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How Solar-Powered Generators Can Revolutionize Your Home's Energy Needs

PublishedApril 5, 2024
UpdatedMay 29, 2024
AuthorCory O'Brien HeadshotCory O'BrienSenior Director - Growth MarketingEditorRyan Barnett HeadshotRyan BarnettSVP, Policy & New Market Development
In this article
01.
What is a Solar-Powered Generator? 
02.
The Benefits of a Home Solar Generator 
03.
Are Solar Powered Generators Worth it? 
04.
Recap and Further Reading

How Solar-Powered Generators Can Revolutionize Your Home's Energy Needs

For sustainable access to electricity at home, you may have looked into solar, generators, or solar-powered generators: all of which can be great purchasing options. 

This guide clarifies these definitions and helps you discover the best energy solutions for your property. It outlines everything you need to know about full-home solar-powered generators, including how they compare to traditional backup systems. 

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What is a Solar-Powered Generator? 

By definition, a solar-powered generator is any device that converts sunlight into usable electricity. With rapid developments in photovoltaic solar and lithium-ion storage technology over the past two decades, solar-powered generators have become increasingly capable, available, and popular for a wide variety of electricity applications. 

Sold in many different sizes and with varying capabilities, solar-powered generators range from hand-held to larger than your dishwasher, with products made specifically for portable power, home use, or a combination of the two. Offered on a full spectrum of price points, a device (or group of devices) can qualify as a solar-powered generator if it has the following components.

  1. Solar Input. Using a charge controller, solar generators safely convert solar energy into electricity that can be stored and used onsite. For a solar generator to work, the device must be wired into a solar panel array, though some devices can also be charged using alternative power sources such as grid electricity.  
  2. Solar Battery Storage. The electricity sent to a solar-powered generator is stored in an electrochemical battery. Most modern solar batteries utilize lithium-ion technology for efficient charging and discharging as well as long product lifespans.  
  3. Power inverter. A power inverter converts stored solar energy into alternating current (AC), which is the form of electricity used by most household devices. Rated with “continuous” and “surge” wattages, inverters determine the maximum amount of power you can draw from a solar battery at any given time.
  4. Energy Output. Most solar generators are manufactured with several outlets and ports to power and charge various electronics and appliances directly on the system. Solar generators for residential backup power can also be connected to your home’s electric panel with a transfer switch so that the energy can be distributed throughout your property.

The Benefits of a Home Solar Generator 

The primary benefit of a home solar generator is that it can provide a backup power source during local electrical outages. When installed with an automatic transfer switch (ATS), solar generators can seamlessly activate as soon as an outage is detected—minimizing power loss for critical devices like your fridge, lights, and modem. 

Although most home solar generators are very large, some intentionally designed devices utilize modular storage, handles, or wheels to enable easy portability. As a closed system dependent only on sunlight, portable home solar generators can be used anywhere on your property, as well as on the go for power sources during events, camping trips, tailgates, or wherever sustainable electricity is needed. 

Solar Powered Generators vs. Gas Generators 

As an alternative to traditional residential backup systems run by diesel, propane, or natural gas, solar-powered generators offer a greener, easier, and potentially cheaper experience for homeowners today. Below, we’ll explore the three key advantages that solar generators have over fossil fuel-powered devices. 

1. Reduced Noise and Air Pollution

Although it almost goes without saying, solar-powered backup systems are better for the environment than gas generators in several different ways. For the benefit of your health, your neighbors’ sanity, and the planet, these environmental advantages include:

  • Reduced noise pollution levels with significantly quieter operation
  • The elimination of on-site toxic gas emissions associated with fuel combustion
  • Less dependence on the acquisition of crude oil and other fossil fuel resources

2. Better User Experience  

Emission-free solar-powered generators can be used indoors, which gives them a distinct advantage over traditional outdoor-only systems. Most gas generators are also manually refueled, which, after a trip to the store, requires users to turn the system off and let it cool down before topping off the tank. Even further, gas generators require oil changes every 100-200 running hours

3. Lower Lifetime Costs of Electricity 

Despite higher upfront prices, solar-powered generators may provide lower lifetime electricity expenses than fossil-fuel-powered systems with frequent or excessive use. While traditional gas generators are much cheaper upfront, ongoing costs for fuel and maintenance may not make a system worth it over many years. On the other hand, solar generator systems are usually paid in full (or financed) and rarely incur any ongoing expenses. 

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Are Solar Powered Generators Worth it? 

Providing safe and reliable, emission-free electricity, solar generators are worth it for homeowners searching for a sustainable backup power source in the 2020s. Although most whole home systems require large upfront investments (especially when compared to gas-powered alternatives), today’s advanced solar-powered generators are a great option for long-term energy security.  

How to Find the Right Solar Generator

Not all solar generators are built equally, so when choosing the best device for your home, the following considerations should be taken. 

  • Home Compatibility Check. Often built for portability, most solar-powered generators are not designed for home use, so your first compatibility check should ensure that the generator you purchase can be safely connected to your property’s electrical panel. For your safety and the safety of those on your property, we recommend working with a certified electrician to install your whole home solar generator.  
  • Storage and Inverter Capacity. The size of your solar generator’s battery bank and inverter capacity will determine how much energy you can store or use at any given time. While higher battery and inverter capacities will be able to power your home’s electric devices for longer, larger and more capable generators also include increased price tags.  
  • Brand Reputation and Warranty Coverage. Considering the multi-thousand dollar investment in your home’s energy, solar-powered generator purchases should be carefully chosen with warranty coverage and brand reputation at the forefront of your decision-making. Today’s top whole-home solar generators typically include performance warranties guaranteed for up to 5 years, including devices from brands like Bluetti, EcoFlow, Renogy, and more.  
  • Product Bonus Features. When comparing solar generators head-to-head, certain product features can help differentiate your options to best fit your unique buying factors. For example, modular battery storage options can help expand energy reserves for homes with higher power demand, just as a solar generator on wheels may be the best solution for homeowners seeking easy system portability.

Recap and Further Reading

In a world going green, solar generators can deliver the same functionality as gas-powered home backups, with the added benefits of quiet, emission-free electricity, less system maintenance, and fewer ongoing costs. 

To learn more about how solar-powered generators and similar technologies work, here are three additional resources from our content library. 

Want to learn more with the help of an expert? Contact Palmetto today.

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About the AuthorCory O'Brien HeadshotCory O'BrienSenior Director - Growth Marketing

Cory brings over 8 years of solar expertise to Palmetto, and enjoys sharing that knowledge with others looking to improve their carbon footprint. A dog lover residing in Asheville, NC with his wife, Cory graduated from UCSB. If you run into him, ask him about the company he founded to rate and review beer!

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