There has been a lot of talk about Solar Generators lately so lets take a look at what they are and how you can benefit from one.
Solar Generators are prepackaged kits that include a Solar Panel, 12volt to 115volt inverter and a battery for storage. These small kits come with one to four solar panels and a total rating of 60 to 400 watts of output.
The average 100 watt panel with inverter and battery costs about $1,500 and can run small electronics. Smaller 60 watt packages cost about $400 and can power smaller devices.
In comparison a 10,000 watt Gasoline Generator can run for about 12 hours uninterrupted and can run most contractor tools, general appliances and possibly a furnace. The cost for a medium to large gasoline generator is about $400 to $700.
Although general applications can not really benefit from a Solar Generator there are times when this type of device may provide enough utility to be justified. Probably the best application would be for very remote locations. If you have a remote cabin with very little access to utilities then you could use a Solar Generator to provide general lighting and power some light electronics like a Radio or Laptop.
However if you are setting up a remote cabin you may be better off purchasing single solar panels and installing your own bank of batteries. Building your own or ordering parts from a retailer that can help you select the items you need will save you a lot of money over an assembled kit.
You may also want to look into wind power. A small 1 meter windmill can generate 500 watts of electricity and costs about $600. Paired with a few solar panels you could provide some very decent functionality at a low cost.
If you are thinking about this type of solution you should also invest in LED light bulbs that use a very small amount of electricity.
At this point a Solar Generator even if outfitted with a few strong solar panels is not enough to compete with gasoline or diesel backup systems. If your home has natural gas then a backup generator can provide enough electric utility for days at a time.
No matter which solution you are looking at you will have to modify your use of electric. Reduce your consumption by using LED lights and provide heat through the use of a fireplace, wood stove or kerosene heater.