There are actually quite a few important things you need to sort out before deciding on which portable solar generator is best for you. In general, it boils down to two major points. 1. What are your needs, how many appliances do you need to power? 2. Do you already have any of the other parts of a solar power system?
It is important to remember that a generator is only one of the parts that make up a complete solar power system. Picking your solar generator first is a good way to do it. Decide what your needs are and find a generator suited to those needs.Then find a solar charger and maybe even a charge controller that is compatible and have the appropriate capacity.
On the other hand, you might already have a solar charger or a charge controller. In this case you have to get a generator that is suitable for the solar charger and hopefully the system can still meet your needs. Below is a compilation of some tips and best practices worth considering before buying a portable solar generator.
Tips for choosing the right portable solar generator
- To get a basic measure of your needs you can use a simple formula: Solar generators Watt hours / Your device Watt. I.e a typical power station with 200Wh and a iPhone charger which consumes 5 Watt gives: 200 / 5 = 40 hours. You can sum all your devices and how long each of them need to be charged or powered then use this formula to estimate how many Watt hours you need.
- Related to the above point: you need to make sure your solar panel is able to fully charge your generator during the daylight hours. As a general rule of thumb: 100W panels should be able to charge 250Wh in 8-10 hours. But this also depends on the Volt and Ampere output of the charger. 12 – 18 Volt should be enough most of the time.
- What is the max Watt consumption of your appliances? Most solar generators will only be able to charge devices with max 250W there are of course more powerful options, you can find generators up to 500W that still are portable and resonably priced compared to the weaker options.
- If you already got a solar panel charger make sure that you can connect it to the generator. Most generators and solar panels use MC4 connectors, but double check this as it is critical for your system to work.