Solar generators have a lot of benefits over traditional gas generators, or even propane generators, but they also have some big downsides that make them not so ideal for some people. One of the biggest drawbacks is the time between use. Depending on the generator, the charging time before you can use your generator again can take a while.
Unfortunately, when it comes to solar generators, there is no hard and fast rule on how long it takes for them to charge. For the majority of them, you can expect it to take anywhere between 1.5 hours and 48 hours.
As you can see, this is a pretty big difference. This is because there are a lot of factors that go into charging a solar generator and the charging speed.
Some examples of factors that influence charging time are:
- The number and strength of the solar panels used to charge them
- How much sunlight is available
- The direction and angle of the solar panels
- Battery size of the generator
- Brand of generator
- Type of battery
- Efficiency of the solar panels
- How you decide to charge your generator (some allow you to charge via a charging port in a car or wall outlet)
- If you can charge using multiple methods at once
Here are some examples from big brands so you can see how fast they can charge.
|Model||Bluetti AC200p||Pockpals Rockpower 500||Point Zero Energy Titan||Jackery Explorer 1000||Goal Zero Yeti 1500X|
|Size of Battery||2,000Wh||505Wh||1,002Wh||1,516Wh||2,000Wh|
|AC Charging Speed||3-4 hours||7-8 hours||3 hours||7 hours||3-14 hours depending on the wattage|
|DC Car Port Charging Speed||10-20 hours||7-8 hours||23.5 hours||14 hours||12.5 hours|
|Solar Panel Charging Speed||4 hours with 700W||4-5 hours with two solar panels (120W), 8.5 to 9 hours for one solar panel (60W)||2 to 2.5 hours with 1000W of solar panels 7.5 hours with 200W of solar panels||7 hours with 150W solar panel 10 hours with 100W solar panel||2.5 to 3 hours with three solar panels (600W) 7.5 hours with one solar panel (200W)|
|Fastest Possible Charging Speed||3 hours||4.2 hours||2 hours||6.2 hours||2.5 hours|
Most solar generators will give you an idea of how fast they take to charge in a variety of situations. However, sometimes, these numbers are exaggerated or only under the most ideal of situations.
There is a way to get a general idea of how long it will take your solar generator to charge with solar panels. That is by using a simple formula. Battery capacity (Wh)/ Panel strength (W) X 2
This isn’t perfect but it can give you a rough estimation of how your battery will charge in average situations. This math is for lithium batteries, which tend to be the most common and better-running ones.
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You can also get an idea for lead-acid batteries as well with just a little change of the formula. Battery capacity (Wh) X 2/ Panel strength (W).
Looking at the angle the solar panels are facing can also help you to determine how fast your generator charges.
|Angle to the Sun||Output|
As you can see from this table, the angle of your solar panels plays a big factor in charging time. While the angle doesn’t have to be perfect, keeping it as close to the perfect angle as you can will help you to get a faster charge.
You also have to understand that sometimes, there are factors outside of your control, such as how sunny it is outside.
|Amount/Kind of Clouds||Solar Panel Efficiency|
|Perfect day/ no clouds||98%|
|Thin clouds/ hazy day||50%|
|Big fluffy clouds covering the sun||15%|
|Heavy rain/thick clouds where you can’t see the sun||0%|