A solar generator is portable, lightweight, and noise-free. It can power/charge various electrical appliances using renewable energy from the sun. This also makes them eco-friendly and they do not require a costly fossil fuel supply to run.
With regards to its function, the solar panels absorb solar energy, which is then transferred to the battery for storage as DC. An inverter converts this to AC when power is required for use.
Some solar generators also have a charge controller for voltage regulation. In this guide, we shall discover how a solar generator functions in greater depth.
Solar Generator Overview
A solar generator is a system that can generate electrical energy using the sun’s rays. In more technical terms, a solar generator is a portable power hub that can be used for backup power.
These systems come with solar panels, which absorb sunlight and transfer the stored energy to a lithium-ion battery. A portable solar generator or smaller system is often not the most suitable choice for a home.
Instead, they can be used in RVs and vans or for boating/camping trips. They can be used as backup power for smaller appliances in a home, but for a complete home grid, you may want to invest in a home solar system.
Solar Generator Function
A solar generator can be a backup power source to reduce dependency on the electrical grid for sufficient durations. Not only do they produce clean and renewable energy, but they are also better suited for the environment than gas generators. Most solar generators have the following four main components:
Energy from the sun is stored inside a battery for use whenever required. Most solar generators make use of a lithium-ion battery as a storage unit.
Some older models may have lead-acid batteries, but these are less efficient, although they are cheaper. A lithium-ion battery is expensive but is a lot safer. It is also durable, which reduces maintenance and replacement costs in the long term.
An inverter converts stored DC (direct current) to AC (alternating current). Appliances require alternating current, so an inverter is a crucial component.
A few appliances can work on DC without requiring an inverter. Most solar generators come with several ports to enable charging and device powering.
3. Solar Panels
Solar electric or solar cell panels are created using PV (photo-voltaic) panels or cells. These capture the sun’s radiant energy and convert it into direct current.
4. Charge Controller
A charge controller helps elongate battery life by protecting the battery. Different charge controllers have different features for charge and discharge depending on the solar panel combination and battery type of your solar generator. Controllers help balance power and split it evenly between the batteries and solar panels.
Gas Generators Vs. Solar Generators
Fossil fuel generators have the following cons:
- Costly fuel
- Pollute the environment
Emergencies like floods, hurricanes, and blackouts cause fossil fuel supply to be disrupted, which makes a gas generator useless. Backup power is becoming increasingly important as we rely on technology like mobiles, laptops, and PCs to stay connected with the world.
Solar generators can power smaller appliances like fans, fridges, ACs, and TVs with ease based on battery size and capacity. A solar generator can also be used in a medical setting to power health monitors, and CPAP machines.
How Much Does a Solar Generator Cost?
A solar generator is costlier as compared to fossil fuel generators. Also, the exact price depends on the model, brand, size, and other specifications.
The initial investment may be huge, but their durability, low maintenance cost, and free fuel supply allow the buyer to cover the initial cost easily over the years.
Solar batteries are the most expensive component, with the inverter and charge controller in second place. The cobalt used for the negative cathode of a lithium-ion battery is hard to mine. It is the byproduct of regular mining for other metals, which raises overall battery costs.
Advantages of Using a Solar Generator
- You get to use free, clean, and renewable energy from the sun to produce renewable electricity.
- Solar panels last for around 20 to 25 years.
- A solar generator is easy to maintain due to no moving parts/liquid fuel.
- Noiseless operation and no toxic emissions make solar generators eco-friendly.
- Portable generators are lightweight and super easy to carry around. You can take them with you on trips as a backup power source.
A solar generator or an entire solar system for your house can be quite an investment. However, the numerous benefits and the ability to recover costs through low maintenance, reduced electricity bills, and durability makes solar generators a great choice.