Solar generators are often described as being completely silent. This is not strictly true because they have one or more cooling fans controlled by a thermostat and are equipped with warning buzzers to advise when a problem arises.
Solar generators are silent when the cooling fan is not running; while running, they produce approximately 45 dB. Under all circumstances, solar generators are quieter than gas-powered units.
When selecting a solar generator, always size it carefully, opting for more power than you need. Buying a larger inverter than you need will ensure the cooling fan runs less often.
Factors Affecting The Noise Produced By Solar Generators
The design of solar generators makes them inherently quiet. They generally only have one moving part: a cooling fan installed in the inverter housing.
The cooling fan activates on a demand-driven basis and will only run at the necessary speed and duration required for the operating conditions.
The Causes Of Noise Produced By A Solar Generator
The other cause of noise in a solar generator is from one of the warning buzzers that activate when an out-of-normal condition is detected.
The conditions that cause the Solar Powered Generator to produce noise are listed below.
|Condition||Cooling Fan||Warning Buzzer|
|The system is being used to maximize capacity.||When the system is under strain, it generates more heat, and the cooling fan runs at high speed.||If the system has too much current being drawn, a warning buzzer may sound.|
|The system is receiving high levels of charge.||When the solar panels (or other power sources) charge, it generates more heat, and the cooling fan runs high speed.||If the system overheats, it will activate a warning buzzer.|
|Battery is discharged||Dependent on the model solar generator a warning buzzer may sound when the batteries are at the minimum charge level.|
|Using an incorrectly specified battery cable||This may cause the inverter to overheat, activating the cooling fan.||If the battery is below spec, a low-voltage buzzer may sound|
|The system fails its self-test||Most solar generators perform a self-test to ensure that they are working optimally. If it fails, a buzzer sounds.|
|There is no input current.||If there is no input current, for some solar generators, a buzzer sounds.|
The following will help reduce the number of times the fan switches on:
- Install an optimally sized inverter that does not regularly operate beyond 80% capacity.
- Use the solar generator in a shady spot with plenty of ventilation.
- Use the correct wiring.
- Create a sufficiently large battery bank to ensure sufficient current is available to provide power when the sun is not shining.
- Do not attempt to power electrical consumers that use more capacity than the inverter is designed for.
Comparing Solar To Traditional Generators
There is no question that solar generators are significantly quieter than traditional generators powered by gas-powered motors.
A comparison of solar and gasoline generators is included in the list below.
|Noise Source||Decibel Level (dB)||comment|
|Aircraft Jet engine producing take-off thrust||150||If you stand close enough, the sound may rupture your ear drum.|
|Thunderclap||120||This painful noise level will cause serious damage to your ear if you are exposed for long enough. 120dB is 32 times as loud as 70 dB.|
|A gas-powered lawn mower||100||Ear protection should always be worn to prevent long exposures from causing damage.|
|A freight train (at 15 meters).||80||80dB is twice as loud as 70 dB.|
|Gas Powered Generators||60 – 75|
|Conversation in a crowded place||60||60 dB is only ½ as loud as 70 dB.|
|The background noise in a quiet suburb.||50||60dB is ¼ of the level of 70 dB.|
|Solar Powered Generator||45||This is very quiet|
|The background noise in a Library.||40||40 dB is 1/8th as loud as 70 dB.|
|Whisper, rustling leaves||20||This is almost as silent and peaceful.|
|Your own breathing in a quiet place||10||This is barely audible|
On average, a solar generator only produces 20% of the noise of a gas-powered generator. In addition, the cooling fan only runs for a proportion of the time, and when it is not running, the unit is silent.
Environmental Impact Of Solar Generators
Solar gennies are significantly more environmentally friendly than gas-powered ones.
Although there is a question mark regarding the manufacture of the batteries, particularly related to the mining of Lithium, once manufactured and installed, they produce no pollution (noise or carbon).
Choosing The Right Solar-Powered Generator
When you select a solar-powered generator, there are several questions that you should answer to ensure you buy a unit that is optimized for your needs.
What Are The Power Requirements?
Carefully consider why you are buying a solar generator and what you need it to run:
- Small basic solar generators provide up to 500 watts and are useful for light electrical loads such as LED lights, recharging mobile phones, and running small air cooling fans.
- Medium-sized solar generators produce up to 3kW of power and can run larger fans, small fridges, and even air small air conditioners.
- Large solar generators can produce up to 15kW of power and have battery capacities that can be increased to 25kWh. These can run almost any household appliance or machine.
How Portable Does The Unit Have To Be?
Portable solar-powered generators are often a misleading term. Generators can weigh anything between 12 lbs. to over 150 lbs. In addition, Lithium-ion batteries need to be treated carefully and cannot be bumped around.
Your Available Budget
The cost of solar generators varies from +-$300.00 to over $20,000 for a fully sized generator producing 15kWs with a 25-kWh battery capacity.
The trick is to match your budget with the degree of portability and size generator that meets your needs.