A battery-powered solar generator can supply electricity off-grid and during a power outage.
Some can even run an entire house.
If you purchase a portable power station with solar charging capabilities, you have numerous options to keep your backup or off-grid electricity source charged. And many models allow you to increase power output and storage capacity to meet your individual needs.
How long a battery-powered generator can operate without recharging — and how many years it will serve your backup power or off-grid electricity needs — depends on numerous factors.
Read on to learn more.
What’s the Difference Between a Traditional Portable Generator and a Battery-Powered Generator?
Portable fossil fuel generators — often referred to as “traditional generators” — were once the only choice for a power supply you could take on the move. While gas-powered generators are still in use, solar battery-powered options are more prevalent than ever.
Here are the key differences.
A traditional portable generator runs on fossil fuels: gasoline, propane, natural gas, or diesel. Its engine converts fuel into electricity for your home or campsite. As long as you keep feeding in fuel, it can keep running.
Unfortunately, fossil fuel-powered portable generators also come with numerous disadvantages. According to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), they produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, among other toxic gases. Burning fossil fuels is the primary contributor to climate change caused by greenhouse gases.
Traditional generators also tend to be extremely loud, disrupting neighbourhoods and campsites alike. Many campsites restrict their use to avoid disturbing neighbouring campers.
Battery-Powered Generators (Solar Generators and Portable Power Stations)
Portable power stations forego fossil fuels altogether. Instead of converting gas or diesel into electricity, portable power stations can be charged by various methods — including clean, renewable solar.
Portable power stations and other battery-based solutions don’t actually generate power on their own. Depending on the make and model, you can recharge a battery using household electricity (AC), attach solar panels to transform it into a solar generator, or utilize other charging methods, such as a car adaptor.
Battery-based power solutions, like the EcoFlow RIVER 2 Pro, are effortlessly portable — weighing in at a little over 17 pounds (7.8kg).
Whole home backup power solutions can be built out of portable components — and provide enough power output and storage capacity to backup your entire house during an extended outage.
Hybrid solutions, like the EcoFlow Smart Home Ecosystem, can combine solar and fossil fuel power generation with the Smart Generator (Dual Fuel), giving you even more options to power your home during a blackout or off-grid.
The Smart Home Ecosystem can easily connect to your home’s existing wiring and circuit board using a transfer switch or power inlet (if available).
Factors Affecting How Long a Battery-powered Generator Will Last
How long can a battery-powered generator last between recharges? What about its overall lifespan?
You need to know your battery’s power output and storage capacity, the energy requirements of the devices or appliances you want to operate, the duration of the blackout you want to be prepared for, and numerous other factors.
Here are some of the most crucial things to keep in mind.
Type of Battery Chemistry
Over time, batteries degrade. All batteries lose storage and output capacity depending on how often you use them — and how low you allow a charge to go before you recharge.
LiFePO4 (LFP) battery chemistry is the most efficient and long-lasting of residential battery-powered generator options. For example, the DELTA Pro portable power station will last 3,500 cycles before diminishing to 80% capacity and 6,500 cycles before hitting 50% capacity.
With average use, LiFePO4 batteries will last up to twice as long as lithium ion batteries and many times longer than lead acid batteries.
Portable Power Station Output Capacity
Portable power stations and traditional generators typically rate their electricity output capacity in watt hours (Wh) or kilowatt hours (kWh.) Power output capacity dictates the maximum amount of electricity a generator can deliver at any given time. The higher the output capacity, the more devices you can run simultaneously.
Appliances and systems that require a significant amount of electricity to start up and operate — such as air conditioners, refrigerators, and electric ovens — won’t run without sufficient power output.
A commonly unknown fact is that many appliances require much more electricity — often double — to start than they do to run. A significant advantage of EcoFlow portable power stations is that they use proprietary X-Boost technology to briefly increase — or even double — output capacity to get your appliances up and running.
Type of Appliances
The sum total of your power consumption before recharging will determine how long your battery’s storage capacity lasts. Think carefully about what devices and appliances you need to run when the grid is unavailable. Add up their consumption (and surge power requirements) to ensure you have enough power output and storage capacity to ride out a blackout, however long you anticipate it might be.
Run-Time of Devices and Appliances
Aside from how much electricity your devices and appliances consume, consider how long you need them to run. You can charge a smartphone in around an hour, but you need a refrigerator to run 24 hours a day. The energy demand multiplied by the run-time determines total energy consumption.
Number of Devices and Appliances
If you plug two smartphones, a laptop, and a TV into a portable power station, factor the requirements of each device into your calculation. The more devices, the more energy demand is placed on the battery.
How Many Years Will a Battery-Powered Generator Last?
A high-quality battery-powered generator can be a significant investment. You need to purchase a solution with sufficient power output and storage to meet your requirements — and the additional components necessary to actually generate power instead of just storing it, such as solar panels.
The lifespan of a battery-powered generator depends on many factors, but battery chemistry is the most crucial.
Cheap lead-acid batteries will probably only last a year or two.
Lithium ion batteries will typically operate for five years before their capacity diminishes.
The latest LiFePO4 (LFP) battery chemistry found in EcoFlow’s DELTA 2 and DELTA Pro should last for 10 years or more before a noticeable decline in performance.
As outlined above, how long a battery-powered generator will last — before a recharge or over its lifespan — depends on numerous factors.
Regardless of the application, consider all these points before making a purchase decision.
Make sure you can meet all your electricity generation and storage needs — both in the short and long term.
No matter what your budget or requirements, EcoFlow has you covered.