How does a solar generator work?

how does a solar generator work
How does a solar generator work

If you are like me, you have probably wondered : “how does a solar generator work ?”.  This post and this info graphic will give you a good overview of what goes into a solar generator. If getting into the weeds about the innards of a solar generator does not really interest you, you might like to read about the different types of solar generators available in the market. Solar Panel kits might also be a solution for your needs. But for those of you interested in the answer to our original question; how does a solar generator work?, we have to ask a  few more questions.

What is a solar generator?

A solar generator is a compact electronic box which has three components integrated together. There is the charge controller, batteries and an inverter. Strangely thought there is no solar component in the solar generator. The solar panels need to be purchased separately. In reality, the solar generator is just a battery powered generator. As long as the battery inside the solar generator stays charged, it will be able to power a slew of devices as a backup generator.  You can charge the battery in the generator using external solar panels, or using a wall outlet ( regular 110 V) or even a char charger. Of course, not all solar generators are created equal and some of them might only allow one or two modes of charging.

The Solar generator is able to provide output power to a wide variety of devices. It can power smart phones, laptops, lights, a small refrigerator, a ham radio etc. They usually provide outlets for 110V devices like your laptop or usb ports for your phones or car charger outlets for devices which runs off them.  This is an excellent calculator which lets you size your solar generator or estimate what you can possible use with your solar generator. And onwards to the next big question.

How does a solar generator work : what is inside a solar generator?

How does a solar generator work - Lithium Ion Battery
Lithium Ion Battery

The three components within a solar generator are the charge controller, batteries and the inverter.  They are not necessarily separate, they are usually well integrated. Some of the more convenient solar generators allow you to swap the batteries. This is really good for longevity as over time batteries tend to degrade and poof there goes your solar generator to the junk yard.

How does a solar generator work - charge controller
Charge Controller

The charge controller is a critical component of the solar generator. It protects and ensures the longevity of the in built battery inside the solar generator. Depending on the type of battery, AGM, Gel or Lithium ion, they will have different characteristics for charging and discharging. The charge controller ensures this is automatically taken care off.

how does a solar generator work - inverter
Inverter

The inverter actually converts the output of the battery into AC power that can be used to power any AC device. Of course Solar generators are not built to power large AC appliances like AC’s, but they do just fine for electronics, TV’s and low powered household devices. To understand what can actually be powered using a solar generator, you will need to read this article on different types of solar generators.

how does a solar generator work - yeti 150
Solar Generator

The three components when integrated together result in a well designed solar generator like the YETI 150 shown above. You can ready more about this generator here as well. And of course to round up this master class on the solar generator, you have the solar panels. Solar panels are mostly sold separately, though there are some rather innovative but smaller solar generators which have built in solar panels like the Renogy Firefly Solar Generator.
how does a solar generator work - solar panel
That should have given you a good overview to answer your original question : How does a solar generator work? Of course if you are hungry for more information, you can read more about the latest solar generators available today in the market right here :

Bestseller No. 1
Bolt Lite Solar Portable Generator UPS Battery 800w Peak Backup Generator, Rechargeable Power Source Inverter with 110V/500W 3 AC Outlet, 12V Car, 4 USB Ports, Camping, Car Jump Starter, Emergency
Bolt Lite Solar Portable Generator UPS Battery 800w Peak Backup Generator, Rechargeable Power Source Inverter with 110V/500W 3 AC Outlet, 12V Car, 4 USB Ports, Camping, Car Jump Starter, Emergency
31 Reviews
  • - Warranty: free replacement or repair on any damaged (non man-made damage) portable power supply for TWELVE MONTHS!
  • - EARY RECHARGING: able to be recharged by solar panel, wall outlet, or in your car
  • - EASY TO CARRY: 12.70*5.91*8.66 inches, 7.05Lb; it is THE portable battery you want to keep around. Super convenient!
  • - BUILT-IN PORTS: Pure-sine wave inverter,3 three-prong 110V receptacles (for devices up to 500Watt/0.67Hp) ,4 DC 12V ports ,4 USB ports ,1W Led flashlight,Car emergency jump starter,emergency power generator around you! Just weighs 7LB!
  • - LARGER CAPACITY: 288Wh/500W powerful portable battery for indoor/outdoor usage, CPAP, small home appliances, etc.
Bestseller No. 2
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240, 240Wh Camping Generator 110V/200W AC Outlet, 12V Car Port, 2 USB Outputs, Optional Solar Panel, Solar Generator for Fishing Vanlife CPAP Picnic
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240, 240Wh Camping Generator 110V/200W AC Outlet, 12V Car Port, 2 USB Outputs, Optional Solar Panel, Solar Generator for Fishing Vanlife CPAP Picnic
452 Reviews
  • JACKERY PORTABLE POWER STATION, POWER OUTDOORS!
  • JACKERY EXPLORER 240: one of the Jackery Explorer family, is a Portable Power Station, features an AC-outlet, CarPort and USB-outputs. With its 240Wh Capacity, it's capable of charging/powering multiple portable device to fulfill your needs on power when living an outdoor life.
  • EASY OUTDOOR LIFE: light and compact, it's easily portable and lightest in its class at just 6.6 lbs and 5'' wide and 8'' tall, with an easy-carry handle for easy travel. It's noise-free without vibration. And it hazes zero emissions, therefore does no harm to personal health, nor to the nature.
  • RECHARGED ANYWHERE: recharged under the sun with the Jackery 50W Solar Panel (sold separately) within 10-hrs (in full sun) while living outdoors; recharged from a CarPort within 8-hrs while living a van life; or from an AC wall outlet within 8-hrs.
  • POWER OUTDOORS: Plug in a mini coffee maker, mini-fridge, portable cooler and much more. Now you can keep food fresh in coolers for a family cook-out at the campsite. Or keep your drinks cold and plug in a TV/Projector for tailgating before the big game or camping with friends. Or power your GoPro/camera to film your adventures when fishing, hunting, car-traveling, boating etc? Take Jackery Explorer 240 with you to power all your outdoor fun.
SaleBestseller No. 3
Rockpals 300W Portable Generator Lithium Portable Power Station, 75000mAh CPAP Backup Battery Pack Power Supply with 110V AC Outlet, QC3.0 USB, 12V/24V DC, LED Flashlight for Camping, Home, Emergency
Rockpals 300W Portable Generator Lithium Portable Power Station, 75000mAh CPAP Backup Battery Pack Power Supply with 110V AC Outlet, QC3.0 USB, 12V/24V DC, LED Flashlight for Camping, Home, Emergency
176 Reviews
  • LATEST ROCKPALS 300-WATT PORTABLE POWER STATION: Comparing to most similar power stations, Rockpals RP300W has upgraded the AC output to 300W continuous (600W surge max);5* DC port (16A / 96W max); built-in 2* USB 2.1A and 1*Quick Charge 3.0 usb. Perfect emergency backup power for home/ travel/ camping, charging up your tablets, iPhone, iPad, laptops, fans, TV, lights and CPAP machine (*Use DC-DC converter from your CPAP would get longer hours)
  • HIGHEST CAPACITY LIGHTWEIGHT LITHIUM POWER PACK: 280WH(3.7V 75Ah/12V 18.7Ah) lithium polymer batteries and weights 7.3lb. powerful enough to charge smartphones 25 times, laptops 4-5 times, 32" TVs 4 hours, mini-refrigerator or other small appliances, lights, and more (AC output). This solar generator is also very handy to be put on your RV, camper and perfect for emergencies, camping or wherever you need power
  • EASILY RECHARGEABLE VIA THE SUN OR WALL: 1)This solar generator can be recharged from the sun with any compatible 50W or 100W solar panel (SOLD SEPARATELY). 2) This battery pack can be fully charged in 8 hours by being plugged into the wall outlet.
  • PURE SINE WAVE INVERTER: Better than modified sine wave and clean power like utility supplied electricity. Inductive loads like microwaves and motors run faster, quieter and cooler. Reduces audible and electrical noise in fans, fluorescent lights, audio amplifiers, TV, fax and answering machines. And it is a gas-free source of portable power supply, it runs quiet (The cooling fan on the side of generator will make a slight sound when working), no exhaust fumes.
  • HAT YOU GET: Rockpals portable generator (280Wh Portable Generator), AC adapter, car charger cable, MC4 adapter, user guide, our worry-free 18-month warranty and friendly customer service. (Contact us at mt@rockpals)
SaleBestseller No. 4
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 160, Solar Generator Lithium Power Supply 167Wh 46400mah 150W Max with 110V/100W AC Inverter, USB-C, USB-A ports, DC 12V port for Camping CPAP Fishing Emergency
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 160, Solar Generator Lithium Power Supply 167Wh 46400mah 150W Max with 110V/100W AC Inverter, USB-C, USB-A ports, DC 12V port for Camping CPAP Fishing Emergency
237 Reviews
  • JACKERY PORTABLE POWER STATION, POWER OUTDOORS! Jackery Explorer 160 weighs only 3.84lbs. Its compact dimensions (7.4 x 4.5 x 6.7inch) and durable handle provide simple portability. The Explorer 160 high capacity 167Wh, 46400mah (11.6Ah/14.4V) generator affords power while camping off-grid, at festivals, fishing hunting and during short blackouts
  • CHARGE MOST OF YOUR DEVICES ANYWHERE: Equipped with 1*USB-C port(5V 3A), fast-charging 2*USB-A ports(5V 2.4A), a standard DC 12V port(12V/7A), and an AC inverter(110V 60Hz 100W 150W max); It can charge everything from smartphones and laptops to cameras,CPAP and drones
  • ECO-FRIENDLY AND QUIET: Jackery Explorer 160 is equipped with a lithium battery pack-no fumes, no clanging and no fuel needed! To recharge simply plug the unit into a wall socket, car or solar panel (sold separately). Full charge takes 5 hours by wall socket and car, and 8-10 hours by solar panel depending on weather
  • Other cool features: (1)LCD screen with charge/discharge and battery life status; (2) Switch with indicator light for on/off output port charging; (3)powerful built-in LED flashlight with SOS mode (long press the button), very helpful when outdoor or at home
  • Safety and warranty: battery management system (BMS) enables short circuit protection, voltage control, temperature control and more advanced safeguards; We back our 24 month product warranty with 24/7 friendly customer service
SaleBestseller No. 5
Aeiusny UPS Backup Battery 500W Portable Generator Parts, Uninterrupted Power Supply for CPAP Mask Home Camping Laptop Emergency Battery Backup 288Wh Charged by Solar/AC Outlet/Car for Outdoor&Indoor
Aeiusny UPS Backup Battery 500W Portable Generator Parts, Uninterrupted Power Supply for CPAP Mask Home Camping Laptop Emergency Battery Backup 288Wh Charged by Solar/AC Outlet/Car for Outdoor&Indoor
193 Reviews
  • UPGRADE --- Comparing to other similar style, this Power Station is with larger power capacity 288Wh rather than 200Wh, built-in more USB and DC ports. Perfect emergency power generator for home/ travel/ camping/ CPAP machine (Use DC-DC converter from your CPAP would get longer hours)/ RC helicopter/ Laptop/ Phones/ Lights all electronic devices.
  • EASILY RECHARGEABLE VIA SUN,WALL OUTLET AND CAR --- Charged by solar panel(13V-24V,solar charger cable sold separately) Charged by wall outlet(7-8 hours fully charged, power adapter included) Charged by car 12V adapter(car charger included). Easy and Fast! Kindly Notice: The solar panel is not included with the generator, you need to buy separately!
  • On Line UPS -- Battery power supply surge protection for desktop pc,workstations,networking devices and home entertainment systems.Safeguards valuable documents, photos, videos,and music files, playstation from loss or damage due to power outage.
  • Versatile Outputs and Mini Size -- Pure-sine wave inverter,3 three-prong 110V receptacles (for devices up to 500Watt/0.67Hp) ,4 DC 12V ports ,4 USB ports ,1W Led flashlight,Car emergency jump starter,emergency power generator around you!Just weight 7LB!
  • Safety Guaranteed and Warranty -- Battery Management System (BMS) Provide short circuit, Overcharger Overload protection, environmental protection, energy saving and fire-proof ABS materia.Our worry-free 12-month warranty and friendly customer service.
SaleBestseller No. 6
UPEOR Solar Generator Lighting System Portable Solar Power Generator Kit for Emergency Power Supply,Home & Outdoor Camping,Including MP3&FM Radio,Solar Panel,3 Sets LED Lights(Blue)
UPEOR Solar Generator Lighting System Portable Solar Power Generator Kit for Emergency Power Supply,Home & Outdoor Camping,Including MP3&FM Radio,Solar Panel,3 Sets LED Lights(Blue)
53 Reviews
  • 【SOLAR GENERATOR KIT】:Rechargeable battery solar generator system with larger power capacity 9000mAh,storage solar generator power to battery and supply power to LED light and mobile phone.Perfect emergency power backup for home, travel, camping, helicopter, phones, lights.
  • 【MULTIPLE OUTPUTS】:4 Ports 3.7 V output to LED light, 2 USB 5V DC Output for your tablets, iPhone, iPad, laptops, fans, digital camera and USB shaver charged up.
  • 【EASILY RECHARGEABLE VIA SUN & WALL OUTLET】: Easily be charged by 6V solar panel(4 hours fully charged). Where there is sunshine, there is power. Or by wall outlet. Easy and Fast !
  • 【MINI PORTABLE & COMPACT】:Portable and small size for outdoor.Size:6.9*6.5*3.0 inch, weight:3.3Lb.Cute and easy to handle,can easily put it in your backpack or car, take to everywhere need power.Widely applicable to camping, hiking, fishing, expedition, hunting, outdoor activities.
  • 【QUALITY GUARANTEE】:Use BMS (battery management system) to improve battery utilization, prevent short circuit,over current,over power,low voltage,over temperature, ensuring complete protection for you and your devices.Bonus accessories with 1-Year Manufacturer's Warranty and 30 days no-questions-asked return policy. Value for money guaranteed, Buy the portable solar power generator worry free today.
Bestseller No. 7
Genex Nature's Generator - Gold GXFSSLV
Genex Nature's Generator - Gold GXFSSLV
7 Reviews
  • Nature's Generator has a built-in 1800W Pure Sine Wave Inverter and Internal 60 AH battery; Helps produce 720 watt hours of total output on a single charge.
  • 1 - 100W Polycrystalline Solar Panel with included Solar Panel Cart for ease of transport and movement
  • Includes 3 - 120V AC outlets , 2 - USB ports that produce 3A of combined power , 1 - 12V DC outlet, 1 - Solar Input (200W charge controller included) and 1 - Wind Input (300w charge controller included)
  • Bluetooth Smartkey for easy pairing with iOS and/or Android devices. Allows you to track system use and run system diagnostics.
  • Built-in 600-Volt/175 Amp expansion port for connecting an unlimited amount of nature's power pods
Bestseller No. 8
Portable Power Station, Solar Generator PRYMAX 2019 Updated 298Wh Lithium Battery Backup Power Supply with LCD Screen Display,110V/300W Pure Sine Wave AC Inverter Outlet for Outdoors Camping Emergency
Portable Power Station, Solar Generator PRYMAX 2019 Updated 298Wh Lithium Battery Backup Power Supply with LCD Screen Display,110V/300W Pure Sine Wave AC Inverter Outlet for Outdoors Camping Emergency
34 Reviews
  • 🔥【298Wh Large Capacity Battery】Featuring with 298Wh battery capacity, this updated powerful power station can charge a smartphone 40 times, laptops 7-8 times, 32" TVs 5+ hours, CPAP 4+ nights(using DC converter), mini-refrigerator 5+ hours, lights or other small appliances. We suggest charging devices below 300W.
  • 🔥【Super Multiple Ports】Prymax portable power bank is equipped with much richer ports than others, including a 12/8A cigarette lighter port, a 12V DC output port, a 24V DC output port, two 5V 3.1A USB ports, a 5V3A/9V2A type-c output port, two AC output ports, a 19V DC input port, fully meeting the needs of your travel charge.
  • 🔥【Run More Safely】Pure sine wave ensures a safer charge for your sensitive devices, better than modified sine wave and clean power like utility supplied electricity. Built-in Smart and Silent Cooling Fan will automatically turn on the fan when the unit is hotter to maintain the unit at the constant temperature without running the fan constantly.
  • 🔥【Compact and Portable】With an easy-carry handle, Prymax power station is a portable model in its class at just 6.5 lbs and 8.5*7*5 inch/23*19*14cm. Take it with you on-the-go and never worry about power shortage. Flashlight with SOS light design provides convenience for your outdoor emergency.
  • 🔥【What You Get】Package includes 1*298Wh portable power station, 1*AC power adapter, 1*user manual and 1*service card. We provide every customer with 2-year warranty. If you have any problems about our products, feel free to contact us and we'll reply to you in 18 hours.
SaleBestseller No. 9
Renogy Phoenix Portable Generator All-in-one Solar Kit for Mobile, Off-grid Applications and Emergencies
Renogy Phoenix Portable Generator All-in-one Solar Kit for Mobile, Off-grid Applications and Emergencies
106 Reviews
  • The Phoenix is an all-in-one portable solar power system specifically designed for mobile, off-grid applications and is ideal for emergencies
  • This compact, lightweight back-up system combines highly efficient Renogy 20W Monocrystalline Solar Panels and can expand up to 100 watts with additional PVs
  • The Phoenix can be charged by solar, AC power, or car power and comes with a 16Ah Li-ion(NMC) battery
  • The included 16Ah Li-ion(NMC) battery , giving the capability of limitless power
  • Minimum Inverter Efficiency: 80 percentage, Max Continuous Output Power: 150W, Output AC Frequency: 60 Hz
SaleBestseller No. 10
Generator Portable Power Station,NusGear 155Wh 42000mAh Camping Solar Generators Lithium Power Supply with 110V AC Outlet, 2 DC Ports, USB QC3.0, LED Flashlights for CPAP Home Camping Emergency Backup
Generator Portable Power Station,NusGear 155Wh 42000mAh Camping Solar Generators Lithium Power Supply with 110V AC Outlet, 2 DC Ports, USB QC3.0, LED Flashlights for CPAP Home Camping Emergency Backup
12 Reviews
  • 【LARGE CAPACITY BATTERY POWER】: 155Wh (3.7V 42000mAh/11.1V 14000mAh) portable solar generator provides larger power capacity, that means the camping power supply can efficiently power up the same electronic devices longer. The mini generator portable can fully charged recharge phone for 20 times and your laptop 3-4 times, CPAP machine about 8 hours, led lights 40+ hours, mini refrigerator, Perfect for Hurricane emergency, camping off-grid, short blackouts and CPAP machine.
  • 【COMPLETELY SAFE & VERY QUIET】: Battery Management System (BMS) enables voltage control, temperature control and more advanced safety operations to ensure complete protection for you and your devices. Built-in multiple safe-charging design provides short circuit protection, over current protection, over power protection, low voltage protection and over temperature protection. It's top quiet which makes it perfect for CPAP and so on.
  • 【WIDELY RANGE of APPLICATION】: NusGear 155W portable charge station built in AC outlet (110 V,max 155W) for charging laptop, TV, fan, lights etc; DC ports (10A / 120W max) for holiday lights, charging air pump, car air fan, car charger, CPAP machine, car refrigerator, monitors, RC drones etc; 2X USB ports (3.1A max),1X QC3.0 USB and 1X QC3.0 USB C for charging phones, e-reader tablets, mp3 player, headphones etc and Type-C USB devices. Please make sure AC device does not exceed 150W.
  • 【MULTIPLE INPUT MODES & SOLAR RECHARGE】: The rechargeable power station weighs only 3.52bs and a compact handle design makes it's easy to take it to everywhere for outdoors enthusiasts. There are multiple ways to charge the portable power station.On the wall, you can recharge the power supply by AC outlet. When driving,recharging is super-easy by 12V cigarette lighter for 8-9 hours and built-in MPPT helps it recharged under sun with solar panel (18-23V/35-40W and sold separately).
  • 【RISK FREE & 100% SATISFACTION GUARANTEE】: Portable power generatoris equipped with a lithium battery pack, no fuel or gasoline needed, no fumes, no clanging! We promise that each camping power supply will pass through high standards of strict test before packaging to ensure. Every customers will get the best product and service. If you are not satisfied with your solar panel generator, we will give you a full refund or new replacement. Order Now with Peace of Mind Before We Run Out of Stock.

Now that you are educated and have a good idea about “how does a solar generator work ?, there is a lot more you can do with solar. Check out these articles. Thank you for visiting MySolarHome.us.

Last update on 2019-08-19 at 07:46 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Author: Michael Bennet

A Solar energy professional with ten years of marketing and installation experience. Avid and passionate about the adoption of solar and related technologies in all homes. Blogs about all things solar and sustainable at MySolarHome.us.

2 thoughts on “How does a solar generator work?”

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