Updated: Oct 17, 2018
We are finally entering the “solar age.” A world where solar powered generators should be in every home on this planet. We are now faced with the realization that long-term costs associated with owning a gas or diesel generator actually exceed the cost of owning a solar generator. We are also faced with the fact that we are burning fossil fuels, a scarce resource, and it is damaging the environment. It becomes obvious why people are flocking to solar generators at an increasing rate. The reason you should not buy a solar generator before reading this article is because shopping for a solar generator can be confusing. This article will help the consumer understand how solar powered generators are rated so they can be compared properly in the marketplace.
One of the first and most obvious ways a solar generator can be compared is by its power output. For example, you might come across a solar powered generator that has a power output rating of 3000/6000 watts. Why are there two numbers, you ask? The first number, 3000, is the continuous power output. That means up to 3000 watts of power may be continuously drawn for as long as there is enough sun or a charged battery. 3000 watts could easily run a portable air conditioner (1000 watts), charge several cell phones (10 watts each), laptop (40 watts), tv (200 watts) and some LED lights all simultaneously with enough power to spare in an emergency.
So that covers the first number of the 3000/6000 output rating, but what is the 6000 for? That is called surge power output, this is the maximum burst of power the generator can handle for only a few seconds. This number should not be used when planning your continuous power needs. The surge rating wattage should never be close to being approached in actual use. In fact, when planning on an appropriate size for a generator, the continuous power rating should be about 20% more than is actually continuously consumed. As an example, if you calculate that you will be needing 4000 watts of continuous power for your specific needs, then you would want a generator to be rated closer to 5000 watts continuous power to account for unexpected loads.
When you are shopping for a solar powered generator, make sure you are using the continuous power output as your baseline for comparisons. It is important to understand the difference between continuous and surge power because some generator companies label their products based on surge power capacity. You can understand why this would be misleading. If someone purchases a solar generator with 5000 watts surge power capacity when they actually needed 5000 watts continuous power capacity, they will be unprepared and may not understand why their solar generator does not work as expected.
The Sol Power 3000 by Sol Power Generators is rated at 3000/6000 Watts (Continuous/Surge) and uses a Pure Sine Wave Inverter.. What is that, you ask? Great question. Power ratings are not the only way a consumer can be tricked into buying the wrong generator…
(Click here and Read this article before you buy a solar generator!)