Surviving outdoors needs a whole lot more than luck. When you are head-to-head with mother nature, you need all you can to make your trip outdoors as hitch-free as possible. One thing that’s commonplace in towns and cities is electricity, the same innovation that juices our mobile phones, personal laptops, GPS, and other electric-powered gadgets. There is no substitute for electricity, hence the importance of having your power unit outdoors.
There are many ideas and options to generate electricity when you are outdoors. One of them is the solar generator, and let’s look at why it is without any doubt the best option and a couple of things you need to keep at the back of your mind if you decide to get a solar generator.
What to consider when choosing a solar generator
Choosing the size of your solar generator is usually a trade-off. The smaller generators would be easy to handle, carry, and nimble but might not offer a large capacity or range of functionality like you would expect from larger generators. If you plan to use a solar generator on the move or as you go from camp to camp, you should favor smaller generators when making your choice.
Where you are going and how long you would be there would determine the type of generator you need on your outdoor trip. For example, suppose you plan to be stationary and use heavy power-intensive equipment during your trip. In that case, you need a generator that can keep your gadgets on for long periods without interrupting your work. But if your trip necessitates you to change your location constantly, you would need a small generator that does not compromise excessively on the power.
This refers to how much solar power your power-generating device can trap at every given time. The solar input is majorly determined by the effectiveness and size of the solar panels. How effective the solar panel is would ensure that you can charge your generator to ample capacity in a short time while enjoying power on your device for extended periods.
The solar power captured is stored in the battery, and the battery capacity is how much charge can be stored on the device on a single charge. The batteries are usually lead-acid or lithium-ion batteries. The capacity of these batteries determines how long you need to charge and how long you can power your devices.
Power Inverter Rating
The electricity flowing in your wall sockets at home is alternating current (AC), while the one being generated by the solar generator is direct current (DC). This is where power inverters join the fray as they help you convert the device’s DC into functional AC for use. The inverters usually have a watt (power) rating to show you the maximum amount the solar generator can generate at a given time. The higher or more powerful the inverter rating, the more charge you get out of the device.
Other functionality add-ons
If you want a solar-powered generator with functionality options to ease your usage, then you should be on the lookout for some or all of the following features.
- Multiple AC outlets: The best solar power generators on the market offer more than one AC outlet at the very least. This allows you to draw power from the generator using multiple sockets. In addition, this makes it easier for numerous people to use the generator simultaneously without interfering or interrupting the other.
- Power Maximizing Features: You want to pick a solar-powered generator that offers power-saving functionality. A great example would be customizability that allows you to program the device to turn off if not used for a certain period. This will enable you to properly manage the charge on your batteries and use your generator to power your devices for longer.
- Replaceable batteries: One feature that would come in handy, especially if you plan to use your generator in regions or seasons where the sun is out only briefly or with inconsistent intensity, is being able to replace the batteries on your generator. It is as easy as replacing batteries in honeywell thermostats.
While having a battery installed makes it possible for every generator to have its battery replaced, the standout feature here is the ease at which the batteries can be replaced, making some solar generators top picks.
- Back-lit LED Panels: You do not need this feature if you have night vision. But if you don’t, using your generator in low to no light conditions would be a hassle. Having a back-lit LED panel allows you to monitor the device’s vital components when night falls and enhances ease of use.
Types of solar generators
Portable solar generators
These portable solar chargers have their design focused on mobility and ease of use. The designs are usually compact with relatively smaller solar panels. This makes it the best option if you want to power a few devices and if it is to be used by few people at the camping site.
Solar backup generators
These are the most common accomplices in homes powered by solar energy. They are bigger and more powerful than their portable counterparts. Solar backup generators are alternatives to grid fails and are perfect if your outdoor trip is long-term and to power several devices.
Are solar generators noisy?
There is no noise when you use solar generators. Unlike fuel-powered generators that have engines with several moving parts, the solar generator has no engine fitted. All the noise you would hear from the device is humming or light buzzing from the onboard inverter.
Are solar generators dangerous?
Unlike fuel-powered generators that release dangerous fumes when in use, solar generators produce ZERO emissions. This makes solar generators safe to use and can even be used indoors. While a safe option, it is not an excuse to use carelessly as water spillage could pose an electric shock risk.