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What's a solar generator?

You may see the phrase 'solar generator' online as more and more brands come onto the market. They can also be called portable power stations and are essentially a neat box of tricks that combines a big lithium battery with DC outlets and an inverter for AC outlets.

You can charge the battery with the AC plug, a DC plug (ie cigarette lighter in your car) and with a built in MPPT charge controller you also have the option to charge from solar panels. Using this a solar generator will convert the energy from the sun and store it in the battery for later use. They are a clean power source for campers, RVs, or as an emergency backup if your power goes out. They include various models from brand names such as:

Titan Jackery Bluetti Generark Ecoflow Goal Zero

Solar generator advantages: Powerful, Portable, Safe, Silent,100% Fume-Free

These solar generators will often make it seem like you have to buy one of their own solar panels as other panels are not compatible. However you can use a SunPower E-flex solar panel with the correct MC4 adaptor. The solar input plug on the solar generator will vary from model to model but two popular ones are an 8mm DC plug or an SAE plug.

We have the MC4 to 8mm adaptor and MC4 to SAE adaptor available in our store with free shipping in the USA:

Each SunPower flex solar panel has 17" of cable and the MC$ adaptors are about 6-8 inches long so you may find that you need two lengths of 10AWG PV extension wire. With say two lengths of 50ft extension cable (one positive and one negative) you can run your panels out up to 50ft into the sunshine while your solar generator is in the shade powering your devices (which also are likely in the shade!)

It's important to look at the spec sheet to see what the max DC (solar) input is on the solar generator and compare this to the spec sheet for the solar panels. Take for example the Jackery Explorer 1000, it has a DC input of 12V-30V (200W max.) so you could either pair this with 1x170W SunPower E-flex panel or 2x100W SunPower E-flex panels in parallel. (You wouldn't be able to wire them in series as the input voltage would exceed the 30V input limit).

In general these solar generators are pretty cool and squeeze a lot of kit into the one box of tricks (MPPT controller, battery, inverter) It depends on what you are looking to power (and for how long) as to which you choose. Most solar generators can accept a charge from one or two solar panels and are ideal for camping, RVs and smaller sail boats for that weekend anchored away. At the other end of the spectrum the Titan 3000 can accept up to 2,000W of solar (not exceeding 145V) - wowsers that could power a small house when the power goes out!

Need any help making sure the SunPower flexible solar panels will work with your solar generator? We're happy to help, contact us with your questions.