You don’t need to be living in an area where electricity is unreliable to be able to appreciate the benefits of having a solar backup generator . A solar generator kit can come in handy during camping trips. You can also use it to power your home and reduce your electricity usage. A solar backup generator is a very practical investment.
Solar Backup Generator advantages
There are many reasons why so many people are turning to a solar generator instead of the conventional generator. Perhaps the most compelling motivation to invest in a solar power generator is that it is an earth-friendly choice. It harnesses the energy coming from the sun and doesn’t depend on fossil fuels or electricity the way a conventional generator does.
Aside from being a source of clean energy, a solar generator is preferred by many families because it is silent, unlike conventional generators that are notorious for the noise they make when in operation.
The silent operation of a solar generator makes it ideal for retreats and use in apartments and condo units.
Yet another reason why you would want to have a solar generator instead of the conventional fuel-powered type like a Yamaha generator or Generac generator is that it is easy to maintain. The lack of moving parts also makes it very reliable.
With a solar generator, you’ll have enough power to keep your TV, refrigerator, freezer, and lights operational. You can also keep your laptops, home alarm systems, and phones running with a solar backup generator. FEMA declares that September is National Preparedness Month
A common misconception is that a solar generator is useless when it is cloudy or raining outside. The generator stores power during days when the sun is out, meaning you will be able to use it in inclement weather.
Solar Generator DIY
Another misconception is that you will have to buy a solar generator in order to harness all those energy coming from the sun. The truth is you don’t really have to spend a lot of money and invest in a solar backup generator. You can build your own solar generator without spending a lot. Plus, you don’t really need to be an electrical engineer to build one.
You’ll still have to spend a few hundred dollars on materials to make your DIY solar generator. A solar generator DIY project won’t have enough power to energize your entire house. Small lights and water appliances may be sustained by a DIY solar generator though.
Costs for building a solar generator
- Solar panels: Start by looking for solar panels online or at retail stores. You can get one for as low as $100. Home improvement stores such as Home Depot and Lowe’s as well as online stores like Amazon.com and Walmart.com have these items. For a small generator, buy a solar panel with a rating of more than 16 volts.
- Battery: You will want a battery with a rating of 12 volts or higher. It will be $60 or more, depending on the brand you get. You can inquire with green energy retailers selling specialized batteries about batteries.
- Storage device or box for the battery: This will house or cover the battery. It’s a useful accessory if you have young children or pets. It can also protect your generator during rain. A battery storage device should cost you around $10.
- DC input device: This will enable you to plug in any DC device like a television, stereo, CD player, and fans. Look for a triple inlet DC input which should cost around $10.
- Inverter: You will also need an inverter that can convert DC energy into AC current. It could cost you around $50.
Once you have bought all the necessary materials, it’s time to connect everything and build your own DIY solar generator.
How to build your own DIY solar generator
Following a few steps you can be on your way to confidently building your own solar generator.
- Attach the DC meter and the DC input module to the top of the battery box with the help of a drill.
- Get an insulated wire and attach the DC meter to the couple of wing nut terminals on the battery.
- Connect the negative pole first before the positive pole. To avoid electric shock, you should attach the meter one wire at a time.
- Connect the DC input to the battery using the insulated wire. Like what you did earlier, connect one pole at a time.
- Connect the solar panel to the wing nut terminals of the battery. The solar panel should have enough wire length so that you can place it outside to catch some sunlight.
Some additional pointers:
- While doing this project, make sure you wear insulated gloves. Use only insulated wiring, too, for the job.
- The lid of the battery box must be firmly closed so that unwanted moisture will not get onto the battery. This is critical for the longevity and safety of the generator.
- You can use a rope to secure the box. Then put it out in the sun and leave it for several hours to charge. A solar panel will typically take eight hours to fully charge a dead batter. That should be enough to provide six hours of charge for every panel.
Once charged, you can connect your appliances to the generator and start enjoying free energy.
Extension Cords for Your Generator:
Good: 50 Ft All-Weather Heavy Duty 12/3 Gauge Extension Cord With Lighted Triple Tap Outlets -125 Volts 1875 Watts
Better: 50ft 10 Gauge Heavy Duty Lighted Triple Outlet Extension Cord – 10AWG 125Vac 15Amp 1875Watt
Best: 100 Ft. Heavy-Duty 10/3 Gauge Extension Cord with Lighted End
- QuickWinder RAP-200 Reel for Heavy Duty Electric Cord
- Heavy Duty GFCI Indoor/Outdoor Lighted Triple Outlet Extension Cord
Solar Generator Kit
If you’re not confident of your DIY skills, you can always buy a solar generator kit. This is a portable solar generator that can be relied upon for charging electronic devices such as cellphones and cameras, to more critical appliances like freezers and refrigerator.
And because it is portable, you can take it anywhere you go, especially when you go camping. It is also used in light-duty construction and emergencies.
There are a lot of solar generator kits available in the market today, but you won’t regret investing on the solar generator kits from Goal Zero.
The company is a reputable firm based in Bluffdale, Utah. It was founded in 2007 by Robert Workman, who was inspired after a trip to Congo and witnessing the need to help people get out of poverty.
A year after its founding, the company had designed a portable solar power pack called GoBe, or now known as Goal Zero Yeti 150. It consisted of a battery, LED light, and solar panel. It brought light and economic empowerment to villagers in Congo.
Checkout our Honda Inverter Generator vs Generac Inverter Generator, and why I’m using one to supplement and charge my Yeti.
Yeti 150 Solar Generator vs Yeti 1250 Solar Generator
Today, the company not only produces solar generator kits but also solar panels, lights, and accessories. Two of its products—the 22004 Yeti 150 Solar Generator and the 1250 Solar Generator Kit— are excellent choices if you are in need of a solar backup generator.
Goal Zero 22004 Yeti 150 Solar Generator
This is a power pack that you will find handy whenever you go outdoors, and you need to power your smartphone, laptop, DLSR, and lights. It is designed for camping and tailgating although you can also use it as a standby power generator, particularly during outages.
It’s a box that weighs around 30 pounds. It comes with a convenient pop-up handle and stackable shape that makes it easy to place at the trunk of your car.
You’ll have to buy a compatible solar panel so that you can charge this power pack. If you buy Goal Zero’s 30M solar panel, you will have to put it under the sun for 24 hours to completely charge the 400 watt power supply. But you don’t have to wait for that long to recharge this power pack. You can also plug it into a wall outlet or connect it to the 12V adapter in your car if you don’t have the solar panel, or you have no plans of doing so.
There are three ways to power your device with the Yeti 150. One is through USB ports, best for medium-sized USB powered devices like smartphones. You can also power your device through an AC inverter, plugging it just as you would in a wall socket. Or through a 12V port, for devices that run on a 12V power source.
It’s also the ideal power pack if you live in an apartment or condominium and there is a power outage, as it won’t bother you or your neighbors. It should help you get through a blackout for less than 24 hours.
Aside from the 400 watt variation, the Goal Zero 22004 is also available in 150 and 1250 versions.
Goal Zero Yeti 1250 Solar Generator Kit
If you need more power, then consider getting the Goal Zero Yeti 1250 Solar Generator Kit.
Unlike the Yeti 22004, this kit has four solar panels so you can maximize the sunlight you are getting on a consistent basis. Also included in the package with the solar generator are two solar panel carrying cases, a solar tripod, 10 Boulder clips, and three Lighthouse 250s. It’s a nice solution for your own-the-move power requirements.
Make no mistake about it, the Goal Zero Yeti 1250 may just be the best solar backup generator today. It delivers enough power for your critical devices like laptops and smartphones during power outages. It even has enough juice to power freezers and health care equipment for an extended period.
Like most solar generators, the Yeti 1250 is quiet so it will be appropriate to use in an apartment or condominium. It also doesn’t discharge any fumes, unlike the traditional gasoline generator.
What makes the Yeti 1250, like the 22004, very ideal for use in the outdoors is that you can recharge it through a vehicle’s 12V outlet. You will have to wait for 44 hours to recharge the 1250, aside from purchasing a 8.0mm to 12V charger.
But still it comes in handy just in case there’s not enough sunshine in your area. You can still recharge it without worrying about not getting enough power for your camping trips.
If you are at home and you want to have standby power in case of a power outage, you can recharge the Yeti 1250 from a regular wall outlet. That would take around 18 hours.
Yeti 1250 review
You will be sure to love the solar panels that come with the Yeti 1250. The tripod included in the package makes it easier to mount the solar panels, and move them to get the best alignment with the sun. The rugged cases are also a great addition as they can protect the solar panels and ensure the longevity of said items.
You’d just have to be patient, though, in recharging the generator through the solar panels. It would take around 40 hours to complete the recharging through 2 Boulder 30 panels. There would be enough power to run a refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours. Runtimes will be dependent on several factors like the make, year, fullness, and usage of the fridge.
You will be able to rely on the generator kit’s build quality. A quick look at Amazon.com reveals that it has a high customer rating of 4.9 stars out of a possible 5 stars. Many of the reviewers were amazed at how reliable the backup generator is. The only complaint is the weight. Weighing more than 100 pounds, you’d certainly need help to move the generator.
The Yeti 1250 is a great value, and you may well save money after several years. You won’t need to buy fuel to power it, and it is virtually maintenance free. You can use it at home or outdoors.
Best solar generator
Indeed, a solar backup generator is a very good investment. Storms can knock down power lines, cutting off electricity at home. Camping trips may also require that you have a dependable source of energy. It really pays to have a reliable energy source.
What is the best solar generator? Make no mistake about it, Goal Zero’s 22004 Yeti 150 Solar Generator and Yeti 1250 Solar Generator Kit are two power sources you want to have during power outages. If you are considering others, like Generac generators, be sure it’s a better fit for you than solar.