Want a backup power source for your house in case of an emergency or need outside electricity for camping?
In the event of a blackout, a portable solar generator can keep essential home appliances functioning.
How to choose the right solar generator for your home or business is covered here.
Dimensioning a Solar Power Plant
Buying a portable solar generator system is similar to buying any other type of generator; you need to ensure that it can meet your power needs. It’s possible to get some useful numbers from a few different metrics. Doing your homework while keeping these considerations in mind will lead you to the ideal generator for your requirements.
Watts of Power
They used 4 Sunpower 100 solar panels and an OXTECO Sirius2500w solar generator to run a projector and outdoor lighting for their family.
The continuous electrical output of the generator is represented by its operating watts, also known as its rated watts. Add up the power needs of all the gadgets you intend to run off the generator. It is common practice for manufacturers to list power requirements on the gadget itself. A generator’s running wattage must be higher than this figure.
The Number of Watt-Hours
Consider the generator’s watt-hours (Wh), or capacity, to ensure that it can supply electricity for the required amount of time. The number indicates how much juice a fully charged battery can extract from the generator over the course of 60 minutes. The generator’s runtime is another factor that may be estimated using this tool. For instance, a 600-Wh generator can run a 50-watt light for around 12 hours or two 100-watt devices for about 3 hours, depending on the conditions. Please note that these figures are only estimations, and that you may not really have access to the entire capacity. The battery’s capacity may be influenced by environmental factors such as temperature. Add up the total wattage of everything you need to run, and then multiply that number by how long you’ll need to have it on. A generator with a watt-hours capacity higher than the final answer is required.
The beginning watts measurement of a generator reveals the maximum power it can produce before dropping to its operating output. The value here will be more than the operating watts. Electric motors in appliances like small fridges and fans require this brief increase in power in order to start. Check the generator’s max power output against the beginning wattage of the device’s motor to ensure it is sufficient.
Space to Recharge
The length of time it takes for a fully discharged solar generator battery to be fully charged is indicated by the recharge time. Depending on the charging rate of the generator and the precise power input from solar panels, the manufacturer’s paperwork should include an estimate of charging time. You should know that it is probably calculated using the greatest solar power input, which is not always predictable. A solar generator that takes 10 hours to charge with a 200-watt panel may take several days to fully charge in cloudy weather since charging efficiency drops significantly when the panel is not directly exposed to sunshine. Take this into account when calculating required capacity and power. Make sure the solar generator’s capacity and charge rate can provide enough energy to run your lights, portable TV, and mobile gadgets for an extended period of time, such as several days. Even though many devices can keep you powered while they recharge, doing so can lengthen the charging process, and you may end up using more juice than the battery can offer.
If the outside temperature is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, the battery may not be able to be charged or may lose some of its capacity. For information on how to use the generator in cold weather, consult the owner’s manual.
Various Other Factors
There are a few more considerations to make in addition to the correct generator sizing.
Types of Inverters
A solar generator’s inverter converts the DC electricity produced by solar panels into usable AC current. For a low price and wide range of compatibility, a modified sine inverter is a great choice. While some devices will work fine with this inverter, some might not. You should only connect devices that can handle a modified sine wave, as doing so might shorten their lifespan or generate unwanted noise in audio equipment. Although more expensive, a pure sine inverter is the best choice for certain appliances and gadgets around the house that are particularly sensitive to voltage fluctuations.
Energy Source: Various Batteries
Lead-acid batteries or lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries are used to store energy produced by solar generators. Although lithium ion batteries are more expensive up front, they tend to live far longer than lead batteries, making lithium ion generators the more cost-effective option. To further aid mobility, lithium ion batteries also tend to be lighter. LipoFe4 batteries may now provide longer run times. This is now the superior option.