Solar Powered Generator
A solar powered generator is a machine that transforms solar energy into usable electric energy for either immediate or later use. Typically, a solar generator will have a solar energy collection device (i.e. solar panels) which also converts the sun’s energy into DC electric current. If that electricity is not needed right away it can be stored in the generator’s battery. From the battery, the electricity can either be used in its DC form, or it can be routed through the generator’s inverter for conversion to standard AC electricity.
While solar generators technically come in all shapes and sizes, for major home use there are two main types. An “on-
both solar and conventional electricity. Each system backs the other up. Other benefits include that with this approach there is comparatively less maintenance required and that in many states you would be able to effectively “sell” excess electricity (back to your utility) that you produce with your solar generator.
The other type of solar generator is “off-
utility lines. All electric power used will come through the generator or its battery. While this system is more expensive and may involve more maintenance, sometimes it is the only choice. This is especially true in very rural areas, or other properties that do not yet have standard electric lines in place. But other times it is simply a personal choice. Many people prefer not to use coal or nuclear produced electricity at all.
Along with large solar generators that are used to supply and backup the electrical needs of the entire home, there are also smaller, portable solar generators. These can range in size from a few inches to 20 feet, and of course will generate respective amounts of power.
If you are considering a solar powered generator for your home the most important thing to determine first is the total amount of power you will require in order to run everything you intend to. Every electrical device requires a certain amount of watts in order to run. Calculating the size your generator needs to be starts with simply adding up all the wattage requirements of all the devices you intend to power.
To give you an idea, here are some typical household items and their approximate wattage requirements: cell phone –
The other thing to keep in mind is how long your devices will run. During sunlit hours there shouldn’t be any problem as your generator will produce what is expected. However, when there is no sunlight you should be aware of how much time you’ll have with your devices if they are running off of solar battery power alone.
As you might imagine, the more watts a device requires, the shorter it will run on battery. If we take an 1,800 watt portable solar generator as an example, then the above 40 watt table lamp could run for about 10 hours if it was the only thing drawing energy from the battery. Likewise, the desktop computer could only run for about an hour and a half. And remember, that’s just by itself, with nothing else drawing from the battery. So of course this must also be taken into consideration when comparing generators. You will probably want a more powerful generator than you would normally
expect to use if much of your use will be during non-
Since solar powered generators come in all different sizes and wattage outputs, they correspondingly vary in cost. A small solar charger for your camera could be in the range of $30.00 while a portable generator that could power an entire house in the woods could cost $50,000 or more.
In any case, one thing to remember is that in comparison to conventional gas powered portable generators the comparatively powered solar generator will initially cost a bit more, however, it will last in the neighborhood of 4 times longer AND without the additional costs of fuel, repair, and maintenance.
When speaking of a solar generator kit we could be referring to a small device designed to charge only one item, but we are most likely describing a portable generator that is meant for running a few household items, but not necessary the entire house on an every day basis.
These make excellent backup generators. Typical kits include some variation of three main parts. They are the generator unit itself, the solar panel(s), and a charge controller. The charge controller regulates the flow of energy into the battery. Since the amount of the sun’s energy reaching the solar panel can vary by the minute it is important that the flow of power going into the battery remain reasonably constant or else the battery can be damaged.
Another option with a generator kit is to build your own from scratch. The basic parts you would need to acquire individually might include a solar panel, charge controller, 12-