A solar generator harnesses the sun’s energy via portable solar panels and stores it as electricity in a solar battery (portable power station). Solar generators are the perfect off-grid and home-backup solution.
However, many home appliances require a lot of energy. Does a solar generator pack enough punch to keep a space heater going? That’s precisely the question we will answer with this guide. Let’s dive in!
Can You Run a Space Heater Off a Solar Generator?
The short answer is yes, but there are several considerations you need to make. The first is whether your solar generator has enough output capacity to run your space heater. Space heaters require a lot of energy to keep running, and you need the right-sized solar generator to operate one.
This guide will offer advice on what to look for when you pair your solar generator and space heater to ensure the best results.
Pros and Cons of Using a Solar Generator to Power a Space Heater
First, let’s examine the benefits and drawbacks of using a solar generator for your space heater.
The positives vastly outweigh the negatives, but striving for a balanced view is always vital before committing to any purchase.
Renewable Source of Energy
Most of us are aware of the need to live more sustainably because, ultimately, renewable energy benefits the planet.
Green energy is one of the reasons solar energy is so attractive. It is entirely renewable and emissions-free, helping reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and preventing further particulate pollution.
Using a solar generator is not only a reliable way to keep your devices running, but you can also feel good about reducing your carbon footprint. It’s a win-win!
Unlike gas generators, solar generators are relatively low maintenance. As we’re sure you’re already aware, they generate their energy via the sun thanks to the solar panels attached.
Solar power means you don’t need to worry about carrying fuel tanks around with you or dealing with tricky canisters. Everything you need comes right from the sun.
Other generators may require the traditional grid, power outlet, or access to fossil fuels to supply the energy you need, but not solar generators. Since they generate all of their energy from the sun, you can take them anywhere, whether camping or living off-grid.
Quiet and Fume-Free
Solar generators are much quieter than their gas-powered counterparts. The quiet is a bonus for campers or anyone hoping to use their generator for outdoor activities, as noise pollution can disturb other campers and yourself!
Even better, solar generators don’t emit noxious fumes, unlike their fossil-fueled counterparts.
No one escapes to the wilds just to hear the chug of a gas generator and smell exhaust fumes. With solar power, you don’t need to worry about that.
Higher Price Point
As the old saying goes, you get what you pay for, which is often the case with solar generators. They tend to have a higher price point than fossil-fuel generators, but the cost of solar is dropping. Ultimately, you need to ask yourself whether it is worth paying for higher quality, clean energy that will save you money in the long run.
Lack of Capacity
Space heaters require a lot of energy to start up and keep running. The larger the space heater, the more power it will consume, and your solar generator may simply not be up to the task.
Before pairing a solar generator with a space heater, read the small print on the space heater wattage and the solar generator to ensure it can handle the task.
What Size Generator Do You Need to Run a Space Heater?
When pairing a solar generator with a space heater, size refers to power capacity. What matters is the wattage, as this dictates whether your generator can supply the power required by your heater. You can work this out by dividing your solar generator output capacity (measured in watt-hours) by your space heater wattage use (measured in watts).
Example: Running a Space Heater with the DELTA Pro
On average, space heaters use 1500W of AC power. You will need a solar generator with a high enough AC output capacity.
In this case, you’d need a powerful solar generator like the EcoFlow DELTA Pro, which has a 3600Wh AC output capacity. Divide 3600Wh by 1500W, and you get 2.4 hours, which is how long you could operate your space heater:
3600 Watt-hours / 1500W = 2.4 hours
The DELTA Pro offers a robust emergency home backup and off-grid living solution. You should always try to go for a more powerful generator than your heater’s requirements, so you have spare capacity to charge additional devices.
How to Use a Solar Generator to Power a Space Heater Safely
When using any electrical appliance, you should take care to prevent any potential hazards.
Listed below are some of our top safety tips.
Know Your Wattage
As we mentioned above, you should always use a generator that has a bigger capacity than what your heater requires. A surplus of around 500W is a nice safety net; for example, if your heater requires 1500W, you should use a generator with a minimum of 2000W output.
Additional wattage becomes even more critical if you intend to use your generator for more than just your space heater. Running out of power is fun for no one.
Use a Thermostat With Your Heater
Temperature regulation is an essential part of using a space heater. The heater could malfunction and overheat if it gets too hot, potentially becoming a fire hazard. Thermostats can prevent you from wasting energy if your heater is running at an unnecessarily high temperature.
Many space heaters come with built-in thermostats. If not, you can typically purchase a detachable one as an accessory.
Look for Space Heater Safety Features
Some space heaters have special tip-over protection, which means they will instantly turn off if they fall. This feature is very effective for preventing accidents. Others will automatically turn off if they become too hot.
Don’t underestimate the importance of safety whenever high temperatures are involved.
Remove Any Potential Fire Hazards
You can significantly reduce the risk of fire with your solar generator and space heater by keeping all flammable materials away from your heater.
Secondly, don’t leave your space heater unattended while running.
Though space heaters are typically safe, accidents happen — and can lead to emergencies like home electrical fires. Turn off your heater if you leave it unattended for more than a few minutes.
Also, though it may be tempting, never fall asleep with your space heater running.
What Do You Need to Run a Space Heater with a Solar Generator?
Now you know how a solar generator works and why they’re a good idea, let’s talk about some of the critical components that make these devices so helpful.
A Powerful Portable Power Station
The portable power station is where you connect your space heater. It needs sufficient AC output capacity to operate a space heater.
Anything with too low of a capacity or a capacity barely above the space heater’s wattage will not power your appliance.
The Right Solar Battery
Solar panels collect energy from the sun, but it isn’t stored there. Instead, the power is directed to a solar battery, which stores the electricity until it is ready for use.
With EcoFlow solar generators, solar batteries are stored in the portable power station. You can purchase additional batteries for more energy storage. Each solar generator has a different battery capacity, and the batteries can be made of varying materials.
Lithium-Ion batteries, like those used in the DELTA and River 2 range from EcoFlow, come highly recommended thanks to their high capacity, long lifespan, and fast recharging capabilities.
Inverters are devices that convert direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC). The power that flows through the electrical grid is AC, but the energy stored in your solar batteries is DC.
Without an inverter, the DC power stored in your batteries cannot power your space heater or other home appliances that rely on AC. EcoFlow solar generators and portable power stations have the inverter built-in.
A Charge Controller
This component controls the power flow, electrical loads, and the charge of your batteries. A solar generator cannot function properly without a charge controller. It is integral to the generator’s primary purpose and can help extend your batteries’ durability. The charge controller is also built-in to EcoFlow solar generators and portable power stations.
Lastly, of course, your solar generator needs access to daylight. More specifically, your solar panels need access to the sun to capture solar energy to store in your solar generator or batteries.
It might sound obvious, but it can be easy to forget that solar generators do not work the same as gas-fueled generators. Keep the solar panels outdoors and exposed to daylight. They don’t need direct sun to gain power, but they need sun exposure of some kind to generate power.
You can also plug EcoFlow solar generators into a wall outlet or your car to store additional energy when convenient or when sunlight is insufficient.
So, can a solar generator run a space heater? Yes, absolutely. Solar generators like the EcoFlow DELTA series provide significant power when used correctly. Just always make sure to double-check the required wattage, and you’ll be good to go!