Unlike most forms of power generation, photovoltaic power doesn’t rely on the principles of electromagnetism the same way that traditional generators do. In a fuel burning generator you run an engine to spin a magnet, this magnet spins inside a coil of wire, and when this happens the wire coil emits a stream of electrons. This electron stream is what you use to power your home, automobile, or boat.
A solar generator can benefit the home in a variety of ways. Depending on the size, it can allow a homeowner and family to remain unaffected in the event of a power failure. It can also be used to simply cut the costs of daily energy use. Whether used for emergency backup or on a daily basis, it will provide clean power without burning fuel the way a gas powered generator does.
In very simplified terms, solar generators work by converting solar energy into electrical energy. It does this via a process called photovoltaic conversion. This energy can then be used to do such things as power lighting, heat water, and run the TV. The generator consists of solar panels (which must be placed where they will receive the most possible sunlight,) a deep cycle battery for continuous use, and an inverter.
The inverter is necessary to convert the DC power stored in the battery into AC power. Determining the appropriate strength of an inverter for a solar power system is a fairly simple task to accomplish. First, add up the wattages of all of the appliances the solar generator is intended to power. Then, purchase an inverter that has a capacity of at least 10% more than your expected usage. The extra buffer is necessary because there is a slight power loss of 5-10% when the power is converted from DC to AC.
Of course, if the generators are only going to be used to run DC appliances, there is no need for an inverter. A DC meter and DC input will suffice. It is also possible to buy a ready-made solar generator, one complete with all the necessary components. These generators are well suited for applications such as mobile homes, off grid cabins, and boats. These types of installations are already wired for DC power (or in the case of the cabin, may not be wired at all). The only advantage AC power boasts over DC is that it can be more easily transmitted over long distances, since solar generators are located on-site the transmission constraints don’t play into the equation and DC power is a perfectly viable method to use.