Knowing what the best solar generator for off-grid living is, vastly depends on your energy requirements.
Keep in mind that solar generators are defined by their capacity, which is usually depicted as watt hours (Wh). Once you know your energy requirements, you are able to know what size solar generator will best suit your needs.
As a general rule of thumb, solar generators are best used for charging various electronic devices and running small appliances around your off-grid home or RV. More importantly, they can be used as a great source of emergency backup power in case your electricity is cut, or your solar system fails you.
In a nut shell, what is the best solar generator for off-grid living?
We recommend using the EP500 Pro in conjunction with your installed solar system for the best off-grid living experience. The EP500 Pro has 5100Wh capacity with a built in 3000 watt pure sine wave inverter.
What are my energy requirements for going off-grid?
The best way to determine how much energy you will need while living off-grid, is looking at your current energy consumption.
That means taking a look at your electric utility bill, how much kWh are you or your household consuming each month?
We wrote an in-depth article which assists you in sizing the correct solar system size based on the amount of energy you actually use. You can read that article here.
If you would like to continue living the exact same lifestyle as you are on the grid, chances are you will need a pretty sizeable solar system to accommodate your needs.
- According to U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer was 10,649 kilowatthours (kWh), which is an average of approximately 877 kWh per month.
How will a solar generator work off-grid?
So, you are about to take your current home off-grid, or you are going to moving off-grid somewhere in the wild.
You understand how the majority of your utilities will work, but how exactly will your solar generator work off-grid?
Well, essentially your solar generator is a large battery storage unit. Except it is all in one, meaning you can plug things directly into the unit to charge or power them.
In order for your solar generator to work off-grid, you will need to be able to charge it some how.
Now all our solar generators are able to be charged via mains electricity, but seeing as you are living off-grid, your only other options would be via:
- Gas generator
- Lead-acid battery
- Solar panels
Our recommendation for recharge is defintely via solar panels. Especially as living off-grid you are more than likely to already have a solar panel system installed.
How long will solar panels take to recharge my solar generator?
This all depends on how much capacity your solar generator has, and how many PV panels/wattage you have at your disposal.
The larger your solar generator, the longer it will take to recharge. You can offset this recharge waiting time by increasing the maximum amount of input power.
For example, our EP500 solar generator has a 5100Wh capacity. If you were to connect a total of six 200 watt solar panels you could fully recharge your solar generator in 4.75 hours.
(This of course assumes your solar panels are located in direct sunlight.) You can use this website to figure out how many hours of direct sunlight your area is likely to recieve, based on historical data.
Solar Generator for off-grid cabin
We believe a solar generator is best used as an emergency backup power solution for homes still connected to the grid.
However, if you want to power a small off-grid cabin, then a solar generator may just be perfect for you.
The main reason for this, is the fact that you would usually consume much less power in a small off-grid cabin, than you would in your conventional home set up.
In this case we recommend the EP500 solar generator for small off-grid cabins.
How long do off-grid solar generators last?
Solar generators will last you as long as the battery storage system is still functioning sufficiently.
Bluetti, uses LiFePO4 (lithium iron phosphate) batteries in their latest solar generator products. On average LiFePO4 batteries will last you 10 years. With regards to the solar panel aspect of your solar generator setup, expect a life span of between 25 - 30 years!
Should you buy an off-grid solar generator?
Given how portable solar generators are, they make the perfect companions when needed to charge various appliances on the go. It is essentially a moving power supply, able to get to even the remotest of regions, with no on grid energy solutions.
With that being said however, it is important you remember that a solar generator has limited power capacity and depending on your energy usage, may not be able to substitute that demand completely while living off the grid.
Solar generators like the EP500 allow for solar panels to be attached, in fact you can hook up 1200 watts of solar to charge this beast of a machine. Without the ability to recharge themselves naturally, by the sun. A solar generator wont have much off-grid applications.
Therefore it is important that you purchase additional solar panels to accompany your solar generator for any (if not all) off-grid applications.
What can a EP500 off-grid solar generator power?
Our most powerful solar generator has a 5100Wh capacity and can be discharged fully over 6000 times, making it a long lasting off-grid application.
It will be able to power the following appliances.
- Refrigerator (1200 Watts) - 4 ~ 5 hours
- Electric fry pan (1500 Watts) - 2.8 hours
- Microwave oven (1000 Watts) - 4.1 hours
- Washer (1000 Watts) - 8.2 hours
- Space heater (1500 Watts) - 2.8 hours
- Air conditioning (1500 Watts) - 2.8 hours
- Smart phone (15 Wh) - 157 + times
- Laptop (76 Wh) - 48 times
- Desktop (300 Watts) - 13.77 hours
- CPAP (40 Watts) 34 - 47 hours
- Electric vehicle (16A) (1800 Watts) - 10 ~ 16 miles
- E-Bike (500 Watts) - 100 ~ 150 miles
- Bench grinder (1400) - 2.5 hours
- Welding machine (1800 Watts) - 2.3 hours
- Circular saw (1400 Watts) - 2.5 hours
5 Uses for Solar generators
- Car Camping
When the word solar generator crosses your mind, what is the first thought that comes to mind? Chances are it wasn’t car camping. However, think of all the benefits of bringing one of these along with you. Even if you don’t plan on sleeping over in your car, you never know when you might need some extra power. For example, what happens if your car breaks down and your phone is out of power?
- Sleeping in Your Van
While you could rely on your deep cycle AGM van battery to charge your goods, chances are this setup will be no where near as efficient as solar generator technology. There is no doubt that your solar generator can definitely offer long charges and battery life.
- Living in an RV
If you plan on long term road trips where life in the RV is everyday life, do not forget to bring a solar generator. This is the perfect opportunity for you to even hook up some solar panels on the roof of your RV and completely automate your solar generator so that it never runs out of power.
- Skoolie Transformation
Ever heard of a skoolie? A skoolie is a school bus renovated to become a liveable residence. Many of us are striving to make a smaller environmental footprint and a skoolie is perfect for this. A solar generator will be the perfect source of power until you have you main solar system in place.
- Off-Grid Home
Now the for the main purpose of this article, off-grid homes or cabins will need an external power source to make living comfortable. Usually this would be medium sized solar systems. However, a cheaper alternative may just be a heavy duty solar generator. In order to know if this would be sufficient for your energy needs, go ahead and do some calculations, figure out how much power you need so that you can size the correct solar generator.
Small cabins, boats, RV's and vans are all able to be taken off-grid with the right solar generator on board.
As a rule of thumb, the main, most important points you need to consider when deciding on your off-grid solar generator are:
- Total battery capacity
- What size inverter does it have and is it Pure Sine Wave
- Is it portable, can it be moved with ease (does it have a wheeling system)
- Can you connect external solar panels to the machine
- Does it use a MPPT charge controller
- Does it have sufficient external/internal charging ports
- Does the solar generator use the latest battery technology (LiFePO4?)
- How many charge cycles will the solar generator give you