Using A Solar Generator To Cook Your Food

solar generator for cooking

Solar generators are often used to charge laptops, cell phones and drone batteries.

But did you know that they can also be used to cook your food?

Of course, we do not mean that literally, but rather, they can power appliances that can be used to cook your food.

In this article we learn more about solar generators and how they can be used to help cook your food on glamping trips (or at home during a power outage). 

What Do You Want To Cook Your Food With? 

First and foremost you will need to establish what you want to cook your food with. 

This is important as it will determine what size solar generator you will need. 

Some of the most popular cooking appliances are:

  • Electric pressure cooker
  • Air fryer
  • Toaster oven
  • Induction cooker
  • Electric grill

All the above mentioned appliances come with different power ratings, it is these power ratings that will determine which solar generator you use. 

So, once you know which appliance you will be using, you need to figure out what its power rating is. 

To do this, simply look for a sticker at the bottom or the back of the appliance. It should look something like this: 

As you can see the following appliance draws 130 watts of power. The example used is that of a TV. 

For cooking appliances the wattage rating will be much higher. See some examples below: 

Appliances Wattage
Electric pressure cooker 1000
Air fryer 1200
Toaster oven 1800
Induction grill 1600
Electric grill 1250
Toaster 1400

 

As you can see wattage ratings vary greatly based on the appliance you are using. Also bare in mind that the size of your appliance will often determine the amount of power it draws. 

For example, a medium sized toaster oven may draw 1800 watts. But a large commercial size toaster oven could draw up to 4000 watts. 

Why is this important?

off grid cooking with a solar generator

As we have mentioned, knowing how much power your cooking appliance draws will determine how big of a solar generator you will need. 

Remember, solar generators consist predominately of a battery and inverter.

The battery determines how long you can power your cooking appliance, and the inverter determines what appliance you can power. 

For example, if you wanted to power an induction grill, you would need to ensure that your solar generator was rated at no less than 1700 watts (always size above your appliances rated power).  

Now the question remains, how long would you be able to power your induction grill?

To work this out, you can use the following formula: 

Running time = Battery capacity × DoD × η ÷ Device rated power

(DoD refers to Depth of Discharge, and η is local inverter efficiency.)

For all our modern models, you can expect a DoD of 90%, and the same goes for inverter efficiency. 

Thus let's put this formula to the test by using our AC200P solar generator to power an electric grill.

2000Wh x 90% x 90% ÷ 1250 = 1.29 hours. 

(Please note: This formula is NOT suitable for inductive loads with compressors, like refrigerator, air conditioner, etc.)

Which Solar Generator Is Best For Cooking Food?

how to cook using a portable power station

Now that you have a formula to work with, you can actually calculate which solar generator best suits your cooking appliance. 

But to save you the trouble we have created a table which highlights the best solar generators you can use to power each of the appliances we mentioned above. 

Remember, to take into account how long you will be cooking for. 

AC200P
Cook Time
Air Fryer
1.35 hours
Electric Pressure Cooker 1.62 hours
Toaster Oven 0.9 hours
Electric Grill
1.29 hours
Toaster 1.15 hours

 

Cook Time
Air Fryer
2.07 hours
Electric Pressure Cooker 2.48 hours
Toaster Oven 1.38 hours
Electric Grill
1.99 hours
Toaster 1.77 hours

 

Cook Time
Air Fryer
3.44 hours
Electric Pressure Cooker 4.13 hours
Toaster Oven 2.29 hours
Electric Grill
3.30 hours
Toaster 2.95 hours

 

Final Thoughts

We hope the following article gives you a better idea of which solar generators are suited for which cooking appliances. 

It is important to remember that the above tables are rough estimates only, using the formula: Running time = Battery capacity × DoD × η ÷ Device rated power.

Additionally, you will need to factor in charging times if you plan to drain your solar generator when cooking completely. 

For example, let's assume you are on a camping trip and need to use your electric grill each night to cook. An AC200P will only allow for 1.29 hours of cook time.

If you use all that energy on your first night of cooking, make sure you leave enough time to completely recharge your solar generator before using it again. 

The best would be to size slightly above your required capacity. That way, you will have some extra room to spare. 

We also wanted to mention what cooking time you would have if you used our new AC500 + our dedicated B300 battery packs.

The max energy capacity for this model is 18,432 Wh. 

With this amount of stored energy, you could use an electric grill for 12 hours.

Now that is autonomy.

Food for thought!

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