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.

How does a solar generator work : 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 :

SaleBestseller No. 1
SUAOKI Portable Power Station 150Wh Quiet Gas Free Solar Generator QC3.0 UPS Lithium Power Supply with Dual 110V AC Outlet, 4 DC Ports, 4 USB Ports, LED Flashlights for Camping Travel CPAP Emergency
80 Reviews
SUAOKI Portable Power Station 150Wh Quiet Gas Free Solar Generator QC3.0 UPS Lithium Power Supply with Dual 110V AC Outlet, 4 DC Ports, 4 USB Ports, LED Flashlights for Camping Travel CPAP Emergency
  • AC/DC/USB Outputs: (2x) AC outlet (max 100W, peak power 150W); (4 x) DC port (15A / 180W max); (1x) QC3.0 USB port (18W max); (3x) USB ports (10.5W max); charges or powers products such as laptops, phones, tablets, cameras, drones, CPAP machine, small home appliances and more
  • On-the-Go Power Source: 150Wh (3.7V 40500mAh/11.1V 13500mAh) powerful charging station for camping or emergency backup; probably the most compact power station with a size of 7.3*4.3*4.7 inch, and the weight is only 2.9 lbs; 2 hideable lift handles make it even more portable
  • Efficient Solar Generator: connect a solar panel (not included) and S270 Power Station via DC 3.5X1.35 to MC4 connector (included), it can be a silent and gas-free solar generator; with MPPT solar charge controller inside, the unit can be charged much more efficiently
  • Triple Input Modes: (1) can be recharged by connecting to SUAOKI 60W, 100W solar panel (SOLD SEPARATELY); (2) can be fully charged in 8 hours by being plugged into wall outlet; (3) can also be charged by plugging into your car 12V socket. (Car charger included)
  • Perfect Emergency Tool: battery management system (BMS) enables voltage control, temperature control and more advanced safety operations, ensuring ultra-safety for you and your devices; can also works as a torch for emergency lighting; 18 months warranty and friendly customer service
SaleBestseller No. 2
10-Watt Solar Generator Portable kit,Power Inverter,Solar Generator System for Home & Camping,9000mAh Rechargeable Battery Pack UPS Power Supply, Included 6 Watt Solar Panels
55 Reviews
10-Watt Solar Generator Portable kit,Power Inverter,Solar Generator System for Home & Camping,9000mAh Rechargeable Battery Pack UPS Power Supply, Included 6 Watt Solar Panels
  • Portable Solar Generator Kit: A rechargeable battery solar generator system with solar panels, storage solar generator power to battery and supply power to LED light and mobile phone. Widely applicable to home, camping, rv.
  • Multiple OUTPUTS: 6 watte 6V solar panel, 9Ah 3.7V battery, 2 USB 5V DC Output for your tablets, iPhone, iPad, laptops, fans and TV charged up, or lights. 4 Ports 3.7 V output to LED light.
  • Compact: portable, small size, outdoor.6.9*6.5*3.0 inch, weight:3.3Lb(4.2Lb with all accessories). Widely applicable to camping, hiking, fishing, expedition, hunting, outdoor activities.2 way charging- by solar energy, or by AC Power.
  • Durable: Use rechargeable battery and high quality solar panels, with lifetime more than 10000h.
  • Package content: 1* Portable Power Generator ,1* Solar panel,5* Rechargeable battery,1* Power cable,1* Multi function USB cable,3* LED Lamps,1* Remote Control,1* User Manual.
SaleBestseller No. 3
EasyFocus 500W 288WH Backup Portable Generator Solar Power Source 500W Pure Sine Wave Power Inverter UPS 26AH Li-on Battery CPAP Pack Home Camping Emergency Power Supply Charged by Solar/AC Outlet/Car
109 Reviews
EasyFocus 500W 288WH Backup Portable Generator Solar Power Source 500W Pure Sine Wave Power Inverter UPS 26AH Li-on Battery CPAP Pack Home Camping Emergency Power Supply Charged by Solar/AC Outlet/Car
  • Portable rechargeable power supply and UPS 2 IN 1 ! The best ideal contingency companion either indoor or outdoor. It features: 500W means the inverter function, 288WH is the battery's Capacity,with UPS function, 3 120V AC outlets, 4 USB charging ports up to 6.2A, 4 12V DC power ports up to 10A, Power Source with 4 USB, 4x12V DC and 3x110V AC Outlets,a solar / car input charging port. Intelligent CPU control mode, switch control for each output, LED display for battery power
  • You need a long time standby AC/DC power supply for your outdoor activities. With large capacity of 12V 26Ah / 288WH rechargeable lithium battery, it lets you easily reach the AC power, DC power everywhere anytime for your kinds of device. And the LED light can be used as a torch outdoor. You can keep it outdoors in the range of temperature from -10 Celsius to 40 Celsius
  • For indoor use as an on line UPS, it provides battery backup and surge protection for desktop computers,workstations,networking devices and home entertainment systems. Safeguards valuable documents, photos, videos, and music files from loss or damage due to power fluctuations and surges as well as uncontrolled equipment shutdown caused by power interruptions
  • PURE SINE WAVE: pure sine wave output operates even the most sensitive electronics,it's better than modified sine wave, with Intelligent CPU control mode, Key switch output, LED display, short circuit and surge protection
  • Compact portable lightweight,Pure Sine Wave,small size and high capacity, only 1/10 weight and 1/20 size of the similar product but with 5 times longer lifespan and 10 times capacity. Size:29*11*13.5cm (12.70in x 5.91in x 8.66in),Weight: 3.2 kgs. With hand handle for easy carrying.with 18 months warranty and 100% Customer Service
SaleBestseller No. 4
100-Watt Portable Generator Power Station, CPAP Battery Pack, Home Camping Emergency Power Supply Charged by Solar Panel/Wall Outlet/Car with Dual 110V AC Power Inverter, 3 DC 12V Ports, USB Ports
331 Reviews
100-Watt Portable Generator Power Station, CPAP Battery Pack, Home Camping Emergency Power Supply Charged by Solar Panel/Wall Outlet/Car with Dual 110V AC Power Inverter, 3 DC 12V Ports, USB Ports
  • POWERFUL AC, USB AND 12V OUTPUTS KEEP ALL YOUR DEVICES CHARGED UP: Whether you're looking to keep iPhone, iPad, laptop, DSLR camera charged up, or running lights, CPAP machine and small appliances in an off-grid or power outage, the Paxcess portable power station features a variety of outputs, including 3* 12V DC port(max 180W,with an extra cigarette socket cable) / 2* 110V AC outlet inverter(modified sine wave, max 100W) / 2* USB 5V port, to ensure you have the power you need at any time
  • EASILY RECHARGED FROM SUN, WALL OUTLET OR CAR: No matter where you go, keep Paxcess portable generator charged through 3 easy ways: Simply use the included AC adapter from wall outlet to charge up the Paxcess generator in 7-8 hours. On the go, use Paxcess 50w solar panel to charge it from the power of the sun and works as a portable solar generator(The compatible solar panel is sold separatly). Lastly, charging while on-the-road is easy with the included 12V car charger cable.
  • CLEAN ADN PORTABLE POWER, NO GASOLINE REQUIRED: Since there's no gasoline required and no toxic fumes, the Paxcess generator is completely safe to use inside your house, tent, and car. It's also silent which makes it the perfect generator alternative to have on hand for any event; Only weights 3.3lbs and ideal size for traveling, fits perfectly in the backpack or backseat on long road trips.
  • SAFETY GUARANTEED: Battery Management System (BMS) undertakes voltage control, temperature control and more advanced safety operations, ensuring complete protection for you and your devices.
  • 100% SATISFACTION GUARANTEE: At Paxcess, your satisfaction is our first priority, that's why we offer you 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you are not satisfied with your purchase within 45 days, you can return with 100% money back. No hassles, no question asked. If your generator failed within 1 year time, we will send you brand new replacement. 100% Risk Free.
SaleBestseller No. 5
Goal Zero Yeti 150 Portable Power Station, 150Wh Small Generator Alternative with 12V, AC and USB Outputs
272 Reviews
Goal Zero Yeti 150 Portable Power Station, 150Wh Small Generator Alternative with 12V, AC and USB Outputs
  • 168Wh lead acid battery portable power station can power up to 5 devices at once (14Ah @12V)
  • Continuous 80W, 160W surge modified-sine wave inverter, 2.1A USB ports, 120W 12V ports
  • Charge phones, tablets, cameras, tablets, and other small devices
  • Recharges from AC, 12V or solar panels (sold separately)
  • Designed and engineered by power station experts with a US-based customer service center
SaleBestseller No. 6
346WH Portable UPS Battery Backup Generator,Rechargeable Power Source Inverter with 110V/500W AC Outlet,12V Car,USB Output,Car Jump Starter for Camping -Orange
134 Reviews
346WH Portable UPS Battery Backup Generator,Rechargeable Power Source Inverter with 110V/500W AC Outlet,12V Car,USB Output,Car Jump Starter for Camping -Orange
  • 🔥 Portable Power Supply: Build-in High Capacity 12V / 31AH / 346WH Lithium-ion Battery,Off-grid power supply for camping CPAP or emergency backup,cameras,lamps,phones,laptops,TVs,mini fridges,scoorter,quadrotor, filming photography lighting,playstation etc.
  • 🎄Versatile Outputs: 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!
  • 🎉 On line UPS: Backup battery ups 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
  • 🎅 Rechargeable Battery,No Gasoline Required: Recharge from included wall AC outlet,12V Car cigarette charger cable( included ) and 40W-100W solar panel(sold separately)
  • 🎁 Safety Guaranteed and Warranty - BMS Provide short circuit,Overcharger Overload protection,environmental protection,energy saving and fire-proof ABS material and our worry-free 18-month warranty and friendly customer service.
Bestseller No. 7
Generator Power Station, 200Watt Portable Home Camping Emergency Power Supply for CPAP, Charged by Solar Panel/Wall Outlet, Outputs AC 110V 4USB ,2DC-12V/10A,Compass/LED Flashlight for Camping Travel
7 Reviews
Generator Power Station, 200Watt Portable Home Camping Emergency Power Supply for CPAP, Charged by Solar Panel/Wall Outlet, Outputs AC 110V 4USB ,2DC-12V/10A,Compass/LED Flashlight for Camping Travel
  • AC/DC/USB Outputs: it can power up any devices within 200Watts, 1 DC output(9-12.6V/10A Max), 4 USB Outputs( USB 1+ USB 2=5V/3.1A , USB 3+USB 4=5V/3.1A),1 AC socket( 110V/50Hz-230V/60Hz)
  • Update version: The new generator with the Compass and LED Flashlight,lead your road and brighten the road ahead
  • Power station,Built-in Li-on Battery 42000mAh,150Wh,powerful charging station for camping or emergency backup
  • Safety guaranteed:Featured with smart protection of overload, over current, over voltage, over charging, over temperature and short circuit, safe and sound to use., lifetime warranty and friendly customer service
  • More convenient:It can be recharged by Solar Panel, Wall Socket, also plugged into car adapter for charging. It takes 6-7 hours to be fully charged from Wall Socket.
SaleBestseller No. 8
Renogy Rugged Power Pack - Multi Functional Portable Solar Generator
76 Reviews
Renogy Rugged Power Pack - Multi Functional Portable Solar Generator
  • Output: 4 USB ports for phones and tablets (two 1.0A, two 2.1A quick charge) /2 DC Ports for lighting/1 cigarette lighter socket for mini fridge, air compressor/1 jump starter port for 12V 4L gas car.
  • Recharging: AC wall Outlet, DC car charger, Any Renogy 100W suitcases w/o controller or PV panels.
  • LCD Display & Safety: 3 buttons with lights indicator and 1 big LCD screen to shows capacity, charge-discharge and error status. it has short-circuit protection as well as overcharging protection and discharging protection. Battery Management System (BMS) prevent over-current, over-voltage and over-temperature, give you and your devices complete protection.
  • Portable Outdoor UPS: Weight only 12.3LB. A capacity of 400wh for most of the family devices. A fully charged RPP supports 13 hours 30-60w mini fridge, 15 hours electric fan, 18 hours 20w light; 10 charges for laptop/tablet, 50 charges for smartphone.
  • In the Box: portable power supply, AC wall charger, car charging cable, solar charging cable, jump starter clamps, user manual and a 2-year warranty Card.
SaleBestseller No. 9
SUAOKI Solar Charger 60W Portable Solar Panel Foldable High Efficiency 5V USB 18V DC Dual Output Charger for Laptop Tablet GPS iPhone iPad Camera Other 5-18V Device
11 Reviews
SUAOKI Solar Charger 60W Portable Solar Panel Foldable High Efficiency 5V USB 18V DC Dual Output Charger for Laptop Tablet GPS iPhone iPad Camera Other 5-18V Device
  • HIGH CONVERSION EFFICIENCY: charge with the power of the sun; the solar charger generates 60W output with up to 20% high conversion efficiency under 3.8W Lux, providing enough power to charge two devices simultaneously
  • PORTABLE POWER SOURCE: 5V USB and 18V DC dual output keep your USB/DC devices full of juice, without having to rely on a wall outlet, or a power bank, and brings you an unplugged lifestyle
  • FOLD UP AS A BRIEFCASE: when folded, the solar charger looks like a briefcase (11.5 x 6.3 inches) easy for transport; when unfolded (11.5 x 65.7 inches), it can hang on your RV, tent, or just spread out on the beach to gives you instant charge from sunlight
  • SUAOKI TIR-C TECHNOLOGY: built-in smart IC for the USB port; the charger can automatically and quickly identify the current of your equipment and speed up the charge process with our advanced TIR-C technology
  • 10-IN-1 CONNECTOR INCLUDED: the connector features 10 connectors for most laptops on the market (MacBooks excluded); charge your laptop directly without any AC adapter, AC outlet involved
SaleBestseller No. 10
Suaoki 222Wh Portable Generator Power Source CPAP Lithium Battery Pack Power Supply with Silent 110V/60Hz, Max 200W AC Power Inverters, DC 12V & USB Ports, Charged by Solar Panel/ Wall Outlet/ Car
214 Reviews
Suaoki 222Wh Portable Generator Power Source CPAP Lithium Battery Pack Power Supply with Silent 110V/60Hz, Max 200W AC Power Inverters, DC 12V & USB Ports, Charged by Solar Panel/ Wall Outlet/ Car
  • VERSATILE & PORTABLE POWER SOURCE: comes with 2*100V/110V AC outlets (200W Pure Sine Power Inverter), 2*DC outlets (an extra cigarette socket cable), 2*USB ports, 5 LED lights indicator. It can charge USB/5V, DC/12V and AC appliance anywhere
  • HIGH CAPACITY: 11.1V, 20,000mAh/ /3.7V 60,000mAh high capacity, powerful enough to charge smartphones 20+ times, tablet, power bank, laptops, TVs, mini-refrigerator, camping CPAP, drone, holiday lights or other household electronics
  • PURE SINE WAVE: better than modified sine wave, cleaner current in your hands; it prevents crashes in computers, reduces noises in fans, TV and other devices and it is compatible with more gears
  • SAFETY GUARANTEED: we use the Battery Management System (BMS) to improve battery utilization, prevent over-current, over-voltage and over-temperature, prolong battery life; a convenient handle and aluminum alloy shell make it safer and take it along for the ride during your day-to-day needs
  • RECHARGING OPTIONS: quickly refuel from home wall outlet or sun with any compatible solar panel (Especially the Suaoki's 40W, 60W, 50W, 100W Portable Solar Panel); a high-density lithium-ion battery allows a more compact build than the lead-acid power ones

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 2018-04-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Author: Michael Bennet

A solar energy professional with eight years of marketing and installation experience. Avid and passionate about the adoption of solar and related technologies in all homes. Blog about all things solar at mysolarhome.us.

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