Solar generators are a new and emerging form of portable energy technology. They allow you to generate and store small amounts of electric power without relying on the utility grid or using fuel. They are also completely noise-free. 

These generators harness the power of the sun to charge a battery, and then use a built-in inverter to convert the direct current (DC) battery power into alternating current (AC). Solar generators are suitable for powering various appliances through a plug-in connection.

Although you can buy solar generators at the store, it’s even better to make them yourself. Aside from being more cost-effective, DIY solar generators give you the knowledge and ability to repair and expand your system as needed. 

In this article, we’ll cover 4 powerful reasons why DIY solar generators beat store-bought ones. 

1) Amount of Power Generated

There are several factory-built solar generator models that claim to have an impressive power output of 1800 watts. However, there are a couple of issues with this claim. 

Firstly, 1800 watts is not a significant amount of power. A simple toaster oven already consumes 1500 watts, and starting up a household water well pump requires more than 2000 watts. Even a basic coffee maker nearly uses up the entire 1800 watt output. Building your own solar generator can yield much better results.

The second issue is that an 1800 watt rating does not indicate how long a factory-built solar generator can sustain that power. Most of them cannot maintain their maximum output for more than 30 minutes before the battery becomes depleted. 

It’s not very useful to have an 1800 watt solar generator if it can’t do much more than cook a few pans of bacon or brew a couple of pots of coffee. However, there are ways to improve this situation with better understanding. 

The power output of a solar generator depends on the size of the inverter it is equipped with. For build-it-yourself solar generators, inverters ranging from 2000 to 3000 watts work well.

2) Recharging Time

Solar generators have gained popularity due to their fuel-free, emission-free, and noise-free operation. However, for store-bought generators, there’s a lack of transparency regarding the time required to recharge the internal batteries. 

For instance, after using a solar generator to brew coffee and cook eggs, it may become unusable until it recharges. Surprisingly, it can take up to 9 or 10 hours of full sun exposure to complete this recharge. 

The recharge time for many factory-built solar generators is at least 15 times longer than the time it takes to deplete the battery. The issue lies in the small size of the solar panels included with ready-made units. 

When making your own solar generators, build large panels. Although this may seem less convenient, it’s crucial for faster recharge times. 

Use this free online calculator to estimate the recharging time of your DIY solar generator. 

3) Cost

Salespeople often portray “solar generators” as sophisticated devices, without providing much insight into their inner workings. However, the reality is that a “solar generator” is simply a combination of four elements that have been in existence for quite some time. 

The four elements of a solar generator are a photovoltaic panel that generates power from sunlight, a battery to store that power, a charge controller, and an inverter to convert DC power to AC power. 

When you make your own solar generators, you can carefully choose high-quality components from reliable manufacturers and keep spare parts readily available. By doing so, you can reduce your expenses. The cost of these components is approximately 60% to 70% less compared to purchasing a pre-made unit. 

Therefore, DIY solar generators provide cost savings while giving you the opportunity to mix and match superior components.

4) Ease of Repair

Manufactured solar generators combine the four essential components in a way that prevents easy repairs. If one part breaks, you lose power and have to spend a lot of money getting the generator fixed. 

However, the advantage of constructing your own solar generator using individual parts lies in the comprehensive understanding that you gain of the system. In the rare event of a malfunction, you possess the expertise to troubleshoot and fix it. 

Making your own generators also gives you the ability to buy quality components. With quality components, the likelihood of breakdown is minimal.

Building something is always the surest path to becoming an expert in its repair.

Image Source: Matthew Baumann,