Get the lowdown on Solar Power Generators

Clean, quiet, portable power: it's the Holy Grail for anyone using generators. Which is why it's no surprise that many people are looking to solar power generators as a smart, silent, safe, and clean alternative for their power needs.

But is it all as wonderful as it seems? Here we give you the lowdown on solar power generators:

How do Solar Power Generators work?

Solar generators use renewable energy. No fuel means no emissions, which is what makes them so attractive to people worried about the effects of tradition coal fired power generation. The solar panel captures the power from the sun and stores this power in deep-cycle batteries or power packs.

The main difference between a solar power generator and a fuel-driven generator is that a solar generator generates power all day, storing it in batteries, and then supplies that stored power to connected appliances on demand.

A fuel-driven generator, on the other hand, must be operating in order to supply any power to connected appliances, even if the power required is minimal or intermittent.

Solar Power Generators

Is a Backup Generator Required for a Solar System?

In most instances, solar systems that are removed from the power grid will rely on a petrol/diesel or gas generator as a backup for periods of peak power demand or instances of prolonged inclement weather. These are specifically designed Generators that are fitted with a 2-wire auto start capability. The system control panel detects when the deep-cycle battery charge is low and automatically starts up the generator to charge up the battery back.

[caption id="attachment_471" align="aligncenter" width="434"]Solar Power Generators The Pramac S12000 is a popular Auto Start Backup Generator model[/caption]

Why should I choose a solar power generator?

There are some very tempting benefits to solar power generators. There's no need to store fuel, no fumes to worry about, no noise, and some models are even safe to use indoors. At the end of the day, the best thing about solar power generators is that you can enjoy completely silent portable power that can be recharged from the sun. Maintenance costs are also low for solar power generators because there are no moving parts.

What are the drawbacks of a solar power generator?

Operating a fuel-driven generator is simply a matter of convenience. You can simply turn it on, plug in your appliances, use the power and refuel when necessary. Easy. A solar power needs to be charged - or collect power from the sun - before it can be used. They also require space for the solar panels to collect the solar power in the first place.

Solar power generators also have a higher upfront cost, though after that they are free for life, as there's no need for fuel. While costs are coming down, the purchase price can be prohibitive for people though. A more affordable alternative is the hybrid generators.

Can I use a solar power generator to power anything?

As with any generator, what you can power with a solar power generator depends on its size. Some portable generators will let you power anything from phones to refrigerators, and everything in between.

What's on the market?

There are a number of solar power generator products available to choose from, including biodiesel and hybrid generators.

The bad news is the full range of solar power generator products is not yet available in Australia. There is a limited choice on the market, and only time will tell if the demand is there for other brands to breakthrough.

At present the best option is a solar system that utilises a backup auto start generator. This means while the sun is shining you can use clean solar power and during periods of inclement weather the backup generator is used to supply power. To see a full the full range of these Auto Start Backup Generators click here.

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DISCLAIMER* Please note, this advice is general in nature and we strongly recommend consulting the product manual and where relevant, a professional installer.

1 thoughts on Get the lowdown on Solar Power Generators

11 July 2016
I use 8.5 kilowatts a day. What is the output of these generators? How much do they cost? Can I use the generator to charge a off grid battery bank? Regards Jonathan

My Generator Response
Hi Jonathon, the most popular type of backup generator for an off-grid solar system is an auto-start generator - these generators are connected to your solar system and have the capability to automatically start up and recharge your batteries when their power charge gets low. Once the batteries are topped up, they automatically stop again. They range in size from 5kVA to 12kVA and in terms of pricing start at around $3,500. Your solar installer can advise what size backup generator best suits your particular solar system set up. Cheers

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