Depending on where you live, powering your entire home can be one of the most significant costs you must account for every month. Living from the power produced on the grid can be incredibly pricey, but you also are wholly reliant on a system that is entirely out of your control.
Many people are converting to solar power in order to offset different costs and produce clean, sustainable energy for their homes. The problem with merely installing solar is that you still are putting power straight back into the grid and relying on the grid. This means that even with solar, you are still at risk of experiencing blackouts when major disruptions happen.
One of the best alternatives to all of these problems is installing a whole house solar generator that can produce energy and bring it into your home’s system. Doing this completely removes you from the grid and leaves you as an entirely-independent entity that can harvest power straight from the sun and put it directly to use at home.
What Is a Whole House Solar Generator?
A whole house solar generator is a system designed to produce and store energy from the sun that can be used immediately or stored for a later time. This system makes it so you never have to worry about being without power in a blackout, and you can fully rely on the solar generator to power your entire home.
These generators are made up of a large portable power station and a system of solar panels that are connected and working in unison to create and store energy. The portable power stations come in a wide range of sizes, depending on your home size and level of energy consumption.
You can use these generators consistently throughout the day without needing to worry that you’ll be left with nothing when a storm takes out the grid. They are constantly producing power, so long as the sun is out and shining. Even then, you can have the generators connected to AC power from the house and then are able to keep a full charge at all times.
With a whole house solar generator you can easily switch back and forth between on and off-grid power without delay.
How Does a Whole House Solar Generator Work?
The energy all starts up at the sun and is captured by the setup of solar panels that you have installed at your home. From here, the power is converted into electricity and stored in a portable power station, like the INFINITY 1500, which is capable of storing a large amount of energy at a single time.
Now, that power can be used directly from the station by plugging into one of the dozens of outlets that are on the station, or you can run the power through an inverter to feed into the house system. These power inlet boxes or transfer switches allow you to switch your home on and off the grid without a problem, making this an appealing setup for people who often experience issues with the grid.
Regardless of the system, a whole house solar generator can be used throughout the home to power small and large appliances by storing energy throughout the day and being ready for your use when you need it.
A Whole House Solar Generator or Rooftop Solar System, Which One Is Better?
Rooftop Solar System
Installing solar panels on the rooftop is one of the newest moves toward greener energy in existing homes. One of the largest barriers to entry for rooftop solar is the cost and difficulty of installation. These will make people that would normally love to use sustainable energy afraid and unable to get a rooftop solar system in their home.
Whole House Solar Generator
A whole house solar generator comes with a significantly lower price tag and is incredibly easy to install by yourself. These systems are designed for you to set the solar panels up around your home however you want them and you always have the option of relocating the system when you need to.
One of the biggest advantages of a solar generator is that you can simply pick it up, throw it in the car, and take it with you wherever you go. Rooftop solar system is solidly fixed to wherever you pay to have it installed, while solar generators are portable and easy to bring with you for a long vacation or short camping trip.
What Size Solar Generator Do You Need to Run Your House?
The size of a solar generator (also known as a solar power system or solar panel system) you need to run your house depends on several factors, including your energy consumption, location, available roof or land space for solar panels, and your budget. Here's a general process to help you determine the size of the solar generator you might need:
Step 1: Figure Out Your Energy Use
Begin by understanding the amount of energy your household uses daily. Review your monthly utility bills to find the average kilowatt-hour (kWh) consumption. This basic number will provide an initial gauge of how much energy you need to produce.
Step 2: Account for Sunlight Availability
The quantity of sunlight your location receives plays a pivotal role in the efficiency of your solar panels. Areas with more sunlight yield more energy. You can check solar maps or consult a local solar expert to estimate the solar exposure in your region.
Step 3: Calculate Panel Power
Solar panels are often measured in watts. A rule of thumb is that a 1 kW (1000 watt) solar panel system can generate about 4-5 kWh of electricity daily in a sunny area. For instance, if your daily energy use totals 20 kWh, you might require a solar panel system of around 4-5 kW.
Step 4: Include for System Losses
Solar panels don't consistently function at their highest efficiency due to factors such as shade, temperature, and gradual panel deterioration. To consider these inevitable losses, it's prudent to add an extra margin of approximately 10-20% to your calculated panel capacity.
Remember that solar generators are typically designed to offset a portion of your energy consumption, not necessarily cover 100% of it. Many homeowners opt for systems that cover a significant portion of their usage while still remaining cost-effective.
Depending on a range of factors, you need to determine how large of a solar generator you should buy in order to power your whole house. If you are hoping to still run large appliances like the refrigerator or washing machine, you need a massive amount of power storage. On the other hand, if you’re just hoping to have the lights on and working, you can get away with significantly less.
For example, a refrigerator runs at around 3200Wh while a lamp runs at 120Wh. This is where the primary difference comes into play. You can operate a small house with small appliances with a much smaller solar generator. With a larger home and more energy-demanding appliances, you need to up the capacity.
The way to increase your capacity will often be to increase the number of portable power stations and solar panels that make up the whole house solar generator. The INFINITY 1500 and INFINITY 1300 both have a large energy capacity and large output, but if you are going to power the house, you may need multiple.
Most homes require about 2,000Wh of energy to operate at full capacity. Both of Growatt’s larger portable power stations can handle this load, but when a larger appliance starts running, you may quickly push that limit over. If you have a large number of solar panels, you can be refilling your power station simultaneously, making the system efficient and sustainable for the long term.
Knowing the size solar generator you need to run your house starts with figuring out exactly what you hope to power all at once. A washing machine alone can demand up to 1500W to run, making it hard to operate from even the largest whole house solar generators.
How Much Does a Whole House Solar Generator Cost?
A whole house solar generator can cost you anywhere between five hundred to five thousand dollars, depending on the system you require. The larger systems are more expensive, but can quickly offset the cost to power your home for the grid over time.
Smaller solar generators like the VITA 550 can work great if you are only going to use the power for smaller appliances, rather than attempting to run larger ones in a huge house. Tiny homes need something smaller that can be stored away easily, and those options tend to be a bit cheaper as well.
The VITA 550 is Growatt’s smallest option for solar generators, but it still carries quite the punch of energy that can take care of basic energy needs at all times. With a 538Wh capacity and 600W output (1050W with the Watt+ feature), you can run many of the lights in your home and all of the smaller appliances that you may need when the power goes out.
Available for under $600, this is also the most affordable setup that you can later build on with additional solar panels to increase the amount of energy production you are capable of. With 11 outlets to plug into, this is a massive deal for the level of energy that you can get for a large number of devices all at once.
A 1382Wh capacity and 1800W of output make the 1300 one of the best options for your next whole house solar generator. Paired with 200W solar panels, the entire device can charge from 0-100 in only 2.5 hours. At that rate, you can operate multiple devices but still be gaining charge from the panels.
The new LiFePO4 battery has over 3,000 life cycles while still maintaining 80% of its overall battery health. Because of this, Growatt backs the INFINITY 1300 with a 5-year warranty, making it a secure option to buy at only $1500.
Even when the power cuts out, the Uninterruptible Power Supply system ensures that there’s no break in power to your devices. This can save valuable information from being deleted and lost forever, as well as stop you from ever missing a beat when watching an important game or suspenseful movie. These systems are designed to help your life keep running as normal, which is exactly what they deliver to every home they’re installed in.
This 2000W solar generator is the largest option that Growatt has to offer, making it the best pick for anyone that’s looking to run larger appliances or maybe have a larger home to power. In addition to a 2000W output, it can also store 1512Wh of energy, an impressive amount that can last for a long time when powering smaller appliances.
Even in the moments when many people need to charge their devices, the INFINITY 1500 is capable of providing that power. 12 different outlets make it one of the most accessible power stations out there so you don’t ever worry about fighting over who gets to charge next.
This also means that you don’t need to pick and choose devices in your home. You can run multiple at once without worrying that you’ll need to sacrifice one for the other. Paired up with solar panels, the charge will happen quickly and provide you with nearly endless energy.
The INFINITY 1500 only costs around $1700, which makes it a good way to begin transferring your entire home over to a solar generator. With multiple of these, your entire house will never be out of energy. You can connect up to three units at once to make a highly efficient whole house solar generator system.
How to Choose the Best Whole House Solar Generator?
There are so many different whole house solar generators out there that it can be tough to find the right one that fits your exact needs. It’s always best that you start out by identifying what exactly you need out of a solar generator, and then go from there to choose the best one for your home. There are a few areas, in particular, to pay attention to when scanning through the masses of different options.
Battery Type and Storage Capacity
The type of battery that you’re looking for will determine the lifespan of the system and the power that it has to hold energy and put it out.
Growatt utilizes two primary types of batteries, the LFP battery and the NMC battery. Of these two, the NMC is more portable but will have a shorter lifespan overall and is larger, making it less portable.
Storage capacity refers to how long you’ll be able to use the power station without being connected to another source of energy. For example, the INFINITY 1300 has a storage capacity of 1382Wh, while the VITA 550 has a capacity of 538Wh. The 1300 will last you significantly longer with a much higher capacity for storing power over time.
It’s important to pay attention to charging speed, especially the solar charging speed when picking out a system for your home. This will let you know how long you’ll need to wait for the power station to charge to full, which also affects how fast you can drain it.
Cost is obviously an important factor for everyone when choosing to invest in a whole house solar generator. There are affordable options for everyone and it may be best to start small and increase over time.
Many solar generators can be hooked up with multiple power stations to increase the capacity and overall output power of the system. To get an entire house running, you may need up to three different power stations depending on the model you choose.
Can a solar generator power a whole house?
A solar generator is absolutely capable of powering a whole house if you are able to find the proper capacity and output levels in the right generator for your home. But it depends on multiple factors: the energy consumption of the house, the capacity and power of the solar generator, the charging speed, etc.
How many solar panels fit on a 2000 sq ft house?
On average, a 2,000-square-foot house in USA needs 15 to 34 solar panels. If your house has a good south-facing roof and gets plenty of sunlight each day, then this amount will be on the smaller side. How many solar panels you need depends on your house location, roof area, orientation, your family's daily electricity consumption, the efficiency of solar panels and other factors. It is recommended that you find a professional solar expert to evaluate the most accurate quantity for you.
Moving over to a system that is fully powered by solar is an incredible option for many that are looking to save some money on energy bills, or for those who just want to be prepared for a power outage to occur at any time. Overall, a whole house solar generator is something that can be useful and affordable for just about every household out there.