Solar generators represent the next generation of solar technology. You can power just about anything off solar energy—household appliances, mobile technology, even electric cars.
But how much power can they store, and how long do they last?
The question of how long solar generators last depends on whether you’re speaking of per charge or over the course of their lifetime. It also depends on the size, the style, the brand, the type, and the price.
Solar generators come in all shapes and sizes, which means they hold different charges too. Here, we look at real-life examples showing how long solar generators last, including the average lifespan, how long they last per charge, and what things they can power.
How Long Will a Solar Generator Last in Its Lifetime?
Throughout its lifetime, the average solar generator will last between 25 and 35 years. The lifespan is comparable to a quality roof, and it is a worthwhile investment for your household.
Solar generators run on power derived from sunlight. As plants photosynthesize sunshine into energy, these generators convert prolonged exposure to the sun’s light and heat into usable energy.
Although this type of power has only become available to the average consumer in the past few years, solar power and energy are actually quite old inventions.
Solar power was first “discovered” as early as the 7th Century B.C. when ancient people discovered glass could magnify the sun’s rays and make fire. In the Roman Empire, they designed houses to maximize sun energy in some rooms and minimize it in others. By the 18th century, the first “solar collector” was invented, and by the 19th, experiments with electrolytic cells led to the first functional solar generator.
Nowadays, it’s possible to harness solar energy affordably. And thanks to new technology, it’s possible to continue to harvest the sun’s energy for much longer.
Of course, the lifespan differs across products. It all depends on quality.
For example, suppose you invest in a product like the EcoFlow DELTA Max. This portable power station comes with up to four solar panels. Thanks to its innovative battery management system that prolongs performance, you will be looking at a product that will last on the upper end of the lifespan range.
This kind of generator can power highly complex and energy-intensive devices, and you can use it in various ways.
How Long Will a Solar Generator Last Per Charge?
The duration per charge depends on what kind of generator you have, the wattage of the devices you’re looking to power, and how heavily you use it.
For example, a refrigerator runs constantly. As long as you keep it plugged in, it will continue to consume energy. On the other hand, a washer requires the same amount of energy each time it runs and only uses power when switched on.
To continue with the product example in the last section, let’s look at the EcoFlow DELTA Max. This modern, high-quality generator can last up to 189 hours if you’re powering a 10W lightbulb.
How Long Does It Take to Charge a Solar Generator?
If you invest in a high-quality solar generator, it may take just over an hour to charge. Bulkier, lower-quality generators can take several hours to charge.
All four products in EcoFlow’s Delta line take under 85 minutes to charge from a dead battery to 80 percent capacity.
You can invest in portable, rechargeable batteries that accelerate the charging speed. These batteries also can run simultaneously to your solar generator while charging. If you live in a blackout-prone area or are simply afraid of a sudden power loss, it’s best to stock up on items like EcoFlow’s Smart Extra Batteries.
How Long Will a Solar Generator Run Common Household Items?
The water heater is the most energy-demanding appliance in the average home—more than a refrigerator-freezer combo, a flatscreen TV, or even an air conditioning system. The water heater takes enormous energy to keep hot water ready and on demand.
Using solar energy to power your water heater is commonly known as solar thermal heating. Using energy from the sun to heat water is the most natural process in the world. We humans have been doing it for hundreds and thousands of years.
The only difference now is that vast amounts of energy are necessary to heat large quantities of water quickly. A standard water heater will require 4000 watts.
In terms of how much time you’ll need to power a water heater fully, it depends on how many solar panels are attached to your generator — and which model generator you’re using. If you have an EcoFlow DELTA Pro with 4 x 400W solar panels, it won’t take long. But it will take longer if you have a smaller generator with fewer solar panels.
Large Household Appliances (Washer, Fridge)
One step down from water heaters are the large appliances of the home—a fridge, a washer, a dryer, and an air conditioner.
Each of these appliances requires individual calculations because they all operate quite differently.
To exhaust a product like the Delta MAX from full charge to empty on a device, you could power a full-sized fridge using 120W for up to 14 hours.
With that same charge, you could power multiple electronic devices. You could also power something like a washer running at 500W for almost 4 hours.
Small Household Appliances (Microwave, Blender, Coffee Maker)
Some small household appliances require more wattage than larger ones. Size isn’t a reliable determinant. Instead, you want to consider the watts per use. The less wattage required, the longer you can expect the solar generator to last per charge.
For example, while a refrigerator may require a relatively low, steady wattage of 120W, a microwave will require 1300W. You can run the Delta Max for 1.5 hours per charge using the microwave continuously.
A hairdryer requires even more watts at 1600W, and the Delta Max would last 1.1 hours. However, it’s also unlikely that you’ll use the hairdryer for that long.
Other small household appliances like coffee makers (1000W) and electric frying pans (1200W) can run anywhere from 1.5-2 hours.
Large Electronics (Television, Printer)
If you want to power devices like your flatscreen television, printer, or desktop computer, you will be looking at similar numbers to the appliances.
A 50-inch flatscreen consumes the same amount of energy as a fridge. If it runs at 100W on average, your Delta Max could keep it running for up to 15 hours!
Small Electronics (Smartphone)
Like small appliances, solar generators can power 1,000 toasters as easily as they can charge 1,000 smartphones.
Smartphones don’t require much power—they use about 5 watts on average. It’s less than the energy needed to charge a lightbulb, so you could easily use a generator like the Delta Max and charge your phone for up to 189 hours, or even more!
That said, you should be aware of “vampire” appliances. Generally, this refers to devices like modems and cable boxes that continually use power. Those are harder to regulate since we depend on them to be ready to boot up at our every whim.
What Can Solar Generators Power?
Solar generators can power just about anything that uses electricity. From the small things like alarm clocks to the big things like electric cars, the right solar generator can do it all.
Even a portable power station like the EcoFlow River Pro can connect via Solar Extension Cables to a grid of solar panels to store energy. Once that energy is properly stored, you can draw from it at will.
Can a Solar Generator Overwhelm a Home’s Circuits?
A common misconception is that solar generators store up so much energy that they can overwhelm a home’s power circuits, essentially defeating the purpose of having a backup power source in the first place.
Whether you choose the EcoFlow DELTA Pro with a Smart Home Panel and Smart Home Generator or a less robust option, you needn’t worry about a solar generator short-circuiting your home power.
Should I Get a Solar Generator for My Home?
Sales of solar generators will steadily grow through 2028. The time to get in on solar is now.
Many excellent products out there harness the sun’s power to charge all your devices. But how long they last will depend on the quality as well as the energy consumption of the appliances and devices you want to power.Put your money on a quality solar generator maker like EcoFlow. Our River and Delta series offers numerous portable power stations. Whether you want backup power for a camping trip or to supply power for your entire home, we have solutions so that you can go green with ease.