solar generators guide

Solar Generators: Working, Cost, Pros & Cons and Important Factors

Solar generators help combat climate change minimizing greenhouse gas emissions, mitigating air pollution, and conserving natural resources. Also, it provides sustainable solutions for power needs by replacing the traditional fossil fuel-powered generators because they convert sunlight into electricity thus decreasing air pollution and producing no emissions.

Most importantly, solar generators are becoming cost-competitive and attracting more government investments which contributes to cleaner energy sources.

Now that you know what is a solar generator, let us further discuss in detail how solar power generators work, and what are the pros and cons of solar generators. Moreover, let us look into the aspects that clarify how are solar generators better than normal generators.

solar generator generating energy using solar panels

Did you know? Factors like energy requirements, electricity output, charging time, portability, and warranty coverage play a major role in buying a solar generator. Also, you must know how much a solar generator costs and whether you should invest in a solar generator. In addition to that, let us look into the best solar generators available in the market.

What Is A Solar Generator?

Solar generators are portable stations that make electricity using sunlight energy instead of fossil fuels. The working mechanism of solar generators involves storing the energy captured from the sun into a battery which can be used whenever it is necessary.

The major difference is that traditional generators produce electricity using diesel fuel or gasoline, whereas solar generators use solar energy. In addition to that, solar energy is portable and lightweight compared to traditional generators because they don’t require heavy fuel tanks or huge engines. As a result, it becomes easier to transport and store the solar generators while not in use.

A most important point that you need to consider is that solar generators are more eco-friendly to power your devices or appliances as they do not emit harmful gases or fumes rather they operate silently.

The components of a solar generator consist of:

  • Solar Panels
  • Charge Controller
  • Battery System
  • Inverter

These 4 components operate together by capturing and storing solar energy. Also, providing a cleaner and greener solution for power generation which could be very effective compared to propane or gas-powered generators.

Comparison between the working of solar generators and traditional generators plays a major role. Firstly, solar generators combine a solar panel, a charge controller, a battery system, and an inverter into a simple modular system that is capable of providing off-grid energy for extended periods.

On top of that, these solar generators do not require anything extra other than the power of the sun. Whereas, traditional generators are much heavier because of their components like engines and fuel tanks. Although they can be refueled easily they emit harmful fumes and noise pollution.

Solar generators can be beneficial to those who are looking to produce power for outdoor events, camping, and most importantly emergencies.

How Do Solar Power Generators Work?

Solar generators create, store, and distribute power through a set of interconnected components. The working mechanism of solar power generators involves sunlight hitting the solar panel, generating DC electricity which is further regulated using a charge controller. Therefore, it makes sure that the energy can be stored in a battery for future usage.

Batteries, solar panels, charge controllers, and inverters operate together in a solar generator to completely utilize the solar energy efficiently. When the DC electricity generated by panels is regulated using a charge controller, the inverter further converts this DC electricity into AC electricity making it usable for your appliances and devices.

Most importantly, solar generators come into play during off-grid power supply and emergency backup. Also, the other reasons to consider are:

  • Independence from the Grid
  • Reliable Power Supply
  • Improved Ability to Resilience
  • Ability to run essential appliances
  • Reduced dependency on grid supply
  • Cuts down utility bill

The Pros of Solar Generators

Solar generators have the following advantages which are greater than those of traditional generators.

Easy to use: The simple setup and operation of solar generators make it very easy to use with their plug-and-play functionality. Especially users will not require any technical knowledge or expertise to use solar generators.

Portability: Solar generators’ main advantage is their portability which makes it easier for transporting. Therefore, you can use it efficiently as a backup power source for outdoor activities, camping, or especially in any emergencies.

Low Maintenance: There are no moving parts or components of the solar generators which will not wear out easily over time. Moreover, it will keep the solar generator working properly with a good lifespan of 25 to 30 years as they are cost-effective and offer low-maintenance energy solutions.

Clean Energy: One of the major advantages to consider solar generators is using sunlight energy to produce electricity without carbon emissions or greenhouse gases. As a result, this makes them environment-friendly and sustainable energy solutions.

The Cons of Solar Generators

Despite solar generators having few great advantages compared to the traditional generators, it comes with the following disadvantages too.

High initial investment: One of the biggest drawbacks of solar generators that makes people think twice is the high initial investment required for purchasing and installing the solar generator system. Although, it would help you save much on electricity bills in the future but still the initial investment can sometimes become a burden and might not be convincing to users.

Low power storage: During low sunlight or at night, solar generators can be disappointing as they come with few limitations. Hence, this leads to depending on other alternative power sources or even requiring batteries to store power for timely needs.

Less efficiency: A few factors like weather conditions and geographic locations adversely affect the solar generators’ efficiency. This is because less sunlight or a cloudy atmosphere will reduce the efficiency of solar panels which automatically results in the varying performance of solar generators depending on the quality and overall capacity of the system.

How are Solar Generators Better than Normal Generators?

Based on these specified factors solar generators are much better than normal generators:

  • Overall low cost: Solar generators have higher upfront costs and lower installation costs (overall cost from $1,000 to $5,000) compared to traditional generators. Despite the cheaper costs of gas generators costing between $500 to $2,500, the fuel prices, installation costs, and maintenance might add up over a certain period.
  • Steady Power Supplying: Solar generators supply steady power during daylight hours, relying on sunlight’s availability. Whereas, gas generators supply power as long as the fuel is available.
  • Quiet operation: Solar generators operate silently since there aren’t any moving parts, but the standard generators can be noisy due to the combustion of internal engines.
  • Easy Maintenance: Compared to the normal generators that require huge maintenance such as oil changes, spark plug checks, and other factors, solar generators require simple maintenance and occasional inspections.
  • Environmental benefits of portable solar generators: Solar generators produce clean, renewable energy by harnessing the sun’s power and don’t produce any harmful emissions in the process. Contrarily, gas generators emit greenhouse gases and contribute to air pollution due to the dependence on burning fossil fuels like natural gas or propane to generate electricity.

Important Factors You Should Consider Before Buying a Solar Generator

Certain factors such as energy requirements, electricity output, charging time, portability, and warranty coverage are crucial to consider before purchasing a solar generator.

Energy Requirements

It is important to determine your total wattage requirements to power your devices and appliances since not all solar generators are the same with a few having a higher maximum power capacity than others. Before choosing a solar generator with sufficient wattage, consider the appliances such as fridges, Air conditioners, and other large devices in your home. Additionally, consider the inverter rating for an efficient DC-to-AC conversion process to handle your power requirements.

Electricity Output

Knowing the watt-hours (Wh) capacity of a solar generator is crucial because the greater capacity of a solar battery allows storing more electricity which is useful for homes that depend on solar power as the primary source of off-grid electricity.

These are the 5 best solar generators of 2024 that have varying capacity of energy storage in terms of watt-hours (Wh):

  1. EcoFlow RIVER 2 Pro: 768 watt-hours
  2. Anker SOLIX F2000 (PowerHouse 767): 2,048 watt-hours
  3. OUPES 1200: 992 watt-hours
  4. EcoFlow DELTA 2 Max: 2,048 watt-hours
  5. Bluetti AC300 + B300: 3,072 watt-hours

If you understand the concept of watt-hours, it becomes easier to choose the best solar generator whether if it is for emergency purposes, extended outdoor activities, or off-grid living.

Charging Time

The charging time of a solar inverter depends upon these three primary methods:

  • Solar Panels: Connecting your solar generators to the PV panels helps to harness the sunlight energy and convert it into electricity. Using this clean and renewable source of energy, the generator can be charged during the daytime in the availability of sunlight.
  • Wall Outlet (AC Charging): Simply plug your solar generator into the standard household wall outlet. This is because most of the generators come with a cable for direct wall charging.
  • Car Charger (DC Charging): If your solar generator supports DC charging, you need to use a charger with a 12V DC plug that can handle upto 700 watts to double the charging speed.

Typically, solar generators take 1.5 to 5 hours to charge depending upon the system’s battery size, quantity, and dimensions of solar panels and weather conditions.

Mainly, the higher intensity or lack of sunlight can affect the solar panel’s performance and the solar generator’s charging times. In areas, where the sunlight’s intensity is high, solar panels generate more electricity leading to faster charging times and optimal charging occurs when the panels are oriented towards the sun (during the afternoon). When the sunlight’s intensity is low, the panel efficiency gets reduced which can lead to prolonged charging duration of the generators.


Portability is a crucial factor to consider when buying solar generators. Particularly if it is used for camping, RV trips or emergency relocations you should consider the features like handles or wheels that allow the ease of movement while navigating on rough terrain or crowded spaces during camping or emergency relocations.

Especially, the portable solar generators are small and lightweight and can be easily carried by hand or loaded into a vehicle without any extra effort. These generators can weigh upto 50 pounds, depending on the model and capacity you use. However, the normal solar generators designed for RV trips use can be heavier and larger due to increased capacity and power output. But, they are portable and can be easily installed and transported in an RV.

Warranty Coverage

While purchasing solar generators, it is important to check for the following details:

1. Standard Warranty: This warranty should cover the defects in the material and workmanship for the specified time.

2. Period of Coverage: Typically, standard warranties last for one or two years whereas extended warranties provide a coverage period of five years or more. It is best to opt for an extended warranty if you prefer to use your generator regularly or for an extended period.

3. Repair Costs: Generators can be expensive to repair if they require major repairs or replacement parts. It is recommended to choose the best-extended warranty period that provides additional coverage period for the repair costs and helps you to save money on a long-term basis.

4. Level of service and support: The additional service and support options such as priority service and in-home repair can provide users peace of mind and convenience if the generator requires extra maintenance or repairs.

5. Safety and Reliability Features: Ensure that the product is certified by reputed agencies to provide you with a confirmation that the product is tested to guarantee the safety features.

How Much Does a Solar Generator Cost?

Typically, solar generators range between $100 to $10,000 and these are factors that affect the prices:

1. Solar Panel Capacity: One of the most important factors that affects the cost of solar-powered generators is solar panel capacity since it is the main source of power for the generators. Larger solar panels require additional materials and workmanship to install which can be highly expensive.

2. Battery Capacity: Another crucial factor you need to consider is the solar-powered battery capacity of a generator. The battery size determines the capacity the generator can store and provide when required and higher capacity enables more storage options with higher costs.

3. Brand and Quality: Every brand offers diverse features and capacities, and the quality of the components used can affect the solar-powered generator cost. Especially, the top-quality brands use highly durable materials that have superior performance and higher life spans which makes them more expensive.

4. Inverter Type: Inverters are important components that convert DC power produced by the solar panels into AC power that can be used to supply power to house appliances and the cost depends upon the type and quality used.

5. Accessories: One of the most essential factors you should keep in mind is the accessories provided with the solar-powered generator. This helps to boost the functionality and increases cost to the solar-powered generator.

Should You Invest in a Solar Generator?

Mainly, you should prefer investing in a solar generator as it is a renewable and clean source of energy. It provides you additional benefits when you’re unable to use a regular electrical outlet for activities like boating, camping, or traveling in RVs. Also, they are useful at or home or apartments during emergencies when there is a power outage, thereby providing backup electricity.

Although solar generators are preferable for homeowners, they have certain limitations like wattage capacity and slow recharging. Despite having a high-capacity solar backup generator, you can only keep the lights on or run TVs and electronic devices for a few hours. It wouldn’t be possible to operate large appliances in residence at a time or for longer periods. In simpler terms, solar generators can run only for a few low-wattage appliances.

As a homeowner, you should search for the best alternatives to solar generators to power larger appliances for longer periods and these are the best-recommended options:

  • Wind turbines
  • Hydroelectric power
  • Tidal energy systems
  • Geothermal energy plants
  • Biomass energy production
  • Nuclear power plants
  • Piezoelectric generators
  • Thermoelectric generators
  • Traditional fuel source generators

Since the above-mentioned choices have its own advantages and limitations, homeowners should review carefully before making decisions.

What Are the Top Quality Solar Generators Available in the Market?

These are the four best solar generators available in the market tabulated below with their important specifications in detail:

1. Ecoflow Delta 2:

Factors  Specifications 
Weight 27lbs (12 kgs approximately)
Size 15.7×8.3×11.1 inches
Capacity 1024 Wh
Inverter  1800W total (surge 2700W)
Ports  15 total outputs

2. Jackary Solar Generator 1000 Pro:

Factors  Specifications 
Weight 25.4 lbs (11.5 kgs approximately)
Size 13.39 × 10.32 × 10.06 inches
Capacity 1002 Wh
Inverter  1000W (surge 2000W)
Ports  Multiple outputs including 2x USB-C & 2x 100W PD ports

3. Goal Zero Yeti 1500X:

Factors  Specifications 
Weight 45.64 lbs (20.7 kg)
Size 13.39 × 10.32 × 10.06 inches
Capacity 1516Wh
Inverter  2000W total (surge 3500W)
Ports  Multiple outputs including 2x USB-C & 2x 100W PD ports

4. Bluetti EB70S:

Factors  Specifications 
Weight 21.4 lbs (9.7 kg)
Size 12.6x 8.5x 8.7 inch
Capacity 716Wh
Inverter  800W total
Ports  Multiple outputs including 2x USB-C & 2x 100W PD ports

Ray is an avid reader and writer with over 25 years of experience serving various domestic and multinational private and public energy companies in the USA.

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