What The Tech: Solar Powered Generators
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Every summer some parts of the country experience power blackouts due to the demand on our national power grids. Every spring some parts of the country experienced power outages due to storms. Every fall sports fans are looking for portable electrical power for gameday
tailgates. Gas-powered generators have been the solution for generations but now, portable electric power is available through portable battery generators.
These power sources are similar to portable batteries that you use for smartphones, only they’re much bigger and can provide enough power for bigger appliances such as tvs and portable refrigerators.
They’re very popular right now and many are less expensive than the noisy and smelly gas generators you can only use outside. Some also use solar panels to provide power for devices.
Anker, the maker of smaller portable batteries introduced a line of large portable generators that can be charged by a standard electrical outlet. Like others on the market, they have up to 4 AC plugs, 4 standard USB connections, 2 USB-C connections, and a car outlet.
So what can this power be? Anker says its largest generator can power home appliances for a few hours, camping devices such as electric grills, a mini-fridge, and mobile devices for longer. They can also be used in home workshops to power electric drills and other tools.
I’ve been trying Anker’s 757 Portable Power Station for a few days and found it kept a full refrigerator running for about 6 hours.
Portable electric generators can also be stored away after charging fully and still hold enough power to get some things running in an emergency when power is interrupted for a day or so. The 757 Power Station has a 1229Wh capacity and 1500 wattage. It weighs about 50 pounds so it isn’t necessarily easy for just anyone to carry from room to room but it does have handles to make moving it less awkward.
Electric generators can also be charged and maintain continuous power using solar panels. Anker’s solar panel plugs into the generator to keep it running for days. The 625 Solar Panel folds up nicely for easy carrying from the car to the campground but folds out to nearly 5 feet of solar panels. It can also charge two devices at once plugged directly into the back of the panels.
The 625 Solar Panel offers 100W and has folding stands to keep the panels pointed directly toward the sunlight.
So who are these devices for? They could be very helpful for campers who’ll be away from electricity for a few days and people who RV and need external power sources. Since the portable generators are limited to how much power they can supply to multiple devices, the solar panel can help keep things running for several days in the event of a power outage.
They cannot power an entire house but since they’re electric, they can be used inside. I also found these portable generators to be quiet and they charge quickly.
The generators can also be used as an uninterrupted power source for life-saving devices such as C-Pap machines.