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What do you do during a power outage? For many Americans, this is a common question to answer when a strong storm or intense temperatures roll through their area. A study found that the U.S. has more power outages than any other developed country, and its infrastructure has not improved much in the eight intervening years since that article’s publication. Somewhat famously, many Texas residents now have a yearly opportunity to fine-tune their blackout plans as outdated power grid buckles under various pressures.
If you are looking for a way to prepare for the next blackout, having a solar generator could make a huge difference for your comfort and safety, but they come in all sizes and styles. We’ll take a closer look at a couple of solar-powered models: the Geneverse generator and solar panel bundle and the EcoFlow Delta power station.
A portable solar generator can keep you connected
The Geneverse and the EcoFlow are two means toward the same end. If power outages continue to be a common occurrence, having one of these on hand could come in handier than you think.
Geneverse Solar Generator Emergency Power Supply (HomePower One + SolarPower One)
The Geneverse is a compact emergency power supply that comes with its own sustainable way to recharge. On a single charge, this 1,002Wh battery could provide up to seven days of power, depending on what you connect to it. You may be surprised at how many home appliances this amount of power would restore to working order, including kitchen items to cook a meal.
In terms of connectivity, this generator has three AC outlets with pure-sine wave and supports 1,000W rated power and 2,000W surge power at 110V. If you need to find out the wattage of your home appliances, it should be on the manufacturer’s label per the Federal Trade Commission’s Appliance Labeling Rule. If you took off the label already, you should be able to find the information on the manufacturer’s website or with a little help from Google.
Its connectivity options don’t end there. With two USB-C outputs, one USB-A, one USB-A with Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0, and one car outlet, there are many ways to keep your batteries powered. And when the generator battery itself begins to get low, you could connect the included SolarPower One, a portable solar panel that can plug directly into the Geneverse but is compatible with other generators and electronic devices.
The simple, monocrystalline solar panels have a high output of up to 200W and have up to 50 percent higher energy conversion than polycrystalline solar cells. These durable panels can operate on their own as a single point of power or connect to more panels for a larger power source, and they have many of the qualities PopSci has recommended.
You can pick up the HomePower One and SolarPower One generator and solar panel bundle for $1499 (reg. $1597).
EcoFlow Delta Power Station
The EcoFlow Delta is a quick-charging portable power station that can be juiced up through its vehicle port, a wall outlet, or a solar panel like the SolarPower One, but unlike the Geneverse, it does not come with one. The EcoFlow was successfully funded on Kickstarter and has a larger capacity than the Geneverse, with a total of 1,260Wh accessible from six 1,800W AC outlets to power most small home appliances like water kettles, coffee makers, and microwaves. As noted earlier, you’d want to check the compatibility of the station and your gadgets first.
Using X-Stream Technology, this generator recharges quickly, whether you’re using a solar panel or the car charging port. A 12/24V vehicle port should fully recharge the generator in less than 10 hours. While it’s operating, this electric generator is almost completely silent. From the LCD display, you can see how much power is coming in and going out plus an estimate of how much time the battery has left at that rate. Along with its six AC outlets, the EcoFlow has four USB ports and two 60W USB-C ports that could be used to charge mobile devices during a blackout or camping trip.
Get the EcoFlow Delta Power Station for $1095 (reg. $1399) while it’s on sale.
Choosing the generator that’s right for you
Finding the right generator could be a challenge; as with most bigger investments, you’ll want to consider what your preferences and dealbreakers are. The EcoFlow Delta Power Station does not come with its own solar recharging array, for example, but it could connect to one just like the SolarPower One.
EcoFlow has a slightly larger battery capacity than Geneverse, with up to 1260Wh of power. It also has more ways to connect to that power, offering six AC outlets and multiple ports for USB-C and USB-A. Between the AC outlets and USB-ports, the EcoFlow could power up to 13 devices at the same time. It could keep your phone charged without another source of electricity, or you can use it to power compatible appliances and camping gear.
Though EcoFlow has a greater capacity, if you don’t have a portable solar panel, recharging would rely on connecting to a car battery through a 12/24V port. Through that connection, it could recharge completely in less than 10 hours. Like the Geneverse, this rechargeability (as opposed to a gas-powered generator) does give you a bit more breathing room during a power outage.
If you know the amount of power you’ll need and want a near-guaranteed renewable source, then a generator with its own solar panel included could be the right match for you. If, in contrast, you know you’ll have your car with you or want to invest in an independent portable solar panel, then the EcoFlow could be an excellent way to keep your appliances and phone charged.
Prepare now to stay powered up in an emergency
The flaws of the electrical grid are not new, but more extreme weather and aging systems is a combination that could spur you to act now. As predicted in 2019, it seems blackouts are growing even more commonplace as a side-effect of climate change. A few hours in the dark may not be so bad, but for any extended period of time, having a generator can seriously decrease stress and increase comfort. A portable model with some kind of simple recharging setup means you won’t have to rely on gas, which can be tricky if there’s a major disaster event.
Prices subject to change.
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