Portable Solar Generators – Setting the Stage for Living Life on the Go
Living on the go might have different meanings to different people. However, for the most part, the one thing it does involve is limiting or eliminating your dependence on the national power grid. When living on the go, your energy usage will be significantly affected by the amount of appliances you use and your own personal energy requirements. There are a number of factors to think about, including the wattage needed to power the gadgets you want to use and the amount of time you can go in between charges.
When living off the grid, portable solar generators for camping are often used to keep the battery charged on days when the sun is not shining.
What Are Portable Solar Generators?
In order to generate electricity, solar generators harness the sun’s rays. Homes, businesses, and cars can all be powered by solar generators.
Since more and more individuals are trying to cut back on their use of fossil fuels and make the switch to renewable energy sources, portable solar generators are quickly rising in popularity. These portable power stations for camping are easy to install, operate, and carry, making them a good choice for people trying to find an alternative to conventional power plants.
How Do Portable Solar Generators Work?
To produce electricity, solar generators use photovoltaic cells to transform solar radiation into chemical energy. This energy is converted into electricity, and any excess electricity is then stored in batteries for later use.
Lights, laptops, televisions, and refrigerators are just a few of the many electrical appliances that can be powered by a solar generator.
Why Use Portable Solar Generators
BLUETTI solar power generators have many advantages, one of which is that they are better for the environment than conventional generators. Unlike conventional generators, solar power generators do not create emissions or cause pollution. This is in stark contrast to the energy that is obtained from on-grid power stations.
Because they produce significantly less noise than conventional generators, you will not affect your or anyone else’s tranquility when you use a portable solar generator. The best portable power stations for camping are also incredibly versatile and can be used in a wide range of settings. They can also charge or power many different types of electrical devices, gadgets, and appliances. BLUETTI has designed a number of portable solar generators and power stations, depending upon the users’ needs and power requirements.
Can You Use a Portable Solar Generator to Power an Entire Off-Grid Residence?
Even the largest portable solar generator might not be able to supply a normal house with all of the power it needs. However, if an off-grid house just has a few electrical appliances and gadgets, a solar generator might be able to supply enough electricity for the house. The BLUETTI AC300 + 1*B300, for instance, has been designed for individuals wanting to use a portable solar generator to power their entire off-grid lifestyle.
Calculating the number of watts utilized on a daily basis as well as the heaviest load is the most effective technique to determine whether or not a solar generator is capable of powering a home.
As per the EIA, the monthly energy use of the typical residence in the United States is 900 kWh. According to this calculation, the solar generator that is required for an off-grid residence should have a capacity of 2000 kW, and lithium-ion batteries that serve as backup should have a capacity of 2000 Wh. To put things into perspective, the BLUETTI AC300 + 1*300 has a battery capacity of 3,072 Wh.
If you intend to live completely independent off the power grid, we recommend getting one of the higher capacity BLUETTI generators and batteries capable of handling large home appliances.
However, the solar panel itself is equally important, not just the battery. Investing in a few high-powered solar panels is preferable to buying more of lower quality.
The appliances in off-grid residences are the most important factor in evaluating if a portable solar generator is a viable option. A simple portable solar panel system that can charge electronics and supply power for small appliances may often be enough for long-term off-the-grid camping. However, it is a different story if you are looking for portable solar generators for RV or an off-the-grid house.
How to Determine the Portable Solar Generator Size for Off-Grid Living? What About the Number of Solar Panels?
How much solar power is needed to live off the grid depends on how much electricity is used. It’s important to find the best solar generator for your needs; the number of portable solar panels, however, is perhaps even more important a consideration.
We recommend calculating how many solar panels are needed to power an off-grid home when setting up a home with solar-powered generators.
Here is how you can make that calculation:
- Determine the amount of space available to store your portable solar panel.
- How much direct sunlight will portable solar panels receive on a daily basis?
- The kind of panels you will be buying (mono-crystalline, polycrystalline, or thin-film).
- The amount of energy usage your camp or off-grid home will use on a daily basis.
As a general rule of thumb, the generator’s capacity needs to be around twice that of the inverter’s continuous output. Therefore, for a 1000W inverter, the capacity of the generator needs to be approximately 2000W. The most important reason for this is because the generator needs to take breaks in order to give the batteries a chance to be charged while it powers the various appliances.
Assuming a 1000W total load, along with a 20Amps and 48V charger specification, the power requirement comes out to be 1000+(48*20) = 1960W. Therefore, in order to simultaneously power the appliances and the battery bank, you will need a generator with a minimum output of 2,000 watts.
To make sure that you do not lose power during the day, it is a good idea to leave a little more headroom than usual for the generator. Larger generators are an option to consider if you need to power significant electrical loads, such as power tools with high thermal ratings, or other power-heavy appliances like air-conditioners.
Equipment Required for an Off-Grid Portable Power Station
Solar panels help capture the energy from the sun and store it as DC electricity.
The University of Minnesota Duluth says that a solar panel works by letting light particles (photons) knock electrons out of atoms. This creates a flow of electricity (opens in new tab). Solar panels are made up of many smaller parts called photovoltaic cells.
In order to change direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC), you will need to utilize a device called an inverter. As mentioned, the electricity produced by solar panels is DC electricity. However, most – if not all – electrical appliances and devices run on AC power.
Thus, in order to be able to use the electricity generated through the sun, we need to convert the DC electricity into its usable AC form.
It is important to keep in mind that if you use appliances that function on direct current, you can power them directly through the portable solar panel system without requiring an inverter.
A charge controller is essential for any off-grid portable solar power system that makes use of batteries. You can think of a charge controller as the brain linking your battery bank and solar panels.
It is the charge controller’s job to figure out how much power should be fed into the batteries.
The charge controller is critical since it determines how effectively your solar energy system functions. Because it protects the batteries from being overcharged, the controller also keeps them from overcharging and thus maximizing their useful life.
While a battery bank is not required, per se, we believe it is crucial for your portable power station setup. You will need a battery bank unless your panels can bask in the sun every hour of every day of the year.
Many municipalities mandate that the hydro utility “store” or buy back your excess power if you are grid-tied. If you are not connected to the power grid, you will need a way to store this energy for later use.
Batteries provide you with a power source when the sun is not available, such as at night or during cloudy days.
Again, this is not mandatory, but a welcome addition. A backup generator can make your power system more dependable. Other than that, it provides a backup power source.
This can be used to generate energy even when the sun isn’t shining, which is helpful in regions with long winters. BLUETTI generators can be programmed to activate instantly. When there are lengthy stretches without sunlight, this comes in handy.
It can also be useful when using very power-heavy machinery or appliances.
A transfer switch must be set up whenever an auxiliary generator is connected to your system.
This allows you to switch between the two different power sources that are available. You now have the ability to decide which type of power source to use, if, for instance, you are using a diesel generator alongside a solar one.
These switches can either be manual or automatic.
AC Load Center
The AC Load Center, also known as the electrical panel, is where all of breakers, switches, and fuses are stored. This is necessary to ensure that the requisite AC current and voltage are being supplied to the appropriate loads.
DC Load Center
A DC Load Center functions in a similar manner and also incorporates all of the pertinent circuit breakers, fuses, and switches.
Reasons to Switch to Solar Power
Solar energy is easily accessible and practically limitless so long as your residential region does not see a lot of overcast weather. Solar generators will still create some energy, even on days with the most overcast skies, enough to power a home for a few hours. In these kinds of circumstances, it is a good idea to combine the solar panels with another renewable form of power, such as hydro or wind.
Traditional gas generators driven by fossil fuels produce carbon monoxide – a poisonous gas that poses a significant risk to human health. As a direct consequence of this, they must be utilized exclusively in the open air and at a secure distance from the primary residence.
Solar generators, on the other hand, do not produce any fumes and are significantly safer to use indoors. This means that people who use them do not need to be concerned about their own or anybody else’s health when they do so.
No Noise And Low Maintenance
Since they do not have any moving parts, portable solar generators for RVs are considerably less noisy than their fuel-driven counterparts. The inverter is the only source of the very low level of noise that you will experience.
Besides, the lack of moving parts means that portable solar generators are less prone to breakage or damaging, making them significantly lower maintenance than conventional fuel generators.
How to Choose a Portable Solar Generator for Living on the Go?
The following is an example of a simple formula that may be used to determine the number of solar panels that are required:
[(Daily electricity consumption/peak sun hours)*1000]/the solar panel power rating.
The first step is to calculate your typical monthly electricity consumption. This information can be found on your most recent power bill; for a more precise assessment, average the amounts from the previous three months.
The next step is to determine the number of peak sun hours for your particular region. It is important to keep in mind that peak sun hours are not the same as the period from sunrise to sunset. In fact, peak sun hours refer to the period of time during which the sun is capable of delivering 1000W per square meter. If you have a peak sunlight rate of five hours or more, you may not need a very high capacity solar generator to fulfill your power needs.
Once you have your average monthly power use and the amount of hours of direct sunlight, you will be able to determine the appropriate quantity of solar panels for your home.
Choosing a Backup Power Source for Off-Grid Living
This decision is going to be contingent on a number of elements, such as the individual’s preferences, financial constraints, and the accessibility of various resources. There are some areas of the country that do not receive ample sunlight throughout the year, which is the most significant weakness of renewable energy sources such as solar and might lead to difficulties with power outages.
If you intend to rely solely on solar power as your supply of electricity, you absolutely must devise a fallback strategy for those times when the sun isn’t shining. For instance, if you are someone who places a high value on being environmentally conscious, then the solution that is most likely most suited to your needs would be a battery backup capable of storing solar power for days or even weeks during periods when sunlight is at a premium.
On the other hand, if you are someone who has a limited budget or places a high value on cost-effectiveness and convenience, you may want to employ a backup system that is powered by fossil fuels such as natural or propane gas.
Regardless of the backup system you opt for, make sure to devise a strategy for when your portable solar system is unable to generate enough electricity. All in all, there is no one backup power source that can be considered the “best” for an off-grid configuration. In the end, it will depend on the specific requirements and preferences of the individual.
Living on the Go With Portable Solar Generators
To sum up, a sense of independence, a stronger sense of community, and a deeper connection to nature are just a few reasons people choose to live their lives on the go.
Portable solar generators, owing to their convenience, intuitiveness, durability, and accessibility, have become the go-to power source for numerous modern-day nomads around the world.
If you, too, are considering going partially or fully off-the-grid and are considering portable solar systems for your power needs, we can help you. At BLUETTI, we offer a wide range of portable solar kits and generators, catering to customers with differing budgets, location/sunlight availability, and, of course, power requirements.
Please get in touch with us so we can aid you in finding a portable solar power station best suited for your unique needs.