How to Choose a Solar Generator -
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How to Choose a Solar Generator


If you’re looking to power your electronics on the go, you may be wondering, “Is there such a thing?” Imagine this: Your home’s power outlet, anywhere you go, powered by a portable battery. 

Well, it is not only possible to purchase a solar generator, but the possibilities have never been greater for long-term, portable power. In this article, we will explain exactly what a solar generator is and how to pick the best one.

What is a Solar Generator?

A solar generator is simply a device that can store electricity and output it through an electrical outlet. The energy is taken from the sun using a solar panel which then converts and stores the energy into a solar. generator.

Other names for Solar Generators

Solar Generators are a constantly evolving technology and therefore have many names. Other common names for solar generators include:

  • CPAP Batteries
  • Portable power stations
  • Portable chargers
  • Electric generators
  • And more.

Today, there are many great solar generators that can be easily recharged with solar energy.

Uses for Solar Generators

Solar Generators have a diverse set of uses, as they are an incredibly convenient way to supply remote electricity. Fully-electric battery systems generally operate at near-silent decibel levels and can even be used indoors, as they do not emit any harmful fumes. 

With all of this in mind, solar generators are commonly used for:

  • Running CPAP machines
  • Camping, tailgating, and festivals
  • RVs, vans, and life on the road
  • Ongoing off-grid storage
  • Job sites
  • Emergencies
  • And more

How do Solar Generators Work?

Today, lithium-ion batteries store electricity in direct current (DC), while power outlets output alternating current (AC). To solve this problem, solar generators typically include a power inverter which “inverts” the energy from DC to AC. 

Solar Generators can be charged in a variety of ways, which typically include one or more of the following methods:

  • AC electricity (wall plug) charging
  • DC charging (through a car’s cigarette lighter)
  • Solar panels or wind turbines 
  • USB charging (typically for smaller units)

In a pinch, some solar generators can also be recharged by hooking up directly to a gas generator or other portable power source. 

which solar generator is right for you?

How to Choose the Best Solar Generator

Despite only comprising two main parts (the battery and the outlet), solar generators can be complicated to compare one another if you do not have a lot of prior electrical knowledge. 

To make it easy for you, here are a few of the most important specifications to pay attention to when choosing the best solar generator. 

Battery Storage  

Battery storage is the defining factor of most solar generators. In general, the higher the storage capacity, the more expensive the device will be. 

Storage capacity is measured in watt-hours or amp-hours. To estimate what size battery storage is right for you simply multiply your device’s wattage by their approximate run time.

For example, let’s say you have a 50W CPAP machine and want to camp for two nights.  Estimating for 16 hours of total run time (8 hours per night), you will need a battery with at least 900 watt-hours of capacity.  

Battery Longevity (# of Lifecycles)

Second, a battery’s longevity is measured by its expected number of lifecycles. As all batteries slowly degrade over time, the lifecycle count is usually estimated for when a battery reaches 80% of its initial storage capacity. 

Battery longevity is often overlooked when considering the long-term use of a portable power station. For daily use, we highly recommend finding a battery with 1,000 life cycles or more. 

Charging Options (Power Input)

Before you can use your portable power outlet, you need to charge the battery. Charging options, as well as charging speeds, should closely be examined when considering the best product for your electrical demand.

If you plan to spend a lot of time on the road with your solar generator, it is great to find a station with an easy car-charging cable system. 

Outlet Variety (Power Output)

If you’re looking for a simple AC power outlet or two, many small, low-cost devices can provide just that. However, many of the best power stations of today can also silently power DC and USB devices such as lights, cellphones, cameras, and more. 

When using your AC power, pay close attention to the device’s continuous power rating (from the inverter). High-demand appliances like microwaves may exceed the wattage rating for smaller solar generators. 

Size & Weight

High-capacity portable power stations generally range between 20 and 75 lbs, depending on the size of the battery and inverter. With such a variety of products available, it is incredibly easy to prioritize certain features such as power capacity, battery storage, or ease of transportation.  

Operating Noise Levels 

Last but not least, consider a power station’s operating noise levels before making your purchasing decision. Although batteries are near-silent compared to gas generators, large fans or outdated technology may cause a power station to generate noise that can annoy those expecting to sleep next to it. 

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Article by

Max Bair Marshall

Max is a co-founder of Shop Solar, a company that he established in 2018 to revolutionize the solar industry by simplifying the process and making it more simple and cost-effective. Under his strategic leadership, Shop Solar has grown into a comprehensive one-stop-shop, empowering over 40,000 customers to access top-quality solar and storage solutions, comprehensive information, intuitive tools, and professional installation services.

With a passion for innovation and sustainable energy, Max has successfully expanded the business's reach and impact, serving as a driving force in the company's growth and development. Today, as the leader of a dedicated team of 60+ professionals across North America, Max continues to set new standards of excellence in the renewable energy industry, with a mission to transform the way people access and utilize clean energy.

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