Best Solar Generator for Off-Grid Living Power Needs

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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Solar generators are increasing in demand due to the rising numbers of people who wish to achieve greater energy independence by lessening their reliance on the mains supply. Furthermore, the fact of living off-grid is already becoming more of a necessity than simply an option due to the archaic state of the grid and growing unpredictability of weather patterns. If you add the fact that the price of fossil fuels has also been increased, then you will have the perfect concoction of events for a complete disaster.

Overcoming the necessity to live in nature is yet another trend which is very popular nowadays and solar generators are a great option for it. This article will provide a guide to the best solar generators for off-grid living and what to look for when shopping.

What is a Solar Generator?

Image Credit: makemesustainable.com

A solar generator – also known as a solar power generator – is a portable unit that is equipped with a battery unit that utilizes solar power to generate and store energy. Some of them use the sun as the main source of energy and therefore no need for fuel the system is safe and reliable as compared to other generators.

Everybody can use solar generators but they are quite helpful for preppers, campers or just the person who enjoys hunting or fishing and does not want to run back to his car every time he wants a cold drink. It will also be useful for those who prefer living and working in conditions without connection to the main electrical grid or those who want to distance themselves from society.

1. Ecoflow Delta Pro

Sale
EF ECOFLOW Portable Power Station DELTA, UPS Power...
  • 【Multiple Charging Outputs Provide More Options】DELTA...
  • 【Triple Rechargeable Modes Efficient Solar Generator】EcoFlow...
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If you are looking for an off-grid solar generator and you want a generator that has more versatility than what most solar generators have right now then we strongly advise you to check the Ecoflow Delta Pro. You will appreciate this solar generator because it can be charged by using panels, and also AC charging and vehicle charging is possible.

This will be especially useful for off-the-grid applications especially for people who want mobile electricity from their solar power generator. We also admired this solar generator due to the fact that it had an exceptionally good display panel that was able to provide us with more system information than the other best solar generators in this list.

Image Credit: amazon.com

ECOLOW Delta has a nice display screen and six AC outlets, as well as four USB-A ports and two USB-C ports, which makes it suitable for use not only at home as an emergency source of electricity but also to power most of the equipment that may be useful when camping.

Additionally, the EF ECOFLOW Delta power station is quick to recharge and can efficiently work when multiple tools are utilized. There are also other features to this unit which you will find attractive; this includes its great portability.

Pros:

  • It includes enough output ports for 13 devices
  • It can use any solar input of up to 400W
  • Full solar charging takes one hour

Cons:

  • It has lower input watts than other portable generators

2. Jackery Solar Generator

Jackery Solar Generator 1000, 1002Wh Capacity with 2x...
  • Clean and Unlimited Solar Energy: 100% green energy with smart...
  • Easy to Use in Seconds: Just one simple touch to finish setup...
  • Safe & Reliable for Outdoor Camping: Features industry-leading...
  • Power Pretty Much Anything: Power 90% home appliances with 1002Wh...
  • Quiet & Strong: At a such large capacity, this Explorer will...

This is one of the best off-grid solar generators especially for customers who prefer a full solar generator kit rather than a solar generator itself. It is among the best portable solar generator for an off-grid cabin because the battery capacity is 92300 mAh.

You will also receive 3 pure sine wave AC outlets with a combined 1000 watts of power to effectively utilize this power storage. As a result, there will be no concerns when one tries to insert almost any type of electronic gadget into the generator.

Image Credit: jackery.com

It also made the list of the best solar generators for off-grid living based on the fact that it comes with two SolarSaga 100 solar panels, meaning power outages will be rare. The additional solar panels have each 100 watt thus making charging faster. Thus, it’s one of the best solar-powered generators. When fully charged, it can charge up to 8 electrical devices at once using its 3 AC charging outlets, 1 12-volt DC outlet, and 4 extra USB including 2 ultra-fast USB Type-C ports.

Besides, with its 1000 watts of power output, this device may be used to power various powerful appliances such as a coffee maker, an electric grill, and even an ice crusher for off-road barbecuing adventures. Moreover, if you are interested in renewable power sources, this generator has a decent 2-year warranty for its price in contrast to other portable power stations.

Pros:

  • It is the right solar generator for anyone looking for a full solar kit with a solar generator and accessories.
  • High wattage output rating of 1000 watts
  • It powers up to eight devices simultaneously
  • The full-size solar generator has 2100 watts of solar panels
  • Built-in battery capacity of 92300 mAh capacity

Cons:

  • It is an expensive option for the specifications it comes with

3. Bluetti AC200P

BLUETTI Portable Power Station AC200P, 2000Wh LiFePO4...
  • [Power Monster] - With the remarkable 2000Wh of capacity and a...
  • [3500+ Life Cycles to 80%] - The ultra-safe LiFePO4 battery cells...
  • [Efficient Recharging Rate] - AC200P supports up to 700W solar...
  • [17 Versatile Outlets] - 6 AC ports, standard USB-A/Type-C/Car...
  • [What You Get] - BLUETTI AC200P portable power station, AC...

We were impressed by the Bluetti AC200P portable power station capability to efficiently accumulate solar energy and supply electricity to your house, camper, or RV. This solar generator is light and can meet or exceed the power demands of your camping, or RV trip because it can power most of the devices or appliances you can use in your off-grid house.

We found the BLUETTI power station has a built-in wireless charging pad and 6 AC power sockets, 4 USB-A, and 1 USB-C ports for charging all the devices or other devices in the camp.

Image Credit: amazon.com

The portable power station also includes a DC5521 connector jack, a standard auto outlet, and a RV DC outlet. Whatever your equipment requires probably is available here in this power station.

Other features that were also impressive included the fact that the solar generator can support up to 700W of solar power and that the battery can reach full charge within 2 hours. undefined It is also one of the best solar generators we found with the fastest charging time which is an added advantage.

Pros:

  • It has a warranty that lasts for two years
  • It comes with a lot of power outlets
  • The batteries can be quickly charged
  • Fast charging

Cons:

4. Goalzero Yeti 6000X Portable Power Station

Goal Zero Yeti 6000X Portable Power Station for Homes,...
  • PROFESSIONAL-GRADE POWER: Equipped with 6,071 Watt-Hours and...
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  • POWER IN THE PALM OF YOUR HAND: Monitor, control, and optimize...

Goalzero Yeti has proven to be a beast in the way it generates off-grid solar power. This will ensure that you can have access to power for days even in the direst situation and with 2000-Watt AC inverter and 6071-watt hours generator.

Image Credit: youtube.com

It was a relief to see that many professionals rely on this off-grid solar generator for powering up equipment and providing relief during disasters, which verifies the robustness of the device. Yeti 6000X may not be the most affordable option but if you want your solar generator to perform at its best then we do highly recommend buying it.

The solar generator is beneficial to people who want to have the power for heavy machines like handsaws or more even want to extend a few kilometers of their electric cars.

Pros:

  • Professional grade power
  • You can charge it in three ways
  • Provides enough backup power for any power outage

Cons:

  • It's quite costly

5. FlashFish Solar Generator

Sale
300W Solar Generator, FlashFish 60000mAh Portable Power...
  • 222Wh Back-up Power Supply: Wide applications make it suitable...
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  • Enjoy Outdoor Activities: Our generator has an easy-to-carry...

When it comes to things like powerful solar generators, it’s more important to choose a widely known product, and this fits the bill best for a price. On top of this, we also loved their 60 KWh built-in battery capacity that comes with an output capacity of 300W making it one of the best solar generators for off grid living capable of supporting low to medium-range appliances.

Image Credit: amazon.com

The 2 conventional 1120 volt AC outlets, 2 12 volt DC ports and additional ports for USB powered devices will surely come in handy on this solar powered generator. It is also highly regarded as the best solar generator regarding its build quality since it is enclosed within a silver metal frame with plastic caps to enhance its strength as well as prepare it for outdoor use.

This generator will also be perfect for spending time in the outdoors as it’s only 6 pounds. On top of this, a solar generator that has been drained could take as low as six to seven hours to fully charge when using an AC outlet to charge it and the prevention of prolonged power interruptions.

Pros:

  • It has a durable exterior design
  • Lightweight and compact option
  • Built-in battery capacity of 60,000 mAh

Cons:

  • It has a battery capacity that might be too low for long camping trips

6. ROCKPALS Portable Solar Generator

ROCKPALS 250-Watt Portable Generator Rechargeable...
  • UPGRADED 250-WATT POWERFUL AC, USB AND 12V OUTPUTS: Comparing to...
  • HIGH CAPACITY LIGHTWEIGHT LITHIUM POWER PACK: 240WH(3.7V...
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  • PURE SINE WAVE INVERTER: Better than modified sine wave and clean...
  • WHAT YOU GET: Rockpals portable generator (240Wh Portable Power...

Our favorite popular brand name for electrical products especially for portable power stations and generators would be ROCKPALS. There is a built-in battery capacity of 64800 mAh for this choice and it has an output of 250 watts.

Hence, the ROCKPALS Portable Generator can power low- and medium-grade appliances like laptops, TVs, and fans in your RV using the AC output of the generator. Moreover, when fully charged, the ROCKPALS Portable Generator can deliver 3 to 5 charging cycles for a standard laptop and 25 charging cycles for a smartphone.

Image Credit: amazon.com

When it comes to using solar energy to charge the ROCKPALS Portable Generator, it supports 60 and 100 watts solar panels. Furthermore, it can be plugged directly into an AC power outlet for faster-charging capabilities that will power the unit in approximately 8 hours.

This solar-powered generator is also safer for your electronics than a modified sine wave inverter. You will also receive a 39.4 inch car charging cable, a DC to cigarette plug adapter, and a 6. Comes straight out of the box with a 5-foot power cord with an AC adaptor.

Pros:

  • Affordable budget range
  • Built-in battery capacity of 64800 mAh capacity
  • It offers a fast and quiet operation
  • It offers a 250 watts output capacity
  • Compatible with 60 and 100 watts solar panels

Cons:

  • Low battery capacity

Can You Live off a Solar Generator?

Solar generators are rapidly becoming popular devices to reduce the consumption of the grid. More so unlike gas generators can one survive only on the best solar generator? There are a few things that you will have to look at for an off grid setup.

But to generate enough power you may first have to buy additional solar panels. Second, you must select the off-grid system and use the most effective batteries to preserve energy for the night and cloudy days.

The final part is about purchasing a solar generator which is the best solution for off-grid living in terms of cheap and reliable energy source. If the strategy is planned and executed effectively, then it is possible to live on a solar generator.

What Solar Generator Size is Enough?

Image Credit: unboundsolar.com

Before you decide on the preferred type of solar generator for your off-grid life, you must understand your own needs in order to purchase the right size for your homeBegin by identifying all devices within the home and the power each requires.

For off-grid living, this could be:

  • Refrigerators
  • TVs
  • Laptops
  • Phones
  • Small appliances
  • Chargers and power tools
  • Lighting
  • Medical devices like the CPAP machines

Look for information on how much power each item consumes on the label and then use an off-grid calculator to arrive at a reasonable estimate. It will also give you a clear overview of how many sun hours your region receives during the winter and summer seasons.

With that number you will calculate how big your battery bank you’ll need for off-grid use and then the number of solar panels to charge your battery bank.

It is also important to note that we suggest adding an amplified amount of up to 20% of the increased generation, storage, and available capacity for those days with an increased power usage or dark days.

Factors to Consider Before Shopping for the Best Solar Generators for Off-Grid Living

Image Credit: jackery.com

1. Power


The dimensions of a portable solar generator do not directly reflect the amount of charge it can hold. Portable solar generators are available in very many sizes. However, most of them are unfortunately insufficient and incapable of handling more power than a portable battery.

To check the storage of the generator one has to test the capacity in terms of Watt-Hours (Wh). The most efficient solar generators have a few hundred to a few thousand watt-hours capacity. But that doesn’t mean that it will last for a few hundred or a few thousand hours.

Every generator runs for varying time depending on what is plugged into any generator.

2. Battery Capacity

Image Credit: ecohome.com

Capacity, measured in Watt-hours (Wh), is the same number that is shown on any generator. It tells you how much power a generator can produce within a particular period.

This means a battery capacity of 1000Wh can provide 1000W for one hour or 500W for two hours. Calculate the baseload by determining how many appliances run continuously but also how much generation capacity is available daily.

We have listed solar generators that fall in the 1000-watt to 2000-watt category sufficient for typical daily activities as well as charging small electronic devices.

3. Battery Type

The type of the battery used in the solar generator determines the lifespan and performance of the generator; the two most common types are lithium-ion/LiFePO4 and AGM lead-acid.

Lead-acid batteries are initially relatively inexpensive but are less advantageous than lithium-ion batteries in terms of lifetime, performance, or depth of discharge. For instance, an AGM battery should be discharged to a maximum of 50% to increase its lifespan. In comparison, lithium-ion batteries can be discharged up to 90% in every solar charging cycle without shortening their life.

A lithium battery with a 100Wh rating has working capacity of 90Wh while an AGM battery having the same rating will have only 50-60Wh. Moreover, a lithium battery can last up to six times longer than an AGM battery.

4. Output Capability

Image Credit: hahasmart.com

Power output is just as important for a solar generator as the capacity because it means that while a generator can have a high capacity, you cannot access all of it at once. Thus, Max output and continuous load define the amount of power that can be extracted at once.

If a portable power station is to be considered of good value, then it should have a capacity high enough to charge many gadgets, including those that require high power. As a result, the maximum output of a generator should be many times greater than its maximum solar input capacity.

Although a certain model might be able to consume only a few hundred watts at a time, it usually generates much more. For small tasks at least 300watts generator is needed while for large jobs 500watts generator will be required.

The best solar generators need to have a variety of output options such as AC outlets, USB-A and C ports, & even 12V DC outlets like vehicle dashboards. This makes it possible to charge multiple devices without regard to the type of plug used at the same time.

It should have at least a few AC outlets and some USB-A ports, but this will depend on the number of devices you have to charge.

5. Charging Capability

Image Credit: headlessnomad.com

Of course no solar generator will keep its charge forever, so you will want to look for the fastest charging solar panel option to keep it topped up. The word ‘renewable’ is inserted at this stage with reference to ‘renewable energy’.

Solar panels can be used to charge all the power stations in this roundup so they are all called ‘solar generators’ but you should also look for power stations that can be charged via wall outlets as well as the 12V socket in your car.

This enables you to recharge when off the grid and in the sun, or while cooking at home or on the road, through the vehicle’s dash socket. Moreover, take note of the watt-based charging input capacity (W) of a model. For example, a solar generator with a maximum input of 100W should ideally allow a continuous flow of up to 100 watts, which is roughly the minimum you should ostensibly be looking for.

A 50 to 200 watt solar panel will be adequate to completely charge most of the generators above.

6. Solar Charge Controller

Solar charge controllers manage the flow of battery electricity coming from solar panels. The majority of solar generators have what is called MPPT which is a three-point power tracking charge controller (MPPT). And there is no danger of overcharging the battery if you connect several solar panels in series. You will still need to use adapters if your solar generator does not have an MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) charge controller.

Image Credit: amazon.com

It is possible to supply more volts or amps to the unit then what it is designed to receive. However, the solar generator is simultaneously charged up via a solar panel or an AC or DC outlet and this will cause irreversible damage to the battery. These charge controllers prevent this from happening during installation. The task of these charge controllers is limited but rather simple.

All they do is limit the amount of current that is sent to the generator when it is in use and cut off the current when the generator has been fully charged up. This is why if the solar generator is charged all day or night the battery will not be destroyed. MPPT is a fairly recent addition to their charge controllers, and they are more secure.

7. Inverter

The DC output from your photovoltaic solar panels needs to be changed into AC before it could be consumed by the electrical devices or household appliances. This is done by the inverter which is incorporated in the solar generator.

The electric power produced by solar generators today is also known as clean power because the currents generated through an inverter are pure sine waves. It is, however, more useful for sensitive devices such as smartphones and laptops and is, overall, more effective.

Image Credit: offgridliving.net

8. Portability

Portable power sources have been available for many years, but they have been in larger and heavier models in recent decades. One of their most intriguing characteristics is the fact that the latest solar generators are far more portable in terms of physical size.

The solar generators are for the use of backup power of essential electrical equipments outside or light and entertainment equipments in special cases.

Therefore portability is an important factor for the use of solar generators. The size of a device is one of the main factors which defines its mobility. As you may already know, solar generators have powerful batteries.

Nevertheless, as the amount of batteries needed to hold the amount of power the solar generator produces increases, the overall size of the solar generator may increase as well where the large battery solar generators are considerably bulky and unportable. Hence, a solar generator will not be ideal for off-grid houses if it is heavy to move around or cumbersome to use in the open.

9. Weight

The weight of a solar generator will also be less as compared to the weight of a gas powered generator since most of the solar generators are not as big as the gas generator hence it is wise to seek after a generator that has less than 100 pounds.

They are supposed to be lightweight and highly portable because their main function is to power areas that do not have a grid system or in emergency situations.

10. Budget

Price is a key factor for consumers when looking for quality solar generators thus we suggest you set a budget before searching for these products. As a rule, the price of a bulb varies with its wattage. But there are equally great quality solar generators in the market that offer enough strength and endurance at reasonable prices.

Conclusion

Image Credit: ecotality.com

Solar generators have become the best option for people seeking power for an off-the-grid home because they provide the most combination of economical value, quality, and independence.

These are our recommendations and there are various features that you will need to be aware of before you buy. Moreover, you can read the buying guide to understand some of the things to check when looking for the best solar generator.

Image Credit: sustainoverse.com

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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