In today’s modern world, power outages can cause massive losses for entrepreneurs and homeowners who rely on electricity to run essential appliances. They can lead to revenue plunges, equipment damage, and unmatched inconvenience. If you want to protect your property from such nuisances, we recommend getting a reliable generator for your space.
However, there are now various options available on the market. Two of the more popular generator types include solar and gas. How do you choose between a solar generator and a gas generator?
Read on to discover their distinct features, pros and cons, and ultimately, which one is ideal for you.
What Is a Solar Generator?
A solar generator is a portable power station that runs on solar panels. These panels capture the sun’s energy and store it for later use. By deriving all of its power from the sun, it can pack a punch without using fossil fuels.
This machine often contains these four components:
- Solar panels: These modules capture energy from the sun and convert it into electricity. They often contain silicon, phosphorus, and boron layers laid out in grid patterns.
- Battery: This part stores the electricity that the solar panels collect. Usually, manufacturers rate batteries through their capacity — an indicator of how long the system can power devices.
- Charge controller: This voltage regulator prevents the battery from overcharging. It’s essential in keeping all other generator components running safely.
- Inverter: Contrary to popular belief, the inverter, not the panels, is the most important part of the solar generator. It serves as the brain of the installation and ensures consumers can use the electricity solar panels produce.
What Is a Gas Generator?
A gas generator is an electricity-generating device that uses fuel to operate. You can find these machines in most hardware, home supply stores, and specialty companies. It’s also possible to build custom gas generators for particular uses.
Gas generators contain more parts than their solar counterparts, including the following:
- Engine: Gas generators get their mechanical energy from the engine. The bigger the engine is, the higher the device’s maximum output.
- Fuel system: Usually, fuel tanks have enough power to provide users with six to eight hours’ supply. Commercial applications may require external tanks for larger equipment and appliances.
- Alternator: Also known as the genhead, this part converts the mechanical input from the engine. Its stationary and moving components work together to generate electricity.
- Voltage regulator: As the name suggests, it regulates the device’s voltage output. The higher the output, the less DC it produces.
- Cooling and exhaust system: This component ensures that the device does not overheat. Usually, gas generators use a radiator and fan as the primary cooling system.
- Lubrication system: This part ensures the generator’s smooth operations even during prolonged use. We recommend checking oil levels every eight hours of operation to achieve a seamless power flow.
- Battery charger: Modern gas generators use automatic charters made of stainless steel. They supply the device with a precise float
- Control panel: This part allows users to control the generator. Manufacturers offer different features in their control panels.
- Mainframe: Whether generators are portable or stationary, they have custom housings that support whole systems.
Solar vs Gas Generator Overview
If you’re unsure about which generator type will satisfy your requirements, here’s a table for your reference. Hopefully, it can help you make the best decision.
Typical Cost for 1,800 Watts of Power
Ease of Use
Quick no-charge application
Environmentally friendly and do not rely on fossil fuels
Produce high CO and CO2 levels
60 - 90 dB
Require minimal cleaning for maintenance
Require extensive maintenance after use and storage
Solar Generator Pros
Recent solar power statistics reveal that only 4% of U.S. homes use solar energy, but experts expect this figure to grow by over 300% by 2030. Below are some reasons we would recommend solar generators for both residential and commercial uses.
Free Energy Supply
One of the best parts about using a solar generator is that the expenses virtually stop after buying the gear. Owners can find an unlimited energy source from the sun and are not subject to gas price fluctuations.
Low-Maintenance Power Source
Unlike gasoline generators, solar ones require little maintenance. With the latter option, there’s no need to replace fuel lines, spark plugs, and air filters. In most cases, solar generators only need cleaning, especially during storms and rainfall.
Low Noise Levels
Solar generators don’t have moving parts like their gas counterparts do. For this reason, they operate almost silently. If you’re looking for indoor solutions for your power needs, we recommend going solar.
No Hazardous Fumes
Another standout feature of solar generators is that they don’t emit hazardous fumes. For indoor applications, we suggest choosing solar options because they don’t cause swollen throats, stuffy noses, or eye irritation.
Solar generators provide consumers with one of the most environmentally friendly power sources. Unlike gas generators, they don’t release pollutants during operation. We recommend these devices for those who prefer sustainable solutions.
Solar Generator Cons
Solar generators may be environment-friendly devices that use a free energy source, but they can’t address all power needs. Below are some of the disadvantages of using such systems.
High Upfront Costs
Typically, going solar requires higher upfront costs than other counterparts. However, you’ll end up with massive savings in the long run because of the free power source and minimal operational expenses.
Solar generators gather high power levels when the sun is out. On sunny days, it takes about nine hours to charge mid-sized solar generators. However, it will take even longer to recharge them in less ideal situations, like cloudy days.
In some cases, solar generators cannot withstand prolonged exposure to hot temperatures. For this reason, we recommend keeping the solar panels exposed to maximum sunlight but moving the power station to a shaded area. Battery Management System (BMS) features can help address temperature sensitivity.
Gas Generator Pros
Gas generators are ideal for various applications. Check out their advantages below to determine if they can address your distinct needs:
Readily Available Power Source
Generators can run on various fossil fuel power sources, including gas, diesel, and natural gas. However, gas is the most widely available one on the market because of the high demand for motor vehicles.
High Size to Power Ratio
Gas engines are often very light, making them ideal for portable generator applications. However, despite being compact, they can still emit more electricity than solar generators of the same size.
Easy To Use
Typically, gas generators are easy to use. Unlike solar generators, you don’t need to charge them. Simply fill them with gas and press the starter button to use their power. As long as you supply any generator with gas, it will continue running.
In most cases, gas generators are more compact than their solar counterparts. For instance, most home generators only require one or two people to load in the back of a truck, leaving room for other appliances.
Low Upfront Costs
Manufacturers typically mass-produce gas generators, making them more affordable than other generator types. If you’re looking for a device that won’t break the bank, we recommend these devices.
Gas Generator Cons
Gas generators are lightweight, powerful, and affordable machines, but they also have disadvantages. Let’s go through some of them below.
Rising Gasoline Costs
One of the challenges of investing in a gasoline generator is that you need a constant gas supply to keep using it. As gasoline prices increase, so will the cost of running your device.
Gas generators use an engine with many moving parts to produce electrical energy. For this reason, operating one can be noisy and often ranges between 60 and 90 dB. The more affordable a gas generator is, the louder it usually is.
High Emission Rates
Gas generators produce the highest CO and CO2 emission rates out of all fossil fuel generator types. This feature makes them the least environmentally-friendly option among solar, natural gas, and diesel alternatives.
Are Solar or Gas Generators Better?
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to address your distinct needs. If you’re wondering if a solar or gas generator is better, then it’s crucial to identify how you will use the device. Below are two common scenarios to help you select an ideal type.
If you and your family or small group of friends plan to go camping for a few days, it would be fun to bring additional lights, a TV set, laptops, phones, and other gadgets.
In this setting, it’s best to have a reliable power source that will help you charge your electronics to make your trip more fun. For this reason, we recommend solar generators for such activities.
You’ll have all day to gather sunlight, you won’t have to bring lots of gas, and best of all, you can enjoy quiet nights with your loved ones.
For Power Outages
As a property owner, you should prepare for natural disasters like hurricanes and blizzards. Once the power goes out, you should have enough energy for essential appliances, such as heaters and refrigerators.
In this scenario, we recommend gas generators, especially if you’re unsure about when the power will return. A small gas generator the size of a large luggage bag can produce enough electricity to get you through the storm. Plus, you can keep putting in gas if you need more power. However, make sure you set it up far enough to prevent the fumes from entering your property.
Other Factors To Consider
Before deciding which generator type is ideal for you, check out some factors to consider below.
The most important thing to think of is your safety. While gasoline generators are easy to use, they pose a serious threat if not ventilated properly. On the flip side, some solar generators will not function as expected in extreme conditions. For your safety, identify how you will use your device first before buying one.
If you want to ensure that your generator performs its functions well, it’s crucial to observe maintenance best practices. Doing so also prolongs your machine’s life. In most cases, solar generators require the least maintenance out of all generator types.
Lastly, it’s essential to determine what wattage you need. Overpowering your machine can affect the quality of its performance and its longevity. The last thing you want to do during an emergency is to run it at full capacity and then have it break down when you need it most.
So, have you decided which generator type is ideal for you? Solar and gas generators are both reliable power sources, but they have distinct pros and cons that might be beneficial or harmful for you.
If you need more information about available generator options, get in touch with (Company)’s generator specialists through (email) or (number). We’ll be there for you every step of the way to ensure your safety and convenience.
Remember, there’s no better time to protect your family, property, and yourself than today. Invest in a generator now to enhance your home or business life.