What is a solar generator?
A solar generator is made up of solar PV panels, a deep cycle battery and an inverter. They can be used by homeowners to maintain an electricity source during power cuts and also reduce the cost of annual energy use.
How does a solar generator work?
Like traditional solar panels, a generator converts solar energy into electrical energy. There are three main elements to a solar generator and how it works:
- Solar panels which need to be positioned in a location where they can collect the most sunlight during the day.
- A battery which will store energy when sunlight is not available, allowing for continuous use.
- An inverter that can convert DC power stored in the battery to AC power so it can be used with electrical items.
Who uses solar generators?
Solar generators are more popular in countries like the US which are subject to more frequent natural disasters. The electricity is stored by the generator so households can use the solar power when more traditional power sources are interrupted. These backup generators tend to be sturdy in design and often portable to ensure they can be used easily in an emergency situation.
There are also smaller versions available that are offered as an option for campers and caravanners. They are most commonly in the form of a briefcase or suitcase and are used for charging DC fridges, mobile phones and GPS systems.
Solar generators vs gas generators
There are several benefits to choosing a solar generator over one which uses gas:
- Solar generators are easy to start - once charged you can simply connect electrical items. Many gas generators require you to repeatedly pull at a start cord to get them working.
- Solar generators cause far less noise, in fact many are almost silent.
- Gas generators need petrol to function whilst its solar counterpart benefits from only needing sunlight to 'recharge' and run. This is especially useful in a situation where a generator is needed for a long period of time or you are unable to acquire more petrol when you run out.
- Solar is a renewable energy source, making it far more environmentally friendly than a gas generator which runs on petrol (often inefficiently).
- As there is no fuel to burn with a solar generator, there are no fumes produced as there are when using gas.
- Depending on how much they are used, gas generators can end up costing a great deal more over time. In order to use a solar generator you need to only purchase the initial equipment, with gas generators you also have to factor in the cost of fuel.