Best Standby Solar Generators For Home Use

The Best Backup and Standby Solar Generators for Your Home 2017

Whether you are looking for a viable "off the grid" living option, or simply want a backup power supply in the event of total power loss, solar generators offer a green solution that can be just as effective as gas and propane generators.

Backup power for the home is important, and it's becoming a must-have for many homes.

Plenty of people these days depend upon their power supply for not only powering home essentials like refrigerators and air conditioning, but critical medical devices as well. For example, CPAPs are a popular way to treat sleep apnea and other dangerous sleep disorders. Without an adequate supply of power, things can get dangerous.

The Problem With Gas Generators

Gas, diesel and propane generators have been relied upon for years for home power backup and emergency standby power for everything from hospitals to homes.  The are relatively cheap, easy to maintain and widely available.

That said, gas generators suffer from a number of important drawbacks. 

Fuel Supply

A gas generator doesn't store electrical energy. Instead, it converts fuel into electrical energy when you start it up.

To keep the lights on, then, you must constantly resupply a gas, diesel or propane generator with fossil fuel.  Doing so costs money to buy the fuel, unlike solar power which is free.

And what happens if your fuel supply runs out?  For some people, running out of fuel is more than just a lights-off annoyance - it can mean the difference between life and death.

In contrast, solar generators run on the power of the sun, which is 100% renewable, free and reliable. 

Home Solar Generator

Noise

is another issue with gas and propane generators: most are really loud when they run. Solar generators are completely silent.

Exhaust & Emissions

Burning fossil fuels emits toxic gases such as CO2 and carbon monoxide.

This is why you have to run a gas generator outside. Don't even think about using a fossil-fueled generator in an enclosed space – if the noise doesn’t drive you crazy, the CO2 and carbon monoxide emissions can kill you.  

Exhaust and emissions are not a problem with a solar generator. You can even run one on your kitchen counter.

The Best 6 Backup/Standby Generators

Solar generators offer a greener, renewable and more reliable solution to all of these problems.

Solar generators are quiet, lack any harmful fumes and exhaust, and are completely renewable. With a handful of well-placed solar panels, you can provide a FREE supply of backup power for your home.

Today, solar home backup power is within easy reach of anyone.

Over the past few decades, the steady march of technology has extended battery life and  made solar panels less expensive and more efficient.

As a result, solar generators have gone from a wildly expensive, fringe DIY project, to a user-friendly and affordable solution that anyone can purchase online.

The cost of a solar generator remains higher than a comparable wattage power gas generator, but considering all of the benefits, a lot of people today are choosing to go solar.

Today, you can select from dozens of solar generators designed for home power and standby backup.

Which ones stand above the rest?

Read on to learn about 6 of the most popular retail solar generators sold today.

NOTE: In addition to the retail generators listed on this page, you can find more expensive, permanently installed generator solutions from any licensed solar energy installer in your town.


What You Need to Know About Backup Solar Generators

The solar generators on this page can be bought online and are designed for powering home appliances and lighting and for recharging vital electronics.  

That said, there are limitations and other things you need to be aware of when shopping for a home solar generator.

Very Few Solar Generators Can Power Every Appliance In Your Home

Some heavy appliances like clothes dryers, water heaters and pool pumps consume a huge amount of energy that will sap any generator - solar powered, or not.  In general, a single solar generator won't power heavy appliances and devices for very long.

Mid-range appliances like air conditioners, freezers and electric ovens are far more energy-efficient today than a few decades ago. Most backup solar generators can power these for a single use between charges, but not much more.  

The sweet spot for solar backup generators is powering small appliances like LED televisions, toasters, and hair dryers. And, of course, keeping your electronics on and recharged.

Standby Home Solar Generator

Because of this wide gulf in power consumption among home appliances, you need to have realistic expectations when shopping for backup and standby solar generators.

The most powerful home solar generators are capable of keeping your refrigerator on, keeping your computer and electronics running, and powering a handful of lights and other appliances, but they are not yet able to match the full-home power supply of larger backup generators powered by natural gas and propane.

Still, solar generators are very useful backup power supplies in the case of a home blackout, because they offer so many advantages.

To make the right solar generator purchase, you'll want to have an idea of the required voltage and total wattage of the devices & appliances you want to keep alive during a blackout.

Use our handy appliance wattage guide to figure out how many watts you'll need to keep your most important lights, devices and appliances running

Then, look for solar generators that supply that level of wattage.  And make sure they have the right type & number of outlets (12V, 110V, 220V, USB, 2A, etc.)

If you are really committed to buying a completely renewable backup generator for your home and want enough backup/standby power to run your air conditioner and refrigerator for days, then you can always purchase multiple generators.

Some of the units below, like the GoalZero Yeti 1250, can be be chained together to supply more power.

The Best Solar Generators for Home Backup/Standby Power


Goal Zero Yeti 1250 Solar Generator

GoalZero is the most popular solar generator manufacturer today. Goal Zero's Yeti 1250 is the most powerful generator they offer. The Yeti 1250 is an effective backup home generator capable of powering several high-wattage appliances and devices at a time.  It can also be chained together to handle whole-home demands.

Features

The Yeti 1250 is loaded with user-friendly features that keep it simple and efficient.

Goal Zero Yeti 1250 Solar Generetor In Garden

First and foremost, this solar generator is really powerful for its size. The battery has a capacity of 1200wh and 100 amp hours, strong enough to power several laptops and a small energy-efficient refrigerator.

The lead-acid battery in the Yeti 1250 lasts hundreds of recharge cycles and should last for many years.

This generator is chainable, so you can hook up multiple units to supply true whole-home power.

The Yeti 1250 has multiple outlet ports to power several devices and appliances at once, including 3 USB ports, a 12V port, and 3 AC ports. If you need to transport the unit, a cart is included with a collapsible luggage-like handle.

The Yeti 1250 is chargeable via solar panels, and can be recharged using AC and 12v power sources when the sun isn't available. 

The LCD monitor display screen on the Yeti 1250 helps you accurately keep track of the battery's current charge, remaining charge time and rate of power consumption.

Keeping The Vitals On

The Yeti 1250's power output and fast charge time makes it a great backup generator to plug into during power outages.

The unit is powerful enough to keep a handful of vital appliances running for several hours, while providing numerous recharges to handheld devices and laptops.

Goal Zero Yeti 1250 Solar Generator

This generator will keep the lights on, one television going, and the refrigerator running for many hours during emergencies.

Although the generator is a home backup, it is also portable, so it can be used for construction, workshops, and camping if you're willing to haul it around.

Limitations

This generator isn't as powerful as some of its home backup/standby rivals. 

The Yeti's lead-acid battery can be a turn off for those wanting a lithium battery, which not only has a longer lifespan, but is much lighter as well.

The Yeti 1250 is also heavy - it weighs just over 100 lbs.

Summary

The Yeti 1250 is an affordable and user-friendly home power backup solution that will keep your critical appliances on and your electronic devices charged during any emergency.

Just don't expect it to power your entire home, unless you chain a few together.


Be Prepared Solar 2500 Watt 100Ah Solar Generator w/ Two Solar Panels

This generator from Be Prepared Solar is a no-frills generator that can power several high-wattage appliances. It's also designed for portability, so it's also great for long camping trips and for off-grid living.

Features

What this generator lacks in features, it makes up for in power. This solar generator can supply a whopping 2500 W of power.  

It is recharged using two 100 watt solar panels that have a 25 year warranty.

The generator is contained in a simple snap-lid plastic case that has two wheels and a front handle for easy transport.

Be Prepared Solar Generator

The case measures 32 x 18 x 18 inches, and weighs just 35 lbs, so moving it around shouldn't present much of a hassle compared to other backup units.

Five total outlets are included with this model: 2 AC outlets are located outside, along with a USB outlet. Two more AC outlets are inside the unit. Although two solar panels are included, you can add more for a faster charge time.

This particular generator is suitable for home backup, but it can also be used for backup power and additional power for RV's and campers.

A charge controller is included for keeping the battery from overcharging.

Simple, Affordable, Abundant Power

This generator is designed to provide the maximum amount of wattage in the smallest and simplest package.

Smaller items like laptops, television, and phones can be powered and recharged numerous times during the duration of the generator's charge. Lighting will stay on all night if needed.

Limitations

While it's certainly powerful enough to power 2500W (5000W peak) worth of appliances, doing so will run the battery down pretty fast, so items such as refrigerators, portable heaters and freezers should be connected on an intermittent basis.

As you may notice, this isn't the most user-friendly generator. There are no screens indicating power usage, and the unit arrives unassembled, so you'll need to put it together yourself.

Also, you will need to assemble this unit when it arrives, but it's painless.​

Be Prepared Solar 5000 Watt 200Ah Solar Generator

The case is not very aesthetically pleasing, either, and hauling the unit around can be a bit awkward.

Summary

Despite its drawbacks, this generator is the definition of a home standby generator, delivering a lot more power than most generators in its price range.

If you have a basic knowledge of electricity and don't mind assembling your generator, then you'll definitely appreciate the value for money.


KISAE HS-1800 Home Power System

KISAE's HS-1800 Power System has the proud distinction of being the world's first complete home solar power kit.

This unit is powerful, efficient and affordable, and it includes its own solar panels, making it a true plug and play home backup solution.

Features

The HS-1800 is built to be a standby generator that is ready for any situation.

It provides up to 1800 watts of output power and can be charged using the included solar panels or an AC outlet.

KISAE HS-1800 Home Power System

The unit is versatile enough to be installed anywhere, and provides easy access to all the power outlets, which are located in the front.

The HS-1800 has four total AC outlets, which is one more than most models in its class. One USB port is included as well.

The modular design of the generator means it can be upgraded and expanded to meet your specific power needs for your home and situation.

The unit also includes a charge controller for the solar panels, as well as a transfer switch, which allows for seamless electrical operation in the event of an outage.

This home backup generator weighs just 76 lbs, which makes it relatively easy to move around, when needed.

The HS-1800's small (14.5 x 10.5 x 14 inch) size makes it easy to store and to install it inconspicuously.

A Plug-and-Play Standby Generator For The Home

This unit is the one to get if you want automatic power standby during a brief power outage.

The HS-1800 looks like a standard gas-powered generator. And, like any home generator, it will automatically switch on during an outage. 

The HS-1800's design and power makes it suitable for powering large appliances, lighting and essential devices like computers and phones. 

Limitations

The unit isn't as heavy as some other models, but it's not designed to be moved.

It lacks wheels and a handle on the top.

Carrying it would be comparable to carrying an old PC computer unit, only three times as heavy.

HS-1800 Home Power System

It's also not powerful enough to run most HVAC systems, clothes dryers or pool pumps.

The lack of an interactive status screen is unfortunate, as it leaves you no way of knowing the remaining charge left or charge time. That said, this unit is designed to be a set-and-forget standby generator that lives in your closet or garage.  How often would you check it, anyway?

Summary

The HS-1800 is a trustworthy, upgradeable standby generator that stays out of sight until it's needed, when your power goes out.

When the power does go out, it will kick-in and keep your most important home appliances and lighting on. 


Humless L-1500 Lion Generator Bundle Kit

This generator kit from Lion Energy packs a big punch in a tiny package. 

Features

Humless has been a well-known name in the generator industry for a while now, and their new L-1500 generator is vastly improved from the original model.

Humless L-1500 Connected To Car

The generator features two modes: pass-through and normal. Pass-through mode allows the current to bypass the generator and feed straight into the device(s) plugged into it, whereas normal mode allows for the unit to charge without powering anything else.

The L-1500 utilizes lithium batteries as opposed to a lead-acid batteries, giving it a longer battery life while also eliminating the weight of lead-acid batteries.

The unit can supply a constant 1,500 watts, with a surge limit to 2,000, making it one of the more powerful units you'll find today.

The generator offers four USB outputs, two AC outputs, and a 12v output. An additional 12 V DC output allows for chaining to other units, which can supply your home with a significant amount of wattage.

The L-1500 weighs just 36 lbs, and comes with a removable strap for easy transport when needed.

The included 100 watt solar panel folds up for easy storage when not in use, and comes with its own 30A Anderson 21-ft solar panel extension cord, allowing you to obtain sun far away from where the unit is set up.

Reliable Home Backup Power

The L-1500 has been carefully designed and refined over time to provide a reliable source of energy in the event of a blackout or power failure.

It's powerful enough to provide power to large appliances such as refrigerators for 3-4 hours per charge. And it's light enough to take it with you anywhere.

Drawbacks

The relatively small solar panels that come with this unit can take a long time to fully charge the batteries, so additional larger-wattage panels are recommended.

Humless L-1500 Generator Bundle Kit Outdoor

Summary

If you're looking for a versatile, lightweight generator that offers a lot of wattage, the L-1500 is perfect for your needs. The large battery and small solar panels require more charging time, but the long-lasting power is nice to have during emergencies.


OG Solar 110 Solar Power Generator

This 1500W generator from OG Solar is ready to use out of the box, complete with solar panels and a built-in power inverter to supply AC power.

Features

The unit comes in a small 14 x 12 x 13 inches size, but provides a big 1500 watts of power.

The included solar panels are fairly weak, providing just 50 watts each.

The unit itself has a rugged housing that is strongly mounted to a floor dolly for easy transport.

OG Solar 110 Solar Generator

The solar panels come with a 20 year warranty, while the generator itself has a full five year warranty.

All of the internal and external components, including the battery, extension cables, and other accessories are housed inside the dust-proof and crush-proof extra-hard case.

The unit includes its own power inverter, as well as a solar charge controller for battery protection.

Three standard AC outlets are included on the outside, right next to the main power switch.

What it's Good For

The unit is very basic and has an almost homemade look to it, but make no mistake – it delivers exceptional power for a long duration.

This generator does its job, nothing more, nothing less, for a great price.

The power is sufficient enough for larger appliances, and it can power smaller ones for hours upon hours.

If you just want to keep a few lights on while charging your phone, expect it to last days between charges.

Limitations

The lack of a status display screen might throw some users off.

The unit as a whole weighs a hefty 100 lbs, so transport isn't the easiest thing in the world.

There are no 12v or USB outlets, which might turn some buyers off.

OG 110 Solar Generators

Summary

Overall, the OG Solar 110 solar generator does what it is supposed to do - it keeps your home appliances on when the lights go out.  If you have a entry-level knowledge of generators and circuitry, you can save some money with this one. 


Enerplex 1230 Watt Generator w/ Goal Zero Solar Panels

Enerplex combines a well-designed & quiet portable generator with Goal Zero's solar panels for a complete and powerful generator bundle that is suitable for partial home backup.

It's not the most powerful backup generator, but it is portable, self-contained and extremely well-designed

Features

Measuring 15 x 12 x 21 inches and weighing just 35 pounds, Enerplex's generator offers up 1200 watts of performance, which it draws off of the included Goal Zero 100 watt solar panels.

The unit is also easy to move and carry, and provides enough power to make it a perfect backup or standby option at your home.

Enerplex Generatr 1200E Portable Lithium-Ion Battery Generator On Camping Trip

The generator has an easy-to-use interface. It supplies power through 3 USB ports, 3 three-pronged AC ports, an accessory port, and a laptop port. It's also one of the quietest generators we've reviewed.

All of the buttons and ports are clearly laid out and labeled, making it simple enough for anyone to figure out in a hurry. Which can be important during an emergency.

The unit also features a snap-lid compartment on the top for easy storage of accessory cables.

Solar Power At Home Or On-the-Go

The 1200W capacity of this generator makes it capable of partial backup and standby use, and the size and weight makes it just as easy to grab and go for use on the road or at a campsite.

Unlike some other generators, the design and layout of the generator is anything but intimidating, and allows for anyone to use it in confidence.

Easy and efficient charging via the included panels makes the unit sufficient for repeated use during extended blackouts and outages.

The wattage makes the generator capable of supporting mid-range appliances such as mini-fridges and flat-screen television for several hours at a time.

Limitations

The Enerplex 1230 is powerful, but the useful wattage does falls short of most home backup generators. The unit's screen could use an upgrade as well.

Enerplex Generatr 1200E Portable Lithium-Ion Battery Generator

Summary

If you are looking for a backup home generator that is also portable enough to power a campsite or your boat, the 35-pound Enerplex is a great choice.  

This package can be hard to find these days.  If you can't find one for sale online, then a good alternative is the GoalZero 1250.​


About the Author David Roberts

I’m a Mechanical Engineer who’s obsessed with solar energy and sustainable living.

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