Best solar generator – Top reviews of 2018


Our Top Picks Compared

Goal Zero Yeti 400

Goal Zero Yeti 400
  • Nice design
  • Attractive black, silver and yellow color
  • Not too big and heavy
  • Good number of outlets

BEST BUY

Forty2Max 2,000W/110V

Forty2Max 2,000W/110V
  • Incredible size
  • Good backup generator
  • 30% tax credit

Renogy KIT-FIREFLY 20W

Renogy KIT-FIREFLY 20W
  • Fantastic design
  • Compact, all-in-one
  • Rugged and water-resistant

BEST SAVE

Monerator Gusto 10 Eco Kit

Monerator Gusto 10 Eco Kit
  • Tiny
  • Solar panel included
  • Charges quickly

Goal Zero Yeti 1250

Goal Zero Yeti 1250
  • Lots of power
  • Optional wall charging

Solar Generators for the Planet


Best solar generator by Mage Solar

Solar generators offer a fantastic way to not only collect but also store and use energy from the sun using different accessories. This has countless advantages for the planet and for the user and is in many ways a better option than attaching a solar panel array to your roof. In this post, we will examine what generator does and examine some solar generator reviews in order to find the best solar generator for your purposes.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re sure to be aware of the fact that we aren’t supposed to be wasting energy any more. Global warming is threatening to tear our planet apart: the omissions caused by greenhouse gasses are destroying our ozone layer and causing unnatural climate change. This is killing off entire ecosystems that once teamed with life and it is melting our icecaps, causing our water levels to rise. Denying climate change is no longer an option: it has been proven conclusively by researchers and it is unquestionably caused by human activity.

And even if we ignore global warming for a moment (which we absolutely should not, by the way), there’s still the small issue of non-renewable resources. The fact of the matter is that our modern ways of life are entirely dependent on some kind of energy source in order to keep ticking over. Whether it’s to run our fridges, our hospitals or the computers that manage our entire lives. Likewise, we need energy to get from point A to point B, which is why we fill our cars with noxious gas. These resources will run out. When they do, humanity will be left with no recourse. Unless we make the switch to other sources of energy.

What can you do? You can get yourself a solar powered generator or a solar panel array. While we have wrought mass destruction on the planet, it is not too late to start turning that around and making a difference and it starts with the individual choices we all have to make regarding how we will source our energy and what we will do with it once we get it.


More Reasons to Get a Solar Generator

But of course, there are many more reasons on top of that to look into getting a solar powered generator.

For one, a solar generator will save you money. Solar generators allow you to harness the natural and completely free energy that comes directly from the sun and that means you can use them to power your appliances around your home and to do whatever you like with them. You can easily expect to power several of your appliances indefinitely, including things like televisions, games consoles, fridges and more! That in turn means that you can then save yourself money on your usual energy bill, because you won’t be so reliant on using energy from the local energy providers. While the exact amount you can expect to save will vary greatly depending on your solar energy system, your typical energy usage, the appliances you run etc., the amount will always be significant and this is certainly something worth considering if you’re looking to improve your cash flow a little.

Better yet, is the fact that you may actually be able to sell back some of the energy that you generate! That’s right, if you generate enough energy from your panels and your solar generator then you can actually sell back the energy you collect to the grid and thereby actually turn a profit from your energy saving activities.


And if that still hasn’t convinced you, then consider that generating and using solar energy might also qualify you for tax breaks. With all that in mind then, this is a very worthwhile activity that many homes will benefit from greatly!

What is a Solar Generator?


What is a Solar Generator?

You might now be wondering what a solar generator is precisely. Is this the same thing as a solar panel? Do all solar panels have solar generators?

Not quite. Though the two concepts are of course related.


Both solar panel arrays and solar generators work by collecting light (in the form of photons) and using that in order to generate electricity. As light rays hit the surface of the best rv solar panels, this is used in order to excite electrons that have been purposefully and carefully arranged in position on the surfaces.

These electrons will then start to move and as they do, this creates what we call a current. That current will then be used to power your appliances.

Except that it won’t – not directly. It’s at this point that we see the differences between a generator and a solar panel array.

If you have a regular solar panel array, then you will often have the panels attached to your roof. From here, they will then have multiple cables and wires feeding into an ‘inverter’ that will be stored in the attic. This inverter has the job of converting the ‘direct current’ (DC) that is generated from any moving electrons, into ‘alternating current’ (AC) which is the type of energy used by the home. It will then be fed into your mains where it can power your appliances.

The problem is that these set-ups usually don’t allow you to store any energy. That is the reason that it is so common to sell energy back to the grid: because if you can’t store the energy and you aren’t using it at a given time, then it would go to waste unless you are able to do something else with it!


And this is where a generator comes in. A solar generator works in the same way, in that it will use solar panels. The difference is that it will take that energy and use it in order to charge a battery. The inverter will still transfer the energy into useable AC power first and from there, it will then be ready to use to power anything around your home – just as any other form of generator or power could.

Greatest Solar Generators Reviews

With all that in mind, let’s take a look at some solar generator reviews and try to find the best solar generator for 2018

Goal Zero Yeti 400

Product Review

This semi-portable solar generator is not quite as large as the name would have you believe. But that’s a good thing, seeing as it means you can easily store it in a car or take it with you camping. It’s about the size of a small lunchbox and has a large number of different power outlets, USB ports and more for you to power your applaicnes with. It only effectively supports 12 volt devices though, and the solar panel is relatively small. As a 20W, it will see you for multiple charges of your devices on the other hand.

Overall Rating: 3/5

Pros

  • Nice design
  • Attractive black, silver and yellow color
  • Not too big and heavy
  • Good number of outlets

Cons

  • Not the most power
  • Only supports 12 volt devices

Forty2Max 2,000W/110V

OUR PICK

Product Review

Yes, this is a 2,000W solar generator. That means it is 100 times bigger than the previous options on this list. It’s also considerably more expensive and MUCH heavier at a whopping 75lbs (though that is still conceivably transportable). The great thing is that this gives you a big enough battery to be eligible for the 30% federal tax credit. It’s also enough to power a fridge for 13.5 hours, making it a suitable backup generator or a good option for worksites (see below). If you plug this into a laptop, it will act as a continuous power source, meaning it won’t run out… ever!

This is a fantastic option for those serious about embracing solar energy. We highly rate it as a great option that can make life much easier for you and your family.

Overall Rating: 5/5

Pros

  • Incredible size
  • Good backup generator
  • 30% tax credit

Cons

  • Panels not included

Renogy KIT-FIREFLY 20W

Product Review

This is a stunning pieces of kit which we love for a lot of reasons. Let’s face it, solar energy is futuristic. You are generating energy out of thin air and it is the future of this planet if we want to survive much longer. So why not make it look and feel futuristic? This does – in fact it feels like something straight out of James Bond, encapsulated as it is in a briefcase design. The panels are built into the underside of the lid so this also keeps it nicely portable and the whole thing looks and feels excellent.

As a 20W battery, it’s not the longest lasting by any means. But it’s great for powering those phones and radios and it’s not too costly either.

Overall Rating: 4/5

Pros

  • Fantastic design
  • Compact, all-in-one
  • Rugged and water-resistant

Cons

  • Not the biggest battery

Monerator Gusto 10 Eco Kit

Product Review

Right at the other end of this spectrum comes the Gusto 10 Eco Kit, which is almost close to classifying as a power bank! It is a tiny 15 pound unit that will charge quickly from a wall or from the tiny included solar panel. At just $200, it will pay for itself in no time and 10W is still enough to get some decent performance out of.

Overall Rating: 3/5

Pros

  • Tiny
  • Solar panel included
  • Charges quickly

Cons

  • Not much juice

Goal Zero Yeti 1250

Product Review

Another from Goal Zero, which is one of the most prominent brands of solar generator. The Goal Zero Yeti 1250 is a larger generator/battery which can be charged through a wall or a solar panel array (not included). It’s very heavy and so there is the option to get a wheeled transport system if you intend on using this remotely.

Overall Rating: 3/5

Pros

  • Lots of power
  • Optional wall charging

Cons

  • Heavy
  • No panels included

Advantages of Solar Generators


Advantages of Solar Generators

In case you hadn’t already guessed, solar generators are incredibly useful appliances. That is because they let you use the solar power as and when you need it.

And this is pretty important really. Because obviously, solar panels are only at their most efficient when the sun is shining directly on them. That then means that during the week, your solar panels are going to get most of their light while you are away at work! In other words, the energy won’t get used if you have a regular solar power system and you’ll end up selling it back to the grid (which of course won’t get you your money’s worth).

But if you can instead save that energy in a generator, you can then come home and use it in the evening in order to power your television and your appliances. You’re that way doing more good for the planet and saving more money!

Another advantage of a solar generator is that they can be used as backup power sources. This is very useful if there is ever a power cut or if ever your energy supply goes down. And on top of all that, they can also be used as portable devices! That means you can take your solar generator with you when you go on holiday or even when you go camping and have a permanent source of energy with you! They’re not light of course, but they often have carry handles and can be stowed into the back of a car without too much trouble. Some are even classified as portable solar generators!


A Backup Generators for Your Worksite Could Save the Day!

But solar generators aren’t just useful for the home – they’re also highly beneficial for businesses.

When it comes to project management and trying to get as much done on a construction project as possible, it’s crucial to ensure you have thought of every possible thing that could go wrong and created a contingency plan in each case.

This means being able to adapt to the weather, to supplies being delivered late, to members of the team calling in sick and to all kinds of other things going wrong. And one of the most common problems that you might have to deal with in these situations is a power outage. If you are working from a generator of some sort, or even a local power supply, then you will be reliant on that source of energy in order to keep using your power tools. If you don’t have a backup plan, then a power cut or a breakdown could leave you unable to carry on with the most pressing jobs.


The Idea

The basic idea behind a backup power generator is that it will kick in just as there is a power outage, allowing you to carry on with the work that you have been doing. For big, lengthy projects this is an important way to avoid unnecessary delays as well as to prevent an injury that may be caused by something suddenly ceasing to function as you’re using it.


Solar vs Diesel

The kinds of backup generators used on worksites tend to be either diesel powered or petrol powered. They then work by burning this fuel in order to trigger electromagnetic induction – turning a coil inside a magnetic field in order to generate current. This current is then transformed from direct current to alternating current which then means it can be used to power household items, or in this case, worksite machinery and tools.

Because diesel and petrol can be carried in canisters and filled up, this then means that you are no longer reliant on the local power grid in order to operate your various tools and machinery. Likewise, the generators themselves are also very convenient as they tend to be relatively small boxes with handles (called generator enclosures).

But this introduces a new problem: cost. Of course, any business is interested in saving money as best as possible and this means they need to avoid filling their generators with costly gasoline. This is where the solar generator comes in, which can be fueling itself quietly and without cost throughout the day, before being ready to be used as a backup generator if anything should go wrong. With one of the larger options on our list, this can be enough to power computers or other appliances for a LONG time, making it a great way to keep the business ticking over.


Other Uses of Generators

In some cases your project may require generators for other reasons. For instance if there is no nearby power outlet and you are building somewhere that isn’t yet urbanized, you might need a generator as the only power source. Meanwhile, if you are working on a residential project, then you may not want to charge your customer or client for the energy supply that you’re going to need to use. In this case, having a backup solar generator will help to keep their costs down while at the same time making the process less invasive for them as you won’t need to run cables through their home or stomp in and out in dirty boots. This is a useful purchase for any construction company and one that can save a lot of money and help make your business more efficient.

You’ll use your generator for powering tools and more and none of it will cost you a dime! Check out our solar eclipse glasses reviews and be prepared for the next sun eclipse.


An In-Depth Explanation of Solar Power

As discussed, solar power is an incredibly useful form of renewable that can help us to do less damage to the planet and to use up fewer of our precious natural resources. Currently for most of our energy we burn fossil fuels – but these are non-renewable energy sources that will give out over time and that also result in by-products of carbon and water vapor which are very harmful to the environment and can trap heat. Solar power gets around this by using the most abundant energy source of all – the sun – which will be around for millions of years to come and which causes no damage to the environment and in fact is responsible for giving us life.

As such many people and businesses are installing solar panels on their roofs and vehicles to harness that power and to reduce their carbon footprint – but just how does this all work? And how can you turn sun light that we are used to using for tanning into energy that can power lights and cars?

Solar panels use light energy that comes from the sun in order to generate electricity through something called the ‘photovoltaic effect’. This effect refers to the creation of voltage and electric current which occurs in any material which is exposed to light. This is related to the photoelectric effect but slightly different.

The photoelectric effect is what occurs when electrons get ejected from the surface of a material when they are exposed to radiation. Meanwhile however the photovoltaic effect is when the electrons are transferred between ‘bands’ of the material – for instance from valence to conduction bands inside the material. This then results in a build up of voltage between those two layers between two electrodes. This is the voltage that is then used to power your vehicles, your lighting and everything else.

When the photovoltaic which is responsible for solar power effect is used in solar panels the radiation used is light, and panels are thus made up of what are called ‘solar cells’. There are various types of solar cells, such as a p-n junction solar cell and here the current is caused as the electrons are excited and moved in different directions in a built in electric field in the depletion region.

To achieve this effect most solar panels are constructed of wafer-based crystalline silicone, silicone or cadmium telluride for the solar cells. These are semi-conductors that can make up the superstrate.

These cells then need to be electrically connected to each other so that the current can flow. These connections can be made in series and the number of solar cells will dictate the maximum voltage output. Separate diodes can be used in order to avoid reverse currents.

At the same time though as solar panels are left outside there are other important aspects of the design to consider to prevent weathering. For instance it is important that the solar panels be protected against impact from hail, wind and snow, and it is important that they are kept dry and protected from moisture. Wafer-based silicone cells are particularly brittle and vulnerable.


It’s amazing really when you think that all this can be used to harness power from the sun and use it to charge a battery that you can subsequently use for a whole host of different applications!

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