Solar Generator Kits for Life on the Road
Finding the perfect solar generator for your RV, camper, van, whatever, can either be really hard or really easy. Building one from scratch is more of an endeavor than most are ready for. Solar generators on the other hand are all-in-one units that are no more complicated than plugging a solar panel into a box with a battery and power outlets. This post will explore how to pick the right size solar generator kit that will empower your time on the road.
What’s in a solar generator kit?
The main things at work are the solar panels collecting sunlight, a solar charge controller that optimizes the energy, and a battery to store it in. A solar generator bundle includes all of these, with the solar charge controller and the battery combined in the same unit. This unit containing solar input, a battery, and power outlets is called a portable power station as a standalone product, and when combined with solar panels is called a solar generator.
What size solar generator kit should I get?
What you can't live without
Find the watts (W)
Take the electronics you can’t live without – say a laptop, Wi-Fi hotspot, lights, coffee maker, and a skillet – and add up their watts. There are lots of ballpark figures on the internet, but it’s more accurate checking the watts printed somewhere on the product. Better still is going through your normal routine and using a wattmeter so all of the power losses are accounted for. You’re in luck if you already have an EcoFlow portable power station because it shows energy input and output on its screen and app!
Find the watt hours (Wh)
Just multiply the watts of a device by how many hours you plan to use it for.
|Device Watts||Hours Used||Watt-Hours|
While this adds up to 700 watt-hours, it doesn’t mean you’ll need a 700 watt-hour battery or that you’ll need 700 watts of solar panels, as you’ll see in the next sections.
Picking a solar battery
Picking solar panels
Getting the most from your solar panels
- Environment: Obviously much of this is up to the whens and wheres, but make sure panels are outside, not partially shaded, and not dirty.
- How often you adjust the panels: The carrying case for EcoFlow portable solar panels doubles as a stand that can be angled early/late in the day and lie flat around noon. Occasionally adjusting the panels to face the sun as it moves throughout the day will bring in more watt-hours.
- Efficiency: An MPPT solar charger is now the standard replacing the less-efficient PWM. All EcoFlow solar generators use MPPT so that fluctuations in lighting and other conditions won’t throw a wrench in the works.