A solar generator isn’t only a great way to have backup power for your home or office but also there are a few portable solar generators on the market that are perfect for camping or emergencies.
But how long does a solar generator last? Well, there is no one answer to this question.
Most solar generators will last for several years with proper maintenance. However, the lifespan of a solar generator depends on a few factors, such as how often it’s used and the type of battery it has.
In this article, we’ll take a look at how long solar generators usually last and what you can do to extend the life of your solar generator.
What Is The Average Lifespan Of A Solar Generator?
Solar powered generators have 4 main parts, each of them with a different lifespan and in this section, we will go through each one of them, what are they good for, and how long they usually last.
1. Solar Panels: 20-25 years
Needless to say, the solar panel is the part of the generator that converts sunlight into electrical energy.
Solar panels suffer from something called degradation, which is a loss in efficiency due to environmental factors such as wind, rain, snow, and dirt.
Over time, the panels will lose their ability to generate enough energy to power the generator.
This period is usually around 20 years, give or take a few.
The good thing is that while the solar panels may not be able to power your generator anymore, you can still use them to power small appliances such as lights and fans, so they don’t go to waste.
2. Battery: 5-10 Years
The lifespan of the battery is determined by the number of charge cycles it goes through.
In other words, how many times do you fully charge and then discharge the battery.
Unlike diesel generators, solar powered generators come with a high-quality lithium battery.
This type of battery is known for its long lifespan and superb efficiency.
The average lithium battery has a lifespan of around 1500-3000 charge cycles, which is roughly 7 years if you used the generator each day.
3. Charge Controller: 15-20 Years
The charge controller is the part of the generator that regulates the flow of electricity from the solar panel to the battery.
This part is very important, as it protects the battery from overcharging and extends its lifespan.
Most charge controllers have a lifespan of around 15-20 years.
4. Inverter: 10-15 Years
Solar panels generate DC current, your batteries store DC current but your appliances use AC current.
This is where the inverters come in, they convert the DC current from the batteries into AC current that your appliances can use.
The lifespan of the inverters will vary, as they are very delicate and susceptible to damage from power surges.
However, most quality inverters have a lifespan of around 10-15 years.
How To Extend The Lifespan of Your Solar Generator
While the solar panels, battery, and charge controller will have a lifespan that is pretty much set in stone, there are a few things you can do to extend the lifespan of your generator.
Here are a few tips:
1. Keep The Battery Charge Between 20-80%
When you charge the battery beyond 80%, you are actually doing more harm than good.
The reason is that when the battery is full, it goes into a state of overcharging and you are putting unnecessary strain on the battery, which will shorten its lifespan.
The sweet spot for most batteries is to keep the charge between 20-80%.
This will ensure that the battery lasts for a long time.
2. Recalibrate The Battery Every Few Months
The battery needs to be recalibrated every few months to ensure that it is charging and discharging correctly.
If the battery is not calibrated, it will not be able to hold a charge as well and will die prematurely.
You can recalibrate the battery by following the instructions in the manual.
It is a simple process that only takes a few minutes.
Just make sure you do it every few months to keep the battery in good shape.
3. Clean The Solar Panels Regularly
Solar panels need to be cleaned regularly to ensure that they are generating the most amount of energy possible.
Dirt and dust can build up on the panels and won’t only block the sunlight from reaching the solar cells but also can damage the internal components.
This will reduce the amount of energy that is being generated and shorten the lifespan of the panels.
You can clean the solar panels by using a soft cloth and some soapy water.
Make sure to rinse them off with cold water and let them dry completely before putting them back in use.
Follow these tips and your solar generator should last for many years.
How Long Will A Solar Generator Last Per Charge?
This really depends on the generator’s battery capacity and the load you are running. The bigger the generator size, the more it will last at higher loads.
To calculate how long will your generator last, you need to use this simple formula:
Time = Battery Capacity / Load
For example, let’s assume you have a small generator with a 240Wh battery and you are using it to power a 40W fan.
By using the equation, we can see that the generator will last for 6 hours (240/40).
Now, another example, how long will the same generator last if we need to power a 40W fan, a 15W lamp, and a 5W phone charger?
If you answered that the generator will last for 4 hours, you are correct! (240/40+15+5).
It’s important to mention that these calculations are assuming that the battery is at 100% charge.
Let’s try another example where the battery is at 70% charge.
70% of 240 =`168Wh
So, the capacity is now 168Wh and the load is still the same (40W fan, 15W lamp, and a`5W phone charger).
And in this case, the solar generator will only last approximately 3 hours (168/60).
How Fast Will A Solar Panel Charge The Generator?
To calculate this, you need to know your solar panels’ wattage and battery capacity.
After that, use this simple equation:
Charging Time = Battery Capacity / Solar Panel Wattage
For example, if you have a 100W solar panel and a 240Wh battery, then you can expect the solar generator to be fully charged within 3 hours of direct sunlight (240/100).
As promised, we have answered the question, “How long does a solar generator last?”
While there are many factors that will affect how long your generator lasts, if you follow the tips we mentioned, you can expect your generator to last for many years.
We hope this article was helpful and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments section below.