How Are Solar Generators Made?

Extreme weather, rising sea levels, higher temperatures, and other effects of climate change mean that we need to find sustainable solutions for daily needs. One such solution is portable solar generators that allow us to produce and store renewable energy for use in emergency situations.

A solar generator is basically a mobile power system that stores energy gained from the sun in a battery for later use. 

These generators not only produce clean electricity through sunlight, but also mitigate the pollution caused by conventional portable generators. In light of this, producers are making significant improvements to the quality and dependability of solar backup generators in comparison to their fuel-powered counterparts. This reflects the growing popularity of portable solar generators and power systems as substitutes for traditional generators that require us to burn fossil fuels.

In this article, we will cover what a solar generator is, the components it contains, how it works, the steps involved in creating a typical portable solar generator, and the factors you need to consider before purchasing a solar generator.

What is a Solar Generator?

how are solar generators made

Generally, a solar generator refers to a device that comprises a battery, portable solar panels, a charger for the battery, as well as an inverter to capture, distribute, and store power generated through the sun’s rays.

Portable solar generators have a wide range of applications, which include boating, camping, RV-ing, and they can also be used as a home backup power source.

Unlike a conventional generator that consists of an alternator, engine, and a fuel tank, a solar generator has no moving parts. The typical portable solar generator comprises the following components:

  • Solar panels: Captures the sun’s energy.
  • Batteries: Used to store the energy collected by the solar panels.
  • Solar inverter: Converts the energy captured by the sun (DC electricity) into usable AC electricity.
  • Charge controller: Regulates the amount of electricity flowing through the battery.

Hence, this generator is basically just a portable battery with solar photovoltaic (PV) panels attached.

A portable solar generator can be the perfect way to cover your energy needs while traveling, camping, or during a power outage. The generator, with several outlets, may be preferred in the event of an outage or other power outage, since this will allow you to continue using your various electronic devices and appliances.

It is common for solar generators to include multiple charging connectors, including both AC and 12-volt outlets and USB ports. Having a portable generator with many charging methods is convenient because you can receive the electricity you need when and when you need it. A smartphone, for instance, can be charged straight from the USB port, while a string of lights can be powered from an adjacent AC outlet using an extension connection.

In most situations, you can purchase solar energy system components, such as battery storage and solar panels individually, or as part of a package. At BLUETTI, we offer portable solar panel kits that contain all the components you need to get your portable solar power system up and running. This helps you avoid the hassle of purchasing each of the components separately and checking for compatibility.

How Are Solar Generators Made?

Below are the basic steps involved in making a portable solar generator:

Step 1 – Testing the Equipment

The first step is testing the charge controller and solar panel, which comprises the following steps:

  • Connecting the panel's pigtail cables to the charge controller's positive (+) and negative (-) terminals.
  • Attaching the battery connector to the controller.
  • Upon hooking the negative side of the wire, the controller displays a green light – this light indicates that the battery is now fully charged.
  • In order to verify if the panel is collecting sunlight, we can turn it towards a window; if the LED on the charge controller turns green, the panel is receiving sunlight.

Next, we need to check the inverter:

  • The black and red cables need to be connected to the inverter terminal, and the other side of the cables needs to be attached to the battery.
  • The positive side of the cable needs to be connected first.
  • Next, the inverter needs to be turned on and connected to an appliance with a reasonable load (a fan, for instance) to ensure it is working properly.

The next piece of equipment that needs to be tested is the battery charge controller:

  • To connect the maintenance wires to the correct battery poles, the battery must be unplugged from the charge controller.
  • Once again, the positive side must be connected first.

Step 2 – Building the Generator

Marking and Cutting the Openings

The first markings can be made with masking tape. This way, the necessary adjustments can be made without damaging the case. Next, the size of each hole is measured, and lines are drawn on the case.

Vibrating multi-tools comprising plunge-cutting blades are generally used to make straight cuts. Both hole saws and drills can be used to make the circular holes.

Next, a pneumatic die grinder fitted with a rotary cutting blade is used to shave off excess material and fine-tune the holes.

Mounting the External Components

Once the holes have been cut, the edges are often lined with black silicone sealant to cover the box’s seams. Some charging ports are accompanied by rubber gaskets, and thus do not require the use of silicone. The process needs to be repeated for other equipment to be mounted on the case.

When installing the GFCI outlet and waterproof cover, stronger machine bolts are generally used. However, the wiring still needs to be completed before the bolts can be secured.

For converters with a peak capacity of over 4000 watts, 12 gauge wires are usually utilized for the GFCI outlets. It is important to give ourselves a few extra inches of wire at all times.

At this point, the required cuts and marks can be made for the solar panel connection. While quick connectors are generally not required, they do let us utilize the batteries with jumper cables. Other than that, they also let us daisy-chain additional batteries and boost the generator’s output power.

Mounting the Battery

The batteries go in the corner furthest from the wheels because they weigh the most. The battery can face any direction; however, extra support should be given in the more common usage axes of the casing.

A couple of holes are drilled for the battery’s mount bolts. However, the bolts are not fixed until the components are ready to be mounted.

Mounting the Inverter

The AC pure sine wave inverter needs to be placed so that its outlets are close to the GFCI-waterproof outlet. This also ensures that the 12V cables are close to the battery.

The inverter mounting holes are marked, and machine bolts, nuts, spring washers, and washers are used to secure the device.

Finally, the GFCI outlet’s pigtail line is connected to one of the inverter’s outlets’ inverter control cables to the rear of the switch panel.

Mounting the AC Battery Maintainer and Charge Controller

The AC battery maintainer is installed at the system’s back wall. Next, the power cord is plugged into the 12V AC cord socket’s female extension that was placed on the casing exterior.

The mounting process is followed by the wiring of the interior and external components.

Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Portable Solar Generator

There is a variety of portable solar generator designs, sizes, and capacities out there, which is why it is important to select one that meets your specific requirements. The number of options available can make it hard for you to choose a solar generator, which is why we have come up with this list of factors to keep in mind.

To get the most out of your portable solar generator, you must understand its capabilities and limitations. Here are the things you need to consider when shopping for a portable solar generator:

1)    Your Power Requirements

When calculating the dimensions of your solar-powered generator, you should consider the amount of electricity you will be requiring your generator to produce.

Before evaluating the generator’s storage capacities, you must first figure out how much power your electronic devices and home appliances consume. This is especially crucial if you plan to use the generator outdoors.

2)    The Capacity of the Generator

Naturally, the more hours you can get out of a solar generator, the better it is. A generator’s capacity is generally measured in watt-hours

Since you cannot always predict when you will have the opportunity to charge your generator, it is in your best interest to buy one that can function well for an extended period of time.

Knowing that you have sufficient power in reserve will make it much simpler for you to carry out your regular tasks or finish what you were working on before the power outage.

3)    The Charging Time

In addition to evaluating the capacity of the battery, it is also important to consider the amount of time it takes for it to fully charge.

Having this information will help you estimate the number of minutes or hours you will have to go without power while your battery recharges.

4)    The Benefits and Features

With the right solar generator that comes equipped with convenient features, there is a lot that can be accomplished. For instance, having a higher number of power outlets and USB ports gives you the option to charge several devices at the same time. 

Weight is another crucial factor to think about, especially if you intend to use the generator outdoors or for outdoor activities. Batteries can be heavy, so if you plan to move your solar generator around a lot, we recommend looking for one on the lighter side.

5)    Warranty Coverage

It is in your best interest to carefully go through the product warranty and the benefits it offers. BLUETTI is a reputable portable solar generator company that offers a lucrative warranty and strong customer support.

The best solar generators come with extended warranties that cover more damage and provide you with access to replacement parts.

Portable Solar Generators – The Future of Energy Usage and Storage
how are solar generators made

Portable solar generators come with solar panels, batteries, inverters, and charge controllers – and together, these components help you leverage the infinite energy of the sun to produce, distribute, and store free-of-cost electricity. These generators are affordable, intuitive, efficient, and transportable, making them indispensable for any individual, household, or business wanting to ease the burden on their pockets while helping the planet. 

If you are looking for a portable solar generator, we invite you to check out our wide range of options. We offer a number of portable solar generators and power kits, and can help you find one based on your requirements, location, and budget.

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