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  • Writer's pictureisaacmathu

Solar Generators Mean Business

The new EcoFlow Delta Pro Ultra
The new EcoFlow Delta Pro Ultra

Solar Generator startups, as well as more established brands, are pushing the envelope when it comes to developing seriously powerful and versatile solar generators. What started as niche products have become serious mainstream products that draw ever closer to traditional gas generators. 

When I started writing about solar generators a few years ago, Jackery and Goal Zero were the main players in town. 

At the time, Goal Zero’s biggest power station was a 6,000Wh unit with a 2,000W output, which looking back now, is shockingly low considering the massive capacity. Jackery made compact portable power stations mostly for camping. 

Now, you can have a solar generator setup with over 50,000Wh in capacity and 7,000+ W output. Essentially, it’s now possible to power your entire home with a solar generator, something that was previously only possible with a gas generator. 

What Changed?

It’s simple — portable solar power went mainstream. 

From a niche industry that mostly served outdoor enthusiasts and clean energy pioneers, portable power stations have rapidly gone mainstream. 

From camping to home power backup and even off-grid power, solar generators have found popular use in and away from home. 

One of the main reasons for this growth is the flurry of new startups that came in and shook the industry. Bluetti, EcoFlow, Point Zero Energy — just to name a few of the newer brands in the market. 

These companies didn’t copy what more established brands were doing. Instead, they came in with new innovations and huge upgrades that have lifted the entire industry as a whole. This has forced legacy companies like Goal Zero to step it up for the benefit of consumers.   

All The Ways Solar Generators Have Gotten Bigger and Better

1. Capacities So Large, You Can Power Your Home For Days

The biggest change that has occurred to solar generators is that they’ve gotten big, really big. Right now, you can easily get a solar generator that holds enough capacity to power your home for days. 

A few years ago, Goal Zero had a 6,000Wh behemoth. Now, their biggest unit, the Yeti Pro 8000, has a capacity of almost 8,000Wh.  

And that’s just the beginning of how much capacity you can achieve with solar generators. The Bluetti AC500 + B300S kit can be expanded to 18,432kWh. The new EcoFlow Delta Pro Ultra is expandable to 90,000Wh!

The increased capacity of solar generators means that now they are viable solutions for home backup. You can move away from polluting and expensive-to-run diesel and gas generators, and set up a home backup solar generator kit that can power your home for days.  

Solar generators are also now suitable for extensive off-grid use. You could power an off-grid cabin for several days using just a power station kit and solar panels. 

The smaller and more portable units with capacities of under 2,000Wh are still there in plenty. So if you don't need a huge unit for home backup, you can get something more compact that still packs lots of capacity. 

2. Enough Output to Power (Almost) Your Entire Home 

The biggest limitation of solar generators, even as their capacities have grown bigger, is power output. Regardless of how large a solar generator’s capacity is, the inverter power output determines what it can power and how many appliances it can run at the same time. 

So you may have enough capacity to power your home for days, but can only power a couple of appliances. That’s not very helpful.

For a long time, portable power stations were stuck at a maximum output of 2,000W. Even the 6000Wh Yeti had a 2,000W output. This kept power stations from replacing gas generators, which can easily pump out northwards of 10,000W. 

Solar power stations are still nowhere as powerful as large standby gas generators, but power output has been steadily going up. 

There are plenty of 3000W solar generators like the EcoFlow Delta Pro or the Jackery Explorer 3000 Pro. The Bluetti AC500 comes with an enormous 5,000W inverter. If you get the 3,000W Hysolis Apollo 5K, you can link up to 9 units to get 27kW of output, more than enough to power everything in most homes.

In addition to more capable inverters, many larger solar generators now offer both 120V and 240V power. You’ll need to link two units to get 240V power, but it’s handy if you need to run heavy duty appliances like ACs, water heaters and power tools. 

The increase in solar generator power output has made them more practical, especially for home backup. In fact, these days, it’s easier to plug a solar generator directly into your home circuit (using a manual/automatic transfer switch) and power appliances right where they are.   

Even smaller portable power stations have gotten more powerful. You can easily find a 2000W solar generator that’s compact enough to take camping. That means you can bring more electronics and appliances with you when you go on adventures. 

3. Super Fast Charging

One of the annoying features of earlier solar generators was their dreadfully slow charging, whether it was via solar or a power outlet. Solar charging was especially lethargic, which detracted from the goal of clean free power. It often took days to charge a solar generator with solar panels. 

Things have gotten much better since. Newer solar generators are designed to accept much more power. Some large power stations can charge in as quick as an hour from a wall outlet. Solar charging has gotten really fast too, thanks to an increase in the maximum solar input these generators can accept. 

For example, the Hysolis Apollo 5K has a huge capacity of 5376Wh. With a massive solar input of 4,400W, it can fully charge from solar panels in as little as 3 hours. 

Many solar generators also offer dual AC + solar charging for even faster recharging, and EcoFlow offers the option to recharge the Delta Pro from an EV station. 

Fast charging has made solar generators more practical for off-grid use and home emergencies. Even if power is out for days, you can rely on just solar to keep your solar generator charged. And if you are planning a long cross country trip, you don't have to worry about your portable power station running out of power. 

4. The Popularity of Kits

When you go shopping for a solar generator, you’ll find that solar generator kits are now everywhere. They are not new (Goal Zero offered several kits from early on), but they’ve gotten even more popular. 

This is great for two reasons. 

One, you can achieve a bigger capacity and power output with a kit compared to a single solar generator. One power station can only pack so much capacity and power output before it becomes impractically big and heavy. But with a kit consisting of a solar generator and multiple battery units, you can build a much bigger setup that is still flexible and portable. 

Two, solar generator kits make it easy for us non-engineer normies to quickly set up a solar power system without having to hire a pro or do some complicated calculations. 

A kit will have compatible components and you can easily choose one that delivers the exact capacity and power output you need. It also saves you the hassle of buying multiple components separately.  

Other Improvements

  • Solar generators come with more outlets than ever before, so you can plug in just about anything. These include USB-C, AC, different types of DC, wireless charging and more. 

  • Many solar generators now offer remote connectivity, letting you monitor and control the unit remotely from your phone. 

  • Virtually all solar generator brands have switched to lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery technology. While they are heavier than Li-ion batteries, they offer a much longer lifespan (10+ years), fast charging and better safety. 

What’s Next?

Companies like Bluetti and EcoFlow are pushing the boundaries of solar generator technology. They are currently focused on making even bigger and more capable solar generators especially for home backup and off-grid power. 

It will be particularly interesting to see how much more power they can pack in solar generators. Most power stations right now cannot power everything in a standard home. But we could soon get 10kW+ power stations that match the capability of whole house gas generators. 

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