We thought it would be interesting to break down the inner components of an All-in-one solar generator so our readers can get an idea of what makes them tick. Once you understand what makes a solar generator operate, you can use this knowledge to get the most out of your battery backup system. This information can even make building a DIY set up even easier. Lets get started!
How it Works:
The idea of a Solar Generator is rather simple. Power is created (Solar, Wind, Hydro) or transferred (110V, 220V) to an internal storage location (Battery). A charge controller regulates the power from the input source to ensure the internal components are not exposed to too much energy. This stored power is then converted from DC (12V/24V) and output via an Inverter directly to your devices based on compatibility (12V, 110V, 220V).
Input Power Source:
In order for power to be stored it must first be generated. There are multiple ways to produce power, including Solar, Wind, Hydro, and AC (110V/220V). Your standard Inverter Charger will typically have an AC power input, so you can recharge your battery source via standard wall outlet or gas/propane generator. This type of input is common with stand alone battery back-up configurations, that do not intend on using renewable energy.
The most important component when inputting renewable energy such as Solar, is the Charge Controller. This component will be located between your panels/turbines and battery source, and will regulate the power being produced, to ensure your batteries are not overcharged. Overcharging batteries can be dangerous and you always want to ensure all components feature compatible voltage ranges. Therefore, we typically recommend an all-in-one system, as all this work is already performed for you.
Once the power is produced, it must be stored in a battery bank. The type of batteries used will vary based on need and manufacturer. Sealed Lead Acid Batteries (SLA) are a more affordable option but are known to be rather heavy and less malleable to deep discharge. SLA batteries are better suited for larger, stationary configurations.
Lithium batteries are gaining popularity day after day. They offer longer lifespans, more malleable discharge cycles and are lightweight. While they offer many benefits, they are considerably more expensive up front.
In order to output this stored power to your devices/appliances, an inverter is required. Inverters vary rather significantly and are available in many different sizes. The two major types of inverters are Pure Sine Wave and Modified Sine Wave, with Pure Sine being superior, and thus more expensive.
Most pre-configured Powerpacks have in-built inverters that are sized based on the size of the battery and the units typical use. You will want to ensure that the items you intend on powering do not exceed the listed continuous output of the inverter you intend on using, which is typically listed in Watts or Amps.
We hope this week's blog article helps shed some light on how solar generators operate. As always, we are just a phone call away (877-548-3387) and are happy to offer our expertise on all of your solar needs!