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The 10 Best Solar Powered Generators to Sustainably Keep the Lights On

The 10 Best Solar Powered Generators to Sustainably Keep the Lights On

Sustainable Home

Last Updated on August 30, 2021

Going camping or looking for backups in case of a power outage? Solar powered generators are the way to go. Unlike their gas-powered counterparts, they’re quiet, smell-free, and don’t contribute to climate change.  

Solar generators create power through solar panels (typically sold separately), converting it into electrical power, then storing it in a battery for later use.  

The 10 Best Solar Powered Generators to Sustainably Keep the Lights On

Before investing in a solar powered generator, make sure to estimate how much power you’ll need to run appliances, tools and tech in case of a power outage or whatever you’ll need in the wilderness.  

Once you know how many watts you’ll need, be sure to look for a generator that has the right weight, dimensions and outlets. Here are the best 10 solar powered generators on the market. 

what is a solar generator? 

A solar generator is a device that works alongside solar panels to provide essential automatic backup power to your home when you need it. This comes in handy during power outages, but it can also be used for off the grid living and camping. There are many different types of generators that range in style, size, function and brand.  

For more information on how solar energy works, check out my blog Is Solar Power Worth It?

how does a solar generator work? 

A solar generator works when a solar panel converts sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity that passes through the charge controller. Then, the solar energy is stored inside the battery. The inverter turns the electricity into accessible alternating current (AC) power.  

can a 100 watt solar panel run a refrigerator?

Yes, a solar generator can run a refrigerator. But it needs to have the right amount of watts to do it. 

For example, a 100 watt solar panel can only run a refrigerator for a short time and would also need a battery. This is because 100 watts of solar panels can generate on average 400 watt-hours of energy per day. To run a refrigerator with combined freezer, you would need 2000 watt-hours a day.  

This means you’d have to invest in a solar generator that has 2000-3000 watts if you’d want to run it the entire day.  

how long do solar powered generators last? 

Generally speaking, solar powered generators last between 25 to 35 years, depending on the brand and quality. It’s an investment but it’s one that will last you a long time. Also, many solar generators come with warranties, so if something goes wrong, you can get it fixed. 

what is the best off grid solar generator?  

If you’re going off the grid, the Bluetti Off-Grid Solar Generator AC200P is perfect for you. This can charge most high-power appliances such as fridge, window air conditioner, hairdryers, microwave oven, coffee maker (Max 2000W), heater, electric grill, drill, etc. You can also power up to 17 devices simultaneously thanks to the wide arrange of output options. 

what about for camping? 

For camping, a Jackery Explorer 500 is ideal because it’s portable and lightweight with an easy to use handle. It can also be charged multiple ways via solar panel, wall socket, vehicle’s 12V output and an electric generator, making it very versatile.  

You can charge up without having to worry about wall outlets or long extension cords. That makes this generator perfect for the great outdoors – you can use it to power your blender, tools, pellet smoker, heated blankets, etc.  

what are the pros and cons of a solar generator? 

For your convenience, I’ve made a list of the pros and cons of a solar generator.  

Pros: 

  • Free energy from the sun 
  • Clean energy  
  • Quiet operation 
  • Low maintenance costs 
  • Lasts several years 

Cons:  

  • Pricy upfront 
  • Limited power supply (depending on watts) 
  • Slow recharge 

Just remember every solar generator is different, so this is a generic list. For example, there are several solar generators that won’t break the bank – it’s really just a matter of what you need. Be mindful of the fact the more watts a generator can dish out, the generally pricier it will be. 

what to look for in a solar powered generator? 

Not all solar powered generators are created equal. When deciding which solar generator is right for you, there are some things you should definitely consider. 

  • Solar panels: Some generators come with them, others will have to be purchased separately so be mindful of this. There are three common types of solar panels — monocrystalline panels, polycrystalline solar cells, and thin film. Each vary in efficiency, monocrystalline panels being the most common and efficient. However, thin panels are the lightest and most affordable. 
  • Weight: Are you planning on using your generator on the go? If so, weight is something to factor in – you don’t want to lug something heavy around the wilderness. Look for portability aspects, like a lighter weight and an easily accessible handle.  
  • Battery capacity: Battery capacity indicates the total amount of electricity a solar generator can store. It’s good to also know their power rating (how much power they’ll deliver at a time). If they have a low power rating, but high batter capacity, they’ll likely deliver less electricity, but for a longer period. Always check the Watt (W) for a unit of power and Watt-hour (Wh) for the total amount of watts generated or consumed in an hour. 
  • Battery type: Lead-acid and lithium-ion are the most common types. Lithium is lightweight and often used to power tools, whereas lead-acid batteries are better for powering things like automobiles. Lithium-ion batteries are a tad bit more expensive, but they also last longer. 
  • Charge controller: Check for three-power point tracking (MPPT) as these are the most efficient charge controllers. This will help regulate the current between the solar panels and battery.  
  • Inverter: These convert direct current (DC) from solar panels to alternating current (AC). They’re built into the solar generators. Pure sine wave inverter is the most efficient inverter but also the most expensive.  

best solar powered generators 

So, now you know what to look for in solar powered generators. 

If your head is spinning from all this information – don’t fear. I’ve rounded up a list of solar powered generators that get the Going Zero Waste seal of approval. All these brands are reliable, gas free, and efficient. 

I’ve gone ahead and highlighted some of the most important features of each generator, but it isn’t an exhaustive list. Be sure to check out their websites for more information. 

Jackery: The 10 Best Solar Powered Generators to Sustainably Keep the Lights On

1. jackery explorer 500 solar portable generator 

  • 500W portable power station with 518Wh power capacity 
  • Pure sine wave inverter 
  • Relatively light 13.3 pounds 
  • 7 output ports 
  • Lithium battery 
  • Can be recharged from an AC wall outlet or with a Jackery SolarSaga solar panel 

SHOP JACKERY EXPLORER 500 / 


Baldr: The 10 Best Solar Powered Generators to Sustainably Keep the Lights On

2. baldr portable power station 

  • 330W portable power station with 297wh power capacity 
  • Pure sine wave inverter 
  • Lightest, 7.1 pounds 
  • 9 output ports  
  • Lithium battery 
  • Can be recharged with any 100W solar panel (not included), wall power socket, or plugin the 12V socket of the car 

SHOP BALDR / 


Bluetti: The 10 Best Solar Powered Generators to Sustainably Keep the Lights On

3. bluetti ac200p 2000wh/2000w portable power station  

  • 2000W portable power station with 2000Wh power capacity 
  • Pure sine wave inverter 
  • Very heavy, 60.6 pounds   
  • 17 output ports  
  • Lead acid battery 
  • Can be charged using solar panels (not included), via a wall outlet, car plug, using a generator, or lead acid battery. 

SHOP BLUETTI AC200P 2000WH/2000W / 


Tacklife: The 10 Best Solar Powered Generators to Sustainably Keep the Lights On

4. tacklife p50 500wh portable power station 

  • 500W portable power station with 500Wh power capacity  
  • Pure sine wave inverter 
  • Relatively light, 13.6 pounds 
  • More than 5 output ports 
  • Lithium-ion Battery 
  • Pre-installed maximum power point tracker (MPPT) 
  • Can be charged using 150W solar panels (not included), wall outlet or car plug 

SHOP TACKLIFE P50 500WH


Maxoak Bluetti: The 10 Best Solar Powered Generators to Sustainably Keep the Lights On

5. maxoak bluetti portable power station 

  • 1000W portable power station with 1500Wh power capacity 
  • Pure sine wave inverter 
  • Heavy, 37.9 pounds 
  • 8 output ports 
  • Lithium-ion battery 
  • Pre-installed maximum power point tracker (MPPT) 
  • Can be charged using solar panels (not included), wall outlet or car plug 

SHOP MAXOAK BLUETTI / 


Dometic: The 10 Best Solar Powered Generators to Sustainably Keep the Lights On

6. dometic portable lithium battery 

  • 512Wh of energy at 40Ah (40 amps at 12 volts = 480W~ ) 
  • Relatively light, 16 pounds 
  • USB and 12-volt output ports 
  • Lithium battery 
  • Can be charged via 12 V socket, solar panel (not included) or AC house power 

SHOP DOMETIC / 


Goal Zero: The 10 Best Solar Powered Generators to Sustainably Keep the Lights On

7. goal zero yeti 150 portable power generator

  • 150w portable power generator with 168Wh power capacity  
  • Modified sine wave AC inverter 
  • Light, 12 pounds 
  • 5 output ports 
  • Lead acid battery 
  • Can be charged using solar panel (not included), wall outlet or car plug 

SHOP GOAL ZERO YETI 150 / 


Ecoflow: The 10 Best Solar Powered Generators to Sustainably Keep the Lights On

8. ecoflow delta portable power station 

  • 3300W portable power station with 1260Wh power capacity  
  • Pure sine wave 
  • Heavy, 30.9 pounds 
  • 13 output ports 
  • Lithium-ion battery 
  • Can be charged using 110W or 160W solar panels (not included), car plug or wall outlet 

SHOP ECOFLOW DELTA / 


Wagan solar: The 10 Best Solar Powered Generators to Sustainably Keep the Lights On

9. wagan (el2547) solar e power cube 1500 plus 

  • 1500 watts continuous and 3600 watts peak surge power 
  • Modified sine wave 
  • Heaviest, 116.6 pounds 
  • 7 output ports 
  • Gel Hybrid Battery   
  • Collapsible heavy-duty handle, rollable 
  • Can be charged with built-in solar panels, home AC or vehicle DC adapters 

SHOP WAGAN SOLAR POWER CUBE 1500 PLUS / 


Suaoki: The 10 Best Solar Powered Generators to Sustainably Keep the Lights On

10. suaoki portable solar generator

  • 600W portable solar generator with 322Wh power capacity 
  • Light, 7.2 pounds 
  • 14 output ports 
  • Lithium-ion battery 
  • Can be charged by 100W solar panel (not included), wall outlet, car plug, or USB-C power delivery input 

SHOP SUAOKI / 

So, would you try any of these solar powered generators? List your favorite sustainable generators in the comments below.

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