What can a 500-watt Solar Generator Run?

Solar generators provide an excellent backup power solution for running devices both at home and outdoors. Because they rely on solar energy to charge, you never have to worry about your device running out of power. When looking to get reliable power in the outdoors you need to find a balance between portability and capability. This is what you can get from a 500-watt solar generator. We look at what you can do with this powerful yet portable power station. 

What can a 500-watt Solar Generator Run?

A 500-watt solar generator can run a 30-watt TV or mini-cooler for up to 8 hours, a heating blanket for 7+ hours, charge your laptop 4 times, and more than 50 charges for your phone. However, it will not power high-wattage devices like blenders, coffee makers, or electric heaters. For that you can buy or build a 1000-solar generator system.

The 500-watt rating actually comes from the inverter. An inverter is a device that converts direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC). An inverter wattage rating is the amount of power that an inverter can produce. The Inverterr rating determines the devices and appliances you can run with the solar generator. 

A 500-watt generator will not be able to power any appliance that is rated over 500-watts. Also, if the combined rating of the devices you are trying to run goes over 500-watts it will still not work. Also if a device has a running wattage lower than 500-watts but requires a higher wattage when starting the device; it will also not work. As you can see the inverter rating is a crucial factor but still does not cover the capacity of the battery pack. 

Capacity in Solar generators is indicated in Watt-hours. Watt-hours is a measure of energy or work done. It is used to measure the energy storage or output of batteries, capacitors, and fuel cells. A Watt-hour is equivalent to 1 watt expended over 1 hour. 

However, most solar generators will try to match the Inverter Rating with Watt-Hour Rating so that the rating will provide an indication of how much power you can get over an hour. So a 500-watt solar generator should provide 500 Wh. But this might not always be the case so make sure to check the rating. 

500 Watt-hours can run various devices and applications. Assuming you are running a combination of different appliances then you run the following with the 500-watt solar generator:

ApplicationWattageNo of HoursWatt-Hours
Light10 Watt8 hours80 Wh
Laptop60 Watts3 hours180 Wh
Phone (Fast Charger)20 Watts2 hours40 Wh
Mini Fan30 Watts4 hours120 Wh
TV30 Watts2 hours60 Wh

Other Factors When Choosing a Solar Generator

Portability

A solar generator of 500 watts should be lightweight enough to be carried around. It should also be small enough to easily carry and fit in a compartment in your car or RV. Also, pick one with a nice handle. 

Costs

The budget for you should range between $400 – $600 range depending on any other specs. 

Display

The generator must also be equipped with an adequately lit LCD Display that gives details on the status of charge, voltage, and an indication of the amount of power remaining or how far is charging.

Output Ports

Solar generators come with three different types of outlets;  AC, DC, and USB. An AC outlet is a 3-pronged outlet where you would plug in a power cord to an appliance. It produces an alternating current much like a wall outlet from the grid. A DC outlet is a 2-pronged outlet that produces a direct current. A USB outlet is where you would plug in USB devices like your phone or tablet for charging. 

Charging 

Solar generators are charged in three different ways based on the location and the situation: the AC outlet or a 12-volt/24-volt vehicle port, or from a Solar panel. For charging using an outlet on the wall AC outlet, it will take about 5-6 hours. It can take 6-7 hours to charge from the carport or 60W solar panel.

What you need to make a 500-watt Solar System 

You can also create your own 500-watt DIY solar system that can power the same. All you’ll need is a Battery, Solar Panel, Inverter, Charge Controller, and Wiring. 

Lithium-ion Battery

We highly recommend you use lithium-ion batteries and specifically LiFePO4 batteries. A lithium-ion battery is a rechargeable battery that uses lithium ions to store electrical energy. Lithium-ion batteries have a number of advantages over lead-acid batteries. They are lighter, smaller, and have a longer life. They also have a higher energy density, which means they can store more energy than lead-acid batteries. 

In order to produce 500 Watt-hours from a 12v system, you will need a 40 ah battery. 

Solar Panel 

As mentioned before charging a 500-watt solar generator requires a 50-60 watts solar panel. This solar panel will charge your battery in around 7 hours depending on the sunlight availability. 

Charge Controller

A charge controller is an essential component of any off-grid solar system. A charge controller is a device used to manage the charging of a battery bank from a solar array or other DC power source. The controller will limit the rate of charge to prevent damage to the batteries and also help to optimize the charging process to achieve the longest possible battery life.

The two main types of charge controllers are PWM and MPPT. Many people ask, “Which is better, a PWM or an MPPT?” The answer to that question is not cut and dry. It depends on the specific needs of each system. However, there are some advantages that MPPT charge controllers have over PWM controllers.

One of the main advantages of MPPT controllers is that they are more efficient than PWM controllers. They can extract more power from the solar panels, which means that they can charge the batteries more quickly. MPPT controllers can also handle a wider range of input voltages, which makes them suitable fo

Battery Management System

The battery management system (BMS) is an electrical system that monitors the state of a battery pack’s charge, thermal, and health while safeguarding the battery pack from charging too much and discharging too fast. The BMS additionally monitors the pack’s temp and the voltage. The BMS is an essential component of every e-bike as it makes sure that the battery pack is operating safely and securely.