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 :

Bestseller No. 1
Solar Generator 2500 Watt (2) 100 Watt Solar Panels + BatteryMINDer Charger!
7 Reviews
Solar Generator 2500 Watt (2) 100 Watt Solar Panels + BatteryMINDer Charger!
  • Use For Back Up Power, Camping, Tailgating, Emergencies
  • 2500 Watt / 5000 Watt Peak inverter- Two 100 Watt Solar Panels & 100 amp hour battery
  • Includes USB + 12V/24V socket + Voltmeter
  • Includes Battery Maintenance System for AC Outlet Charging!
  • Qualifies for the 30% Federal Tax Credit
SaleBestseller No. 2
100-Watt Portable Generator Power Inverter, 40800mAh CPAP Battery Pack Home Camping Emergency Power Supply Charged by Solar Panel/Wall Outlet/Car with Dual 110V AC Outlet, 3 DC 12V Ports, USB Ports
253 Reviews
100-Watt Portable Generator Power Inverter, 40800mAh CPAP Battery Pack Home Camping Emergency Power Supply Charged by Solar Panel/Wall Outlet/Car with Dual 110V AC Outlet, 3 DC 12V Ports, USB Ports
  • POWERFUL AC, USB and 12V OUTPUTS: Whether you're looking to keep tablets, iPhone, iPad, laptops, fans and TV charged up, or running lights and CPAP machine (*Use DC-DC converter from your CPAP would get longer hours), 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 RECHARGEABLE VIA SUN, WALL AND CAR: 1)This backup generator can be recharged by connecting to PAXCESS 50W solar panel (SOLD SEPARATELY). 2) This backup battery can be fully charged in 8 hours by being plugged into wall outlet. 3) This backup power supply can also be charged by plugging into your car 12V adapter.(Car charger included)
  • HIGH CAPACITY LIGHTWEIGHT LITHIUM POWER PACK: 150WH(3.7V 40800mAh/12V 12800mAh) lithium batteries only weights 3.3lb, possibly the smallest size power supply on the market. This silent and gas-free solar generator is handy to be put on your RV, camper and perfect for emergencies, camping or wherever you need power; The upgraded LED display features DC/AC/UPS output and input meter.(LED screen is covered with protective film, please remove it before using)
  • SAFETY GUARANTEED: Battery Management System (BMS) undertakes voltage control, temperature control and more advanced safety operations, ensuring complete protection for you and your devices.
  • WHAT YOU GET: Paxcess portable generator (solar power compatible 150Wh Portable Power Supply), 4.2ft / 1.3m AC adapter, 3.3ft / 1m car charger cable, DC to Cig Socket adapter, user guide, our worry-free 18-month warranty and friendly customer service. PROMOTION FOR GIFTS: Save 15% on Paxcess 50W solar panel(Enter code OD3FWXZN). link: http://a.co/bfkkQAD when you purchase this Paxcess solar generator.
SaleBestseller No. 3
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
14 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. 4
7lb 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 Powerhouse Charged by Solar/AC Outlet/Car
72 Reviews
7lb 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 Powerhouse 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 UPS, 3 120V AC outlets, 4 USB charging ports up to 6.2A, 4 12V DC power ports up to 10A, 12V 26Ah / 288WH lithium rechargeable battery, 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
  • Long Back Up Time: 3 hours(PC+Display) , 96 hours (12V LED) , 55 times (for 5V mobile charger) , 8 hours (Laptop 13"),6 hours (50W Fan) , 5 hours (32" LCD TV) , 14 hours (20W energy-saving lamps). Three input charge way to the built-in battery: AC input, MC4 cord, car cigarette input charging cable
  • 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
Bestseller No. 5
Heavy Duty Solar Generator
  • Heavy Duty Solar Generator
  • 300 Watt Pure Sine Wave
  • 35 Amp Hour AGM Battery by Leoch
  • Easy to use, Easy to Setup
  • Plug and Play
SaleBestseller No. 6
Coolis 150Wh Portable Solar Power Inverter Generator, Power Source Power Supply with Silent 110V AC2 / 12V DC3 / USB2 Output, 40800mAh at 3.7V 12580mAh at 12V Lithium Polymer Battery
94 Reviews
Coolis 150Wh Portable Solar Power Inverter Generator, Power Source Power Supply with Silent 110V AC2 / 12V DC3 / USB2 Output, 40800mAh at 3.7V 12580mAh at 12V Lithium Polymer Battery
  • 23.00 DOLLAR OFF: No need any claim code, you can get 23.00 dollar off automatically while checkout
  • Powerful AC 12V DC,5V USB output: 110V AC output limited to 100W, 12V DC ouput limited to 180W, 5V USB output, capable of powering lamps,phones,laptops,TVs,printers,fans,car pumps,toast maker,coffee machine... please refer to the description page for working time calculation
  • EASY RECHARGABLE by SUN,WALL SOCKET and CAR: (1)By 18V under 100W compatible solar panel, For Solar panel ,you can refer to the following description details of suggestion. (2)By wall charger(included). 3)By 12V car charger(included). Please note: It's take ~7 hours for full charge by wall charger, but maybe take 3 days by solar panel.
  • LED SCREEN PROTECTION FILM and BMS: LED screen is covered with a film for protection,It's normal if any scratchs on the protection film (please remove it before using). Battery Management System (BMS) to improve battery utilization, prevent over current, over voltage and over temperature, prolong battery life.
  • ATTENTION: (1)Make sure AC device does not exceed 100W, otherwise it will be auto switched to DC output for self protection; (2)Make sure your DC device power does not exceed 180W(better under 120W), otherwise the generator will be temporarily dead,you need to recharge the battery some seconds for revival; (3)It's will have some slight sound while be charged by solar panel,it's normal as an voltage regulator inside.
SaleBestseller No. 7
iMuto 185Wh/50000mAh Portable Generator Power Source Station with 8-Port DC/AC USB Output 5V/12-19V/115V, Rechargeable Battery Pack Power Supply for Laptop, Notebook, Tablet, iPhone, iPad, and Outdoor
46 Reviews
iMuto 185Wh/50000mAh Portable Generator Power Source Station with 8-Port DC/AC USB Output 5V/12-19V/115V, Rechargeable Battery Pack Power Supply for Laptop, Notebook, Tablet, iPhone, iPad, and Outdoor
  • 50000mAh (3.7V 50000mAH/ 10.89V 16750mAH) High Capacity and Compact Size Backup Battery: M5 is build-in A-Class lithium ion batteries, make it safer to use. Our external battery charger is powerful enough to charge iPhone 7 almost 16 times, iPad Pro almost 3 times, Galaxy S7 almost 10.5 times, Galaxy S7 Edge almost 8.5 times,Google Pixel almost 11.4 times, For New Macbook , please use iMuto USB to Type-C cable, M5 Battery Pack can charge New Macbook almost 3.4 times.
  • Super-Functional Design Power Inverter: Our cell phone portable external battery charger come with 8-Port outputs (Max.100W) & 1 fast input DC 12-24V; 4*DC output (2*12V/5A, 1*19V/4A, 1*9-12.6V/15A ), 3 USB output (5V/2.4A), 1*QC 3.0 USB output. Widely used for indoor or outdoor such as family, office, travel, camping,fishing,hunting,farm, etc. (PLEASE GET IN TOUCH WITH OUR SUPPORT TEAM FOR THE DETAILED USER MANUAL IN PDF FORMAT.)
  • Excellent Performance Portable Generator: Mulit-Voltage-Output modes and equipped with 10 different adapter plugs, The widest compatible Laptop Power Bank can charge various laptop & notebook such as Panasonic, Macbook,FUJITSU, Sony, Dell, Hp, Toshiba, Samsung, Lenovo, Acer, Asus, etc. Unique smart digital display technology shows remaining power in digital format. You always know when the usb battery charger is fully charged and how much power it's available.
  • Energy-saving and High Brightness Spotlight: with 3 large power(Max.1.5W) high brightness spotlights for aviation, M5 battery charger can serve as a backup power for outdoor, camping, reading, emergency lightning, field work, SOS light feature can be active when necessary.
  • Multiple Smart Protection System: keeps your devices safe from over-charging, over-voltage, over-current, and short circuit. What You Get: M5 External Battery Charger Pack*1, Adapter*1, Car Charger CP10*1, DC Cable*1, Connector*10, USB Type-C Cable*1, Standy Fuze*1, Dust- Proof Ring*1, Accessories pouch*1, User guide*1, our 12-month warranty and friendly customer service.
Bestseller No. 8
Solar Charger RAVPower 15000mAh Outdoor Portable Charger Solar Power Bank Dual USB External Battery Pack Power Pack with Flashlight (IPX4 Splashproof, Dustproof, Solar Panel Charging, DC5V/2A Input)
136 Reviews
Solar Charger RAVPower 15000mAh Outdoor Portable Charger Solar Power Bank Dual USB External Battery Pack Power Pack with Flashlight (IPX4 Splashproof, Dustproof, Solar Panel Charging, DC5V/2A Input)
  • Endless Charging Under the Sun: Portable battery pack charges whenever it's sunny thanks to the wide solar panel
  • Fast Recharging from Outlet or Solar: Dual DC 5V/2A and solar power inputs allow you to recharge no matter where you are. (DC input is recommended for faster recharging)
  • Mega 15000mAh Capacity: Charges an iPhone 7 for 4.2 times, an iPhone 7 Plus for 3 times, and the Galaxy S8 for 2.8 times
  • Ideal for Outdoor Use: The waterproof, shockproof and dustproof design features a LED flashlight that can be activated / deactivated by holding the power button for 3 seconds
  • Tips: Recommended for outdoor use only; do not leave in your vehicle as extreme temperature will impact battery life
SaleBestseller No. 9
Goal Zero Yeti 1250 Portable Power Station, 1200Wh Chainable Home Battery Backup Generator Alternative with 12V, AC, USB and Anderson Power Pole Outputsth 12V, AC, USB and Anderson Power Pole Outputs
51 Reviews
Goal Zero Yeti 1250 Portable Power Station, 1200Wh Chainable Home Battery Backup Generator Alternative with 12V, AC, USB and Anderson Power Pole Outputsth 12V, AC, USB and Anderson Power Pole Outputs
  • 1250Wh lead acid battery portable power station can power up to 10 devices at once (100Ah @ 12V)
  • Continuous 1200W, 1500W surge pure-sine wave inverter, 2.1A USB ports, 120W 12V ports
  • Charge phones, tablets, laptops, cameras, drones, and more. Provides backup emergency power for appliances, lights, and most household devices.
  • Chainable with other 100Ah lead acid batteries for longer runtimes
  • Recharges from AC or pair with a solar panel (sold separately). No noise, no fumes, no maintenance
SaleBestseller No. 10
Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Panel
768 Reviews
Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Panel
  • Perfect for 12-volt battery charging or multiple panels can be wired in series for 24/48-volt battery charging or for grid-tied applications
  • Diodes are pre-installed in junction box and a pair of 31-inch cables with MC4 connectors comes with the panel automatically
  • Withstand high wind (2400Pa) and snow loads (5400Pa); resistant aluminum frame which allows the panels to last for decades
  • High modules conversion efficiency. Ideal output: 500 watt hours per day (depends on sunlight availability)
  • 25-year transferable power output warranty; 5-year material and workmanship warranty

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.

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Last update on 2017-11-19 / 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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