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As energy prices rise, so does our intent to find energy-saving solutions. Thankfully, technology has come a long way, where natural resources work hand in hand with innovative technologies to create long-lasting beneficial solutions.

Using natural resources, like solar energy, to power an entire house is feasible, and it’s not as complicated as it may seem. Let’s dive into the world of whole house solar-powered generators  and learn how they work, how they can power an entire house, and everything else there is to know about them.

What Is a Solar-Powered Generator?

A solar-powered generator is a system that takes energy from a solar array, transforms it into electricity, and uses this energy to power anything, anywhere you are. Solar generators don’t need AC to function, they base their energy production on pure sunlight.

It might sound primitive, nevertheless, it’s as high-tech as energy production can get. For this reason, they are the number one choice to use in off-grid applications and even substitute traditional energy systems such as the grid.

How Does a Solar Generator Function?

Solar generators use sunlight to generate electricity, and the process is as follows:

  1. Absorption: A generator is connected to the energy source, this being solar panels. Photovoltaic panels absorb sunlight through their monocrystalline cells. The energy absorbed is transformed into direct current.
  2. Inverter: The direct current (DC) generated then passes to an inverter inside the generator, which converts it into alternating current (AC). Alternating current is the electricity that home appliances and devices use to power when plugged into a wall outlet.
  3. Output: The generator is then ready to be used by plugging in any everyday appliances and devices, just like connecting them to grid power. Solar-powered generators with photovoltaic panels  allow you to use clean energy then and there and function as a backup power source you can rely on for emergency scenarios.

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Where Can a Solar Generator Be Used?

Solar generators work just like fuel generators, but the difference is that they don’t release toxic gases or chemicals that harm the user or the environment. Moreover, solar-powered generators don’t make any noise compared to fuel generators, which means they can be used overnight without disturbing your neighbor’s sleep or your own.

Interior Applications

As mentioned before, a solar generator can power an entire house, from complementing the grid system to using it as backup power when unexpected blackouts occur.

Exterior Applications

Solar-powered generators can also be used outside. Think of it as a power source for a separate guest house, a garden party, or to power heavy-duty tools when you don’t want to overload the power system.

Solar generators are the power source that can follow you wherever you go and adapt to your needs. Besides using them inside and outside a house, they can also be used in exterior places far away from home, such as boondocking, onboard recreational vehicles, camping, and many other off-grid applications.

What Can a Solar Generator Power?

Depending on the solar generator brand, they may have various outputs, such as AC, DC, USB-A, USB-C, etc., from which you can connect everyday household appliances and devices. From charging a phone or a laptop to powering heavy-duty appliances like a washing machine or a home’s entire lighting system. A solar-powered generator can completely substitute the traditional grid system and suffice your home’s entire power demands.

How Much Energy Does a House Consume?

To better determine what type of generator is the best for your home’s power demands is crucial to know how much power an average home consumes. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the average household electricity consumption in the US  in 2021 was 10,632 kWh annually, which means that a typical household consumes 30 kWh per day.

Keep in mind this is an average, factors like the region and the type of home vary. A house in the North will use the AC less than a home in the South, the same way a family of 6 will use a different amount of electricity than a family of 3.

The EIA found that the top 5 categories with the most electricity consumption are the following:

  1. Air conditioning 17%
  2. Space heating 15%
  3. Water heating 14%
  4. Lighting 10.3%
  5. Refrigerators 7%

It’s no surprise that refrigerators made it to the top 5, and they are in almost every single household, 99% of homes to be more exact, according to the same study by the EIA. And if that statistic wasn’t surprising enough, about 30% of homes have two or more refrigerators.

An efficient option to power a second refrigerator or an extra freezer is to have a portable power station  to power these supplemental home appliances so they don’t influence your monthly electricity bill.

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How To Calculate Your Home’s Energy Consumption?

To determine how much electricity your home consumes, you can do so in two ways.

Base Out of Monthly Electricity Bills

To simplify the process, you can quickly review your past monthly bills. We recommend looking back at least a year. This way, you will note which months you use the most electricity. It would be best if you took the month with the highest energy consumption as your average. Not only because it is better to be safe than sorry but because of something called peak surge power, which we will discuss further on.

Calculate It Yourself

This method is a better option if you want to make changes to your everyday energy usage habits. It could be that you want to reduce the number of times you use the washing machine or lower the hours you watch TV daily.

You could calculate the total watts per day, or to make it easier, calculate it per week. A week is an excellent way to calculate it since we follow the same routine every week and, from there, calculate the total per month.

Why Is It Necessary to Add 20-30% More Power to the Calculated Total?

You must add 20-30% more watts to the calculated total, and here are the two reasons why:

  • Peak surge power
  • Emergency backup power

Surge watts are the added watts that certain household appliances, such as refrigerators and ACs, require when they are just turned on. Surge power only occurs for a few seconds and is about 2 to 3 times the equipment’s maximum wattage.

How Much Power Can a Solar-Powered Generator Give?

The time a solar-powered generator can power a house will depend on the type of system acquired and its output capacity. There are solar generators for applications with a low power demand or a short-time power supply. However, to power an entire house, there are solar-powered generators that can start at 3.6 kWh for emergencies and can be expanded to a whopping 25 kWh by connecting them to extra batteries . This amount of energy is more than enough to suffice the electricity an average household demands.

How Does a Solar-Powered Generator Work to Power an Entire House?

Solar generators can power an entire house thanks to their straightforward system and plug-and-play functionality. Solar generators absorb energy through photovoltaic panels, which can be installed on the roof of a home or placed in spaces with sunlight exposure, such as a balcony or a garden. Then, the energy goes into the battery bank inside the solar generator to be stored for future use and be directly connected to a home’s electric panel to benefit from electricity instantly once it has passed its conversion phase.

Do Solar Powered Generators Require an Inverter?

Since solar energy is in direct current, it cannot be used immediately. It needs to be converted into alternating current, the energy that household appliances and devices use to power and run. Most solar generators already have an integrated inverter, which is in charge of transforming DC to AC. This way, the energy absorbed can charge the generator’s battery (DC) with the incoming DC and simultaneously give AC output.

It is important to note that not all solar generators offer built-in inverters. When you venture into your search, we recommend you opt for a solar-powered generator with an integrated inverter . It is an efficient way to save you trouble from determining if a system can be paired with the specific solar generator you chose. Doing this will also prevent you from having to fix two separate systems or having the damage of one affect the other.

How Many Solar Panels Does a Whole House Solar Powered Generator Need?

The number of solar panels needed to power a solar generator will vary depending on the generator’s solar input limit. The system will always specify its solar input maximum. It is crucial to stay within this limit because it may cause irreparable damage to your photovoltaic panels and the solar generator. Some solar-powered generators can also be charged through an AC wall outlet, for when you need power fast.

Suppose you are a renewable energy enthusiast and already have solar panels installed on your rooftop. In that case, you can connect them to a solar-powered generator as long as they are AC coupled, the grid is online, and if their manufacturer specifies it is alright to do so. Not all solar generators have this flexibility, and some manufacturers might want their systems to be paired with their own brand.

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What Is the Cost of a Whole House Solar Generator?

You can find solar-powered generators starting at $200 and going as high as $5,000. The prices will vary just like with any other product. Factors like the brand, the capacity, the battery management system, the warranty, the features, etc., will always play a role in the price. In addition, the price will also vary depending on how much power you want the system to give.

Fuel generators tend to be cheaper, starting at $300. However, people tend to overlook the extra cost of the fuel needed to power them, not to mention the terrible noise and air pollution they cause. Solar-powered generators for homes  are a long-lasting investment that will give you more benefits in the long run than a fuel generator will. The rise in fuel prices isn’t stopping anytime soon. Nonetheless, solar energy is accessible to anyone who wants to benefit from it, and this is where you can take advantage of its renewable technological solutions.

Can an Off-Grid House Benefit From a Whole House Solar Powered Generator?

Yes, this type of solar generator can be used in off-grid houses that are nowhere near traditional electricity power sources. Benefit from daylight both during the daytime as well as at night. Suppose your vacation home has no grid wiring to connect a whole house solar-powered generator. You can use the generator’s multiple outputs to connect lighting, entertainment devices, and everyday home appliances such as refrigerators or a microwave.

What is great about these renewable energy systems is that they don’t disturb when generating or using energy. They are prime for outdoor experiences where you don’t want to impact the environment or your experience negatively.

Solar Powered Generators: The Power Every Home Must Have

For your home to depend solely on solar power is not as far-fetched as you probably thought when you started reading this article. There are all kinds of solar generators that adjust to your home’s energy demands and provide all the power you need to substitute what traditional grid systems give you. A whole house solar-powered generator is a long-lasting and efficient solution to free yourself from those dreaded monthly energy bills.

Using a natural resource to cover basic everyday needs isn’t as complicated or confusing as it sounds. A system as such is the solution to giving you the freedom of powering whatever you want without worrying about how much you’ll have to pay at the end of the day. Whether you want to lower your electricity consumption or go fully green and power your entire home with solar energy, a solar-powered generator will undoubtedly give you the energy self-sufficiency you desire.

Mireya Cervantes

Mireya Cervantes

Writer

Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering, I am also passionate about renewable energy applications and innovations. Full-time writer for Solar Home Stead, where I review and share my opinion on energy products and trends.

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