In this series I will show you how to save money by building your own DIY Solar Generator, with all the same features as the commercial made units. The finished result will be a high quality solar generator with more serviceability and customization options to your own needs than the ready made units.
Note: The original design of this DIY solar generator used a 2,000 watt inverter. We have upgraded it to the new 3,000 watt model in the latest version along with several other improvements. Before you build the solar generator following our how to plans, be sure to watch the updates video below for the recent changes!
Solar Generators (also called Solar Powered Generators) are extremely useful tools. I started looking into some of the largest portable solar generator units on the market because the idea of a completely silent generator that can run large power loads while never needing gasoline is a really cool concept. Whether you want to run a portable table saw, or go tailgating / camping where the noise of a standard generator would be irritating, these solar generators are really handy.
I soon realized I could build my own — getting to pick the components that best match my needs, and even better save approximately half the cost vs buying a manufactured solar generator. This post will show you step-by-step how to build your own weatherproof indoor/ outdoor diy solar generator!
Solar Generator Build – Quick Links
Part 1 – Component Overview – (current step)
Part 2 – Component Testing
Part 3 – Mounting Internal & External Components
Part 4 – Wiring the Solar Generator
Part 5 – Plexiglass Cover & Design Updates
Part 6 – Solar Panel & Battery Bank Expansion
After seeing what was available, I found myself wanting to design my own DIY solar generator for many reasons. For one it will be a lot cheaper. Second, I can add several features I wanted to add that are not in to the manufactured units. Finally, because it will be an enjoyable project!
By building your own, you will learn all about small off-grid solar setups, and also be able to fix the individual components if you ever have problems with it down the road. You can also easily modify the plans to build a permanent style off grid solar power setup for a cabin or camper.
For comparison, here is a popular manufactured unit. It is nice looking package, and if you don’t care about cost it might be a good option for you, especially if you are not really the maker type.
The above unit is priced on the higher end for what you can find on Amazon – but it is a power monster!
The solar generator I am going to show you how to build will cost half the price, include a 2,000 watt / 4,000 watt peak AC inverter, a 100W solar panel, a high quality true deep cycle AGM battery. I also will add extras, such as integrated LED flood lamps, a high current port for attaching jumper cables, and some others.
Main Components for our Solar Generator
I selected the components listed below based on the quality of reviews, as well as price and features suitable for this project.
Rugged Pelican Case 1620
I selected this Pelican 1620 case for our portable solar generator because it is waterproof / weatherproof, has rugged several sturdy handles as well as rolling wheels. My unit will be quite heavy once complete, so I needed something that can take a lot of abuse!
Here is a picture of mine:
Kreiger 3000W / 6000W Peak AC Inverter
The Kreiger 4,000 watt power inverter should be able to run nearly anything that you could normally power off an standard 15 Amp wall outlet. It also comes with a mountable remote power switch that we will be mounting into the side of our case, as well as heavy 0 Gauge battery cables and main fuse.
When this post was first created, we used the 2,000 watt unit which is no longer available. The 3,000 and 4,000 watt units install and wire up the same way, although the unit in the videos and photos is the older 2,000 watt version (as shown in my photo below).
Renogy 100 Watt Solar Panel & Charger Kit
This kit includes a very high quality Renogy 100 watt monocrystalline solar panel as well as a 30A solar charger that is matched well for our needs. The kit also includes a set of MC4 solar cables for easy install. Here is what mine looks like:
Optima Blue Top 8016-103 Battery
The Optima Blue Top AGM battery is a deep cycle battery, which means we will be able to discharge the battery somewhat further during night time use or during short high power loads without shortening the normal life of the battery. Another advantage of this battery is that it has both standard top posts as well as threaded posts for easier connections. One other important feature is that the battery can be mounted and used in any orientation, which is important considering our solar generator may get stood upright or laid in different directions during normal use. Here is a picture of mine:
Main Components for the DIY Solar Generator
Below is a list of components used in this post and their current Amazon prices.
Click on ANY image below to see more details on Amazon
|Pelican 1620 Case||Prime||Buy Now|
|Renogy Solar Starter Kit||Prime||Buy Now|
|Krieger 4000 Watts Power Inverter||Prime||Buy Now|
|Optima OPT8016-103 Battery||Prime||Buy Now|
|Schumacher Battery Maintainer||Prime||Buy Now|
|NOCO GCP1 15 Amp AC Port Plug||Prime||Buy Now|
|Nilight Flood LED Work Light||Prime||Buy Now|
|zowaysoon Digital Voltmeter||Prime||Buy Now|
Additional Components & Supplies
Click on ANY image below to see buying options on Amazon
|DIGITEN 19mm Automotive Waterproof Momentary Stainless Steel Metal 12V Blue Power Symbol LED Light Push Button Toggle Switch ON/Off||Prime||Buy Now|
|NOT FIT U19D1, 19mm Pigtail, Wire Connector, Socket Plug for U19C1, U19C2 Push Button Switch (Pack of 2)||Prime||Buy Now|
|Hubbell-Bell Single-Gang Vertical/Horizontal Weatherproof Universal Flip Cover||Prime||Buy Now|
|TOPELE 20Amp GFCI Outlet, 125 Volt Weather-Resistant Receptacle, Indicator with LED Light||Prime||Buy Now|
|JEGS Universal Battery Hold Down||Prime||Buy Now|
|GG Grand General 55241 Red 14-Gauge Primary Wire, 25 Ft||Prime||Buy Now|
|GG Grand General 55240 Black 14-Gauge Primary Wire, 25 ft||Prime||Buy Now|
|Orion Motor Tech 2-4 Gauge 175A Battery Cable Quick Connect/ Disconnect Electrical Connector Plug Kit||Prime||Buy Now|
|MICTUNING LED Illuminated Automotive Blade Fuse Holder Box 6-Circuit||Prime||Buy Now|
|Blue Sea Systems 5 Gang Common 100A Mini Busbar||Prime||Buy Now|
|Permatex Ultra Black Maximum Oil Resistance RTV Silicone Gasket Maker||Prime||Buy Now|
|Swordfish Nut, Washer & Bolt Assortment, 240 Piece||Prime||Buy Now|
|270 PCS Heat Shrink Wire Connector Kit||Prime||Buy Now|
|25 Foot Lighted Outdoor Extension Cord||Prime||Buy Now|
|Prime Wire & Cable Cord winder||Prime||Buy Now|
|Hopkins 6 Pole Round Vehicle Connector||Prime||Buy Now|
|Tow Ready Metal Trailer End 6-Way Flat Pin Connector||Prime||Buy Now|
|ABN 120-Piece Standard Fuse Assortment||Prime||Buy Now|
|J-B Weld 5 Minute Set Epoxy||Prime||Buy Now|
|4 AWG Gauge Red + Black Battery Inverter Cables (You will need 2 sets of these)||Prime||Buy Now|
Tools You May Need (if you don’t already have!)
Click on ANY image below to continue shopping on Amazon
|Parts Express Automatic Wire Stripper with Cutter||Prime||Buy Now|
|TEKTON Phillips, Flat and Star Precision Screwdriver Set, 9-Piece||Prime||Buy Now|
|IRWIN VISE-GRIP Wire Stripping Tool / Wire Cutter||Prime||Buy Now|
|Hot Glue Gun High Temp-Cobiz Full Size (Not Mini) 60/100W Dual Power Heavy Duty Melt Glue Gun Kit with 10 Pcs Premium Glue Sticks||Prime||Buy Now|
|Ridgid 18 Volt 500 Lbs. Torque 1,500 RPM Hyper Lithium Ion Cordless Drill / Driver Kit||Prime||Buy Now|
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