A solar generator works with solar panels and aids to provide power backup during power shutdown and outages. The solar generator automatically starts to operate during the power shutdown. Hence it is said to provide essential automatic backup.
Solar generators are of many types. The main varying factors to differentiate generators include their types, style of manufacture, the brand of the device, size of the device, their functions.
In this post, we break down the workings of solar generators.
What are Solar Generators?
Solar Generators are portable devices. They can be moved to any place of our desire, need, and requirement. But unfortunately, all the necessary components to move the device from one place to another do not come along with the device.
The components of a solar generator include an inverter, solar panels, a battery charger, and a solar panel battery.
What is the Life Cycle of a Solar Generator?
It is tough to determine the life cycle of a solar generator. However, the current situation and consensus in the solar tech community can help us understand the span range.
The life cycle of a solar generator is anywhere from 25-35 years. Suppose the life-cycle of a solar generator for a day is to be ascertained. In that case, it wholly depends upon how long the Sun is out or how much power is available in the internal battery.
During a power outage, the energy stored in the battery can be used by the appliances. Therefore, if fewer appliances consume the power, the span of the solar generator backup for the day stays longer.
On the other hand, if numerous appliances start consuming the power for longer, the battery gets drained quickly. Correspondingly, the solar generator lifespan for the day is for shorter hours with exceeding consumption.
The solar generator can be put out in the Sun and keep gaining the power to charge up the battery.
The power in the high-capacity battery shall start accumulating, which allows the solar generators to provide power for a longer duration to the household appliances. It can generally last for 1-10 hours.
When is a Solar Generator Needed?
It isn’t easy to ascertain if anyone needs a solar generator. However, we can consider getting a solar generator in the below instances.
During these extreme weather instances , power shutdowns or power outages can be battled with solar generators.
When any disaster strikes, we can be in peace of mind knowing that we have some defense through solar generators. For example, solar generators help us during difficult times of power outages.
- Frequent power shutdowns
- Regular power outage
- Destructive hurricanes
- Mild or deadly Tornadoes
- Strong winds due to variations in atmospheric pressure
- A large amount of snowfall accumulating with varying intensity
- High heat conditions where humidity with temperatures is rising 90 degrees
- Freezing temperatures of extreme cold where temperatures drop below normal with increased wind speeds.
How Does a Solar Generator Work?
By understanding a solar generator’s main components and functions, we can comprehend how it works.
The energy is captured from the Sun for use at a later point in time, based on need and requirement. The solar generator stores the captured energy in the battery.
The main work of the battery is to capture the energy and store it for future consumption. Lithium-ion batteries are the most widely used batteries, and they are compatible with solar generators.
Lead-acid batteries are also available but tend to be less compatible with solar generators.
Benefits from Lithium-ion batteries are higher when compared to Lead-acid batteries. In addition, lithium-ion batteries are more affordable and greatly help in the long run as they perform longer.
Solar power generator has an integral part of the charge controller. It protects the battery and ensures its durability. The longer the durability of the solar generator’s battery, the longer the solar generator’s life span.
Hence to facilitate the protection of the solar generator’s battery, the charge controller plays a prominent role.
When it comes to charging batteries, the type matters a lot. Charge controllers have different charging and discharging features, depending on the type of battery.
Charge Controller plays a prominent role in the solar generator. Hence it is called the brain of the solar power generator.
The power stored is converted by the inverter. It converts the low Direct Current power from the battery to Alternating Current power. This backup power is used to charge various devices at home.
DC items do not need an inverter for power conversion, and hence the electricity need not be converted. Direct Current is where the flow of the electric charge is one-directional.
Direct Current has many uses ranging from charging the batteries of ample power supplies, electronic systems, and electrical motors.
The electric power of alternating current power is sent to businesses and residences for consumption. The solar panels are attached to a solar generator.
Here is how the Solar Generator Works:
The solar panel assembles photovoltaic cells fixed in a frame made ready for installation. The solar panel captures the Sun’s energy and stores the energy in the in-built battery when exposed to it. The battery is built into the generator.
The solar generator takes the stored energy. It converts the Direct Current into Alternating Current and releases the Current.
The electricity from the battery is transformed into either 110 or 220 volts, depending on the need.
Once the Current is released, the energy can charge different domestic utilizations or electronic devices.
The energy used is when it is needed the most during power shutdowns or combat power outages.
What is the Production Output of a Solar Generator?
The production output of a solar generator is better understood with an example. Let’s assume a particular area is experiencing an outage due to extreme weather conditions. You have a 4,000Wh solar generator.
You require powering your water motor (1000W), two electronic devices (25W), and one fan fixture (50W). You will be consuming the solar generator as long as the backup power is drained out.
Also, in our assumption, the internal battery is fully charged in your solar generator.
We can decide that a solar generator of decent quality is required as power 1,075W worth of appliances will need to be charged for an hour.
Hypothetically, the solar generator would power your devices for at least 4 hours. The backup power produced by a solar generator, as explained earlier, depends upon:
- The size of the solar generator,
- The quality of the solar generator,
- The number of devices attempted to more power,
- The number of appliances intended to be charged,
- Duration of using the solar generator,
- Amount of time taken to charge the appliances
Solar Generators are Environmentally Friendly
Most Solar generators are not too loud and are considered environmentally friendly. However, generators powered by fossil fuels, including engines and moving parts, are too loud and cause pain to humans.
There are a couple of less noisy generators and considered friendly for the environment. Almost all solar generators are not noisy as compared to fuel-powered generators.
You might hear the only noise from the inverter, with minimal noise. However, if the invertor makes a loud buzzing sound, the inverter requires maintenance.
Noise does not come from the best solar generators. It usually comes from a solar inverter. They can make a loud buzzing or crackling noise indicating the owner’s maintenance required for it. Solar panels do not make noise either.
Solar panels have no moving parts. So unless they experience any structural issues, they should be working fine without producing noise.
Solar panels themselves won’t produce noise unless external factors contribute to such noises. A few of those factors include:
- Inverter Fans: When a passive cooling system with a heat-sink design is not used, Inverter Fans cause noise.
- Low-quality products: When low-quality Inverters are placed under sunlight, they may produce a quiet humming noise. This can be very audible in a quiet place.
- Poor solar panel racking: When it is not properly screwed, it can cause rattling or movement noises.
- Poor cable clipping: Cables running between the panels must be clipped properly. When not clipped, it results in mild noise production.
- Shade or shelter: When panels are erected at a convenient angle for shade or shelter for birds and animals, noise production is sure to continue.
Advantages of Solar Generators
Solar Generators are bundled with a couple of advantages as follows.
Gas-powered generators require fuel to be added to them to facilitate them working. However, solar generators do not require any fuel for functioning. Therefore, there is no cost associated with fuel purchase. The fuel for solar power generators is procured from the Sun.
The energy from the Sun is captured by solar panels and converted for consumption. As a result, the fuel used for solar power generators is free, and hence no expenses associated with it.
Dependent on Renewable Energy
Since solar generators are not dependent on fossil fuels, they do not impact the environment.
Due to the heavy consumption of fossil fuels, the environment is subject to massive pollution. However, since solar energy is dependent on the Sun for fuel, and energy from the Sun is converted for consumption, it does not result in environmental pollution.
Solar generators depend on clean, renewable energy and natural resources, energy from the Sun. Therefore, minimal pollutants are released when solar energy is stored and converted. Moreover, we can ensure that the energy consumed is clean and natural.
Solar generators are less noisy when compared to fuel generators. This is because solar generators are not made of any moving parts. Hence any noise associated with moving parts is significantly reduced while running.
Gas generators have moving parts and produce noise. However, since moving parts are not a component of solar generators, low maintenance cost is associated with their usage.
Disadvantages of Solar Generators
Solar Generators have a couple of disadvantages as follows.
The initial investment is required for installing solar generators. The investment is also high when compared to traditional gas generator installation investment. Solar generators’ installation investment costs are double that of traditional gas or fossil fuel generators.
The cost is high due to the components associated with its installation. The components include a portable generator, a solar charge controller, a solar battery, and an inverter.
However, maintenance costs associated with solar generators are lesser when compared to traditional gas generators.
Since the operating cost of the solar generators is lesser, you have to spend a one-time investment for installing the solar generators. After that, no worries are required till the lifetime of solar generators on any additional costs.
Recharging Consumes Time
Sun is the primary source of energy. Solar batteries can be recharged only when the Sun is shining. It consumes time for the solar panels to get charged. It would take about 9-10 hours to charge the solar generator batteries of a solar panel with a power output of 150 watts.
Conversely, the traditional gas generators can be refueled and immediately consumed. You can supply power when needed and not worry about adverse weather conditions.
Limited Power Supply
A solar generator is insufficient to power the entire business unit or home. However, it can help to recharge devices like phones, laptops, and small appliances, which can be used quickly. If the size of the solar generator batteries is more significant, their power can be correspondingly more considerable.
Traditional gas generators can help with power if required unless the fuel needs to be refilled.
Solar Generators provide massive coverage and can suit any of our power backup requirements. The solar panel captures the Sun’s energy and is stored in the battery to be used during power shortages. There are usually three types of Generators. They include a portable inverter and standby generators.