Some parts can make your solar powered generator more efficient, while others make it more costly. Choosing the right solar generator is very similar to buying a car; you have a price point in mind, you have a list of features or at least a list of uses, and you’ve done your research.
Type of Solar Panels
Three primary kinds of solar panels exist; mono-crystalline, poly-crystalline, and thin-film.
- Monocrystalline solar panels: offers the most quality, and thus are the priciest. Yielding a 15-20 percent efficiency rate, and operating better in high-temp situations are the two biggest benefits of mono-crystalline solar panels.
- Polycrystalline solar panels: comes in second, carries a 13-16 percent efficiency rate, and operates slightly less efficiently in high-temperatures than mono-crystalline panels. The differences between mono-crystalline and poly-crystalline are minimal. The difference in the construction is that mono-crystalline is made from a single crystal. Whereas poly-crystalline solar panels are made from many crystals. Poly-crystalline panels are somewhat less expensive than mono-crystalline panels, and are only a bit lower in quality; so they are usually the most popular choice.
- Thin film solar panels: are usually less efficient and less convenient than their crystalline counterparts. Yielding a relatively low-efficiency rate of between 7 and 13 percent. They require a significantly more vast area of coverage to compete with mono or poly-crystalline panels. Thin-film panels are, however, the cheapest option. I believe this is one of the occasions where you truly do get what you pay for as far as quality.
Choose wisely, on which panels fits you best for future convenience.
Surge Power Capacity
One of the first things that you need to keep in mind at the moment of purchasing a solar powered generator is related to the surge pure sine wave inverter rating.
This value will indicate to you the maximum power capacity that the solar generator system will be able to supply to you loads instantaneously. This applies mainly to motors or fridges, which have an instantaneous electric current surge that lasts only a few milliseconds.
Check the surge power demand of the fridge or small motor that you may need and verify that is located below the maximum surge inverter rating.
Another important factor to consider is the storage capacity of the rechargeable battery which is measured in watt-hours.
This will indicate the amount of time that your small appliances can stay connected (fridges, fans, mini-coolers) or the number of times that an electronic device can get fully-charged.
It will also influence the amount of time that you will need to get the solar powered generator charged. Built-in solar panels are not very common in these sorts of products, so if you are looking for an off-the-grid power supply totally independent from the grid that is suitable for camping or RVs, then you would need to purchase a solar panel in addition to the generator. Remember that charging times will depend on the weather conditions, as well.
The inverter rating on a solar powered generator is a number telling you the maximum amount of watts you can pull from the generator at any given time. Depending on your desired use, you may need a solar generator with a larger inverter rating.
However, don’t be fooled; inverter size alone doesn’t influence the power capabilities of solar generators. An inverter of 1500W is useless if it’s being used with a 450Wh battery. The most effective solar generators have a ratio of 1.5:1 watt-hours/inverter rating. For example, a 1500 watt-hour battery to a 1000 watt inverter.
To sum it up, if you intend to use a solar generator to charge a couple of smartphones on a weekend camping trip. A small 200Wh generator will do just fine. Alternately, if you’re hoping to power your coffee machine in the event of a power outage; that size likely won’t be of much use to you.
A high-quality solar-powered generator should have several options to get charged besides using solar panels.
Charging times using energy from the sun will vary according to weather conditions and Sun exposure as well. Sometimes, it might not be fast enough to charge the generator system. Therefore, the power station should be able to get charged directly from an AC source through power outlets, but also through the 12V battery, suitable under RV and camping trips.
Remember to keep your alternator active when charging the power station, otherwise, you might end up with a dead car battery.
Appliances that you can charge
Not all solar generators are suitable for every customer. It does not mean that the product is bad, it just means that it has not been designed for the purpose that you want to use it.
You also can read How solar generator works?
One of the most important details to keep in mind is what do you want to charge? What do you want to back up?
These questions are also important to help you accurately decide which solar powered generator fits your needs, avoiding oversizing.
Evaluate which appliances you can get connected to the power station, how many devices can be connected at once, how much time can you run the appliances or how many times you can get them charged.
Many solar generators on the market today combine functionality and practicality; allowing you to have your cake and eat it, too essentially. In any case, you’ll likely find all the features you want and need in a solar generator. Portable enough to easily transport from room to room or lift into a vehicle.
Some of the best portable generators we’ve seen weighed a decent amount but had handles and wheels; allowing for easy transportation, regardless of weight. If you want your solar generator to be as mobile as you are, then you’ll want to look for generators that are either light or have handles and wheels.
Something that never misses when you are selecting a new product among many is to take a look at what additional features is this brand or product offering that others do not.
You will find that some portable solar generators on the market will only be able to get charged through solar power, while others will have three possible ways to get charged.
Also, you will find that some solar powered generator will also come with an integrated charge controller, essential for solar charging, while others will demand that you purchase it separately. Furthermore, some will have an integrated PWM chip while others will have an MPPT charge controller which maximizes solar energy yields and charges your generator kit even faster
Moreover, additional features such as multiple USB outputs with a Quick Charging capacity, integrated flashlight, BMS protection, integrated fuses and surge protection for the sine wave inverter are all interesting features that can help you decide between two similar products.
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