Best Solar Generator for Off Grid Living
In this post: Discover the best solar generator for off grid living and the system we currently use to power our off grid tiny house
Cully and I recently made the full-time move to tiny house living and we couldn’t be happier with our decision. Let me tell you, it’s been quite the adjustment settling into our cozy little space, but we’ve learned to embrace a more minimalist lifestyle and have found ourselves living more intentionally.
One thing that has made our off-grid lifestyle easier is the use of a solar generator.
From zero experience in solar-powered homes and off-grid living to tiny house living – our focus today revolves around our hands-on experience, rather than strictly the technicalities of powering your home with solar.
We’ll answer the most common questions we get regarding our system. And you’ll learn about the brand we chose and explore our favorite (and not-so-favorite) features of our solar generator set-up.
Let’s dive in…
**This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase using one of these links. However, I only recommend items I personally love. Thank you for your support of my creative business!**
What is a solar generator for off-grid living?
A solar generator is a device which uses solar energy from photovoltaic panels to generate and store electricity. It’s the perfect solution for off-grid living as it can power your home or RV during extended periods of time without a grid connection.
These generators are typically made up of three components: the solar panels, an inverter and a battery storage unit.
Solar energy from the sun is collected by the solar panels, converted into usable electricity by the inverter, and stored in the battery until needed. The majority of these systems are also expandable so you can always add more capacity if necessary.
Considerations of our off grid solar system
When Cully and I decided to live off grid, we knew that powering our home was going to be a top priority. We considered a few different options, but ultimately, a solar generator was the best fit for us.
We wanted something that was easy to use and could meet all of our electrical needs, from running our fridge to charging our laptops. Here were the top four requirements when we researched the best solar generators for off-grid living:
Ease of use
Ease of use was our number one priority. After all, we’re relying solely on our solar generator for power. The last thing we wanted is to struggle with complicated setup and maintenance.
That’s why we made sure our off-grid solar generator is user-friendly and intuitive. From the easy-to-read display to the streamlined design, we wanted it to be as easy as possible for us to get the power we needed without any added stress.
Plug and Play
We opted for a plug and play system so that we could literally plug in our tiny house as if it were an RV and receive power. It was such a relief to have a reliable power source while we are still figuring out our power needs and navigating the world of solar energy.
When searching for the best solar generator for off grid living, we knew that we were in for a significant investment. We were looking at spending thousands of dollars, and in some cases, tens of thousands of dollars, just to get the system up and running. That’s why having a reliable warranty was absolutely crucial for us.
Cully, and I have always been the type of people who value options and flexibility. We change our minds a lot and don’t like waste! We wanted to ensure that our energy source provided the same level of versatility that we’re accustomed to.
Best solar generator for off grid living: Our system overview
After months of research and endless comparisons, Cully and I decided to invest in the EcoFlow DELTAPro solar generator. We wanted to find the best solar generator for living off grid, and this one fit all our needs and more.
With its high capacity battery and fast charging time, we were confident that it would power all our appliances and devices with ease.
The DELTAPro met all of our criteria for off grid living thanks to its portability, durability, and powerful output. Each unit can handle a massive 3,600 watt load and you can connect multiple units for more power and battery life. It also includes a 30 amp plug, which was perfect for our tiny house.
We are currently using two units. One main unit and then one extra battery. This means we get 7,200 watts of power (3,600 x 2 units) and generally enough battery for a 24-hour period.
We will likely add another battery to our system simply for the additional battery life, but as far as watts are concerned 7,200 watts is more than enough to power everything in our tiny house.
How many solar panels do you need to live off the grid?
A common question we get asked is how many solar panels do you need to live off the grid?
Each situation is different and it depends on the power consumption of your appliances, lights, and charging devices, as well as their average daily usage.
To give you an idea, we use eight 275-watt solar panels to charge our DELTAPro units, set up in parallel (rather than in series) to stay within EcoFlow unit voltage limits.
Our current panel arrangement and quantity is more than sufficient to keep our batteries charged both day and night. Although we may consider adding more panels in the future.
At this stage, we’re all about experimenting and embracing flexibility. In the picture below, you can see how we’re optimizing the use of the panels during morning and late afternoon/evening hours. Our setup is currently yielding the highest amount of battery charge throughout the day.
Adjusting solar panels to maximize energy production is essential. That’s why we’re planning to purchase adjustable brackets like these once we’re confident in our panel setup. These brackets will let us make necessary changes monthly as the sun’s position changes.
Best Solar Generator for Off Grid Living: How do I know what size solar generator I need?
When searching for the best solar generator for off grid living you’ll first want to determine the size of solar generator you need to power your house. Here is how we determined what size we needed:
We started by assessing our energy usage. We added up the wattage of all the appliances and electronics we use on a daily basis.
From there, we factored in the average amount of sunlight our location receives (tip: a quick Google search can help you with this).
Below is the formula we used plus the breakdown of our daily power consumption:
Power consumption formula: Watts x Average Run Time = Total watts consumed per day
General lights, tv, laptop, charging devices, etc..
Our electrician gave us the general rule of thumb that you can assume 3 watts per square foot of home for a daily use of Lights TV laptop and device charging etc…
One of our tiny houses is a little over 400 ft and the other one is a little over 200 square feet.
So we assumed 1,800 watts per day or 75 watts per hour (1,800/24 hours) would be consumed by these items. This has a very minimal impact, generally speaking, on a solar generator.
Other major/common electrical appliances we power in our tiny house:
- Mini Fridge – which is only a little over 100 Watts (around 200 at startup) and is perfect for our needs and the tiny house space.
- Water Pump – for our cistern and runs 1200 watts, but only runs for a few seconds at a time so it can refill our pressure tank.
- Microwave – our microwave is also about 1200 watts but we use it very minimally and only a couple times per week therefore the usage is quite minimal, even with the higher watt count.
- Toaster – another appliance that we rarely ever use and it runs about 800 watts
- Internet Router – we use Starlink for our internet and despite not knowing exactly how much energy it uses, we can reassure you that it’s incredibly efficient. In fact, it’s so efficient we sometimes wonder if it’s even drawing any power, lol.
- Washer & Dryer – our washer claims to pull 1500 watts of power, but we got curious and decided to investigate further. Despite the unit’s claims, our DELTAPro showed that the washer only consumed 300 to 400 watts at the highest – a far cry from 1500 watts. We’re not sure why this is the case, but glad it’s less.
- Swamp Coolers – we live in a dry climate and swamp coolers use far less electricity then traditional mini splits or air conditioning units. We originally purchased this mini split (approx. 1200 watts); however, we decided to switch to swamp coolers once we realized the wattage difference (200 watts). We have one swamp cooler in each tiny house.
Once you have the total watts per day from all things that require power, add that up and that is the size of unit you should get.
Our daily watt consumption initially showed as 8,000 watts. However, we took into consideration that we wouldn’t run the washer and dryer simultaneously, and overestimated the power consumption of other small appliances like the printer and hood range.
We have the flexibility to control our power usage, so we chose the DELTAPro system that can power up to 7,200 watts.
Our stove, water heater and wall heaters are powdered with propane for minimal electricity consumption. The only electricity usage comes from the digital display on the water heater and igniter on the stove.
Shop Our Tiny House Appliances:
Best solar generator for off-grid living: Our step-by-step setup
Our solar system setup was simple and straightforward. Exactly how we wanted it and exactly the reason we went with EcoFlow’s DELTAPro.
Step One: Wire a 30 Amp Cord to the House
Our electrician used a 30 amp cord and hooked it up straight to the main breaker box. Now, we’re not electricians ourselves so we won’t get into the specifics. But this is something your local electrician could look at doing for your tiny house.
If you’re familiar with RVs, you’ll love this setup. It powers your house just like an RV, and all you need is an outlet that can handle 30 amps.
Step Two: Purchase Power Cord Adapter
When we first got the DELTAPro, we noticed that our plug-in didn’t match up with the 30 amp style that the unit required. But no worries – we found a simple solution! We purchased this adapter and the plug in worked flawlessly.
If you are setting up a similar system as ours you may not need this adapter.
Step Three: Set up Solar Panels
We purchased our solar panels used from SanTan Solar (HIGHLY recommend them). They sell used panels and you can get panels in bulk at a fraction of the cost.
When all was said and done we paid a little over $1,600 for 25 panels. That included the shipping cost, which was a few hundred dollars.
In addition to the panels, we needed a longer solar charge cable so it could reach from the panels to the inside of our house into the DELTAPro.
EcoFlow provides a solar charge cable, but it was nowhere near the length that we needed. We found a 75 foot solar charge cable and it worked perfectly.
Once we had the appropriate sized solar charge cable, we linked all the panels together.
Step Four: Plug the House into the DELTAPro Unit
Now for the most rewarding part…plugging in our home to the DELTAPro unit!
This step was easy peasy! Just double-check that your batteries are fully charged before plugging in any power cords.
When we first tried out the DELTAPro, we hadn’t installed our solar panels yet. To get our tiny houses up and running, we simply charged our batteries at our rental property then brought them over to the tiny houses fully charged. It was that easy!
Step Five: Plug the solar charging cable into the DELTAPro
Now for the exciting finale, we plugged in the Solar charge cable to the back of the DELTAPro and verified that the panels were successfully powering up our device.
That’s it! Our entire house was powered by two DELTAPro units and (initially) 4 solar panels at 275 watts each. As mentioned above, we have added more panels and are now up to 8 solar panels at 275 watts each. It’s mid June right now and that is plenty of panels to keep our solar system going strong.
Note: we also have a Westinghouse dual fuel generator as backup to charge our DELTAPro units in case we don’t receive enough charge from the solar panels. We simply plug an extension cord from the generator and plug it in the appropriate spot in the back of the DELTAPro unit.
Pros of Eco flows DELTAPro Off Grid solar generator
Overall Cully and I are thrilled with our current solar system setup. The DELTAPro does everything we want and currently need for our home. Some of the main things that we love about it include:
Quiet as a Mouse
The DELTAPro solar generator is one of the best and quietest options for those looking to live off-grid. It is incredibly efficient, with only a small fan making any noise at all. Not only does this make it suitable for peaceful living, but it also makes it great for camping and other activities that require minimal sound pollution.
No fumes no need to use fuel
Each unit is battery-powered, meaning it does not require any fuel such as gasoline or propane to run. This makes it an ideal choice for those looking to reduce their carbon footprint by living off the grid and being more self-sufficient.
Not only does this make it environmentally friendly, but also cost effective in the long run since you don’t have to keep buying fuel or paying for electricity from the utility company. Additionally, because it runs on batteries, there are no harmful fumes released into the environment which can be detrimental to both our health and the planet’s well-being.
Easy (and Safe!) to Use
The main reason we purchased the DELTAPro solar generator is because it is an easy Plug and Play System, making it simple to set up and use. It also has safety features such as overload protection that make it safe to use in our home.
Reliable and renewable energy
We love that the DELTAPro is a reliable and renewable energy source that provides clean, sustainable power for off-grid living. Combine it with some high-efficiency solar panels and you’ve got an off grid system that can power your whole house.
The system also features intelligent charging technology which helps maximize the efficiency of the units, ensuring your batteries are always charged and ready when you need them most.
With the Delta Pro Solar Generator, you can have peace of mind knowing that your home is powered by an efficient, reliable source of renewable energy.
Cons of the EcoFlow DELTAPro Off Grid solar generator
We all know that no product is perfect. Good news is the downsides to the DELTAPro are minimal. Here they are, straight to the point:
Amount of space required
I believe the DELTAPro is the ultimate solar generator for off-grid living. Its shape, size, and wheels make it incredibly convenient to move around and take with you on all your off-grid adventures.
However, I have noticed that when using it stationary, there seems to be a lot of wasted space. This is a result of the cords attaching in the back, which take up an additional 6 (or so) inches of the already large-sized battery packs.
Despite this, I wouldn’t let it sway your decision on considering the DELTAPro. Its portability is one of its most significant features. You’ll never regret having it by your side when living off-grid.
Less than stellar customer support
When it comes to living off the grid, it’s crucial to have reliable and efficient equipment, especially when it comes to power sources. That’s why we were thrilled to discover the DELTAPro, what seemed to be the best solar generator for off grid living.
However, we quickly realized that customer support was lacking. Their go-to solution for any problem was to exchange the product.
While exchanging the product might work for some, and is quite generous of the company, it’s not so easy for us who are 100% reliant upon these batteries for our energy needs.
Despite this, we’ve been able to troubleshoot any issues ourselves. Anything that has come up so far has been minor and usually just a simple “whoops” on our part. We’ve had a few “oh-duh!” moments, lol.
And we’re grateful that EcoFlow support has been there for general questions along the way.
Best Solar Generator for Off Grid Living Conclusion
Overall, the EcoFlow’s DELTAPro Off Grid solar generator is a great choice for those looking to reduce their carbon footprint and be more self-sufficient. This system provides reliable and renewable energy that can power your entire home with ease.
While there are some downsides such as space requirements and customer support, these drawbacks shouldn’t deter you from taking advantage of this amazing product.
With its portability, quiet operation, no fumes requirement, easy setup process and intelligent charging technology; it’s definitely worth considering if you’re planning on living off grid!
We have no regrets and plan to expand our system as our energy needs progress.
FAQs: Best solar generator for living off grid FAQ
Q: What is the best solar generator for living off grid?
A: The EcoFlow’s DELTAPro Off Grid Solar Generator is the best solar generator for off grid living. This system provides reliable and renewable energy that can power your entire home with ease. Additionally, it has features such as portability, quiet operation, no fumes requirement, easy setup process and intelligent charging technology. It’s an ideal choice for those looking to reduce their carbon footprint and be more self-sufficient.
Q: How much does a solar generator cost?
A: The cost of a solar generator depends on several factors including the size and type of system you purchase. Generally speaking, standalone systems such as the DELTAPro start at around $3,500. Our system with one main unit and one extra battery was around $5,500 when we bought it in 2022. It provides us with 7,200 watts of power.
Q: What are the benefits of off grid living?
A: Off-grid living has numerous benefits, from reducing your carbon footprint to being more self-sufficient. Additionally, many people enjoy the freedom and tranquility that comes with it. And by using a system like the DELTAPro Solar Generator, you can be sure that you’re powering your home with a reliable source of renewable energy!
Q: How many DELTAPro units will I need?
A: This will depend on your individual energy needs and the size of your home and how much sunlight your area gets. However, generally speaking, one main unit with one to two extra batteries should be ample for most tiny homes. Of course, you can always add more units/batteries as needed. The Delta Pro Solar Generator is a scalable system that can grow with you.
Q: How long does it take to set up the DELTAPro?
A: Setting up the DELTAPro Solar Generator is a breeze! It’s a Plug & Play System that takes only minutes to install. Simply connect the system to your solar panels, generator, car charger, etc.. and you’re good to go! Plus, there are safety features like overload protection so you can rest assured that your system is safe for use.
Q: How many solar panels will I need?
A: The number of solar panels you need will depend on your energy needs and the size of your system. Generally speaking, a single panel can produce anywhere from 150 to 300 watts of power. So you’ll want to do some calculations to figure out how many you’ll need for your home. Additionally, it is important to remember that solar panels are not always 100% efficient. You may need more than you originally thought! We currently run our tiny house system on only 8 solar panels at 275 watts each. We live on the Western Slope of Colorado where the sunlight is ample.
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