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When switching from grid power to solar power, it’s important to prepare and understand what is needed.

What kind of solar generator should I buy? What are the best solar-powered generators available for home use? Can a solar generator power a whole house? What is the best solar generator for backup power? How much battery capacity do I need?

Some want to live a more sustainable life, reduce utility expenses and be more independent in case of a power outage. Solar generators can also be used as emergency power supplies.

Solar-powered generators are an investment because of the large amount of power they need to power a home. Although they provide a great amount of power thanks to their large battery capacity, they also come at a price.

They can either be portable or set up more permanently. They provide clean and sustainable energy, unlike gas generators.

So read on to learn all you need to know about the best solar-powered generators!

How does a solar generator work?

How does a solar generator work infographics

In order to harness solar power, a solar generator will be plugged into a solar panel which will then convert sunlight into DC electricity (direct current). This DC electricity first passes through a charge controller.

The energy harnessed will then be stored in the battery contained in the solar generator. Within the solar generator, an inverter will transform the electricity into AC power or alternating current which can then be used to power and recharge your devices.

Many solar generators will be advertised containing a pure sine wave inverter (PSWI).

The term solar generator may be a misnomer as it is more about the way a solar generator works rather than what it actually is. It doesn’t actually generate the energy but rather converts the energy created by the sun. A solar generator is the combination of the three components and the process explained above. Solar panels are an integral component of harnessing that energy.

How to choose the right size generator?

How to choose the right size generator?

To choose the right solar generator for your home, you must know the use you will have for it in your home and how much power is required for your energy needs. You need to confirm that you can use solar panels if you’d like to place them in a more permanent spot on the roof. The solar panels need to be linked to the solar generator of your choice to ensure that it powers your home in case of a power outage.

Some services are available to determine whether your roof is suitable for solar and can provide quotes from pre-screened solar providers in your area. Local companies are also available and easily found on Google. 

The other option is portable solar generators which can still be plugged into your solar panels, and also be charged through grid power. Portable power stations can still provide for your energy needs but usually have less capacity than the more permanently installed ones.

The advantage of having a large portable power station is that although they can be heavy they can be used for outdoor adventures or events you may run. If you decide to go on a long camping trip in your car or RV, your powerful portable power station will be there with you to power your devices and appliances.

Most portable solar generators are easy to use and plug into solar panels to continuously power your RV or event outdoors.

Battery types

  • Solar generators can utilize 2 different types of batteries: lithium-ion batteries or AGM batteries (lead-acid cell chemistry). A lithium-ion battery uses lithium as one of its active components and can be recharged. A variation of this, lithium iron phosphate batteries are a type of lithium-ion battery and they are known for their long lifespan and are safer than other types of batteries. A lead-acid battery is not as safe and will not last as long as lithium batteries.

Battery capacity

  • The battery storage capacity is also important when you decide which solar generator fits your power requirements.

Inverter

  • An electronic device that converts direct current electricity (DC) from power sources like batteries or solar to alternate current electricity (AC) to use in appliances.

Lifecycles

  • The higher number of lifecycles, the longer the lifespan of the battery. Usually, it would function at 80% capacity once you have run through the lifecycles.

Shelf-life

  • The shelf life is how long it can be kept ‘on a shelf’ without being used after a first charge. This will be an important point depending on how you will use the solar generator. If it is meant to stay at home and be used somewhat continuously it is not as important.

Charge controller

  • Is a current/voltage regulator to stop the batteries from overcharging. It regulates the current/voltage coming from the panels going into the battery.

Costs of buying and potential installation

  • Ensure that all the adapters and accessories are also available or whether you need to purchase more, like a PV solar charging cable.

Manufacturer warranties

  • Most solar generators will have warranties but it’s important to know how your equipment is protected by the manufacturers. You need to ensure that each part of your solar generator is protected, the battery, the solar panels, and the inverter (the most crucial warranty to have).
  • Solar panels usually last 2 decades and manufacturers would provide a 10-15 years warranty. Better solar panels would give you up to 25 years of warranty.
  • For batteries, warranties are usually between 5 and 10 years
  • The inverter continuously works in the generator and can likely be the first to fail. They usually last 5-10 years and this is also the period of warranty that is offered by a manufacturer.
  • You can also be on the lookout for performance and service warranties that may be available from the manufacturers

Solar warranty plans

  • A solar protection plan may be worth considering if you’re switching completely to solar power. This would allow you to manage unexpected solar repairs. They usually go beyond the manufacturer’s solar warranty period. Currently, most solar warranties are estimated to be between $300 and $500 per term. They can range between 5 to 15 years on top of the warranty provided by the manufacturer giving you a potential total of 25 years warranty.

More features for portable solar generator

  • Number of USB ports, output ports, AC outlets
  • Quality of display or screen
  • Battery power

To help you select the best solar-powered generators, we have researched this list of top solar generators including both sedentary and portable.

Best solar generators for home and solar backup generators

In order to help you choose the best option for your needs, we have made a first selection of the most powerful and best-performing solar generators that can be used for home use or as backup generators.

Whether you need emergency power you need extra power, or maybe you want to switch to a solar power generator for clean energy, this list will have what you are looking for!

User-friendly
Bluetti EP500 (2000W/5100wh)
9/10 Our Score

The Bluetti EP500 is a strong and powerful portable solar generator despite its weight.

It is a great solar generator to have as a backup solar generator or simply to power your electronic devices during outdoor events. It provides 5100wh of power, which can easily power medical devices and home appliances. It can be recharged with solar panels and has an amazing 6000+ lifecycles.

Pros:

  • Great display screen, user friendly
  • Wireless charging on top
  • Power output: 4 USBs, 12V DC plugs, 1 USB-C
  • Can be charged with an AC outlet (600W) or through a solar panel (PV – 1200W max)
  • Can be charged in 4h
  • Easy to set up
  • Can handle third party panels (must meet manufacturer conditions)
  • Monitoring app

Cons:

  • Large and heavy
  • Cannot be charged through a car
  • Not expandable
  • 76kg/~167lbs

The Bluetti EP500 is the best compromise between mobility and power capacity in one movable product. Despite its weight, it is definitely a product we recommend for home use as well as outdoor activities and backup generator. This Bluetti portable power station is a great long-term investment.

Uninterruptible Power Supply
Renogy Lycan 5000
9.4/10 Our Score

The Renogy Lycan 5000 is one of the latest solar power generators released by Renogy to power a home with solar panels.

It can provide an uninterrupted power supply 24/7 and be fully charged in 1.3h when connected simultaneously to solar panels and AC wall outlets. This fast charge and the large expandable battery make it an excellent product to install to power your home.

Pros:

  • 4800wh with rated output 120V and be expanded to 19,200wh
  • Can power most heavy-duty appliances + outdoor appliances with continuous power and output of 3500W to 7000W
  • 4500 lifecycles – Batteries will last up to 10 years when used daily and then will be at 80% capacity
  • Can be charged with one solar panel or multiple.

Cons:

  • Very large and heavy
  • Might be more complex to install than other solar generators
  • Cannot be moved like a portable solar generator and has to be placed more permanently

This product is a great option to become energy sufficient or to have as a backup generator in case of repetitive outages and should have enough power to satisfy your needs.

Huge Expandable Ecosystem
Ecoflow Delta Pro
9.5/10 Our Score

When looking for a solar-powered generator, this portable power station needs to be on the list. The Ecoflow Delta Pro solar generator is among the most powerful solar powered generators

Although quite heavy, it can still be moved if you decide that you want it on your off-grid and outdoor adventures. This solar generator powers most appliances in the house and can be expanded to power them for longer periods of time. One of the best aspects is that it can be integrated directly into your home circuits via the Smart Home Panel.

Pros:

  • Expandable up to 25000wh
  • 3500 lifecycles
  • 6 ways to charge – can be charged through an EV Station, and multi charged by combining the methods to have a rapid 6500w charge including solar panel.
  • Has Wifi and Bluetooth connectivity

Cons:

  • Can be expensive for some
  • Heavy
  • Will take a fair amount of space with the extra batteries
  • The solar input limit is 1200w
  • The charging efficiency is slightly reduced when adding a second battery

The EcoFlow Delta is definitely a worthwhile investment for a large power capacity and as a portable option.

Portable and Modular
Inergy Flex 1500
8.9/10 Our Score

The Inergy Flex 1500 can be used for off-grid living, to power a home, or be used as a backup generator. It can become part of your home with heavy stackable batteries to expand battery capacity or its modular capacity can allow you to take it with you in the car on outdoor trips you may take.

In theory, this solar generator setup can be stacked to reach 100,000wh!

Although too heavy in practice, this expandable capacity is really interesting for a home. This is one of the cheapest options given the great quality of this product and its expandable battery capacity.

Pros:

  • PSWI
  • 6x 11oV AC power outlets, 2x USB ports, 2 USB-C ports, 2x 12V DC car charging ports.
  • Can run multiple devices simultaneously
  • From 1000 to 100,000wh
  • Can add an MPPT charger to increase the solar charge threefold
  • Can be charged from 3 input ports simultaneously, AC, solar panel, and car.

Cons:

  • Can be heavy
  • The expandable battery power can become quickly expensive

Inergy Flex 1500 is a great option to expand the capacity of your home for continuous solar energy use and save on your bills and as a backup generator. If you are looking for a similarly designed product and are willing to increase slightly your budget, the Titan Solar generator [this can be added as well referring to the RV page] is also a great option.

High Capacity Li-Battery Packs
Eco-Worthy (2400wh)
9.4/10 Our Score

Eco-worthy is also another brand that can provide a powerful solar panel kit for a home. Although they are not providing generators, they provide a package with solar panels and a 2.4kwh battery pack to power what a solar generator would power. Eco-worthy has a range of expandable solar kits and has the option of a Lithium type battery or AGM battery. A lithium-iron battery would last longer and is our suggested option.

Package includes:

  • 10x 100W Mono Solar Panel
  • 1x 3500W 24V-110V Pure Sine Wave Inverter
  • 1x 60A PWM Solar Controller
  • 1x 5M 12AWG Extension Cable with MC4
  • 1x 1.5M Tray Cable
  • 4x Y MC4 Connector
  • 10x Z Mounting Bracket
  • 2x Battery Bank Options- 2.4kWh Lithium Battery Bank (optional) with 100Ah 12V LiFePO4 Lithium Battery
  • 2x 6AWG Battery Interconnect Cable

Pros:

  • Use of solar panel – expandable number of panels

Battery:

3000 charging cycles
– Inbuilt charge controller
– Lightweight
– Great backup with broad utility

Cons:

  • More complicated to install than simply buying a solar generator
  • Limited availability

This solar kit can be used for RVs but also for home use and backup power. Eco-Worthy provides more powerful options if you need more power.

High Performance
Nature's Generator
9.3/10 Our Score

Nature’s Generator Elite is also one of the options for a solar generator. It not only provides the possibility to charge with solar panels but it can also be charged with wind! This solar generator is good for home use as it is heavy and large, despite having a handle and heavy-duty wheels. It can provide an uninterrupted supply of solar energy to power your home.

Pros:

  • Stackable pods that can be moved with the wheels
  • Total of 36oowh with the extra pods
  • Can run most heavy-duty home appliances
  • Can be charged through a solar panel or wind input

Cons:

  • Short shelf life – better to be plugged continuously
  • AGM batteries which may not last as long as the lithium ones

Despite its AGM batteries, it is a great option to power your home as well as to take with you for any outdoor events.

Flexible Power Solutions
Lion Safari ME
9.5/10 Our Score

The Lion Safari ME (LSME) is the most capable solar generator among the brand’s range of products. The LSME can power many heavy-duty appliances and take in a large amount of solar energy to recharge its lithium batteries.

Pros:

  • 920wh expandable to 2000wh
  • 2500 to 3500 lifecycles
  • Fast charging capacity
  • Only 45lbs (without extra batteries)
  • 1-year shelflife
  • 2000W PSWI makes it one of the highest capacities on the market
  • 2 AC (standard wall plugs) outlets, 2 USB-A  & 2 USB-C outlets
  • 1 12V DC (car cigarette lighter) outlet
  • A built-in MPPT charge controller

Cons:

  • Limited output options (only 2 AC outlets)
  • No car charging

Its cons are limited which makes it a great option for continuous power for your home.

Wrap up

This list provides a good overview of some best solar generator power options, which can switch your home power to solar energy. You can find both portable solar power generators and more sedentary options.

The Bluetti solar generator is our top choice as it is both a portable power station while being one of the most powerful solar generators in its category.

While all can power your entire set of home appliances, some are better suited as backup generators or as an option for power outages and others give you the option of installing it yourself and having it on hand for other uses.

Whatever options you choose, make sure to research what a solar generator power and how to install it safely. If you’re looking for a fixed system with more power, check out our research on 10,000-watt solar power kits.