One of the ironic consequences that I saw in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike is people running out of gas for their generators and then leaving them without electrical power. You see, when they went to get gas at the store, the stores didn’t have electricity to run their gas pumps plus the gasoline distributors were only delivering gas to the stores with power, which were on the edge of the storm path, some 1 1/2 hours or more away. It really hit home why I needed a Solar System or at least a solar generator for emergency backup power.
How Are Solar Generators Different From Traditional Solar Systems?
The main difference between a solar generator and a solar system is that the solar generator is generally more portable. Your standard solar generator will consist of solar panels, deep cell batteries and a converter/controller. This is a highly portable unit since the batteries and controller will generally be attached in a single unit.
The smaller of the solar generators will generally be capable of running things such as laptops, small fridges, microwaves, lights, etc. The larger units will power regular household appliances such as refrigerators and large TV’s.
In addition to the all-in-one controller/battery box, the solar generator obviously comes with a solar panel. This makes the entire unit very portable and is one reason this smaller systems are so popular with those living off the grid.
The traditional solar system is generally permanently mounted to either the home or a supports system. It’s not unusual to have an entire room to store huge industrial deep cell batteries with a controller costing hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Solar Generators?
Well, in my opinion, what some people may consider disadvantages of solar generators are another person advantages. Some people point out that solar generators are too small to power an entire home. In most cases they are correct. But you have to remember, solar generators are designed to supply emergency power when the main power goes out. Just like your gas powered generators.
Others point out the smaller batteries that most solar generators use. Again, this could be an advantage. These batteries generally last around 5 years or so and they are easily replaceable. If you’ve ever tried replacing the industrial sized batteries of a traditional solar system, then you’ll definitely see the advantage of the smaller batteries.
When used properly, I really don’t see any disadvantages of the smaller, portable solar generators unless you have several large appliances to run when the power goes out.
Gas vs Solar Generator
When comparing a traditional gas powered generators to solar generators, there’s really no comparison at all. To run your gas powered generator, you’ll have to have a supply of gas. As stated earlier, if you have no electric after a natural disaster, chances are good that the store that carries gas will not have power to pump it. And let’s not forget about the price of gas these days!
Also, once your supply of gas runs out, you’re out of power.
With the solar generator, you’re able to store power for a few days if you plan well. A few days without sun light will not affect you unless you run to many appliances and fail to plan well.
When it’s all said and done, I feel a solar generator will be far more useful for supplying your home power after a natural disaster or blackout than a gas or diesel powered generators.