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How Much Does a Solar Generator Cost

How Much Does a Solar Generator Cost? On-Grid, Off-Grid, Camping, RV & Marine

How much you pay for a solar generator depends mostly on its power rating and battery capacity. 

Generally speaking, solar generators have a relatively high upfront cost. But their low running costs make them good value for money in the long run. 

In this guide, we discuss how much you are likely to pay for a solar generator for a wide range of popular applications including home backup, off-grid power, camping, RV and marine. 

We also discuss whether solar generators are worth it and how they compare, costwise, to custom solar power systems and fuel-based generators. 

How Much Does A Solar Generator Cost? A Quick Overview 

Solar generators generally range in cost between $100 to $10,000. 

The biggest factors that determine the price of a solar generator are its capacity (in Watt-hours) and its peak power rating (in Watts).

Lightweight & Portable Power:  100Wh to 500Wh

How Much Does a Solar Generator Cost

For less than $100, you can get a small power station with a capacity of under 100Wh. A good example is the ECO-WORTHY 84Wh Portable Power Station.

Power stations in this range are extremely lightweight and portable. They are useful for recharging electronics and powering 1 or 2 LED light.

Solar generators that can power a small appliance start at around $300.

In this range, there is a wide variety of small and medium size solar generators that have a capacity of up to 500Wh and inverters that put out between 200 and 600 watts of AC power.

Budget solar generators like the Jackery Explorer 240 and the Jackery Explorer 500 are ideal for powering small appliances and lights as well as keeping devices charged.

Mid-Range Solar Generators:  1,000Wh to 2,000Wh

How Much Does a Solar Generator Cost

In the mid-range category ($500 to $3,000), you start to get beefier options with a capacity of up to 1,000Wh and a power rating of up to 1,000 to 1,500 watts. 

Thanks to the higher capacity and a more powerful inverter, these solar generators can power larger appliances like a refrigerator or a TV for a few hours per day. 

But they are still portable enough to use them for camping and outdoors. It’s also in this range that you’ll see solar kits that are sold complete with a solar panel and various accessories. 

For larger solar generators capable of powering home appliances for a couple of days, you’ll need to spend at least $1,000. Popular picks like the 1516Wh Goal Zero 1500X, the 2,000Wh Bluetti AC200P and the 1260Wh EcoFlow Delta are great examples.

Whole Home Backup & RV Power: 2,000Wh+

How Much Does a Solar Generator Cost

For $3,000 and above, you can get a large-capacity/high-wattage solar power station like the Goal Zero 6000X (2,000W power with 6,000 Wh capacity), the EcoFlow Delta Max (3,400W with up to 6,048 Wh) or the Bluetti ACP200MAX (2,200W with up to 8,192 Wh).    

These solar generators are generally too heavy to move easily but have enough battery capacity and wattage to power several appliances at once while keeping your lights on and your electronics charged.  

Perfect for off-grid cabins, home backup power, and powering an RV or a yacht.


How Much Do Home Backup Solar Generators Cost?

The cost of a home backup solar generator depends on how much backup power you want. 

  • If you want backup solar power for your electronics, LED lights, and maybe a small appliance like a mini fridge or fan, a small solar generator that costs $500 is adequate. A 500Wh / 500W power station like the Jackery Explorer 500 is perfect for your needs.
  • If you want to watch your TV for a few hours a day, keep a fridge cool, run a few LED lights, and keep your smartphones charged, then invest in a mid-range solar generator. We recommend a solar generator with at least 1,000Wh in capacity and a 1,000W inverter. The EcoFlow Delta is a great pick. It has a 1260Wh battery and an 1800W inverter.  Expect to pay $700 to $1,500.
  • To power a small off-grid cabin or multiple home appliances at a time, you should plan to spend at least $1,500-$3,500 for a power station with a minimum 1,500W inverter (to ensure it can power any household appliance) and a capacity of at least 2,000Wh. Our favorite system in this class is the EcoFlow DELTA Pro, which supplies 3,600 watts of power and 3,400Wh of capacity in its base configuration. The Delta Pro can also be expanded over time to a whopping 12.5kWh of capacity.

While most solar generators can’t power everything in your home all day long, they are more than capable of keeping your lights on, a fan running, keeping your food cold, and running most important appliances during the day. All while keeping your phones and laptops charged.

The largest manufacturers like Goal Zero, Ecoflow, and Bluetti also sell integration kits that let you connect their large solar generators to several of your home circuit.

Many also sell expansion battery packs that let you add more storage capacity to your solar generator. Juat make sure you buy the right model that allows this.

Adding an integration kit and 1 extra battery pack to your setup will often add $1,000 or more to your total cost.

Finally, if you plan to connect your generator to your home’s power circuit, then you will need to budget for an electrician to come and install the integration kit and transfer switch.

How Much Do Solar Panels for Solar Generators Cost? 

How Much Does a Solar Generator Cost

If you are buying a solar generator for home backup, consider buying solar panels as well. With solar panels, you can charge the power station during a prolonged power outage.  

Choose a solar panel that will recharge the generator in less than 12 hours. Use your solar generator’s watt-hours to size your solar panels. 

Say you have a 500Wh lithium ion solar generator. When it’s empty, it’ll be down to 100Wh (lithium batteries discharge up to 80%). 

So you need a solar panel setup that will produce at least 400Wh of power over a few hours. 

If you buy a 100W solar panel like this one from Renogy, it’ll produce about 70W per hour on a sunny day (solar panels produce about 70% of rated output in real life conditions). 

With 6 solid hours of summer sunshine, that’s 420Wh of total output, enough to recharge the solar generator before nightfall . 

For a 1,000Wh solar generator, a 200W solar panel is a better choice. You can also use two 100W solar panels and connect them in series or parallel.

For larger solar generators, string multiple 200W solar panels or get a single high-output panel like the EcoFlow 400W Portable Solar Panel.

Now, let’s talk money. 

A 100W rigid solar panel costs less than $100. Make it foldable or flexible and you’ll spend between $100 and $200. 

A 200W rigid solar panel costs between $150 and $250. A foldable or flexible can cost you up to $300 or more. 

Note: Remember to budget for accessories like cables and connectors. Most cables and controllers are relatively inexpensive. 


How Much Do Off-grid Solar Generators Cost?

When you are living off-grid, you need a solar generator large enough to meet all your daily power needs and then some. 

It also needs to have an adequate power output to support multiple appliances. 

For this reason, off-grid solar generators are more expensive than ordinary portable solar generators

Exactly how much you spend on a solar generator for off-grid living depends on your power needs and any additional components you need to set up an off-grid power system. 

The first step is to size the solar generator. Estimate how much power you need in a day by adding up the power consumption of each electronic in the cabin or house. 

Tip: Multiply the wattage of each appliance/electronic by the number of hours it runs each day to get daily consumption.

If you’ve been using another source of power like a fuel generator or utility power, you can also check your consumption history and use that to get the right sized solar generator. 

Generally, you’ll spend at least $1,500 for a small off-grid solar generator. 

We recommend getting a unit with an output of at least 1,500W and a capacity of at least 2,000Wh. With this, you can power a single large appliance like a fridge (or multiple smaller appliances) plus extras like lighting and a fan.  

If you want to power multiple large appliances like a fridge, TV, and heater, spend between $2,000 and $5,000 on a higher-output unit with a capacity of 2KwH to 6 Kwh. 

Some of our favorite off-grid solar generators include:

Note: solar panels, cabling and accessories are additional.

To keep things simple, look for fully integrated kits like a complete solar generator kit from Bluetti with the AC200Max and three solar panels.

Another option is to buy solar panels separately.

Can I Power My Entire Off-grid Home/Cabin With A Solar Generator?

How Much Does a Solar Generator Cost

Well, that depends on how large your home or cabin is and what appliances you want to run. 

If your cabin is as large as a standard size family home (1,500-2,000 sq ft), a solar generator is not the best option for you. 

Most solar generators are not yet powerful enough to power an entire home. You can power some circuits or appliances in your home, but not your heater/HVAC system, your hot water heater, or your oven/cooktops. 

Instead, consider installing a solar power system with roof or ground mounted solar panels. You can find some great off-grid solar kits at ShopSolarKits.com.

Alternatively, just buy a fuel generator - it can generate a lot more power. And it will cost significantly less up front.

For a tiny home, yurt or small cabin (500-1,000 sqft) with fewer electronics, it is possible to power everything with a solar generator - with the possible exceptions of high-power systems like a water heater and a central AC. 

To know what to buy, first calculate how much maximum power (Watts) you’ll need at one time and how much energy (Wh) you’ll consume daily and then choose a solar generator that can store more than that amount of power. You’ll also need solar panels that can recharge the solar generator in a day. 

For powering an entire small off-grid home, we recommend expandable solar generator systems. That’s because you can add more capacity if necessary without buying a new solar generator. 

A solar generator large enough to power a cabin will cost you $3,000 or more depending on how much capacity you need.  I’d budget $5,000 to be safe.

For example, the Bluetti AC300 kit is a massively powerful power source that comes with four extra batteries for a total capacity of 12.2kWh.

AC output is still limited to 3000W but Bluetti offers an accessory (Fusion Box Pro) that increases max output to 6000W. 

With a large solar generator, you’ll probably want to integrate it directly into your cabin/home’s electrical system. You’ll need an integration kit with a transfer switch to do this. This will cost you a couple hundred dollars or so.


How Much Do Camping Solar Generators Cost?  

For camping, you don't need a huge solar generator. Many small and medium size solar power stations provide adequate power and capacity, and are light and small enough to travel with. 

How much you spend on a camping solar generator comes down to your power needs. How much capacity do you need and what’s the biggest appliance you’ll be powering?

Let’s start with light-pack overnight campers. Maybe you only need to power lights and charge your devices. A sub 100Wh solar generator is perfect for this. It’ll cost less than $100 or a bit more if you add a small solar panel.

Two good picks include the ECO-WORTHY 84Wh Portable Power Station and the MARBERO 88Wh Portable Power Station.  

Tip: If you are a hiker or backpacker, skip the solar generator and get a portable solar charger instead and pair it with a power bank. It’ll be much lighter and smaller.  

If you carry one or two small appliances when camping - e.g. CPAP machine or a mini fridge - you’ll need something bigger that costs between $100 and $500.  

200Wh to 500Wh is the ideal capacity for powering small appliances and charging gadgets when camping. The Jackery Explorer 240 and 500 are two of the most popular small solar generators for camping.  

For campers who travel heavier (e.g. truck camping) or need to support families or small groups, you can get a capable camping solar generator for between $500 and $1000.

Look for one powerful enough to power multiple appliances like a mini fridge, small heater, a fan, and a hair dryer.  The Jackery Explorer 1000 is an excellent pick. 

Some campers don't need solar panels when camping. They charge the solar generator at home or in the vehicle and it lasts them for the 1-2 days they are camping. 

But if you camp for multiple days, bringing along solar panels are a good idea. We recommend buying foldable solar panels that are easy to carry and stow away. You’ll spend between $50 and $300 depending on the size of solar panel you get (50W to 200W).


How Much Do RV & Marine Solar Generators Cost?

How Much Does a Solar Generator Cost

A marine or RV solar generator is no different from other solar generators, other than the fact that certain exposed components may be waterproofed or protected from the elements. And, of course, they are usually installed permanently.

Similar to home and off-grid solar generators, your power needs determine how much you’ll spend on an RV or marine solar generator. 

If you want to recharge devices and power a couple of small appliances, you can get a small power station for under $500. 

If you want to plug in several small and medium size appliances, expect to spend at least $1,000. 

And if you want a solar generator that can power a refrigerator, TV, coffee maker, hair dryer and various other high-wattage electronics, you’ll need to spend at least $2,000 to get a larger solar generator with high output (at least 1500W) and high capacity (at least 2,000Wh). 

How Much Do RV/Marine Solar Panels Cost?

You’ll probably need some solar panels to go along with your solar generator. 

Unlike solar generators, there are solar panels designed specially for RV and marine use. They are hardier and can tolerate extreme environments. 

You can also get flexible solar panels that are easy to mount on curved or uneven surfaces. 

A rigid solar panel will be cheaper. You can get a 200W solar panel for between $200 and $300 and a 100W solar panel for less than $150. 

Flexible solar panels are pricier with a $100W panel costing close to $200 or slightly more and a $200W flexible solar panel costing over $300.

Can You Power an RV or Boat With A Solar Generator?

Sure, but it depends on how much power you consume daily and the kind of electronics you have. 

If you have a water heater, an electric range, and central AC, you probably won’t be able to power everything with a solar generator. 

You can still get a solar generator, but only plug in a few appliances and leave your main batteries to power the big stuff. 

If you only have basic stuff like lighting and a few appliances, you can use a large solar generator to power your RV or boat. Calculate how much power you use daily (in Wh) and how many watts all your electronics consume at the same time (in watts). 

Then get a solar generator with more capacity and output than you need. You’ll probably spend at least $1,000 on a solar generator that you can plug into your RV hookup.  

We recommend a capable unit like the EcoFlow DELTA Pro. It stores 3,600Wh of power (which is expandable) and can handle a combined draw of up to 3,600W. 

Tip: You’ll need a 15 amp to 30 or 50 amp adapter to connect your RV to one of your solar generator’s AC outlets. Be careful not to run too many appliances at once as it can exceed the amp rating of your solar generator outlet. 

You’ll also need marine/RV solar panels, a solar charge controller, and cables.

You can get a 200W solar panel RV or marine kit for less than $500 and a 400W kit for less than $1,000. This doesn't include the cost of an electrician to wire the solar panels and controller. Most pros charge between $100 and $200 an hour.

Solar Generator VS. Fuel Generator: Which Is Cheaper?

How Much Does a Solar Generator Cost

When talking about initial cost, a fuel generator costs far less than a comparable-output solar generator.

You can get a 3kW plus diesel or gas generator for less than $1,000. You’d have to pay more than $3,000 for a similar powered solar generator. 

Over the long run, however, solar generators come out on top. That’s because they don't consume costly fuel, rarely if ever break, and don't require expensive maintenance. In addition, they are silent, involve no moving parts that will fail, and can be used safely in enclosed spaces.


Which Is Cheaper: A Solar Generator or a Home Solar Power System?

Home solar power systems are considerably more expensive to buy and install than a solar generator. 

The average cost of a residential 5kW solar system is $15,000 to $35,000.  

A 5kW solar generator will cost $5,000 to $10,000.  

That said, solar generators are not tied into your grid nor into your home’s circuit.  And the battery systems available for home solar power systems have far more capacity than most solar generators.

Solar power systems are more expensive for two reasons. 

One, they are often designed to produce more power and also store a lot of power. So individual components like the batteries, inverter and solar panels are more expensive. 

Two, they require complex installation, wiring, and electrical work that is not cheap. 

In contrast, solar generators generally have less capacity and power output, they don't need wiring, and most don't include solar panels. They come self-contained or in a pre-tested kit so are much less costly to install.


Is A Solar Generator Worth It?

This depends on your situation. 

A solar generator is definitely worth buying if:

  • You need backup/emergency power for most appliances except your HVAC system and water heater.  There are plenty of options, but expect to pay $2,000+.
  • You need to power a small off-grid cabin, an RV, or a boat. Plenty of kits and solar generators are designed specifically for this. Expect to pay $1,000+.
  • You need portable power while camping or having an off-grid get together.  Lots of options starting at ~$200.
  • You work off-grid and need a portable power station for your power tools. Just pay attention to the maximum power (Watts) you’ll need. Expect to pay $1,500+.

However, if you need a lot of power to backup your entire home or power a large RV or off-grid cabin, a solar generator is not the best option. 

Nor is it the right option for charging your EV. You are better off installing a home solar power system or buying a different kind of generator for these applications.

About the Author David Roberts

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

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