Solar Power Generators
Hurricane Sandy which caused massive damage to the eastern coast of USA particularly New Jersey and New York bought home the importance of emergency electricity generators. As the power went out in large chunks for days, most of the electricity guzzling devices shut down. Even emergency equipment like medical devices went down as the power blacked out. Emergency generators running on fossil fuels showed their limitation as there was no gasoline distribution available. Having a portable solar power generator was a life saver in these circumstances. Note solar power generators have become cheap and affordable these days as Chinese solar panels have flooded the market. The price of solar panels has come down by nearly 80% in the last 3-4 years. Solar energy is already competitive with grid power in many places nowadays.
Portable solar generators can be bought for as little as $1500 these days and they can power up your laptops, printers, lights and tvs. Portable solar generators require no fuel which is their greatest advantage as they run of solar energy which is free.
Advantages of solar power generators
i) No Fuel required
ii) No harmful emission of fumes and gases
iii) Can be safely be used indoors as well as outdoors
iv) Is clean and environment friendly
v) In emergencies when no fuel is available they are the only good option
vi) Can power AC, DC and USB devices
vii) Can be easily bought online
viii) Have become affordable as solar panel prices have gone down
ix) Mobility, as most solar energy generators come in carts
x) Can also charge from AC outlets
xi) Very little noise.
Main components of solar power generators
1) Solar Panels which convert solar power into electricity
2) Batteries which store electricity usually made of lead
4) Charge controllers
Portable solar generators for various uses can be bought off the shelf these days. Though assembling your own solar power generator might be cheaper what we have found is that it requires too much engineering for ordinary people who don’t mind paying some extra dollars for a plug and play solar power generator.
Here are some of the portable solar generators in the market we reviewed:
1) UPG 87530 Ecotricity Portable Emergency Backup Power Solar Generator, Plug and Play – This is made by one of the popular companies Ecotricity and comes with standard components as mentioned above. Note Ecotricity sells a wide variety of green products and is popular in UK.
2) Goal Zero Yeti 1250 Solar Power Generator – Goal Zero sells the popular Nomad solar kits for outdoors. The company sells a wide variety of solar power kits and is one of the most popular US sellers of RV and portable solar panels. This Solar Generator comes with 2 30 watt solar panels (which I think is less compared to Phono). The combination includes a lead acid battery, 1200 watt sine wave inverter and a MPTT. The weight is 103 lbs and it takes around 16 hours to charge from an AC outlet.
3) Sumec Phono Solar 1800sj Solar Generator Kit – Note this is a Chinese European company which mainly sells solar power system kits as opposed to solar panels. It has a 140 polycrystalline solar panel along with an inverter, charge controller and storage battery. Price is a little high at $1919 but most kits on the market are on the higher price side given that the market for solar power generators is still quite small.
Phono Solar is a JV between Phono Technologies Switzerland and Sumec Group of China. Phono’s parent company SUMEC Group has been in the PV industry from early 2004. Sumec and Sinomach family of companies claim to have $15 billion in revenues each year. SUMEC Group Corporation (SUMEC), founded in 1978, is a key member of China National Machinery Industry Corporation (SINOMACH). SUMEC’s core business consists of shipbuilding and project contracting of complete equipment and engineering; the R&D, manufacturing and export of machinery and electric products including power tools, garden tools, power machinery.
Phono Solar 1800 Watts Generator
The Phono Solar 1800 solar generator combines a solar inverter, pv panel, solar charge controller, battery storage and cabling to provide a system that can provide back-up or stand alone household power for emergency outages or off-grid outbuilding applications. It has a 1440 Watt continuous watt, 1800 maximum watt, 2880 watt surge inverter and one 140 Watt polycrystalline panels with 50 foot cable and charge controller. It is expandable from 100 Amp hour up to 400 Amp hour battery storage by adding second battery box and addition AGM batteries Solar generator can hold up to 4 batteries. Phono Solar Generator is sold through Home Depot and has got a good review about its quality. Note very few companies sell Solar Power Kits as Phono Solar does which provides a complete solar system solution for residential applications. Note most companies sell solar panels while some sell solar inverters as well. SunForce sells solar systems but it outsources solar panel production from other top tier panel producers like Sharp.
4) Off grid Solar Generators – Off grid solar generators are portable, easy to set-up, plug-and-play and simple to use. It has a 100 watt solar panel. Recommended for use in apartments, comes with standard components charge controller and battery.
All of the above are good choices for buying solar power generators. For small solar energy generators the best one is the Duracell powered solar energy generator while for larger generators Phono Solar 1800 sj solar energy generator looks the best because of the bigger solar panel which is sold along with the kit.