RV Solar Generators vs. Gas Generators: Which Is the Better Power Source?

RV Solar Generators vs. Gas Generators: Which Is the Better Power Source?

Written by Moli Mishra, In solar, Updated On
July 10th, 2023
, 396 Views

When it comes to powering your RV, it’s crucial to select the right RV generator. Generally, you will come across two options: solar and gas generators. Solar generators utilize the sun’s energy that’s environment-friendly and free, so you can save some bucks along with keeping the environment safe.

On the other hand, gas generators may seem cheap upfront, but they cost you hundreds and thousands of bucks for the gas they need to work. In addition, they release harmful greenhouse gases that negatively impact the climate. That’s why the solar generator market is increasing steadily.

According to Globe NewsWire, the global solar generator market will reach a value of $722.11 million by 2929[1]. So, if you also want an RV generator and pondering what option to go with – solar or gas – let’s dive further!

What is a Solar RV Generator?

rv solar

Typically, a solar generator is a device that converts sunlight into electricity. It has various parts, such as solar panels, batteries, a charge controller, and an inverter. Together, these elements transform solar energy into electrical energy, allowing you to run your RV.

Solar RV generators are a renewable and clean source of energy. That’s why they have gained the attention of individuals worldwide, but mainly from the US. As per EcoWatch, solar energy accounts for about 2.8% of the electricity generated in the US[2]. This number is further expected to reach 20% by 2050[3].

A solar generator enables RV owners to access power even in remote locations where traditional power sources are unavailable. This offers you a sense of freedom and enables you to explore far areas without worrying about the power requirements.

Solar generators produce electricity using the sun’s energy, generating no pollution and minimizing the need for fossil fuels. This approach is eco-friendly and helps protect the environment and reduce carbon footprint.

Can Solar Generators Power the RV?

Yes, solar generators can easily power an RV housing different electronics or appliances. However, the quantity and duration of devices a solar generator may run rely on the combined wattage required by the appliances and the generator’s power output. For instance, consider you have an RV requiring 2000 watts of power to run its main pieces of equipment. These can be lights, heaters, air conditioners, etc.

You purchase a solar generator featuring a 5000-watt battery capacity with an amazing power output of 3000 watts. This solar RV generator and battery capacity are enough to power your RV. However, you cannot run all your appliances if your RV power requirements are around 1500W and you use a 500W RV generator. You can still run lights, fans, or other small appliances on it.

However, connecting a heater, AC, or any other large appliance to it will cause overloading.

Solar Generators

Solar Generators Vs. Gas Generators: What’s the Best Option for Your RV?

Solar generators are way better than gas generators because they offer plenty of benefits and have a quick ROI. Following are the major differences between both that help you comprehend which option is suitable for your RV:

Portability

Solar generators are generally more portable than gas generators. They are easily movable and small, making it simple to store them in your RV. Conversely, gas generators are bigger and heavier due to the lead-acid batteries used in them and need more room for fuel storage.

Storage

Gas generators must store flammable fuels, such as propane or gasoline. This is a big safety concern and requires proper storage measures. In contrast, solar generators do not require any fuel storage since they rely on renewable energy from the sun. This means you can easily use a solar generator for your RV and rest assured about your safety.

Battery Life

Solar generators often use lithium-ion batteries, which have a longer lifespan than lead-acid batteries –  frequently used in gas generators. Aside from their high energy density, lithium-ion batteries are compact and can store more power than batteries used in gas generators.

Recharge Time

While gas generators can be quickly refueled, solar generators offer the advantage of continuous recharging without any additional cost. As long as sunlight is available, solar generators will recharge via solar panels. This ensures you have a sustainable and uninterrupted power source for your RV.

Weather Resistance

Although both generators can work in severe weather, solar generators are more durable. They can endure various weather situations, such as snow, rain, and chilly temperatures. As an added benefit, many of these devices have waterproof enclosures that ensure reliable operation even in harsh environmental conditions. In contrast, gas generators may experience difficulties in adverse weather conditions and require sheltered storage.

Charging Sources

Solar generators harness the sun’s power, a free and renewable energy source. Additionally, they often have the capability to be charged through multiple sources, such as AC outlets or car chargers, providing flexibility and convenience. Gas generators rely solely on gasoline or propane, which can be costly and require frequent refills.

Repair

Compared to a gas generator, a solar RV generator has fewer moving parts compared to gas generators. This results in lower maintenance requirements and operational costs. In addition, they are generally more reliable and less prone to mechanical failures. Gas generators, on the other hand, require regular servicing and repairs due to their complex internal combustion engines.

Solar Generators

Cost-Effectiveness

Solar generators are expensive, but you get a quick return on your investment. Once installed, a solar RV generator uses the sun’s energy, which is completely free and regenerative. Except for the minor maintenance expenses, you don’t have to spend any money on it.

In comparison, gas generators may seem cheap upfront, but they require gas – an expensive fuel for working. This makes it heavy on your pocket, plus the maintenance cost of a gas generator can sometimes also drain your budget.

Noise Level

When it comes to noise levels, solar generators operate silently since they do not rely on combustion engines. This makes them ideal for RV camping, as they provide a peaceful and noise-free environment. Gas generators, however, produce noise and vibrations due to their internal combustion engines, which can be disruptive and bothersome.

Safety Considerations

Solar generators are less prone to mishaps than gas generators are. How? It’s because none of the fuels involved are combustible and could damage you in any way. Consequently, there are no leaks, spills, or carbon monoxide poisonings to worry about.

Best Solar RV Generator Options

You can go with any of the below-given RV generators to power your RV and have a fun tour: 

Jackery Solar Generator 2000 Pro

Introducing the Jackery Solar Generator 2000 Pro – a powerful and reliable energy solution tailored for RV enthusiasts. Boasting an impressive 2,160 Wh capacity and an output power of 2200W (with a surge peak power of 4400W), this portable generator can effortlessly power all your essential appliances on the road. What sets this generator apart is its exceptional charging capabilities.

It can be completely charged in under 2.5 hours using six SolarSaga 200W solar panels, making it a perfect fit for outdoor off-grid activities. Alternatively, you can conveniently recharge it in just 2 hours via an AC wall outlet or through the carport.

With a foldable handle design, weighing 43 lbs (19.5 kg), the Jackery Solar Generator 2000 Pro ensures a comfortable on-the-go experience. Stay powered up and enjoy the convenience and reliability of the Jackery Solar Generator 2000 Pro on your RV adventures.

Solar Generators

Key Features

  • The output power of 2200W with a surge peak power of 4400W
  • Supports powering various appliances, including hot plates, electric heaters, and air conditioners
  • Ideal for home emergencies and outdoor off-grid activities like camping or RV use
  • Fast charging: Fully charged in under 2.5 hours with 6 SolarSaga 200W solar panels
  • Quick charging option in just 2 hours via an AC wall outlet or carport
  • Dual battery protection and four temperature core detectors for enhanced safety

 Jackery Solar Generator 3000 Pro

Upgrade your power supply with the Jackery Solar Generator 3000 Pro. Designed for RV enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers, this reliable and high-capacity power station is a game-changer. With a massive 3024Wh capacity and an impressive 3000W power output, this smart power station is perfect for RVs, camping, glamping, or home emergencies. It charges 99% off appliances and offers app control for easy management.

The industry-leading Battery Management System (BMS) ensures safety with 12 layers of protection, while the pure sine wave inverter delivers stable power to safeguard your appliances. The Jackery Solar Generator 3000 Pro also features a convenient LED light with three brightness modes, making it an ideal companion for outdoor adventures.

Its ergonomic design, including an aluminum alloy, pulls rod, and non-slip silicone strip, allows easy maneuverability and storage. With nine temperature sensors and an independent air duct design, this generator offers precise temperature monitoring and maximizes quietness and heat dissipation.

Solar Generators

Key Features

  • Ergonomic design with an aluminum alloy pull rod for easy transport and storage
  • Features 3 brightness modes for outdoor illumination
  • Ensures uninterrupted power supply during blackouts or emergencies
  • Advanced Battery Management System (BMS): Offers 12 layers of protection for enhanced safety
  • Stable pure sine wave inverter: Safeguards sensitive electronics and ensures stable power delivery
  • Massive 3024Wh capacity and a powerful 3000W output

Other Accessories that Can Elevate Your RV Generator Experience!

Various accessories are available that you can add to your RV and enhance the power supply to your appliances.

Solar Panels

The most critical component of a solar RV generator is a solar panel. It captures sunlight and converts it into electrical energy. Solar RV generators come with a solar panel; however, you can add more and increase its overall efficiency. You can add multiple small (5 to 6 solar panels of 300W) or go with only one solar panel of huge capacity (2000W or 3000W). The more solar panels you have on your RV top, the more electricity they generate.

Jackery SolarSaga 100W Solar Panel

Ready to boost the performance of your solar generator? Jackery SolarSaga 100W Solar Panel is the right choice! With its lightweight design and easy-carry handle, you can effortlessly harness solar energy. It features up to 24.3% conversion efficiency through monocrystalline silicon cells and outperforms conventional options.

The durable ETFE-laminated case ensures longevity and is splash-proof for added protection. Compatible with Jackery Explorer portable power stations, this RV solar panel includes USB-C and USB-A ports to charge two devices simultaneously.

Power Stations

Power stations store the electricity generated by the solar panels for later use. They come in various sizes and capacities, offering different energy storage levels. You should pick the one that’s efficient and has a maximum capacity to ensure you enjoy the high output from your RV solar generator.

Jackery Explorer 3000 Pro Portable Power Station

Jackery Explorer 3000 Pro Portable Power Station is a high-capacity and versatile solution for powering various outdoor appliances. With its impressive 3024Wh capacity, this best power station for camping can reliably operate up to 99% of your outdoor equipment. You can experience ultra-fast charging as it has the ability to fully charge using solar energy in just 6-7.5 hours or through a wall outlet in 2.4 hours. Its portable design features a convenient pull rod and double wheels for easy transportation.

Furthermore, the user-friendly smart app allows you to control your power plant. This power station is perfect for varied climates because it can stand temperatures as low as -20°C/-4°F. So, enhance the capabilities of your solar generator by integrating the Jackery Explorer 3000 Portable Power Station into your RV setup.

Inverters

The majority of household appliances need AC electricity to run smoothly. These include refrigerators, microwaves, and washing machines. The inverter transforms the battery’s DC power into AC voltage to run these gadgets. You should ensure the inverter you choose is powerful enough to deliver continuous power to all the appliances simultaneously.

Conclusion

A solar RV generator can help power all your essential electronics and appliances. So, you can have a great camping or traveling experience without compromising comfort. Although gas generators are also initially inexpensive, they cost you hundreds and thousands of bucks in the long run. Moreover, they emit greenhouse gases that increase the earth’s overall temperature.

So, if you wish to purchase a solar RV generator, Jackery is your one-stop shop! They have been in this business since 2012 and offer a handful of affordable and high-capacity solar generators. Their products are exceptional in outdoor conditions, so wherever you go in your RV, you can trust Jackery products!

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