What to know – How Long Will A Solar Generator Last?
You’re in the right place…
Heading for an off-grid trip?
An efficient solar generator is the perfect source of backup power that you can pack.
Quite simply, when it comes to a clean and noise-free energy source that excels in portability, nothing can beat a solar generator.
However, before investing in solar generators, it’s important to learn about their features.
And most importantly, lifespan
A battery that isn’t long-lasting, doesn’t count as a reliable power source.
You’ve probably heard about lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries being used in a solar generator, but most likely…
You’ve barely scratched the surface.
So let’s remedy that, shall we?
To clear all your doubts, we‘re here with answers to a few common questions about solar generators.
Let’s get busy…
Related: 10 Best Solar Generators
Q . How much does a solar powered generator cost?
Short answer: You’ll find solar generators ranging between 300 to 1200 bucks or even higher.
But there’s more to it than that.
Actually, the price of a portable solar generator will depend on many factors. The most important ones are battery power and quality.
Now, there are two main types of batteries used in solar generators- lead-acid and lithium-ion.
The first one is age-old technology, the latter is relatively new and still evolving.
You might have guessed it already…
Lead and lithium are the primary components of these batteries respectively. The fact is, lithium is marked as the battery technology of the future.
What are its advantages?
Firstly, lithium batteries don’t need as much maintenance as lead-acid batteries.
Secondly, lithium leads to much higher efficiency levels. At present, lithium iron phosphate is being used widely in the best solar generators.
Oh, and guess what?
They’re also lighter and make solar generators more portable.
Lithium batteries usually have a life span ranging between 200 to 500 cycles.
The life span is defined as the maximum charge-discharge cycles a battery can undergo. That is until its capacity falls below 80% of the original capacity.
These batteries are costlier.
But the fact of the matter is, with the higher efficiency, cost per kilowatt-hour will be less in the long run.
Obviously, portable solar generators with integrated solar cells will cost more.
In case you’re choosing an external panel, make sure it’s compatible with the battery.
Choosing a reputable brand will mean good quality and reliable performance.
The next thing is, a solar panel can be either poly-crystalline or mono-crystalline.
Poly-crystalline panels are more affordable but mono-crystalline ones offer higher efficiency.
At this point you realize, the most expensive option isn’t always the best.
In the end, it’s all about your own specific energy needs and circumstances.
Q. How many solar panels does it take to run a house?
The answer will depend on a variety of factors. Definitely, the most important point is your power consumption.
The fact is, the high cost of installation is one aspect that limits the overall use of solar power.
In most cases, it’s limited for powering smaller appliances through portable solar generators.
Now, energy requirements are measured in kilowatt hours (kWh). Basically, you need to match that figure for your home with the power delivery of a solar power system.
But hold on. That’s not all.
Here are a few other things you need to consider.
The direction or slope of your roof. In the northern hemisphere, the roof should be facing the south to allow for maximum sunlight.
The average annual sunlight in your locality is also important. This is after accounting for the total days of rain or snow.
Now, the average American household consumes around 11,000 kWh of energy per year. Based on that, anywhere between 28 to 34 panels can deliver the required watt hours.
It’s best to consider expert opinion to determine the exact figures before you invest.
Keep in mind, the payback period will be anywhere around eight to ten years.
But the good news is, solar panels have a long life – usually 25 years or more. And even after that period, they’ll keep generating solar power at an efficiency of 85% or more.
Not bad at all.
And the secret behind this superb performance is…
They don’t have any mechanical moving parts and neither do the materials break apart from within. So unless a panel is physically damaged from the outside, it’ll keep delivering AC power without fail.
Q. How do I charge my solar battery with a generator?
The disadvantage of solar power is it’s not steady all through the year. Just think about the winter months and you’ll get the idea.
On the other hand, gas-powered generators are noisy, less efficient, and emit fumes.
However, if needed, you can charge your solar batteries from a generator.
The fact is, most home solar power systems are connected with a generator as backup.
Just in case the sun isn’t enough to deliver the necessary watt hours, the generator will deliver power.
Ideally, this should be done with the minimum wastage of generator fuel.
Here’s the interesting part…
The charge cycle of a battery has multiple stages. In the later stages, the battery draws less energy and most of the power delivered by the generator is wasted.
So it’s best to bulk charge a battery to around 80% through a generator and let the sun do the rest.
Or else, you can design the system to shut the generator off once the battery capacity reaches 80%.
Depending on the battery capacity, the generator size can vary anywhere between 4000 to 8000 watts.
In addition to that, you should give the generator some headroom to make up for any losses.
Conclusion : How Long Will A Solar Generator Last?
Clearly, the days of solar power just limited to your rooftop are over.
A solar generator is an eco-friendly source of stored energy for anywhere you want it.
Lithium batteries generally deliver the necessary watt-hours for 2 to 3 years depending on the frequency of use. But lead-acid batteries have shorter life cycles.
However, good quality solar panels will last for decades.
And the best part is, a solar generator is noiseless, smoke-free, and a highly portable source of solar energy.
Is there anything you can do to prolong the lithium battery life?
The answer is – yes.
It’s best to avoid deep discharge of lithium batteries. Experts recommend you should partially discharge the batteries and then recharge.
Also, heat affects battery capacity and life. So store them at room temperatures.
But keep in mind that…
…even if you store them unused, the batteries will degrade with time.
In reality, a portable solar generator is perfect for charging up smaller electronics at a campsite or during an emergency.
For picking the best, take a look at the list of TopNotch Top Solar Generators for Camping.
But a solar generator won’t power up your entire home.
So combine the right number of solar panels with a large battery and you’re all set to tackle power outages.
If it suits your purpose, location, and budget, solar energy is a great option. It’s a unique energy solution giving you the perfect way to use your share of the sun.
And now, you’re ready to make the right choice…
If you ‘re in the market for a solar generator, see our top recommendations below.
Related: 10 Best Solar Generators