How Do Battery Powered Generators Work

Last Updated on October 2, 2023 by Kyle Whitley

how does a battery powered generator work

If you live in an area where you happen to lose power a lot, you might be looking into getting a generator.  Gasoline and natural gas powered generators have been around for many years, but are loud and emit dangerous carbon monoxide.  Maybe a battery powered generator is a better choice for emergency or off-grid power needs?  Let’s see how does a battery powered generator work.

How does a battery operated generator work?

Well, I guess first things first, we are really talking about battery powered power stations or battery powered inverter generators.  These battery powered generators don’t actually generate power like your traditional gasoline powered generator.

The battery powered generators store power in batteries.  Usually, these batteries are lithium-ion.  Power from solar panels or from the existing electrical grid is stored in these battery cells.  Then when there is a power outage or you need portable power you plug your electrical device into the power station and you have available power until the battery is depleted.

Once the battery powered generator has run out of power you will need to recharge it with solar power or find a working source of power from the electrical grid.  One of the biggest bonuses of using battery powered generator is the use of solar power to recharge the generator.

How long do battery powered generators last?

So you might be wondering how long would one of these battery powered generators last in a power outage situation.  Well, that depends on many factors:

  • What are you trying to power?
  • How large of a capacity is the power station
  • Availability of solar power

What are we plugging in?

Just like traditional fossil fueled generators, you have to be aware of what you are trying to power up.  Powering your wifi router or tv is a lot different than powering a refrigerator or sump pump.  The more power a device draws the shorter the length of time a battery powered generator will power the device.

You can also use the battery powered generator to charge smaller batteries like ones you might use on a battery powered chainsaw or battery powered snow blower.  Which could come in handy in a bad weather situation.

Also, another thing to keep in mind is that you will need to transfer switch if you want to power items like your overhead lights in your house.

What is the capacity of the power station?

Capacity plays an important part in how long a battery powered generator lasts.  Generators with larger battery banks will last longer, and if you tie the generator or power station into solar array you have almost infinite capacity as long as the sun is shining.

If you are like most folks you probably are already aware of this concept with your mobile phone if you have a battery backup charger.  A small charger might charge the phone one time, while a larger one might charge the phone several times before it needs to be recharged.

The same concept applies to battery powered generators and power stations.  If the item you want to power consumes a lot of power you are going to want to have a larger capacity generator.

Another thing to consider is the type of battery powered generator you are using.  If you are using a larger permanently mounted power station, you will have a lot larger capacity than a portable battery powered generator that you can take tailgating and camping

Available Solar Power

Having solar power available really changes the game when you are talking about battery powered generators. Regardless if you are talking about a portable panel to power a smaller power station or battery powered generator, or you are talking about a full rooftop array that will power a whole home powered generator.

With solar power, you can constantly recharge the battery banks, which will in turn supply you with almost endless runtime.  However, there can be a considerable cost when installing solar power at your home, so that is something to consider.

Pros and Cons of Using a Battery Powered Generator

As with all tools we use at our homes or jobs there are pros and cons of using a battery powered generator

Benefits of Using a Battery Powered Generator

Here are a few of great benefits of using a power station or battery powered generator

  • You can run them inside your home since they emit no carbon monoxide.
  • They are quiet, with no loud motors to run.
  • They are often very portable, unlike gasoline powered generators.
  • Generally environmentally friendly power source.
  • No need to maintain extra fuel and little to no maintenance on the power station or generator.

Cons of Using a Battery Powered Generator

While I think battery powered generators could be very useful for the average home or apartment dweller, there are some things you need to keep in mind.

  • Battery powered generators can be expensive with most larger ones costing around $3000.
  • Recharging with solar panels can be an issue depending on the weather.
  • Recharging larger battery powered generators can take a long time with solar power or wall power depending on the battery capactity
  • While they are portable, they can be heavy.  The more battery capacity the heaver the generator will be.
  • Battery powered generators aren’t as powerful as fossil fueled generators at the same price point.

There are many things to keep in mind when you are considering the use of a battery powered generator. So you will need to decide if a traditional fossil fueled or battery powered generator will work for you and your family.

So will a battery powered generator work for you?

The mechanics of how a battery powered generator works are very simple, where a battery stores energy for later consumption.  The portability, quietness, and environmental friendliness are pretty advanced.

I think these battery powered generators are just another step in the evolution away from the use of fossil fuels to power our everyday lives.  I am kind of partial because I have been using electric and battery powered lawn equipment for several years and haven’t looked back.


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