It is difficult to conceive of something advantageous on earth that does not have one disadvantage or the other. You see, even being alive, which is loads of fun, has its own disadvantages, prominent among which is the possibility of dying.
So, as awesome as portable solar generators are, they also have a few disadvantages.
But not so fast!
It is better to be positive and see the good than to obsessed with the not-so-cool. That proverbial glass of water is better viewed as half full than as half empty.
So we’ll first look at the advantages (pros) of the portable solar generator before going to show that it is unfortunately not without its own shortcomings.
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10 Pros Of A Portable Solar Generator
Outlined below here, in no particular order, are the top advantages or pros that a portable solar generator possesses today. Let’s take a hit:
1. Portable Solar Generators Provide Green, Environment-Friendly Energy
The European Parliament has just recently passed a continent-wide resolution to declare climate change as an emergency.
This epochal resolution comes in the wake of widespread agitation calling for governments to take more action on the issue of climate change.
Who would not, therefore, want to go for a source of power that is clean, green and in the best interests of the environment?
It is only reasonable, in fact, for us to have inventions allowing portable solar generators – and indeed the less portable fixed back-up generators – to have more capacity.
The contemporary demand for clean energy makes a strong case for solar-generated electricity to replace fuel generators as the primary source of back-up electricity.
As portable solar generators are eco-conducive and green (green-friendly, really), they do not emit any fumes, smoke or accompanying carbon monoxide.
In fact, they pose no danger or threat to our darling environment!
2. Portable Solar Generators Give You That ‘Noiseless Advantage’!
They say empty barrels make the loudest noise. Portable solar generators may be small but they are by no means empty. They don’t make noise.
It does not matter what the capacity or the size of the portable solar generator is, you can sleep – and even snore – beside one when it is up and running!
Compare this to gasoline-powered and diesel-powered generators that, when put on, cannot even allow a man get sleep!
Boy, are they noisy!
3. The Renewable Energy Advantage
Renewable energy, as a term, refers to any source of energy obtained from natural sources that are automatically replenishable.
It is energy from a supply source that is not diminished when put to use. It is inexhaustible energy with a nature-guaranteed bottomless pit of supply.
Portable solar generators have that peculiar advantage of providing electricity from the sun, which is infinite in its natural availability.
Thus, in ideal circumstances, there would never be the fear of running out of power when using a portable solar power station.
The main components of a portable solar power station (the in-built solar panel, the inverter and the battery) all work hand-in-hand.
They jointly bask in the euphoria of making chiefly sunlight-obtained power available for human consumption.
Compare this to the gasoline or diesel generator, which relies on highly exhaustible materials for operation, and you will instantly realize what a treasure you’ve got in portable solar generators!
The renewable energy advantage, as would be expected, is a fecund advantage that has given birth to a few other advantages:
4. The Renewable Energy, Ergo The Affordability Advantage
That portable solar gens rely on the self-replenishing energy of the sun gives us, users, the extra advantage of affordability.
Nature is affordable, so to speak, and portable solar generators generate energy from the sun, which is free for all.
One has to pay initial for the portable solar generator with its inbuilt (or external) solar panels, inverter and battery. Then, that’s all.
Yes, that’s right.
And, as long as:
- Your solar panel continues to contact sunlight (or other lights in some cases), and
- This sunlight energy obtained via the panel powers the battery, and
- The inverter converts the direct current in the battery to alternating current for ready use,
you’re home and dry!
You would notice that money isn’t part of the equation.
You do not have to buy gasoline or diesel, a continuous burden placed on users of fuel generators.
You also do not have to part with money (all other things being equal) every now and then for maintenance.
Neither, in fact, do you have to keep spending to replace one (moving) part or the other.
There may be times when the sun is not readily available, but even then, you do not have to incur a ton of costs. You can simply power your portable solar generator with another secondary sources of light like incandescent bulbs!
Well, there’s, err, the small matter of batteries.
Many portable solar gens have non-detachable batteries, but a few have detachable batteries that need to be replaced when they run out.
This will require money, but even here, there’s still good news: the batteries last as long as automobile batteries – 4 to 5 years!
So, not a lot will be spent still!
5. The Renewable Energy, Ergo The Availability Advantage
I don’t suppose that the sun is going to become unavailable any time soon.
As portable and other solar generators draw their energy from sunlight, users enjoy the amazing bliss of being able to use them as long and as often as the sun remains an earthly feature – which is always!
Imagine that there is a sudden or short notice power outage from the grid and you only have a diesel or petrol generator.
You did not know that power would go out so you naturally do not have standby fuel.
Well, that’s a black-out staring you in the face!
But not so with our dear portable solar generator that can be called upon to bring instant power. Even if it isn’t charged, it can be charged quickly, depending on its charging speed, and make needed power available!
If you’re smart and have a lithium-ion unit from Goal Zero like the Yeti 3000 Lithium, you’ll have an impressive shelve life of a whole year to play with – in which case, you only need to take down the unit from the shelve, dust it clean and power it on!
Besides, with fuel generators, stale fuel can be an issue.
Fuel left in the gen tank which had not been used for long may be unable to serve.
But the sun never goes stale! So portable solar gens are always good to go!
Ditto for a walk out in the park, or a recreational vehicle (RV) ride, or a picnic. All you need to do is get your solar gen in touch with dear old sunlight and use it!
There’s clearly a lot more work with gasoline and diesel-powered generators.
6. Welcome In Parks
Parks are about greenness, environment-friendliness and nature protection, right?
It therefore makes perfect sense, to allow within their pristine, divine spaces only power sources that respect what they are about!
This is why many parks here in the US (and much of the world over) have either banned or largely restricted the use of gasoline generators – with their fumes and their noise – within their spaces.
Nobody likes noise and nobody wants smoke!
Australia, for instance, leads the way in this green initiative to eliminate/minimize the use of fuel generators within their parks.
Anyone thinking of vacationing in Australia and relaxing at their parks had better start thinking portable solar generators – if power is an important part of that stay.
You see, majority of their national parks have banned or heavily restricted the use of gasoline generators within their spaces.
The portable solar generator provides a sublime advantage in this regard.
They are allowed within parks everywhere. This even goes without saying because you cannot ban the sun!
A portable solar power station can’t hurt the pristine environment of parks with smoke. Nor can it endanger the wildlife within the park with toxic fumes. Nor can it upset the serenity of parks and offend other park goers with noise!
7. The Portability Advantage
One of the outstanding advantages of portable solar generators has got to be their portability!
Portable solar generators, in fact, stand out for this quality. They are, after all, PORTABLE solar generators!
Portable solar generators are cute. They are fit and trim and do not suffer any ‘overweight’ issues. This is why they can be carried anywhere and used for almost everything.
The main idea behind the portability of portable solar power stations is to ensure convenience.
The portability advantage of portable solar generators is so significant an advantage that it will not do it justice to discuss the advantage as a solitary unit.
Below are offshoots of the portability advantage:
8. The Portability, Ergo The ‘Fixability’ Advantage
“Fixability” here refers to the ease with which we may place a portable solar generator anywhere of our choosing.
These generators can be placed, without any protests on its part, in a house, in the kitchen, in a truck, in a fishing boat, just anywhere at all!
And it does not protest by shouting – the way gasoline powered generators do, nor does it show a bad attitude by releasing toxic fumes when placed anywhere!
So, the greenness of portable solar generators helps in this advantage too.
9. The Portability, Ergo The Lightweight & Movability Advantage
Similar to the above point, the lightweight quality of the portable solar generator is worthy of note.
It can be placed anywhere including at corners of a house, and it can also be moved anywhere.
Campers, holiday goers and even hikers can move portable solar power units with them wherever they go to, and consume the resultant power generated as (actually) required!
10. The Adaptability Advantage
The adaptability advantage is the “just about anything” advantage.
If one takes a minute to think about the many uses to which portable solar generators can be put, then one would realize what a masterpiece invention the portable solar generator is!
There is almost no purpose that portable solar generators do not serve.
Those with the necessary ports can jump-start cars, some can be used for fishing, and some can also be used to power recreational vehicles.
The gasoline-powered generator, on the other hand, can serve many of these purposes too; but you know what? They could never do it as seamlessly and as ‘messlessly’ as portable solar generators would!
The cons of portable solar power stations are not much – much to my relief. However, there’s simply nothing that has good, awesome sides without sad, downsides.
Here are the things that make the portable solar generator less appealing (than it already is):
Disadvantages Of Portable Solar Generators
There are three categories into which the few disadvantages of a portable solar generator can be placed: disadvantages consistent with its nature, the economic disadvantage and technical disadvantages.
The Natural Disadvantages Of A Portable Solar Gen
The very nomenclature of the portable solar generator suggests some identifiable limitations. It is solar and it is portable!
The Solar Disadvantage: Dependence On Sunlight
The portable solar generator is solar, it goes without saying. Though it taps its energy from an inexhaustible source, the sun, this inexhaustible source varies in supply.
There are seasons, especially in much of the Northern Hemisphere, when sunlight is like a luxury appearing only seasonally, mostly during Summer. That’s why the Beatles once sang “Here Comes The Sun”.
So, during these seasons, it might be a daunting task for a solar panel to be able to trap enough sunlight to charge and power a portable solar generator. This could cause problems, as the device may not be able to charge properly.
Even though solar panels can be charged with incandescent bulbs, this will not quite produce the output of direct solar charging, because the sun is the sun!
The Portability Disadvantage
Interestingly, one of the greatest advantages of a portable solar generator is also one of its greatest disadvantages!
Being a portable source of electrical power is an advantage in terms of physical size but not in terms of capacity. That may even amount to stating the obvious because there is usually a correlation between size and capacity.
Portable solar gens are generally designed for use that is not very heavy, so if you are looking to do intense stuff like lighting up a mini-stadium or running a couple of ovens, portable solar generators will not be able to help you.
At least, not yet!
An average modern oven uses about 2,400 watts of power, a capacity that will seriously task even the very best portable solar generator today, making continued use impractical.
The Economic Disadvantage
Here, the challenges that are directly related to the economic sub-head:
Portable solar generators may be inexpensive to maintain; but they are, well, let’s say, sufficiently expensive to obtain!
Usually, many of the higher end models retail for thousands of Dollars!
I dare say this is worth it, though, especially as it is only an initial investment, and there would be no further foreseeable capital expenditure.
Moreover, it is more than enough consolation that you would get value for your money.
Here, let’s see the technical limitations of a traditional portable solar power station:
Probably the biggest complaint about portable solar generators is their charging speed, or, actually the lack of it.
The Goal Zero Yeti 400 lithium, for instance, takes between 10 and 17 hours to charge under the sun, depending on the particular solar panel used.
This is practically the whole day or more!
Limited Battery Storage
The portable solar gen is a back-up source of power. And this back-up power is stored in the battery. So it is all about the battery. The largest-capacity ones can contain just enough juice to go by.
This would certainly not be enough if you need many power hungry things juiced up.
The AC Power Output Limitation
Portable solar generators only release AC energy at a given, generally limited rate.
The charging and the discharging of portable solar battery are controlled by the charger and inverter, respectively, and the power trapped for discharge is generally sufficient only for powering a few household devices – at a time; no more, no less.
Tendency To Heat Up
Portable solar generators are like smartphones in some ways.
One of such ways is the tendency of its power station to get very hot when exposed for long to hot conditions.
It helps to place the power point of the portable solar gen at a relatively cool spot while simultaneously allowing the panel to maintain adequate contact with sunlight.
This is a hack that may be difficult to pull in instances where one does not have absolute control over options there.
The Societal Disadvantage
Let’s take a look at the sociological aspect of these disadvantages and see what pops up:
Novelty Of, And Societal Naivete Regarding The Product
Portable solar units are relatively new in the market, and not everybody jumps at new things.
Because of this, there may not be a lot of information out there about purchase or maintenance. This may even affect the availability of customer service.
Purchasers are advised to purchase from reliable vendors and maintain subsequent contact with them for maintenance. You may not find anyone in your state with the know-how after all (sadly).
Society, due to insufficient information, may also be generally cold towards these products, but this should not affect anyone who knows what they are doing!
Portable solar power stations may be expensive to purchase but they are well worth it for the advantages stated above especially as they are also super cheap to maintain!
Sunlight may not always be available in most of the US and other parts of the West for the recharging of their panels, but indirect sunlight, daylight and incandescent bulbs can help to charge them.
This is beside the fact that many portable solar generators these days come with dedicated ports through which they can be charged with regular AC power or even in a car.
Portable solar generators may not be able to power very heavy appliances that require voluminous wattage, but as at now, there are those strong enough to power fridges and other household and industrial stuffs.
That is not a bad place to be.
With the many advances in technology that we witness, it is not crazy to dream that portable solar generators will soon be able to do much more while retaining their portability!
Portable solar generators may charge slowly but it all takes a little advance planning, including making charging in advance a habit, and everything will be alright!
Do you see where this is headed?
There is reason to be convinced that though portable solar generators have a few qualms of their own, they are still the alternative power source to beat! Relevant for now and especially for the future!