Solar generators are a great way to harness the power of the sun to power your devices. Solar generators use solar panels to convert sunlight into electricity, which is stored in a battery and can be used to charge and power your devices. Before buying one, you might be asking yourself: “what size solar generator do I need?”.
Solar generators come in different sizes, ranging from small portable ones that can be carried around and used for camping trips, to large stationary systems that can provide enough energy to power a fridge.
If you have made it this far - you’re on the right track. Purchasing the right size of solar generator for your needs will ensure you have consistent access to power, without paying for more than you need.
When shopping for a solar generator, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the various terms used to describe power consumption - W, Wh, Amps, Run Time (and the list goes on). In this article, we’ll to break down what these terms mean, and how you can easily calculate solar generator is right for you.
To answer the question about what size of solar generator is right for you, you want to ask the question “what size of power station do I need for my solar generator?”.
Why is sizing our portable power station important to get the most of our solar generator? Let’s review what makes up a “solar generator”.
Solar panels - collect solar energy from direct sunlight
Power station - stores energy captured by the solar panels.
How Power Stations Are Sized
Portable power stations are often sized according to their watts (W). Without going into too much detail, watts measure the rate of energy transfer. The more watts a power station has, the more power it can provide you.
That being said, there are different watt measurements that you need to pay attention to when deciding on a power station.
A solar generator’s continuous power describes the amount of power that a station can provide consistently.
A solar generator’s peak power describes the maximum amount of power that a power station can provide over a short period of time.
Continuous Power vs Peak Power (An Example)
Here’s an example. Think of when you turn on your air conditioner. It needs a quick burst of power to get started. That’s peak power. But the amount of power needed to continuously run the AC unit is generally lower. That’s continuous power.
Some appliances, such as refrigerators, need a burst of 3-7 times their normal power needs to get started. Keep in mind, your power station needs to be able to accommodate this peak power requirement to run the appliance. So, if you are looking for a solar generator to run a refrigerator, simply meeting the continuous power requirements won’t be enough.
Continuous power will likely be the more impactful number for you to think about. It’s what tells you how much power you will get from a single charge of your power station under normal conditions.
How To Calculate Your Optimal Power Station Capacity in 4 Steps
How Many Watts Do I Need in a Solar Generator’s Power Station?
To figure out which solar generator offers the right power capabilities for you, you’ll need to perform the following calculations:
Step 1: Select What You Want to Power With Your Power Station and For How Long
The first part of picking the right power station for your needs is understanding what those needs are. This means selecting the specific devices that you want to power with your solar generator, and setting a rough estimation of how long you’d like for its power station to provide that power.
Here are some common devices that people power with solar generators:
Laptops and PCs
Step 2: Find Out How Much Energy Each of Your Selections Uses
Once you know what you want to power, it’s time to figure out how much energy you need to do so.
The starting point towards calculating this is finding out how many watts your devices need to run. This number is often listed somewhere on the device itself. But if you only see a measurement for amps, you can multiply that number by the item’s voltage to convert into watts.
Next, you need to pick how many hours you want to be able to use each of your devices. Then, multiply the number of hours that you’ve selected by the watts of each item. This will give you the total watt-hours you require to be able to power each device.
Here’s an example:
You want to power two 60 watt lightbulbs for two hours each. To find the total amount of watt-hours of power you need:
Get the total hours: Multiply 2 hours of power by 2 light bulbs. (2 x 2) = 4
Get the total wattage: Multiply 2 light bulbs by their 60 watts. (2 x 60) = 120
Multiply them together to calculate the total watt-hours. (4 x 120) = 480
Then, divide your answer by 0.85 to account for a constant energy consumption rate of 85% when the device is in charge.
480 watt-hours / 0.85 = 564 watt-hours
This results, in you needing a power station that can provide at least approximately 564 watt-hours to meet your goal of being able to power two 60 watt lightbulbs for 2 hours each.
Step 3: Add All Of Your Watt-Hour Answers Together
You need to perform the calculation shown in the previous step for each item you want to power with your Solar Generator.
Then, simply add all of the answers together to get the total amount of watt-hours that you need the power station to provide and reach the goals you have for it.
For example, let’s say you need 400 watt-hours to power your lights, 300 to charge your phone, and 300 to charge your laptop. Your total watt-hour requirement would be 1,000 (400 + 300 + 300).
Step 4: Determine the Watt-Hours of the Power Station You Want
At this stage, you have all the information that you need to pick the right portable power station.
Simply take your answer from Step 3 and compare it to the wattage offered by each power station that you look at. Just make sure that you pick a power station that has a higher wattage than your total watt-hour requirement calculated in Step 3.
The Benefits of Buying a Portable Solar Generator
Portable solar generators are becoming increasingly popular as a backup power source for homes, businesses, and outdoor activities. With the help of solar panels, these generators can be used to charge a variety of devices and provide dynamic backup power when needed.
The benefits of buying a portable solar generator are numerous. It is an eco-friendly option that requires no fuel or electricity to operate. It is also versatile and can be used in many different settings such as camping trips, tailgating parties, RV trips, and more. Investing in a portable solar generator can provide you with peace of mind knowing that you have access to reliable backup power when needed.
Jackery Power Station Sizing FAQs
Can You Charge Any Device with a Jackery Power Station?
Jackery Power Stations can power a wide variety of consumer devices since they feature USB ports, a DC carport, and pure sine wave AC outlets.
Your device will need to be powered with one of these methods and use a level of power that is compatible with the Jackery Power Station you select.
Can a Jackery Power Station Jumpstart My Car?
No, you cannot jumpstart a car with a Jackery Power Station. But you can charge a car’s battery with a power station. So you can use your Jackery product to get the battery charged enough so that you don’t need to jumpstart it.
How Long Can a Jackery Power Station Power My Device?
This is entirely dependent on the amount of power that your device uses. You need to perform the watt-hour calculation (shown above) and compare that figure to the wattage of the Jackey Power Station model you select. Doing this will give you the answer you are looking for.
What Size Jackery Power Station Is Best for Me?
This will depend on how much power you want to get out of your portable solar generator. If you want to maximize the amount of power you get, then you should consider either our Jackery Explorer 2000 Pro or the Jackery Explorer 1500.
Jackery Power Station Size Options
Jackery provides a wide variety of power stations to make it easier for you to find one that fits your needs. Take a quick look at the chart below to help you figure out which is right for you.
Solar generators provide clean, renewable energy as a low-maintenance power source for wherever you need it. However, it makes sense to buy the right size for your energy needs.
That’s why Jackery offers solar generators equipped with power stations of various sizes to ensure you find the one that suits your goals and budget. When shopping for a portable power generator, it is important to consider devices you intend to power, and how long you intend to use them.
We hope this article helps you to calculate the right size power station, and consequently, the right size solar generator for you. If you still need help determining the right sized solar generator for your needs, give us a call at 403-814-0484 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
For more information on Solar Generators and the various size power stations we offer, take a look at our solar generators page.