What do I need
There are three things we need to determine in what you will need for your solar generator:
- Type of solar panel
- Size of solar panel and battery
- Total watts and type of use.
Type of solar panels
1- Light flexible solar panels (Flex)
These are by far the most portable solar panel. They are also very thin, making them great for storing in small spaces. However, they have been reported to be less durable, due to being flexed over and over again (usually when mounted on the roof of an rv, or such), or due to cheap panels that are not UV resistant. If these panels are used, make sure they use a good UV rated surface (Our panels have the best UV resistant ETFE). However even with the best flexible panels, they should not be used in a full time situation as they will not last as long as rooftop or foldable solar panels.
Use: Portable systems that will only be used occasionally
2- Foldable Solar Panels (Briefcase)
These are basically a smaller, portable version of roof top panels . They are durable and efficient and can be folded for storage and stand on their own with a built-in metal stand. They are still heavy, and can take a lot of space to store (if you have more than a 200 watts or so). They are also more expensive per-watt than the roof top panels.
Many times these panels are setup with a cheap pwm charge controller and aligator clips to charge a battery. These types of panels are designed to charge a 12V battery directly, and won’t work with a solar generator unless you remove the charge controller and use appropriate connectors on the panel. It is best to find a foldable panel that is setup with just mc4 connectors, and no charge controller.
Use: For portable systems that will be used on a regular basis
1- Rooftop Solar Panels (Rigid)
These are what are usually used in grid tie or off grid systems. They are inexpensive, durable, and usually very efficient. However for portable systems they are very bulky, heavy, and not very portable.
Use: Permanent mounting on roof or stand.
size of solar panel and battery
The size of the solar panels and batteries are usually the most difficult part of deciding what you need.
We have developed a Calculator to help get you close to what you will need. However We have designed our systems to make them very easy to expand both batteries and solar panels. So if you get a system that is too small, you can always add more solar and batteries when you need.
Also it is not bad to oversize your system a little. The calculator to the right will calculate the minimum you will need.
How to use the Calculator:
1- use the advanced options to set the city you are in, and the number of days you need backup without sun (how many cloudy/rainy/snowy days do you expect you will need to run the generator through). The other settings can be left alone, unless you know what they mean. Once you are done, you can click advanced options again, and it will disappear (leaving the settings you set).
2- Put in everything you will need to run. Note that last box that Says” Other: Watt hours per day” is for anything that is not listed in the calculator. For example if you will run a vacuum cleaner that is 500 watts for 2 hours per day, you just multiply 500 X 2 = 1,000 watt hours. Just add as many appliances as you need, and put into that box.
3- Click Calculate.
4- Interpret results:
Since this is the minimum size, you will usually want to round up to the nearest size we have available. For example:
If your results are:
Minimum battery size in watt hours: 5310
Minimum Solar panel size in watts: 1118
Our batteries are 2,000 watt hours each, so you would round up to 3 total batteries
And you would want a kit over 1118 watts.
So if you wanted rigid solar panels, you would choose the 1600 kit with one extra battery (this 1600 kit comes with two batteries already). This would give you a total of 1600 watts of solar, and 6,000 watt hours of battery.
Total watts and type of use.
The last thing we need to figure out is the maximum watts you will use at any one time, and what type of power you need.
1- Total watts.
For this we will need to calculate the maximum watts you will use at any given time (this will be used to determine the minimum continuous output of your solar generator). For example, you could expect your fridge and freezer could be on at the same time as your microwave, TV, and maybe even your lights. However, if you want to be careful and never use your TV the same time you’ll be using your microwave, then it would lower your maximum usage, reducing your solar generator load.
We also need to calculate the Maximum startup load. The manufacture of your appliance can give you exact numbers for you on both the startup, and the continuous load. Here is an example, but your actual numbers may not be the same.
Maximum continuous usage:
Refrigerator: 200 watts (running)
Freezer: 200 watts (running)
Microwave: 1000 watts
Lights: 100 watts
Total: 1500 watts
Maximum startup load:
Refrigerator: 700 watts
Freezer: 700 watts
Microwave: 3,000 watts
lights 100 watts
Total: 4500 watts
Any inductive loads, such as the microwave, and anything with an electric motor, produces a much higher load for the generator than what you see. Because of this if you are over 50% of the Generators maximum load (The Titans maximum is 3,000 watts), there is a chance the Titan my turn off when the load starts. In this case you will probably be fine, but if it does turn off, you would need to unplug the fridge and freezer while you run the microwave. However it would run a resistive cooktop burner fine.
Maximum startup loads:
The maximum startup load for the Titan is 6,000 watts, so again you should be fine with this, but since the loads are inductive, there my be issues starting the microwave when other things are running.
A Note on well pumps:
Most well pumps are 240V, and also have a very high and long startup load. This means the Titan probably will not work with them.
If your running and startup loads are under 3,000 and 6,000 watts, and the solar panel needs are under 2,000 watts, then you can simply choose a kit that matches your solar panel type, and battery/solar panel size. If your solar needs are over 2,000 watts, contact us, and there still are options to make it work, but we will need to assist you with them.
If Your running or startup loads are over 3,000 or 6,000 watts, or if you need 240v, then the current Titan my be too small for your needs. We are working on a new version that will be able to connect two or more to increase the power, and produce 240V, but this system is not expected until 2022.