7 Best Solar Generators For Load Shedding In South Africa

South Africa is in the midst of a long-term energy crisis. Since 2007, the country has suffered from frequent rolling blackouts that leave its population without power for hours. These “load shedding” blackouts have escalated to the point where many people are turning to solar generators to keep their homes and businesses running. 

While solar generators come in handy during times such as these, they often come with hefty price tags. As such, you must consider your options before purchasing.

In this article, we look at 7 of the best solar generators on the market. Additionally, we discuss what you need to consider when choosing a solar generator and how to use one effectively.

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How Can Solar Generators Help During Load shedding?

Load shedding, or planned power outages, is a growing problem in many countries. In South Africa, load shedding often occurs daily for several hours at a time, causing widespread disruption.

This is where solar generators come into the picture. A solar generator is an all-in-one unit that contains a combination of portable solar panels, an inverter, a battery, and a solar charge controller that allows you to harness and store solar energy.

These units typically form part of off-grid applications, but you can also use them to supplement grid connections during power outages or brownouts.

Solar generators usually have a built-in inverter to power AC loads directly. Some also have DC outputs for charging solar batteries.


Benefits Of Solar Generators Over Fossil Fuel Generators

Solar generators can provide significant advantages over petrol or diesel generator sets, especially during load-shedding events. These are the key benefits associated with solar generators:

  • Quieter. Solar generators are much quieter than their fossil fuel counterparts and don’t produce harmful emissions.
  • Cheaper. They are cheaper to operate over the long term since fuel is not needed.
  • Portable. Most solar generators are portable, so you can move them with ease. This makes them ideal for load shedding when power outages occur at any time and place.
  • Easy to maintain. They’re also easy to maintain, and you can use them in places where space is limited.
  • Power various devices. Solar generators power various devices, including lights, TVs, and refrigerators. As a result, they are a more versatile and environmentally friendly power-generating option.

Related Reading: What Size Solar Generator Do I Need To Run A Refrigerator?


What Are The 7 Best Solar Generators For Loadshedding?

To help you find the perfect fit for your needs, we’ve compiled a list of the top solar generators in the South African market. These include:

  1. Jackery Explorer 1000 Portable Power Station & SolarSaga 100W Portable Solar Panel
  2. Flexo Power Combo Lithium 555 & Namib 150 Solar Panel
  3. EcoFlow RIVER Pro + 2x 110W Solar Panels
  4. Goal Zero YETI 3000X Portable Power Station & Boulder 100 Solar Panels
  5. Zendure SuperBase Pro 2000
  6. EcoFlow DELTA+ 4x 110W Solar Panels
  7. Goal Zero YETI 1000X Portable Power Station & Boulder 100 Solar Panels

Related Reading: Using A Solar Generator For Your House (A Complete Guide)


1. Jackery Explorer 1000 Portable Power Station

  • Battery Capacity: 1002Wh
  • Recharge Time: 5.5 Hours with AC; 7.5 Hours (2 x 100W Solar Saga Panels)
  • AC Output: 1000W Continuous, 2000W Surge, 2 x 230 V
  • DC Output: 12V/10A
  • Battery Cycle Life: ≥500 cycles to 80%
  • Dimensions: 33.3 x 23.3 x 28.3 cm
  • Warranty: 2 Years
  • Price: R19,950.00

The Jackery Explorer 1000 solar generator is the ideal power supply for your home, office, or when you are out on an adventure. Its lightweight design — with compatible mounting — will allow you to transport it in any car, no matter the trunk size.

Pairing this unit with two SolarSaga 100W solar panels will provide unlimited, environmentally friendly energy. Overall, this is an excellent option for keeping essential appliances, like refrigerators, running during power outages.


2. Flexo Power Combo Lithium 555

  • Battery Capacity: 555 Wh
  • Recharge Time: 2 Hours with AC
  • AC Output: 500W Continuous, 1000W Surge
  • DC Output: 13,6V/15A
  • Warranty: 2 Years
  • Battery Cycle Life: ≥ 500 Cycles to 96% DOD
  • Dimensions: 31 x 17 x 21.3 cm
  • Price: R 14,997.00

The Lithium555 solar generator has a nominal service life of 500 cycles before requiring a replacement battery. After 1200+ cycles, the capacity is still at a whopping 90%.

What’s more, it’s affordable in terms of cost, but it also has a speedy recharge time of only 2 hours after a 2-hour load-shedding period. Say goodbye to feeling powerless and hello to Lithium555.


3. EcoFlow RIVER Pro

  • Battery Capacity: 720Wh
  • Recharge Time: 1.6 Hours (AC); 4-8 Hours (2x 110W Solar Panels)
  • AC Output: 600W Continuous, 1200W Surge
  • DC Output: 13.6V/3A
  • Warranty: 2 Years
  • Battery Cycle Life: 800 cycles to 80%
  • Dimensions: 28.9 x 18.0 x 23.5cm
  • Price: R21,198.00

The EcoFlow RIVER Pro solar generator is portable and lightweight (weighing only 7.6kg). Its wall, USB, and DC outlets can charge nine devices simultaneously.

The RIVER Pro can reach 80% charge in just one hour and a full charge in 1.6 hours. If that isn’t enough, consider adding an extra battery to double your capacity to 1440Wh.

Finally, this solar generator boasts a higher output capability of 1800W with X-Boost enabled – enough to power most devices, tools, and appliances.


4. Goal Zero YETI 3000X Portable Power Station

  • Battery Capacity: 3032Wh
  • Recharge Time: 14 Hours (AC); 36-72 Hours (4 x 100W Boulder Solar Panels)
  • AC Output: 2000W Continuous, 3500W Surge
  • DC Output: 12V/30A
  • Warranty: 2 Years
  • Battery Cycle Life: 500 Cycles to 80% capacity
  • Dimensions: 38.74 x 25.98 x 34.54 cm
  • Price: R98,050.00

The Goal Zero Large Solar Energy Solution is perfect for load shedding. It integrates a YETI 3000X Portable Power Station and four Boulder 100 Solar Panels with your home’s circuit, providing power when you need it and storing it for future use.

With a 2000W AC Pure Sine Wave Inverter (3500W surge) capable of handling power-hungry appliances and devices, a 3kWh energy storage, and 400W of solar power, this system can run up to four essential circuits in your home or office.


5. Zendure SuperBase Pro 2000

  • Battery Capacity: 2096Wh
  • Recharge Time: 2 Hours (AC)
  • AC Output: 2000W Continuous; 3000W Surge
  • DC Output: 13.6V/10A
  • Warranty: 2 Years
  • Battery Cycle Life: 1500 cycles to 80%
  • Dimensions: 17.56 × 10.51 × 13.86 in
  • Price: R35,999.00

The SuperBase Pro 2000 solar generator has a 2,096Wh capacity and can power your camping gear for hours. But it’s not just for camping; it’s also perfect for events or emergencies.

Not only is it portable and easy to use, but it can also charge over a dozen different products, including heavy-duty appliances. Having this type of backup power solution on hand can bring peace of mind and make navigating the unexpected that much easier. 

This solar generator even has built-in GPS and 4G IoT hardware, allowing you to manage it remotely as long as you have a 4G signal. Plus, it has household-grade UPS functionality, automatically switching over to battery power in case of a power outage.


6. EcoFlow DELTA

  • Battery Capacity: 1260Wh
  • Recharge Time: 1.6 Hours (AC); 14-28 Hours (1x 110W Solar Panel)
  • AC Output: 1800W Continuous; 3300W Surge 
  • DC Output: 13.6V/8A
  • Warranty: 2 Years
  • Battery Cycle Life: 800 Cycles to 80%
  • Dimensions: 40 x 21 x 27 cm
  • Price: R 33,198.00

The EcoFlow DELTA solar generator charges from 0-80% in just one hour. The solar generator has four AC outputs and can charge up to 11 devices simultaneously, making it an efficient and convenient solution for load shedding.

If you want to go off-grid, use EcoFlow’s 110W solar panels to charge the DELTA fully. Plus, its premium monocrystalline silicon cells offer a high conversion efficiency of 21-22%.


7. Goal Zero YETI 1000X Portable Power Station

  • Battery Capacity: 983Wh
  • Recharge Time: 9 Hours (AC); 12 -24 Hours (1 x 100W Boulder Solar Panel)
  • AC Output: 1500W Continuous, 3000W surge
  • DC Output: 12V/15A
  • Warranty: 2 Years
  • Battery Cycle Life: 500 Cycles to 80% capacity 
  • Dimensions: 38.74 x 25.98 x 25.04 cm
  • Price: R43,100.00

With a YETI 1000X Portable Power Station and Boulder 100 solar panels, the Goal Zero small solution provides energy when you need it most.

Its features include USB-C power delivery for laptops or other devices that can’t accept standard outlets; integrated MPPT, which increases charging efficiency by 20% compared to traditional AC systems. It also boasts faster recharge times thanks to an impressive 1500W pure sine wave inverter!

This powerhouse setup is perfect if your home needs heavy loads, such as refrigerators running at full capacity day after day during peak hours.


How To Use A Solar Generator During Loadshedding?

Here are a few steps on how to use a solar generator during load shedding:

  • Determine the solar generator’s power output and necessary wattage for your appliances and devices.
  • Place the solar panels in direct sunlight to charge the generator during the day.
    Prioritize which appliances and devices to use during load shedding, as solar generators may not be able to power everything at once.
  • Use energy-efficient appliances and limit device usage to conserve power for longer periods of time without recharging the solar generator.
  • When not in use, turn off all appliances and unplug devices to prevent draining any remaining power from the solar generator.
  • Charge the solar generator regularly to ensure it is ready for future load-shedding periods.
  • Consider supplementing solar power with traditional backup power sources, such as a gas generator, to provide additional power during load shedding.
  • Keep the solar generator maintained adequately for long-term use and efficiency.
  • In the event of a power outage, always exercise caution and follow safety protocols for using solar generators and any other backup power sources.
  • Utilizing a solar generator during load shedding can provide an environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional backup power options.

Are Solar Generators Worth The Investment?

There are several variables you must consider when determining whether a solar generator is worth the investment.


Advantages

  • Free energy. Thankfully, sunlight doesn’t come with a price tag.
  • Increases property value. Solar generators are an investment that can increase property value. 
  • Power during emergencies. Solar generators provide a reliable source of power during emergencies.
  • Long-lasting. These units can last for many years with proper maintenance. 
  • Environmentally friendly. These generators do not burn fuel, as such, they don’t harm the environment.

Disadvantages

  • Hefty price tag. Solar generators can be quite expensive. However, this cost is often offset over the long term through utility bill savings.
  • Slow charging. A solar generator can only be charged during the day, and unfortunately, they tend to charge rather slowly.
  • Limited power supply. While larger generators have the ability to power some households, many smaller ones are only capable of powering essential or smaller appliances.

In Summary

Sure, solar generators are pricey, and they do require sunlight to operate. Still, they can harness free energy, assist during power outages, and are durable and environmentally friendly making them a worthwhile investment.


Final Thoughts

Solar generators are a valuable investment for those looking for an eco-friendly and reliable way to power their home during load shedding. However, before investing, you must consider all factors — pay special attention to your budget.

Ultimately, solar generators may not be the best option for every household, but they can provide a practical solution for those seeking alternative electricity sources.

Safety Tip: Always exercise caution and follow safety protocols when using solar generators or any other backup power sources.

Finally, before making any decisions related to electricity or solar generators, please consult with qualified professionals.

Bramwill Bruinders

Bramwill Bruinders

Bramwill Bruinders is an electrical engineer who specializes in utilities engineering and 4IR automation technology. He has over 15 years of experience in engineering management and is passionate about sustainability and clean technology. Bramwill earned his MBA from the Nelson Mandela University and is a strong advocate for the use of clean technology to protect our environment. He believes that electrical engineers have a responsibility to lead the way in developing sustainable solutions to the world's energy needs. Bramwill is committed to helping create a better future for our planet, and he is constantly looking for ways to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.

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