Can a Solar Generator Power a House? - Nature's Generator

Can a Solar Generator Power a House?

Can a solar generator power a house? Let’s skip all the fancy introductions and go straight to the answer. While most would say an absolute “Yes” or a hard “No” -- let’s keep things interesting with: “It’s not impossible”
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Can a solar generator power a house?  Let’s skip all the fancy introductions and go straight to the answer. While most would say an absolute “Yes” or a hard “No” -- let’s keep things interesting with: “It’s not impossible”.

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Why is this question so timely and so important?

Before we go on to explore the intricacies of the title question, let’s set the stage detailing why the answer is so important. As countries around the world deal with numerous problems, inflation, war, poverty (to name a few), there’s also this common looming crisis challenging us all on a worldwide scale -- climate change.

Since the late 1980s, our warming planet due to climate change has been a global focal point because of the associated, anticipated disastrous environmental and economic impacts. According to the United Nations, climate change is the defining issue of our time, and we are already at the defining moment.

With climate change there’s only a decade to make needed corrections -- it’s now or never.

Experts tell us we have about a decade to significantly alter our approach of burning fossil fuels for power and for transportation. Climate change is fast approaching being irreversible, but we still have time to act to protect current and future generations.

Perhaps author Alan Bennett said it best when he wrote: “Sometimes there is no next time, no time-outs, no second chances. Sometimes it's now or never.”

Climate change as a topic may sound like a handful to deal with, and in truth it is a challenging issue for ordinary people like us, however ignoring it will not solve anything. Now we know there is no time to waste. Now we know we need to act immediately. Now we know we must move to cleaner renewable energy production and transition away from unsustainable, nonrenewable fossil fuels to prevent further catastrophic climate damage from occurring.

Important differences between nonrenewable and renewable energy.

A quick explanation of terms.

Nonrenewable energy comes from fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas -- as well as nuclear energy. Why are these considered nonrenewable sources? Because they are finite (they are limited natural resources that will deplete -- or in the case of nuclear power it relies on such resources for its process). These energy sources are also categorized as nonrenewable because they pollute.

Renewable energy comes from sources like sun, wind, water-movement, and hydrothermal sources. Why are these considered renewable? Because they are infinite (they will not run out as they are continually renewed by nature). They are also categorized as renewable because these sources don’t pollute.

Healing the world must start with us -- we each must do our part, or we will not be able to stop the runaway climate-change train that is barreling down the tracks aimed right at the Earth’s environmental sustainability and life as we know it.

How do we take on this challenge to save our planet? Let’s skip the basics and take it a notch higher by starting to explore an easy and already existing technology – solar energy.

The solar energy industry already exists – we need to use it.

Solar energy is an existing, clean-renewable energy technology; thus, it is altogether fitting that we take this solar solution and run with it. The bonus here is, because it exists, we don’t have to spend precious years trying to perfect the solar-energy industry -- instead what we must do is immediately get this solar planet-saving technology working for us.

Every house, carport, or yard should have solar panels that attach to a solar-powered generator for power storage. We need this yesterday. You’ve heard the saying: Go big or go home. Well, we need to go big, or we may not have a home to go to --or at least not one with a climate that we recognize.

How does a solar generator work?

A solar generator works when sunlight strikes photovoltaic solar panels and this energy goes through the generator’s charge controller to its battery bank (for power storage, which allows the power to be used now or later) through the generator’s inverter and (if you use a power transfer kit) directly to your home’s electric panel. This is the process a solar generator uses to convert sunlight into AC (alternate current) electricity that can be used in your home.

Portable solar panels in a sunny backyard are easy to set up (in a south facing orientation for optimal sunlight collection) then simply plug the panels into the generator to charge it.  The combination of solar panels and a generator means you are generating electricity that can be used now or stored for later use. Nature’s Generators have a feature that allows power to be used while the generator is being recharged. Not every solar generator has this feature.

Solar energy is a cost-efficient way to power your home’s electronic appliances and devices. After you purchase the generator, the solar panels, and get them hooked up, there is no further cost -- unlike gas generators that must be continuously refueled.

Many people have already shifted to utilizing solar energy.

“Solar energy” is rapidly becoming a commonly used power source -- and not just in the world of preserving-the-natural-environment advocates, but with ordinary people as well. There are different reasons why individuals have shifted to solar energy systems or solar powered generators. These reasons include convenience, efficiency, and the need for a backup emergency power because of our-now-all-too-common power outages.

For some people their reasons go deeper and are more meaningful, like promoting clean and renewable energy to be part of the solution for our current climate crisis. Many people view this as an opportunity for them personally to prevent adding further to the fossil fuel consumption because they understand these fuels release hazardous greenhouse gases into the atmosphere exacerbating and accelerating climate change and global warming.

Can home solar powered generators really help combat climate change?

The answer is a resounding “Yes!” The greater the number of homeowners that install products like the affordable solar powered Nature’s Generator, then the faster we stop using polluting nonrenewable energy fossil fuels to power our world. It’s up to individual homeowners to decide whether to choose an exceedingly affordable portable solar generator system (starting at $999.99) to run key devices and appliances during an outage (which BTW, can also be used daily to avoid the grid’s higher peak-use rates) or to select a larger solar generator system that was designed to run an entire household -- off the grid if necessary.

This personal imperative could be one of our most promising weapons against this global climate-change issue. But you might ask, “How and where do we each start?”  Simple, we each need to start where we live -- in our own homes.

According to the US Energy Information Administration: “In 2020, the average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer was 10,715 kilowatt-hours (kWh), an average of about 893 kWh per month.”

To fully understand this U.S. E.I.A. data we need to review some basics.

  • A watt is a measure of electrical power.

  • A kilowatt (kW) means 1000 watts.

  • A kilowatt-hour (kWh) means 1000 watts used for one hour. (A kilowatt-hour is a measure of the amount of energy an electrical appliance needs to run for one hour.)

  • Formula for converting kilowatt-hours: kWh = (watts x hrs.) divided by 1000

So, this means the average U.S. utility customer’s 10,715 kWh per year works out to roughly 887 kWh per month or approximately 30 kilowatt-hours per day.

If we want to continue using all the modern technological conveniences that use electricity (but we want to do it without harming our planet), then we all need to step away from using dirty nonrenewable energy and start being part of the solution by using clean renewable energy like home solar-powered generators to generate our electricity.

However, it bodes well for us that appliance manufacturers are doing their part too, as they’re continually increasing the energy efficiency of their products. Because of this we now have new energy efficient refrigerators that only use about 300 to 400 kilowatt-hours per year (that’s only 25 to 33 kWh per month). Similarly, where incandescent bulbs in the past required 60 watts of power for a bulb, now energy efficient LED bulbs use only 9 watts for the same brightness. You will find this same type of trend across all markets, like TV sets, microwaves, stoves, dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, and even air conditioning units.

Additionally, there are now smart power strips that prevent devices from drawing power when the plugged-in device is turned off, and battery chargers that on draw power only if a device is plugged into it. This means the various small wattage “energy vampires” leaks can be eliminated too.

Why these advances are important to note is the trend is moving toward appliances with more efficiency, not less, meaning that as these advances become common in the market that powering an entire house on a solar power generator will become even easier, not harder. 

A message to the pro-oil faction – come to the sunlight side -- we must move on to clean energy.

To those out there that are pro-oil, know this, we are not saying that the oil industry will suddenly cease to exist, we are saying we need to wean ourselves off burning fossils fuels – we need to do this for all our kids and their kids and so on. There will still be a need for some petroleum products. Even electric vehicles will still need lubricants on their axles.

Additionally, petroleum is used in the production of other products where, importantly, it does not need to be burned to release its energy. What we need to stop—what we must stop – is the wholesale burning of fossil fuels that adds to the accumulated greenhouse we’ve pumped into our atmosphere. This is causing temperatures to rise and affecting weather patterns around the world. Man used to kill whales for lubricants and lamp oil, that was not a sustainable choice either. There are times when we need to move on.

Can a solar generator really power an entire house?

The answer to this question, depending on the circumstances, is still a bit of a tug-of-war between yes and no. In our opening paragraph we skirted the issue a bit saying, “it’s not impossible.” The answer to this question basically depends on your home’s size and its electrical demands -- the amount of power your appliances and electrical devices need. If you’re looking to run small electronic devices, then “yes” a solar generator will never fail you.

However, if you’re running big, power-hungry appliances, then the answer used to be a big “no”— however, with Nature’s Generator’s expandable battery storage systems that answer now can be changed to “yes.”

Even Nature’s Generator’s Standard Gold System (1800-watt) and Elite Systems (3600-watt) portable solar generators can run some smaller households -- particularly if your home has a natural gas furnace and water heater and/or you use a fan or portable window AC unit rather than a power-hungry central air-conditioning system.

But now we add another plot twist, enter Nature’s Generator’s newest product -- the Powerhouse – which has a maximum 7200-watt capacity before adding more units or power pods. This strong generator has a 4800kWh (Kilowatt-hours) battery and it was specifically designed to power an entire household.

With the Nature’s Generator Powerhouse on the scene, running an entire house with a solar generator is now going to be a common occurrence. So, to circle back around to our initial title question to give a final and definitive answer, a solar powered generator powering an entire house is not in the least impossible. Read on for more details.

To select the correct size of solar powered generator for your house, you will only need to know a bit about the different devices and appliances you own and that you will want to power.

Below are some basic devices or appliances and an average estimate of how much power they consume, you can also look for the manufacturer’s decals on your items (or go to their website) to determine the exact wattage draw your appliance has while running. (Sometimes a manufacture’s decal will state the product’s amps. The following is the formula for conversion from amps to watts: Amps x Volts = Watts.  An example would be if you have a 7-amp washing machine that is 120-volts that would be: 7A x 120V = 840 watts.)

Average electric appliance & device running time wattage:

  • Cellphone Charger: 25W
  • Internet modem: 25W
  • LED lightbulb 9 W
  • Fans: 10-65W
  • Ceiling fan 60W
  • LED Television: (22” -17 W,) (49” - 85W), (82” - 230W)
  • Television CRT: 500W
  • Laptop: 250W
  • Desktop computer 100W
  • Computer monitor 25W
  • Inkjet printer 25W
  • Laser printer 600W
  • Refrigerator/freezer 550W (Side by side 800W)
  • Smart Refrigerator/freezer 300-500W
  • Bar or refrigerator 180W
  • Wine cooler -18 bottle 83W
  • Coffeemaker 800W
  • Microwave Oven: 1000 - 1300W
  • Space heater: 200-600W
  • Larger space heater 1800W
  • 6000 BTU portable wall air conditioning (AC) unit 500W
  • 10,000 BTU central AC 1500W
  • 24,000 BTU central AC 3800W
  • 40,000 BTU central AC 6000W
  • Evaporative AC 2600W
  • Electric furnace 2000W
  • Electric water heater 4000W
  • Electric water heater immersion 300W
  • Tankless Water heater 6,600 W
  • Garage door opener 875 W
  • Washing machine 700 - 1150W
  • Electric clothes dryer 5400W
  • Gas clothes dryer 700W
  • Dishwasher 1500W
  • Electric Oven 2150W
  • Electric Stove burner 2100W
  • Treadmill 280W
  • EV home charger 1600W (EV – electric vehicle)

All electrical appliances and devices will not run 24/7.

When looking at this average wattage list there are a couple of things you should remember. First, you probably won’t have all these different devices in your own household. Second, the devices you do have won’t all be running or charging at the same time.

While your refrigerator/freezer needs to be powered 24/7, other electronic items on the list are used intermittently. TVs, computers, fans, space heaters, printers, garage door openers, dishwashers, washing machines, electric vehicle chargers, and yes, even air conditioners are only going to be used sporadically at certain times of the day, times of the week, or seasonal times of the year. (For instance, you would not be operating your air conditioner and your space heater at the same time.) Another example would be lights, which are not used during the bright daylight hours or while you ‘re sleeping.

It is assumed you will use load management practices and not run every electronic device and appliance simultaneously. In fact, the above average wattage list might help you be aware to not run two or three of the most power-hungry appliances at the same time if it can be easily avoided.

Utility companies often have Time of Use plans to manage grid demand.

It is pertinent information for our exploration that many utility companies have Time of Use (TOU) plans to try to help manage customer power demand by charging more for energy used during peak-use times. In this way the utility companies are also trying to ensure the electrical grid will not be overwhelmed during these peak times.

Rates tend to be highest during the hours from 4 to 9 PM. This is particularly relevant if you are designing a solar generator system to run your household but are still going to remain connected to the grid. By running your home on your solar generator during these peak-use times your wallet will thank you, and so will your local grid.

How big does my solar generator have to be to run my household?

To determine what size generator you require, you need to define how much power you need. Rather than doing the calculations to determine the wattage to run your home’s different appliances instead give yourself a break and look at a few of your recent electric bills to see how much power you routinely use in a month. (If you don’t keep your previous bills, you can access them by going to your current electric supplier’s website and view your past usage and bills.) We make this suggestion because you won’t run every appliance you have simultaneously, nor will your appliances be working 24 hours a day and seven days per week.

Past power use is a good gauge of future power use.  Of course, occasionally, we are faced with situations where we have heavier power draws than expected because of extremely hot or extremely cold weather where AC systems or furnaces are running longer and harder to keep your home comfortable. So, if you can review your seasonal electric bills it might help in determining the size of a generator you will need.

Locate the kWh usage (kilowatt-hours usage) on your recent monthly electric bills. Now, select your largest power usage number and add 20% more.

The reasons for this 20% cushion are important:

  1. There is the difference between starting wattage and running wattage. Some motor-driven appliances have a starting up period (lasting only 2 or 3 seconds) where it is surging or drawing a lot more power as it starts. (Product decals list running wattage, not starting wattage.)
  2. When appliances age they can become less efficient, and their power draw can increase. An appliance that only drew 800-watts of power when new, could be pulling 900 to 1000 watts when old.
  3. Finally, you want this 20% power buffer to ensure you don’t run your generator system constantly at its maximum power capacity because doing this can reduce the life of your generator.

Given these basic details, how do you select the right generator?

Choosing between a portable solar generator and a larger solar generator.

Portable generators are ideal if you’re literally always on the go, or if you prefer something that’s easily movable. Smaller portable solar generators are also very good if you want to spend a bit less for a good affordable solution for both a backup solar powered generator and a generator that can work daily to run a small home or to take some of your appliances off the grid when time-of-use rates go up. 

When you add additional Power Pods to the smaller, portable Nature’s Generator 1800-watt Standard or the 3600-watt Elite, you can expand your portable generator system’s capacity so that it can run your entire household if you do not have (or do not use) too many of the large power-sucking devices. So smaller portable generators with additional power pods could, in fact, run some smaller less power-hungry households.

Or you can select the Powerhouse -- a recently launched Nature’s Generator solar powered generator that was specifically designed to be able to power a house. (Hence the name, Powerhouse. Yeah, we thought it was clever.)

The Powerhouse unit is sufficient to run an average household. Unlike our portable generators, the Powerhouse is larger (but not too large), heavier (but not too heavy), and more expensive (but still an affordable option that beats our competitors’ prices for the power offered!). The Powerhouse has its own industrial grade wheels so it can easily be moved to the location inside your home or garage where you can use a power transfer kit to connect it to your home’s electrical panel.

Size does matter for solar generators to power a house.

Small generators basically have 1000Wh of storage or less, enough to charge a home’s lights or electronics for a few hours.

Medium generators have capacities between 1000Wh and 2000Wh and are sufficient to be both portable and/or a backup power source.

Large generators are the best option to power up your entire home. With a minimum of 2000Wh electricity storage, it could provide power longer than either the small or a medium generator. Typically, a large generator could run an entire house for 2-8 hours or more depending on the load of power-consuming devices. 

What if I already have solar panels but no battery storage?

It should be addressed that some people are in the situation where they have long had roof-top or yard solar panels, but their excess power was fed back into the grid. If people in this situation add a solar-powered backup generator system to their existing solar panels, they can store the excess power that their solar panels generate. This means with a solar generator battery system homeowners will realize greater benefits than with solar panels alone.

If you currently have a grid-tied solar system where your excess solar energy gets sent back to the utility grid, then you need to get a Nature’s Generator. With your solar panels charging your Nature’s Generator’s battery banks you will no longer be sending your excess power back to the grid, you will be saving it, and storing it for later use. This stored power can keep your own home running when an emergency strikes causing an extended power outage and taking the grid offline.

Solar panels consistently generate energy -- when they generate more energy than you’re using then that excess energy is stored in the generator’s battery bank to give you backup power during emergency situations.

How does solar energy storage work with existing rooftop solar panels?

Understanding how solar energy storage works is important if you want to try to run your home off the grid, or even if you just want to run your home electronics and appliances off the grid during daily peak-use hours to avoid the higher electric Time-Of-Use power rates.

If you add a generator with its built-in battery bank storage to your previously installed rooftop solar panels, then you have in essence put money back in your pocket. The two big reasons homeowners want to add solar energy storage to their system is:

1.) To have backup power when the grid goes down so that your family’s life can go on as normal.

2.) To take advantage of Time-Of-Use rates to lower their electricity bill by avoiding the higher peak-use rates.

The idea of having solar panels on your roof without also having a generator battery storage is akin to throwing money away.

Transfer switch kits and what they do.

To power a house with a solar generator, use a power transfer switch. A transfer switch is a small go-between device for the solar generator and your home’s electric panel.

For backup power situations you can choose which of your home’s circuits will receive power when the solar generator is turned on. For a whole house power system, you may need multiple transfer switches. Transfer switches come in three types:

 1.) Automatic Transfer Switch – automatically runs once it detects power outage.

2.) Manual Transfer Sub-Panel Switch – needs to be manually switched on or off; and

3.) Breaker Interlock Connector – the most popular and most affordable option, where you may select appliances that the solar generator will power and manually flip the switch when the grid fails, or you want to power these appliances “off grid” during the costly utility company’s peak-use hours.

When it comes to power capacity Nature’s Generator is in a class of its own.

While a lot of our competitors’ solar generator products tend be mainly for camping and tend to be smaller generators that offer less power capacity, Nature’s Generator has products that were specifically designed to power a household. Nature’s Generator currently has three solar generators that we are offering at exceedingly affordable prices.

Our products will give you the most bang for your buck -- the most power for your dollar (period). Depending on the size and power requirement for your household you can choose between our:

Value for your money and more power for your money.

You’ll decide on the best generator and devices to meet your electrical needs, while also considering the product’s durability and, most probably, looking into brand reviews and recommendations.

Beyond this, LCOS or Levelized Cost of Storage is something to consider. LCOS is the cost of kWh electricity from a storage source vis-à-vis the cost and energy produced throughout the device’s lifetime.  Basically, it looks at how much money a solar generator can save you over the course of the product’s life.

Again, with solar powered generators, once you have the generator and the solar panels and they are connected -- you are then harnessing the free solar energy from the sun that can be used now and can be stored to be used later.

Be the positive change in this climate changing world.

In a nutshell, with a small portable solar generator, it is challenging to run a whole house --but with multiple parallel units and multiple solar panels even Nature’s Generator’s most affordable, smallest portable generator can make it possible to run a household. Nature’s Generator has always had your back for backup power because even our smaller systems were designed to expand by daisy-chaining units to upgrade and increase your power capacity.

We respect you want to get your money’s worth.  We created all our solar generator products so they can be customized to your needs so that you don’t have to pay for extra power that you won’t need.  You can build the system that is perfect for your own household’s needs by adding additional generators or extra power pods to your system along with the solar panels to recharge them. Of course, with the new Powerhouse from Nature’s Generator, you can accomplish powering an entire household more easily because it starts with an impressive 7200-watt capacity.

The use of a solar powered generator to supply your home’s electrical needs is not the sole factor that will help fight climate change, but when millions of people join this cause, then whichever angle you look at it, it’s an important and vital component to reverse the climate change crisis. Remember, if you are driving an electric vehicle (and if you are, thank you!) know that your EV power is much better than adding more fossil fuel emissions into our atmosphere, however, also consider that your EV power is only as clean as the power source you are using to recharge it. With a solar powered generator system at your home, you will be using clean, free, renewable solar energy to recharge your EV. (Our generators even have built-in EV charging ports!)

We can each move to more solar power use or total solar power in our individual homes, and it will help reduce the greenhouse gases in our atmosphere and the related global warming with all its threats to the environment and the world.

Switch to a good renewable solar-powered generator –do it now – and do it for good. It will help save the planet for future generations.

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More reading/Additional links:

Link to: Can a Portable Solar Generator Power a Portable Window AC?


* We want to give credit where credit is due. Professional writer, Patricia Bodino, worked with author Diane Underhill and contributed research and content to this blog titled: Can a Solar Generator Power a House?. Thank you, Patricia, for your contributions!