What Size Solar Generator Do I Need? (Power Station Tips)

jackery solar generator

A solar generator is a highly convenient and versatile power source. You can use one to access power while on the go or as a backup source of energy for your home. Before buying one, you might be asking yourself, what size solar generator do I need?

This is certainly an important question. Buying the right size solar generator will ensure that you have an optimal source of power without paying more for one than you have to.

But perhaps the real question you should be asking is, what size power station do I need for my solar generator?

what size generator do i need

This is because a “solar generator” can technically refer to a solar solution that combines two (or more) components. A Jackery Solar Generator consists of:

1. The solar panels – which collect the solar energy from direct sunlight.

2. The power station – which stores the electrical power converted by the solar panels.

jackery solar generator

In this article, we will help you figure out what size power station is most suitable for your solar generator goals. Keep reading to learn how to calculate the right power station size, along with other information about solar generators, so that you make the best choice.

How Power Stations Are Sized

Power stations are typically sized in watts (W). This is a measure of power that’s used to calculate the rate of energy transfer. But what you really need to know is that the greater watts a power station has, the more power it can provide you in a single charge.
That being said, there are different watt measurements to pay attention to when deciding on a power station.

Continuous Power

The first measurement is usually called continuous power. This is the amount of power that a power station can provide consistently.

Peak Power

The second measurement is usually called peak power. This is the maximum amount of power that a power station can provide in a short burst.

Continuous Power vs. Peak Power (An Example)

Here’s an example. Think of when you turn on your air conditioner. It needs a quick burst of power to get started. That’s peak power. But the amount of power needed to continuously run the AC unit is generally lower. That’s continuous power.

Some appliances, such as refrigerators, need a burst of 3-7 times their normal power needs to get started. Keep in mind, your power station needs to be able to accommodate this peak power requirement to run the appliance. So, if you are looking for a solar generator to run a refrigerator, simply meeting the continuous power requirements won’t be enough.

Continuous power will likely be the more impactful number for you to think about. It’s what tells you how much power you will get from a single charge of your power station under normal conditions.

How to Calculate Your Optimal Power Station Capacity in 4 Steps

Jackery sells power stations to meet a wide variety of power consumption needs. Our products range from 167Wh of capacity to as high as 2,060Wh of capacity.

How Many Watts Do I Need in a Solar Generator’s Power Station?

To figure out which Jackery product offers the right power capabilities for you, you’ll need to perform the following calculations:

Step 1: Select What You Want to Power With Your Power Station and For How Long

The first part of picking the right power station for your needs is understanding what those needs are. This means selecting the specific devices that you want to power with your solar generator, and setting a rough estimation of how long you’d like for its power station to provide that power.

Tip: Be sure to only pick devices that you can plug into your Jackery Power Station. For example, things like water heaters are often hardwired into your home. So, the chances are you wouldn’t be able to power one with a power station. (Unless you also hardwire that device to your home.)

Here are some common devices that people power with solar generators:

  • Laptops and PCs
  • Phone chargers
  • Kitchen appliances
  • Hairdryers
  • Air conditioners
  • Video game systems

Step 2: Find Out How Much Energy Each of Your Selections Uses

Once you know what you want to power, it’s time to figure out how much energy you need to do so.

The starting point towards calculating this is finding out how many watts your devices need to run. This number is often listed somewhere on the device itself. But if you only see a measurement for amps, you can multiply that number by the item’s voltage to convert into watts.

Shown here:

jackery solar generator

Next, you need to pick how many hours you want to be able to use each of your devices. Then, multiply the number of hours that you’ve selected by the watts of each item. This will give you the total watt-hours you require to be able to power each device.

Shown here:

jackery solar generator

Here’s an example: 

You want to power two 60 watt lightbulbs for two hours each. To find the total amount of watt-hours of power you need:

  • Get the total hours: Multiply 2 hours of power by 2 light bulbs. (2 x 2) = 4
  • Get the total wattage: Multiply 2 light bulbs by their 60 watts. (2 x 60) = 120
  • Multiply them together to calculate the total watt-hours. (4 x 120) = 480

Then, divide your answer by 0.85 to account for a constant energy consumption rate of 85% when the device is in charge.

  • 480 watt-hours / 0.85 = 564 watt-hours

This results, in you needing a power station that can provide at least approximately 564 watt-hours to meet your goal of being able to power two 60 watt lightbulbs for 2 hours each.

Step 3: Add All Of Your Watt-Hour Answers Together

You need to perform the calculation shown in the previous step for each item you want to power with your Jackery Solar Generator.

Then, simply add all of the answers together to get the total amount of watt-hours that you need the power station to provide and reach the goals you have for it.

For example, let’s say you need 400 watt-hours to power your lights, 300 to charge your phone, and 300 to charge your laptop. Your total watt-hour requirement would be 1,000 (400 + 300 + 300).

Step 4: Determine the Watt-Hours of the Power Station You Want

At this stage, you have all the information that you need to pick the right portable power station.

Simply take your answer from Step 3 and compare it to the wattage offered by each power station that you look at. Just make sure that you pick a power station that has a higher wattage than your total watt-hour requirement calculated in Step 3.

Can a Solar Generator Power a House?

Note that unless you purchase a large Jackery Solar Generator (such as Solar Generator 1500 with an portable power station with 1,534Wh capacity), you likely won’t be able to power most appliances in your house for multiple hours with a solar powered generator.

If you find that the answer you got in Step 3 is higher than almost every power station you look at, then you may need to go back and reassess what you really need to power with it. If you can lower yourself down to just the essentials, then you will find a solar generator that works for you without having to break your budget to buy it.

Jackery Solar Generators and Suggested Usage Scenarios

Running out of power can never be fun. That is why Jackery has designed different sizes and capacities of solar generators. Whether you are looking for a home backup solution or a power pack for your outdoor adventure, Jackery offers an impressive product line for every scenario.

All-Day Trip Activities

When you're on an outdoor adventure, the last thing you want to worry about is running out of power. One-day outdoor adventures like backpacking, hiking, fishing, etc., require a portable power solution. Jackery Explorer 240, 300, and 500 are compact enough to be packed as essential gear during such trips.

With its impressive 240Wh battery capacity, Jackery Solar Generator 240 effortlessly charges small appliances like laptops and smartphones, ensuring you stay powered up to enjoy every moment. The slightly larger power solutions Jackery Explorer 300 and Jackery Solar Generator 500 feature a battery capacity of 293Wh and 518Wh, respectively.

Since these solar generators are lightweight and portable, they are highly preferred for short trips with moderate power requirements.

jackery solar generators for all day trip activities

Note: The wattage given in the table may vary depending on the model and type of appliance you are using.

Car Camping/Tent Camping/Music Festivals

Whether you're embarking on a car camping trip, setting up a tent in the wilderness, or immersing yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of a music festival, having a reliable and portable power solution is essential.

Jackery Solar Generator 500 is a truly portable solution that can keep your small devices charged for 1-2 days, ensuring you stay connected and powered up throughout your adventure. Whether you're relying on your smartphone to capture breathtaking moments, illuminating your campsite with lights, or amplifying the atmosphere with speakers, the Jackery Solar Generator 500 is the ideal choice.

For those seeking even greater power during their camping trips, the Jackery Solar Generator 1000 is designed to take things to the next level. With a battery capacity of 1002Wh and a power surge of 2000W, it can charge not only small devices but also CPAP and coolers that require little more power.

jackery solar generators for car camping tent camping or music festivals

Note: The wattage given in the table may vary depending on the model and type of appliance you are using.

Van Life

Jackery Solar Generator 500 or 1000 Pro sounds like the ideal pick if you want to make your off-grid living experience more comfortable. While Jackery Solar Generator 500, with a battery capacity of 518Wh, can charge most van appliances, Jackery Solar Generator 1000 Pro is highly recommended to keep most devices charged.  

The Jackery Solar Generator 1000 Pro can charge most outdoor appliances in your van, and its flat top lets you save space. You can stack items over the solar generator and enjoy extra space. If you are a beginner and do not have a customized electrical system like 12V or 24V in your van, it's better to look for batteries like Jackery Solar Generator 1000 Pro or 1500 Pro and use it as a complete system.

jackery solar generators for van life

Note: The wattage given in the table may vary depending on the model and type of appliance you are using.

Camper

Campers often find it arduous to choose a power solution that occupies less space and provides stable electricity to all the appliances.

Jackery Solar Generator 1000 Pro is one of the reliable choices for campers, all thanks to its compact nature and larger battery capacity of 1002Wh. It can charge high-power-consuming appliances like refrigerators, ACs, lights, coffee makers, etc.

Jackery Solar Generator 1500 Pro, with a battery capacity of 1512Wh, is another powerful charging solution for campers. It can power most outdoor camping appliances for days, helping you to enjoy your trip without worrying about finding electrical outlets to charge devices.

jackery solar generators for campers

Note: The wattage given in the table may vary depending on the model and type of appliance you are using.

Trailer

Trailers are small rooms on wheels, often lacking in-built electric systems to charge different appliances. This is why it's vital to pack a power solution before you commence your journey. Since the trailers are designed to have a lot of space, Jackery Solar Generator 1000 Pro, 1500 Pro, and 2000 Pro are the ideal power solutions.

Jackery Solar Generator 1500 Pro features a large battery capacity of 1512Wh, whereas Solar Generator 2000 Pro is equipped with a larger 2160Wh battery. While Jackery Solar Generator 1000 Pro can charge essential appliances, the bigger capacity generators like Jackery Solar Generator 1500 Pro and 2000 Pro are designed to power full-size fridges, electric grills, etc.

jackery solar generators for trailers

Note: The wattage given in the table may vary depending on the model and type of appliance you are using.

RV

RVs usually have a solid in-built electrical system that sometimes goes up to 6kWh. Jackery solar generators vary from 240 Wh to 24K Wh capacity can efficiently support an RV's electrical needs and charge small and large devices like laptops, coffee makers, TV, refrigerator, etc.

A lightweight solar generator during your RV trip can be a great companion when you go fishing, hunting, or hiking. It can keep your appliances like smartphones, drones, and many other electrical devices.

In addition to charging your outdoor devices, the Jackery Solar Generator 1000 can also power your CPAP machines so you can enjoy your outdoor activities without skipping your treatment.

jackery solar generators for rv

Note: The wattage given in the table may vary depending on the model and type of appliance you are using.

Off-Grid Living

Off-grid systems are often less portable and require highly technical installation. But that's not the case with Jackery Solar Generator. The large-capacity Jackery Solar Generator 3000 Pro is designed to power 99% of your home or outdoor appliances.

With a massive battery capacity of 3024Wh, the off-grid solar system can seamlessly support large appliances like full-size refrigerators, microwaves, electrical grills, space heaters, etc.

The feature that differentiates the Jackery solar generator from its competitors is its portable nature. The wheels and rod attached to the power station make it easy to transport the generator from one place to another.

jackery solar generators for off grid living

Note: The wattage given in the table may vary depending on the model and type of appliance you are using.

Dry Camping

If you are planning to dry camp, Jackery Solar Generator 2000 Pro can efficiently charge most of your outdoor appliances. With a battery capacity of 2160Wh and 4400 watts surge output, the solar generator can seamlessly charge refrigerators, ovens, microwaves, and more. It emits less than 30dB noise, which is less than what you hear in a library.

You can team up the power station with Jackery SolarSaga Solar Panels for quick and efficient charging. The portable solar power station can be charged in only 2.5 hours using 6*SolarSaga Solar Panels. If you have enough space in your car, consider packing Jackery Solar Generator 2000 Pro on your next dry camping trip.

jackery solar generators for dry camping

Note: The wattage given in the table may vary depending on the model and type of appliance you are using.

Power Outage/Blackout

The refrigerator is a high-power-consuming home appliance that you need to power up during power outages, brownouts, and blackouts. Jackery Solar Generator 3000 Pro and Jackery 2000 Plus kits are designed to supply power to the refrigerator and other home appliances whenever the power goes out.

Jackery Solar Generator 4000 Kit and 6000 Kit feature a much larger battery capacity of 4085.6 Wh and 6128.4 Wh, respectively. With the enormous battery capacity, you can charge 99% of your home or outdoor appliances for days.

jackery solar generators for power outage or blackout

Note: The wattage given in the table may vary depending on the model and type of appliance you are using.

Outdoor Professional Work

Outdoor professional work generally requires power tools that draw a lot of energy. Power drills, circular saws, and edgers are a few outdoor appliances that require a high wattage. Jackery Solar Generator 3000 Pro and 2000 Plus Kits are equipped with larger battery capacity with a surge power output of nearly 6000 watts. This means these solar generators can efficiently power the most energy-intensive tools.

One of the standout features of Jackery Solar Generators is their unparalleled portability. Designed with convenience in mind, these power stations come with a set of wheels and a retractable handle, making it effortless to transport them from one worksite to another. No more struggling with heavy equipment or being tethered to a fixed power source. With Jackery Solar Generators, you have the freedom to take your power wherever your work leads you.

jackery solar generators for outdoor professional work

Note: The wattage given in the table may vary depending on the model and type of appliance you are using.

The Benefits of Buying a Portable Solar Generator

Portable solar generators are a dynamic backup power option. You can use them both in your home and when you’re on the go. They’re purposefully made smaller than dedicated home backup solar generators to offer this flexibility.

As they feature a power station that you charge with portable solar panels, you essentially plug the portable solar panels into the power station until it’s charged. Then you can use the power that you’ve created on almost any appliance or electronic device that you want.

Many people purchase portable solar generators to get access to clean power while enjoying the outdoors. Then, as an added benefit, they can use the generator as a backup source of energy for their homes whenever they need one. It’s this versatility that’s made portable solar generators so popular.

Power Station Sizing FAQs

Can You Charge Any Device with a Jackery Power Station?

Jackery Power Stations can power a wide variety of consumer devices since they feature USB ports, a DC carport, and pure sine wave AC outlets.

Your device will need to be powered with one of these methods and use a level of power that is compatible with the Jackery Power Station you select.

Can a Jackery Power Station Jumpstart My Car?

No, you cannot jumpstart a car with a Jackery Power Station. But you can charge a car’s battery with a power station. So you can use your Jackery product to get the battery charged enough so that you don’t need to jumpstart it.

How Long Can a Jackery Power Station Power My Device?

This is entirely dependent on the amount of power that your device uses. You need to perform the watt-hour calculation (shown above) and compare that figure to the wattage of the Jackery Power Station model you select. Doing this will give you the answer you are looking for.

What Size Jackery Power Station Is Best for Me?

This will depend on how much power you want to get out of your portable solar generator. If you want to maximize the amount of power you get, then you should consider either our Explorer 1500 Portable Power Station or our Explorer 1000 Portable Power Station.

Jackery Power Station Size Options

Jackery provides a wide variety of power stations to make it easier for you to find one that fits your needs. We’ve put together a chart to help you figure out which is right for you.

Check out this table to get a better sense of the type of power you can expect to get from several popular Jackery Power Stations:

jackery portable power station can charge different devices

Conclusion

Solar generators provide clean, renewable energy as a low-maintenance power source for wherever you need it. Whether that’s in the home, the outdoors, or both. They can be a very worthwhile investment. However, it makes sense to buy the right size for your energy needs.

That’s why Jackery offers solar generators equipped with power stations of various sizes to ensure you find the one that suits your goals and budget. Always keep in mind what devices you are looking to power and for how long.

If you are unsure how much power you need, we hope this article helps you to calculate the right size power station, and consequently, the right size solar generator for you.

For more information on Jackery Solar Generators and the various size power stations they come with, take a look at our solar generators* page.