Running a home requires up to 33 kWh of power, running an off-grid home with all the essential appliances, AC, refrigerators, and lights will need up to 15kWh of power. That’s a lot of power to run off a Battery Bank and a system to provide that much power will cost as much as $10k.
A gas generator, on the other hand, requires fuel to run and in the case of emergency like storms with no access to fuel, you’ll be without power. Gas generators also produce a lot of noise and the power fluctuations in some gas generators can actually ruin your appliances.
A solar generator is technically a battery backup, inverter, and charge controller in one unit without all the DIY wiring. Solar generators are ideal for backup power and can run small appliances and devices like your laptop, phone, small refrigerators, and coffee makers.
They are also portable which means you can move them around the house or RV to the point of need. However solar generators will not run high-wattage appliances like electric heaters, hairdryers, or washers. These appliances will deplete the battery in a very short time. A gas generator however can run these devices.
What are the Differences Between a Gas and Solar Generator
A generator is a device that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. Gas generators work by extracting the heat from the exhaust gases and using it to turn a turbine. The turbine then turns a shaft, which is connected to a generator and produces electricity.
An inverter generator uses a rectifier to convert DC power to AC power that can be used by appliances and other devices.
Components of a Gas Generator
An internal combustion engine is a heat engine where the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer (usually air) in a combustion chamber that is an integral part of the engine. It is contrasted with an external combustion engine, where the heat input is by combustion of a fuel in a separate chamber.
A generator alternator is a device that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. The alternator uses two parts to convert the mechanical energy into electricity. A rotating component – often called the rotator – creates a magnetic field around a group of wound coils, which generates an excess of electrons.
A Starter is a device used to start a generator. It is inserted into the generator’s receptacle and completes the electrical circuit, which starts the generator.
A Portable generator fuel tank store fuel and allow the generator to be started. The fuel tank on a portable generator is usually located on the back of the unit, near the engine.
The outlet is a 3-pronged AC outlet on a provides power to electrical devices.
How does a Solar Generator Work
A solar generator is a unit that combines a battery, inverter, and solar panels. Power comes from the battery in DC form and can be used directly or converted through the inverter to AC power. The ability to add solar panels ensures that the battery can be recharged to provide a reliable source of power even without fuel or access to the grid.
A lithium-ion battery is a type of rechargeable battery that uses lithium-ion cells. It has a higher energy density than most other rechargeable batteries, resulting in longer runtime. The size of the battery determines how long your solar generator can run an appliance.
Amp-hours in Battery Capacity refers to the number of amps that a battery can deliver over a period of time. The higher the amp-hours, the longer the battery can last.
Watt-hours is a measure of the energy transferred or used over a period of time. It’s usually used to measure the energy storage capacity of batteries. For example, if you have a battery that has a capacity of 500 watt-hours, it can store 500 watt-hours of energy. This means it can run a 500-watt appliance in one hour or a 100-watt appliance in 5 hours.
A charge controller is a device that regulates the voltage and current going into a battery from a solar panel or wind turbine. It also prevents the battery from being overcharged. A solar generator with an MPPT controller performs better than one with a PWM controller.
Battery Management System (BMS)
A battery management system (BMS) is a computerized system that manages a battery’s state of charge, charging, and discharging in order to extend battery life and optimize system performance. The BMS also monitors the health of the battery pack and its cells and provides information to the battery user or system controller.
An inverter is a device that converts direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC). The inverter rating is important as it determines which appliances the solar generator can run. A solar generator rated at 1000 watts will have a 1000-watt inverter.
There are three main types of ports in solar generators: AC, DC, and USB. AC ports allow you to plug-in appliances like a laptop or a TV. DC ports are for charging 12V appliances like a mini-fridge and some types of TVs. USB ports are mainly used to charge phones and other small devices.
Option to Add a Battery Bank
You can also add a 200 ah battery bank, similar to that on an RV. A 200 ah battery bank will run your refrigerator, lights, and can run the high wattage devices for a short while. You can run the high-wattage devices for a short while. This should be early in the morning to allow the battery bank to be recharged via the solar panels.
What is the Best Solar Generator-Gas Generator combination?
So where does this leave us then? Is there a technology that combines a solar generator with a gas generator that can give us the benefits of the two, and reduce the downsides of the other? As far as I know, there isn’t one. But you can use the two together to complement each other.
To combine the two you can use a gas generator to run the power-hungry appliances during the day and use the solar generator to run the other stuff like your laptop, refrigerator, and lights. You can also use the gas generator to charge your solar generator on overcast days when there isn’t sufficient sunlight to fully recharge your solar generator. This is to ensure you have enough backup to run your home overnight.