If you live in a place where the power often goes out, or if you’re an outdoorsy person who needs on-the-go electricity stronger than a power bank, then the Portable Solar Power Generator is just the thing you need.
In recent years, battery energy storage (BES) technology has made leaps and bounds, becoming more accessible and affordable to the public. Nowadays, anyone can own one. Among the options, Portable Power Stations (PPS) or Portable Solar Power Generators are one of the most convenient types.
Well, for one thing, they offer on-demand electricity. For most of us, that in itself is already a value proposition. It uses solar power instead of fossil fuels, and stores that energy in a battery that you can use later as backup electricity for your home, camping, boating, or living that digital nomad life—among other things.
So is a PPS worth your money? The short answer is: it depends (Yes, we know how that sounds. How original, right?)
BUT, we do promise that you will have a better idea about this nifty green energy tech by the end of the article. Read more and learn nine things a solar generator has that blow traditional backup generators out of the water.
What is a Portable Solar Power Generator?
What is a PPS/Portable Solar Power Generator, exactly? In a nutshell, a PPS system stores electricity and has outlets to deliver clean AC/DC power to devices.
A common variation of a PPS is a Portable Solar Generator. It works just like a PPS but with the ability to accept solar power from modern solar panels. That’s why these terms are sometimes used interchangeably among laypeople.
For simplicity, we’ll use the terms “PPS” and “Portable Solar Power Generators” to refer to the same BES device in this article.
How Does a Portable Solar Power Generator Work?
So how does a PPS work exactly? There are a lot of technical concepts involved when it comes to solar powered generator operations. Still, it can be simplified using the image below.
The components working together to harvest, store and deliver clean solar energy to your gadgets. A PPS is a 3-in-1 solution using Charge Controllers, Batteries, and Inverters to collect solar and power devices.
Some of the DIY-ers out there are probably familiar with charge controllers and inverters. Charge controllers act as a battery protection system, taking solar power from the solar panels to charge the battery safely.
Inverters, on the other hand, convert the DC power from the battery to clean AC/DC power needed by devices.
Buying a PPS is like a 3-in-1 device--integrating these three components in one package saves you the time and effort of wiring them all together. Not to mention, it’s a much safer method for handling items charged with electricity.
By now, you’re probably thinking that there is indeed some value in owning a PPS. That being said, here are nine (9) reasons to buy a portable power station.
Reasons to Buy a Portable Solar Power Generator
1. It Enables Clean Energy
It’s no secret that the world has agreed to fight climate change together. Since the 2015 Paris Agreement, global leaders have put in place programs to enable everyone to do their part in the global transition to rely more on clean and renewable energy. No effort is too small.
As a result, the general public can access affordable green energy devices in recent years.
Portable Solar Power Generators are one of the latest green energy products that addresses one of the major challenges of solar panels: dependence on sunlight for power production. You can sleep well at night without worrying about the environmental impact of your energy consumption.
With a PPS, PV panel owners can now choose when and where to use their solar energy.
We know it’s obvious, but we still have to say it. One of the main selling points of a PPS is its portability compared to other options out there, such as DIY solar systems or fossil fuel generators.
Whether at home, camping outdoors, or on the road, you can bring your solar power generators wherever and whenever you want.
They are also small enough to fit in most compartments for emergencies. In extreme cases like natural calamities, on-the-go electricity can make all the difference. An easy-to-carry PPS is invaluable to you and those living near you if you live in an area prone to typhoons, hurricanes, heavy snowfall, floods, and the like.
Most solar-powered generators come with inverters, so you can use them to power your devices. However, not all solar generators are built equally.
For example, solar generators with 1kWh energy ratings typically have 1 to 1.5 kW inverters. Anything beyond that is considered high.
Also, most portable solar generators have charge-through capability. This means you can charge the PPS while powering your devices at the same time. Plus points for convenience.
Portable Power Stations have various outlets to power your devices, such as USB, USB-C, Wireless Charging Station, and AC outlets. This makes them useful as a short to the medium-term power source when you’re off-grid or during outages.
Not to mention, some cutting-edge solar-powered generators nowadays can adjust their wattage and charging speed. This feature is a nice-to-have but very helpful when rationing stored energy.
4. Silent Operation
Another advantage of the PPS is that it’s silent.
There is another kind of pollution that goes unnoticed when we are talking about electricity sources, and that is noise pollution. Depending on how much load you will operate, a conventional fuel-powered generator could produce up to 85dB of noise. For comparison, according to the World Health Organization, the prescribed noise threshold is 45dB during the night and 55dB during the day.
Prolonged exposure to high sound intensities has a negative impact on public health, including our stress levels, sleep patterns, and hearing abilities. When used outdoors on a camping trip, it could disrupt nearby animals' breeding cycles.
In our experience, you don’t want to be that neighbor who produces 85dB of noise during a blackout.
Unlike fuel-powered generators, a solar-powered generator has no engines or other moving parts that make up most of the noise. At most, you may hear a faint humming sound from its fans when charging from a car battery or its embedded inverters.
This makes the power stations great for indoor and outdoor use, especially when you (and your neighbors) need peace and quiet to relax.
5. Low Maintenance
Many backup generator owners will agree that gas-powered generators are harder to maintain.
Like cars, gas-powered backup generators need routine inspections and cleaning now and then. Even then, you still have to run and test them occasionally to ensure that they will work when needed. And if that isn’t enough, maintaining them requires you to buy fuel, oil, and filters. That’s just too much work compared to a PPS.
Unlike traditional electromechanical generators, solar power portable generators have little to no moving parts. Being independent of fluids and lubrication also contributes to its longevity and uncomplicated maintenance routine.
You may need to charge and discharge a PPS now and then. Also, wipe some dust and debris on the solar panels, but nothing that will get grease on your hands.
Lastly, you do not need to worry about its parts wearing down too quickly. Even if they do on rare occasions, PPS manufacturers nowadays offer 1 to 5 years of warranty to help you get a new one.
How to Maintain a Traditional Backup Generator
6. Fast-Charging Capability
Portable solar powered generators can be charged in three ways:
1. Plugging them into your home outlet;
2. Through solar panel input; or
3. via car charger;
Lithium-ion specifically has specific cell chemistries that give them Extreme Fast Charging Capabilities (XFC). Imagine having a low noise, no mess, low maintenance backup generator that can charge 1kWh in under 2 hours with the right conditions and equipment. It’s a no-brainer, am I right?
Modern PPS are shifting to XFC to make solar generators more appealing to hesitant green energy consumers. For us, this is extra brownie points, not only for convenience but also for versatility.
7. Safe to Use
Compared to DIY solar systems and gas generators, portable solar power generators are safer to use.
Portable solar powered generators are superior to backup generators when it comes to:
· Fire hazards
· Noise pollution
· Carbon Monoxide emission
· Device safety (unless we are talking about inverter-type gas generators)
“Huh? How are gas generators not safe for my devices?”
Old gas generators with outdated designs have poor inverter types, which produce dirty electricity called harmonics. Feeding electricity with high harmonics to modern sensitive electronics often leads to premature deterioration.
On the other hand, the key difference between a PPS and a DIY solar system is the latter’s higher risk of electrocution due to exposed wires and terminals.
8. Portable Solar Power Generators are Cost-Effective
So, should you buy a Solar Power Portable Generator? It depends on what price you are willing to put on everything we just mentioned.
Is it cost-effective? Suppose we limit the scope to only fuel and initial costs (buying a PPS or gas generator). In that case, both PPS and gas generators will get your money back.
It’s just that gas generators give it back quicker since they have lower cost upfront. However, the strength of a portable power solar generator lies in its ability to harvest electricity at zero cost.
But that’s not the main reason you are buying a PPS. If you are reading this to use a PPS as an investment, we suggest looking into the BES+PV setup instead.
Remember: The battery cost of ownership increases significantly with higher run time requirements. This is why gas backup generators aren’t entirely out of the picture.
Most portable solar powered generator owners pay extra for convenience and safety. You pay for on-demand green electricity without the noise, grease, fumes, or annoyed neighbors. Not to mention, you will not be dependent on fuel costs if it does soar.
The bottom line is that portable power stations are cost-efficient, considering capital, maintenance, and fuel costs. For some, the price of a PPS nowadays is still hefty. Still, now is an excellent time to buy, given that lithium-ion battery prices have decreased by 90% in the past decade. It is a good buy for outdoorsy people looking for a quiet, safe, and handy source of clean electricity.
Lithium-ion prices have gone a long way down since 2010. It is a commercially mature technology and NOW is a great time to buy one.
Data Source: Bloomberg
9. Wide Variety of Choices
Another reason to buy a portable solar generator is the broad range of offerings available in capacity. Power and energy ratings of PPS in the market greatly vary, which is an opportunity for unsure green energy consumers to start small. Right now, commercial PPS energy capacities range from 100Wh to 4kWh. You can select energy capacities and power output depending on your current budget and needs.
There you have it, nine reasons to buy a portable solar power generator. Thanks to a global effort to fight climate change, going green can now be a lifestyle choice, not just on a utility-scale.
It’s unclear to everyone, but green energy consumers play a significant role in our transition to decarbonization. Lessening our carbon footprints and investing in efficient, green technology all contribute to mitigating global warming.
PPS is a state-of-the-art BES technology that checks all the boxes above. It is convenient, safe, versatile, and an excellent way to enjoy life outdoors using clean energy.