Certainly you could have a backup electrical switch installed to operate a gas or propane generator. But that involves serious electrical work that could potentially fatally injure someone who misses a step in the installation procedure. On top of that, it does nothing to tackle the issue of saving the planet or helping your budget through green and alternative solutions. In other words, you still would need to purchase the operating fuel separately for just 24 hours of energy backup. A smart solution that can make everyone happy is to invest in a good solar generator.
What Should You Look for In a Solar Backup Generator?
Types of equipment needed for augmenting your home or business energy depends entirely on the type of augmentation intended and how much you’re willing or able to invest in the initial setup and application. Knowing that solar is the option for your needs is the first step to choosing the right equipment, and that decision begins long before looking into types of components and price ranges. After it’s clear that solar is your ultimate energy solution, a number of considerations apply:
Size and Capacity of Your Backup Generator’s Battery
Think about your battery storage capacity like this: your personal generator is like a bucket of water. If your battery (bucket) is too small to contain the necessary amount of energy (water) needed to power your home, it won’t do you any good regardless of how long it sits out there collecting backup energy. So be sure to get the right battery capacity for your specific needs, whether those include offsetting power during power failures and natural disasters, or providing 24/7 off-grid electricity. Anything under 1,000 usable watt-hours capacity is pretty worthless and a waste of money.
A solar generator cannot function without solar PV input panels. Quality panels are rated by their watt collection capability. A single 140 watt panel will generate 140 watts of power over a 6-hour period in full sunlight. If your panels are portable; you have the option to move them and track the sunlight so you’re not relying on the sun hitting a perfect spot for a full 6 hours every day. Manageable charging times is an important option when there’s less sun. Up to 6 hours of recharging time is normal for systems under 2,500 watts. Solar generators that insist they do not come with input panels are useless, so do not fall for that. Only get one that comes with the right panels for your needs. Avoid anything without wheels or that is so insanely heavy that you can’t move it yourself.
Inverters convert DC to standard AV power. Inverters rate the maximum wattage you want drawn from your solar backup generator at any given time. You need a 1:5:1 rating or 1500/watt hours to 1000 watt inverter to get the power you need.
Quality Components, Portability, and a Convenient System Design
Solar generators come with various components made for rigorous and extended use. Some American made components such as solar controllers and inverters have been specially tested to last 2-5 years with continual use. Cheaper imported components, however, do not fair as well, so know what you’re investing in upfront. Also avoid any unnamed components and their warranty is usually limited if provided at all. Avoid plastic generator casings as well.
When components conform to each other seamlessly, battery storage capacity and panel input ratings are compatible, a proper 1:5:1 inverter rating, and a strong portable casing is present, that produces a balanced system design that will ensure your solar generator works in a variety of environments and handles your specific needs for years to come.
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