports fast charging for hand-held devices.
- It is relatively expensive.
3. Ecoflow River Solar Powered Generator
Ideal for camping, the Ecoflow River Solar Powered Generator is a compact solar generator with an impressive power output of up to 600W. You can use this generator indoors or outdoors as it has a durable and rugged design. The generator is also very convenient as it comes with a built-in LCD screen to conveniently track battery life, power output, and real-time charging data.
According to the manufacturer, this generator has a 412Wh capacity that can guarantee you:
- 100 hours of light
- Powering a portable generator for 10 hours
- Charging laptops up to 5 times and mobile or tablets for up to 10 times
There are 11 power outlets, including AC, DC, CIG, and USB ports for running multiple devices at a go. You can recharge this generator using an Ecoflow Solar Panel Charger, which is sold separately. The built-in battery management system allows the generator’s battery to hold power for about 1 year.
Its small compact design and lightweight make it ideal for providing power while on the go.
- It has a smart temperature control system that prevents it from overheating when recharging or powering devices.
- It has 11 power outlets for quick powering of multiple devices.
- Its solar charging panel is bought separately.
4. Goal Zero Yeti 400 Solar Powered Generator
It is a reputable brand in the market of solar powered generators. Therefore, you can be sure of reliable services from any of their products in the market, more so this model Goal Zero Yeti 400.
This small generator has a starting wattage of 600W and 300W running wattage. It’s a perfect power solution for anyone looking for emergency power for running small appliances. The devices that it can charge include a mobile phone up to 30 times, a laptop up to 5 times, and power small appliances like a coffee maker for several hours.
This model also has several charging options that include;
- Double 120 volts AC outlets
- Double 2.1 A USB ports
- Dual 12V volts DC outlets
- A single car battery charging outlet (You can quickly charge this generator’s battery through this port)
Goal Zero Yeti 400 has an LCD that shows real-time power input from the solar, runtime, and real-time power output. With such display information, you will quickly know the remaining runtime and when to recharge the generator. You can also tell whether the solar is correctly placed depending on the generator’s input power.
- It has several charging options, including AC, DC, and USB ports.
- The LCD allows you to monitor the generator’s runtime quickly.
- You can charge through a car battery charging option.
- Its output wattage is lower than most models in the market.
5. HomeGrid 5000HD Solar Powered Generator
The HomeGrid is the most powerful solar-powered generator in our review. This generator was made to provide power for running appliances in a home in an emergency hence the high power output.
HomeGrid 5000HD has a surge wattage of 10,000W and 5,000W rated wattage. You can run several household appliances with this generator, including a refrigerator, AC system, or even a portable heater. It’s heavy-duty power equipment that will guarantee you prolonged usage and endurance to tough weather conditions.
It has an 1800 watt-hour battery that is expandable to hold up to 3700 watts of power for your home use. The presence of an LCD makes it easy to monitor the output voltage and battery status.
This powerful generator comes with several charging options, including;
- It has 4 110 volts AC outlets
- Dual USB outlets
- A single 220 volts AC outlet
This generator weighs about 120 pounds which means it can be difficult to move it around. However, the generator comes with a 10-inch wheel kit and well-positioned handle that eases its movements.
- It has an expandable battery system
- It’s a powerful solar powered generator
- It is an expensive model of generator.
6. Westinghouse iGen600S Solar Powered Generators
Westinghouse iGen600S is one of the most reliable and affordable solar-powered campers you can find in the market. It’s a perfect companion for camping, tailgating, or your weekend visits to the park. It has an easy-to-carry design that makes it portable and lightweight, weighing just 11.3 pounds.
It has 600 running wattage and about 1200 starting wattage. This power output can handle a variety of small household appliances. You can plug in up to several devices at one time. Some of the machines that this generator can power include;
- A TV for up to 11 hours continuously
- Lighting devices for up to 83 hours
- Charge smartphone and laptop up to 63 and 23 times, respectively
- CPAP devices for 2 nights
The power outlets on this model are:
- Two 120V household outlets
- Single 12V cigarette lighter outlet
- Four USB ports that include USB-C
There are three different ways of recharging this generator:
- A household outlet that will offer a charge time of about 7 to 8 hours
- Charge via a car outlet that will charge the battery for about 7 to 9 hours.
- A solar panel for about 7 to 9 hours, depending on solar intensity.
This generator has an LCD screen showing its wattage output, remaining battery life, failure warnings, and temperature overloading.
- It has an in-built flashlight which offers users an easy time to illuminate at night.
- It can charge up to 8 devices at a go.
- The company does not make its solar panels.
7. PAXCESS S320 100-Watt Solar Powered Generator
This is the lightest model in our review, weighing about 3.3 pounds. You can quickly grab this generator and attend to your emergency power needs both indoors and outdoors. However, due to its low power outage, this solar powered generator is ideal for light usage. Even so, this generator has AC and DC power outlets and USB ports, making it a versatile solar powered generator.
The generator has a battery capacity of 155 Wh. It has a starting wattage of 150W and a 100W running wattage. This generator has adaptable power outlets that can power multiple devices, including smartphones, camera batteries, and laptops. When using this generator to run a CPAP machine, do not connect the device directly. Instead, you should use a DC converter. This generator can power a CPAP machine for about 2 to 3 nights. On the power outlets, you will find:
- Dual 110 volts AC outlets
- Triple 12 volts DC outlets
- Double 5V USB ports
Since this portable generator is IATA certified for air travel, you can conveniently carry it in the plane to wherever you go. Its battery management system allows controlling temperature, voltage, and current guaranteeing maximum protection when using the generator.
You can recharge PAXCESS S320 in three different ways:
- Charge it via a wall socket (AC outlet): It will take about 8 hours to attain full charge.
- Connect it to a car via a 12 volts adapter: It will take around 9 hours to charge fully.
- Recharge it via Paxcess 50W solar panel (recommendable): Solar charging may recharge it for 7 to 9 hours before it attains full charge. However, the solar panel is not included in the pricing of this generator.
- It offers its users versatile functionalities.
- It offers three-way charging options.
- The generator cannot run appliances whose running wattage is more than 100 watts.
8. Renogy PHOENIX 300 Solar Generator
It is a compact and lightweight power solution that comes with an easy-grip handle. The generator weighs about 6.4 pounds making it easy to transport. It is mostly used to run small appliances such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops. This generator has multiple ports allowing for multi-tasking while using the generator.
Renogy PHOENIX 300 offers up to 200 watts of AC power. This power output can help you charge small appliances such as laptops, smartphones, CPAP machines, among others.
This generator can deliver 337 watts-hours for about 8 hours. ON the power outlets, this model features common receptacles, which include;
- Dual 110V AC outlets
- Three USB ports for type A, C and an ordinary USB port
You can recharge this solar generator by three methods:
- Via a carport through its 12-25V DC input port
- Through a wall outlet (fast charging)
- Connecting to a solar panel (not included) and allow it to charge from solar energy.
Unlike other rechargeable generators, Renogy PHOENIX 300 allows a combination of various charging inputs to achieve a quick charge within 3.5 hours.
Advantages of Solar Powered Generators
It operates quietly
Solar powered generators do not have any moving parts, which contributes to the high noise output in conventional generators.
No running costs
Once you invest in the right solar panels and battery, you will not spend any other costs to get solar energy. Solar energy is free since you dot require any fossil fuel. Solar generators also have low maintenance costs.
It’s a clean source of power
Since solar generators do not rely on fossil fuels to generate energy, they do not produce fumes.
Frequently Asked Question
Can solar run my whole house?
Yes, solar power can run your entire house. However, this will depend on the amount of power your house demands. The amount of power demanded by your house will determine the number of solar panels needed for your home. Ideally, you will need to invest in the right combination of solar panels, battery packs, and inverters to enjoy solar energy running your whole house.
Why is my electric bill so high with solar panels?
Running your home on a solar panel does not mean you will not incur electricity costs. Here are several reasons why you may still incur high electricity costs even after installation of solar panels;
- If the amount of power your home demands exceeds what your solar panels are producing, then your electrical system will have to import electricity from the main grid to cushion the deficiency.
- If you consume more power at night, your system will have to import power from the grid. This is because solar panels don’t generate solar energy at night.
- Failure to switch on the solar system after the installation of a solar meter
A problem with your solar energy system
What are the main 2 disadvantages to solar energy?
- The initial investment cost of installing a solar system is high. You have to pay for the solar panels, inverters, batteries, and installations, including wiring.
- The solar system depends on the weather. For the solar panels to effectively collect solar energy, there has to be adequate sunlight. Therefore, solar energy collection will be inefficient during winter and cannot be collected at night.
How much does a 10kw battery cost?
Solar batteries come in different price tags. As of January 2021, a 10kw battery would cost anywhere between $7,500 to $12,000. The differences in prices are influenced by several factors, which include:
- The quality of the battery: Solar batteries’ quality differs from one brand to another. Check out for batteries from a reputable manufacturer since they come with warranty periods.
- The type of battery: Is it a low voltage or a high voltage battery? High voltage batteries are generally more expensive than low voltage batteries.
Which is better solar panel or generator?
Choosing between investing in solar panels or generators depends on your energy requirements. If you’re looking for a power backup plan for an emergency, investing in a generator is recommended. However, if you want to lower your electricity bills by running important appliances at home, investing in solar systems will save you from high monthly electricity bills.
Both options have their pros and cons. Ensure to do a cost-benefit analysis before making a final decision.
Which is better, Bluetti or Jackery?
Both Bluetti and Jackery are reliable solar powered generators with 1000W power capacity. However, Jackery beats Bluetti in surge power. Bluetti outperforms Kackery in terms of battery capacity. A higher battery capacity means you can power a wide range of appliances for a long time. Therefore, it is a critical factor to consider when comparing these two models.
Which is better, Jackery or Ecoflow?
These two solar powered generators have similar features. However, EcoFlow outperforms Jackery when it comes to performance, power, and battery. EcoFlow can power extra devices simultaneously than Jackery. In terms of prices, EcoFlow will cost you more than Jackery. So if you are on a tight budget, Jackery is your best option.
Why is solar energy bad?
Solar energy is not perfect!
- The efficacy of solar energy depends on your location and solar availability. Its effectiveness drops as you move away from the equator. Here are few reasons why solar energy is bad:
- Solar panels can easily be damaged by storms, which means you will incur a cost to replace them. Besides the replacement costs, you have to hire an expert to handle the damaged panels because of the toxic compounds found in the panels.
Can a 100watt solar panel run a refrigerator?
No. The average refrigerator with a freezer requires about 100 Wh monthly. A single 100-watt solar panel receiving sunlight for about 8 hours a day can generate about 1kw per day, translating to 30 kWh monthly. Considering an average refrigerator’s 100 Wh power requirements per month, you will need about 3.3 solar panels of 100-watt power to run a fridge. Therefore, 4 solar panels of 100 watts are what you need to run a refrigerator.
Are solar generators better than gas generators?
Both solar and gas generators are reliable sources of power when you are off the grid. However, if you are looking for a clean energy source or a soundless generator, a solar generator beats gas generators. They are also more portable than gas generators. However, solar generators have low power output compared to gas generators. Solar generators are ideal for charging small appliances, while gas generators are best for powering small and large electrical devices.
Are solar generators safe?
Solar generators are clean energy sources; they do not produce any fumes, making them safe to use even indoors. Furthermore, solar powered generators are environmentally friendly power sources. They also have stable power, which is safe for delicate appliances.
Can solar panels replace a generator?
Solar panels cannot replace generators completely. You will need several solar panels to power your entire home. However, you will only need one powerful gas generator to run your whole house. Additionally, the efficiency of solar panels depends on the weather. In dull weather, the efficiency of solar panels is low. But for a gas generator, their efficiency does not depend on the weather.
Are there gas and solar generators?
No. Conventional generators can run on gas, propane, or diesel. While solar powered generators can only recharge their battery through solar, charging via a wall outlet or car charging port.
What is the best solar generator in the market?
In our review, Jackery Explorer 500 is the best solar powered generator in the market. It’s a portable model and comes with a built-in handle that makes it suitable for camping and other outdoor adventures. It also comes with multiple outlets, including AC and USB outlets.
Are solar generators worth it?
Yes. If you are looking for a quiet and portable for charging and running small appliances, a solar generator is your best choice.
What solar generator can power a house?
A single solar generator may not be big enough to power your entire house. But it can power your small appliances, including TV, coffee maker, lighting, and charge your smartphone and laptop. HomeGrid 5000HD is an ideal size for powering your essential devices at home.
How big of a solar generator do I need?
You need a generator that can meet your power demands. In our review, HomeGrid 5000HD is the biggest solar powered generator in terms of power output.
How do I choose a solar generator?
There are several factors that you should consider when settling for a solar generator. The key factors include:
- Battery capacity
- Power output
- Number and type of power outlets
How long do solar powered generators last?
The lifespan of a solar powered generator depends on its type of battery and how frequently the generator is used. The lifecycle of solar generators may range from hundreds of charging cycles to thousands of charging cycles. In terms of years, a solar generator can last anywhere from 25 to 35 years. However, this will also depend on the quality of the generator. Generators that are used regularly have a shorter lifespan.
Can you charge a solar generator with a gas generator?
Yes, connect your generator’s AC charging cables to the AC outlet of a gas generator, and your solar generator will recharge.
Can solar run my whole house?
Yes. The right size of a solar system can run your whole house. However, it will depend on the size of your home and that of the existing solar systems. Check your home’s power requirements and find a suitable solar to meet the power demands.
Solar powered generators are the best power solutions if you are looking for clean energy. They may not produce a higher power output compared to conventional generators, but their power output is enough to run your small essential appliances. So, which is the best solar powered generator? If you are looking for a budget-friendly and reliable solar generator for your small devices, Jackery Explorer 500 is your best bet. HomeGrid 5000HD solar generator is an ideal clean power solution for running your home. The generators have a starting power of 10,000 watts and a running wattage of 5,000W, which is enough for running a medium-sized house.