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if you search for “can a solar generator power a house”, you’ll find articles that say yes, it’s possible. But they don’t tell you how it is possible or how many you’ll need. You will just be shown solar generator reviews, most of which are under powered. Yes, a solar generator can run a house, but it’s not that simple.
It will take four 2000 watt solar generators to power a house and run essential appliances. You can increase the generator capacity by adding solar panels or batteries to the system.
How Much Solar Generator Power You Really Need?
You’ve probably read claims that a single solar generator or power station is all it takes to power a home, but the truth is, that is not enough. We will show why you need at least five to seven solar generators to power an entire household.
The average home consumes 877 kwh per month. That is 10,649 kwh a year or about 30 kilowatts a day. 30 kilowatts is 30,000 watts. The biggest commercially available solar generators have a capacity of 2000 watts, like the Bluetti AC200P . You can run a lot of appliances with 2000 watts, but that is barely enough for a typical air conditioner that requires 1800W running watts.
A mini AC unit will reduce your energy needs, more so if you use a small fridge (or camping utilities). Because people have different requirements, you should find out how many solar generators are needed in your case. Before you buy a solar generator, decide what you’ll be using it for. Here are some guidelines.
- 2000W to 4000W; RVs, small to medium size homes with only essential appliances running
- 5000W to 7500W: for emergency backup power in a large house
- 8000W to 10000W: run most household appliances
If you cannot get your hands on anything other than a 2000W solar generator, do not fret. You can add more batteries to the system until it reaches the energy level you need. Or as stated earlier, use solar panels for extra power. Yu can for example, combine a 2000 watt solar generator with a 2 or 3 Mighty Max 500ah 24V AGM Batteries.
Again these are estimates based on the average watt usage in homes. Yours might be completely different so follow the steps below to calculate what solar generator size is required.
How to Find Out What Solar Generator Size You Need
Let us start with the basics. Solar generator power is measured in watts. All you have to do is figure out the total number of watts you use every month. Add 10% or 20% more and you have a good idea of how much generator power is needed.
Appliance power consumption is measured in watts or amps. Their power consumption will be on the manual or on the device itself. Most appliances use 120 volts.
Watts / volts = amps
Amps x volts = watts
For instance, a refrigerator label might say that it consumes 7A (amps) at 120V (volts). 7A x 120V = 840 watts.
- If you’re going to power your entire house, check your monthly bill and look for the kwh usage. Use that as a guide for what solar power station to buy. If you only want to run critical appliances only, go to the next step.
- Write the appliances you want to use during a power outage. Lighting, refrigerator, heater, AC etc. Essential appliances means different things for different people, so create your own list.
- Add the total watt usage of the appliances you wrote down.
- Pay attention to the running watts and starting watts. A fridge may need 1500W to start up, then the demand goes down to 100-200wh. A generator must match or exceed both the running and starting watt requirements.
- Get a generator that has a bit more power than your requirements. One, you’ll never know when you’ll have to run another device. Generators that always run on full load have short lifespans. Third, it puts a strain on the system.
If your total appliance wattage is 5000W, get a 5200-5500W generator. If it’s 7500W, get an 8000W unit. It never hurts to have more power, but running an underpowered generator can cause serious damage.
House Appliance Generator Power Consumption
We have a comprehensive appliance watt usage here, so we’ll just cover the essentials. A 5000W-7500W solar generator can run vital appliances like the fridge, freezer, heater, water pump and lighting. A 3000-4000W solar generator will be sufficient in this instance.
Here’s a table of common household appliances and power consumption.
|Appliance||Starting Watts||Running Watts|
|800W Microwave Oven||1300||1300|
|1/2HP Sump Pump||2150||1050|
|10000 BTU AC||2200||1500|
The information on this table gives you an idea of the average power consumption of those appliances. Always check the actual watt / amp use on the appliance.
How Long Can a Solar Generator Keep Running?
Solar power stations function like traditional generators. They spring into action when the power goes off. A solar generator can keep running as long as there is enough power being supplied. Theoretically it can run infinitely.
Let us take the Titan generator for instance, which can generate up to 2200wh continuous power and comes with a 3000W pure sine wave inverter. It has two solar panel inputs good for up to 2000W.
If your solar panels produce 2000 watts, connect it to the generator and you have continuous power supply. The panels probably won’t be able to recharge the generator fast enough, but there will be power available. Also you can recharge the Titan by AC or DC outlet or 24V battery to keep the power going.
You can also attach several batteries on the generator for extra power. Most of these generators accept only lithium ion batteries because it provides the best results. In some solar power stations there is no limit to the number of batteries you can stack. Keep this in mind if you want to run an RV with a solar generator.
You can double these figures for a 2000W solar power station. If you add batteries to the generator, you will be able to run more devices. You probably won’t be using these electronics this way either, so they won’t consume so much power. You can use the available power to run other appliances.
A 2000W solar generator can:
- Charge a laptop for 40 hours
- Run several kitchen appliances
- Charge a smartphone for 300 hours
- Power a 50″ TV for 50 hours
- Power a refrigerator for 30 hours
The bottom line is you can keep a solar generator running continuously provided there is a power supply. This setup requires a lot of power true, but it can be done. it comes down to how much of your house or RV you ant to run on solar.
How to Install a Solar Generator
Installing solar panels on an RV is straightforward, but for homes it’s more complicated. The installation process will depend on how much solar power you intend to use.
If it’s for camping / RV, you can do it yourself. Charge the generator and connect your devices and appliances to the appropriate inputs, i.e. DC, AC, USB. Remember to fully charge the batteries and follow the instruction manual.
Powering an entire house requires a powerful generator and numerous battreies. You’ll also need to install solar panels on the roof as an additional power source. That’s best left to the professionals, who will be happy to install the generator as well. You can plug appliances directly to the generator if it’s going to be the main power source. If your home is on the power grid, connect the generator to the power supply.
What Solar Batteries Do I Need?
A grid tied solar system does not need batteries. An off the grid system should have multiple batteries for generator stacking. We have an in-depth guide comparison for different solar batteries, but lithium ion is the best. You can stack an unlimited number of lithium ion batteries on Titan generators. Other generators may not allow it.
The more batteries you add, the more you increase the generator’s power. The disadvantage is the weight. Connect several batteries and the weight can reach hundreds of pounds. Powerful solar panels can reduce your dependence on multiple batteries.
What Inverter Size Do I Need?
Solar generators already have an inverter, so you don’t have to worry about that.1000W-2000W power stations use pure sine wave inverters to provide the best performance. If you are adding batteries, make sure to connect them to the inverter and to your power grid (if applicable). Don’t forget to connect the circuit breaker to the battery wires.
Plug the inverter into your AC fuse box and wire the solar generator to the inverter. This configuration allows you to go back to electricity if solar power is insufficient. if you’re living off the grid, you must have fully charged batteries in reserve.
The inverter should be connected to your solar panels. The required connectors and cables should be included in your solar panel kit. The charge controllers are built into the generator so no need to buy one.
What Solar Panel Size Do I Need?
it depends on the size of your solar generator and how long you’re willing to go without full power. Going back to our example: if you want to run basic appliances only, 5,000-7500W should be enough. You can get that power from a solar power station with several attached batteries.
You can supplement that system with 8 x 250W solar panels. One 250W panel can produce 1000-1300W with 5-6 hours of sunshine. Eight of these and you have 8000W a day, enough to keep the generator charged. With this setup you can run the solar panels all day and use the generator at night. When the generator gets depleted you use the solar panels to recharge it.
Running a house on solar generators is challenging but feasible. It comes down to how much of the property you want to run on solar and what your specific needs are. Once you have done the planning, it’s relatively easy to set up the generator system and run your appliances.