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Solar GeneratoS: Advantages And Disadvantages

Should I get a  solar generator ? If this is the question that is on your mind, you have come to the right place.


In this article we explain what it is, how it works and the advantages and disadvantages of solar generators. Keep reading and in just over 3 minutes you will have your answer.

Related: Solar panels or generator

What is a solar generator?

A solar generator is exactly the same as a conventional generator, that is, a  portable electrical power system . The difference?

The origin of this energy is that solar generators use, instead of gasoline or diesel, solar panels to capture energy from the sun, energy that is then stored in a battery so that it is available when needed, such as in the case of a blackout or if you are in a place without access to the electrical network (mountain, boat, etc.)

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It is important that you take into account a consideration that may seem obvious but is important: a solar generator does not “generate” energy -as gasoline generators do- but it stores it previously and then makes it available to you. This consideration is important because it means that this type of device has its advantages but also its drawbacks, as we will see below.

Elements of a solar generator

Puedes pensar en un generador solar como en una instalación fotovoltaica en miniatura, y es que estos aparatos vienen a contar con los mismos elementos de una instalación típica de placas solares. De este modo, un generador incluye una batería -habitualmente de litio o de tipo AGM o gel en modelos económicos- un inversor para convertir la corriente continua en alterna (que es la que usan nuestros electrodomésticos), regulador de carga, monitor de batería, cableado y, por supuesto, placas solares. Algunos modelos de generador se comercializan como un paquete con todo incluido, mientras que otros te dan la oportunidad de adquirir algunos componentes -generalmente las placas o la batería pero también otros componentes como un sistema de ruedas para transportarlo- por separado.

Of course, when we talk about battery, inverter,  solar panels … We are not talking about the same type of components as those of a typical home photovoltaic installation. Solar panels on a generator – if you have more than one – are usually smaller, lower voltage and much more portable. Remember that a generator is designed to move and a rooftop installation is not. In the same way, the storage battery is also smaller and more portable, and usually offers you USB inputs, as well as 12 or even 220 volt plugs. (this phrase that now comes in bold or highlighted in some way)  Important: Make sure that both the capacity of the battery and the power of the inverter and the watts that the device offers you will be enough for the devices that you want to power with your generator.

It is not uncommon to find all kinds of web pages and videos on the Internet about how to  build your own solar generator . You know what happens in these cases: imagination to power. For our part, we always recommend that you go to a professional to avoid disappointment.

Solar generators vs. fuel generators

Solar  generators offer incredible versatility . They will give you an optimal response if you travel in a caravan, on a boat, if you are camping or even in the event of an eventuality in your weekend home or on your farm as long as you do not connect high consumption appliances. Of course, if your idea is to have a  backup system  for your home or for the use of large devices, it may fall short. The best advice: always calculate   your energy needs before purchasing a generator.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of solar generators compared to conventional fuel generators:

advantage 1: free energy

It happens every time you buy a photovoltaic device, be it an  installation of solar panels  for a large company or a simple mini-solar charger for your mobile: from the moment you start using it, the energy you get is energy you no longer pay for . Solar generators are no exception. By feeding on the sun’s energy, they save you having to spend money on fuel (gasoline, diesel) during the 25-30 year lifespan of the solar panels.

Advantage 2: clean energy. silent energy

Photovoltaic  energy  is 100% clean energy. No fumes and no polluting CO2 emissions. So simple and so different from conventional generators. As if this were not enough, solar generators are incredibly quieter than conventional ones. If you need your generator to do projects –eg. of video- outdoors or simply to take it with you in your caravan on a relaxing vacation, this is your option, there is no doubt.

Important questions before buying a solar generator:

  • What is the capacity of the generator battery?
  • What kind of appliances (voltage) will I be able to power with it?
  • Do I have a place to put it?
  • How much does it weigh? Will I need some kind of trailer to move it?

Advantage 3: low maintenance and safety

Solar generators do not have moving parts or many wires and do not use liquid fuel. The result is  practically non-existent maintenance  and considerable safety against possible fires or accidents that can occur when using conventional generators.

Advantage 4: initial investment

Your solar generator is likely to be more expensive than conventional generators and this can be a problem for you. In any case, don’t let the worry of having to pay a few hundred euros extra to buy your generator make you forget that, once amortized, your device will offer you its services without having to pay for them again. Remember: the energy you get from the sun is energy you don’t pay for. Seen in the medium-long term, your  solar generator will always be much more profitable than a conventional one  that you have to feed with fuel throughout its useful life.

Disadvantage 1: limited capacity

We have already discussed it before. If you are looking for a source of energy to power some household appliances in case of need, a solar generator will fulfill your mission. If what you have in mind is  backup  equipment for your home or to power high-consumption equipment – let’s not say industrial equipment – the most recommended option is not a solar generator. Simply: its capacity will be exhausted in a very short time.

Disadvantage 2: slow recharging and dependence on the sun

A conventional generator will offer you electricity continuously as long as you continue to feed it with fuel. This does not happen with solar generators that, at a certain point, need to be recharged. That recharging not only takes some time, but also has to be done during the day and whenever there is enough sunlight. If you are going to be in a hurry, the solar generator will probably not be your best option.

Should you then get a solar generator?

If you’ve read carefully, you probably already have your answer: it depends. If you move around a lot – in your caravan, on a boat, etc. – and need an extra source of electricity that is clean, quiet, easy to operate and uncomplicated, a solar generator is the answer to your prayers. But be careful, because its limited capacity added to the slowness of its recharge -and the need for a sunny day to do so- limits its possibilities as a reinforcement unit in homes, industry or for high consumption appliances.

If you have any questions about technical issues or  new technologies related to your renewable energy project , do not hesitate to contact us. We will advise you on everything you need, we will help you choose the best equipment for your needs and we will give you a budget without commitment.

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