How To Build A Solar Generator (2,000 Watt) – Part 1

I started looking into some of the biggest solar generator units on the market, because the idea of a completely silent generator that can still 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 just be irritating, we will show you how to build a solar generator!

After seeing what was available, I found myself wanting to design my own for a number of reasons. For one it will be a lot cheaper, Two I can add several features I wanted to add that were not built in to the manufactured units, and three, because it will be a really fun 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.

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.

Goal ZeroYeti 1250

As of this writing, the unit is selling for $1999.95. It includes a 1250 Watt Ac inverter with a 1500 Watt peak surge capacity. It includes two 30W panels.
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

Pelican Case

I selected this case for our solar generator because it is waterproof / weatherproof, has rugged several sturdy handles as well as rolling wheels. I unit will be quite heavy once complete, so I needed something that can take a lot of abuse!

Kreiger 2000W / 4000W Peak AC Inverter

Kreiger 2000W Inverter

This unit 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 2 Guage battery cables and main fuse.

Renogy 100 Watt Solar Panel & Charger Kit

Solar Panel And Charger

This kit includes a very high quality 100w monocrystalline solar panel as well as a 30A solar charger that is matched well for our needs.

Optima Blue Top 8016-103 Battery

Optima Deep Cycle Battery

This 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.

Main Components for the Solar Generator

Additional Components & Supplies

You will need two sets of these:

Tools You May Need (if you don’t already have!)

 

Click here for Part 2 where I will show you how to function test all of your components before we start the actual build.

13 thoughts on “How To Build A Solar Generator (2,000 Watt) – Part 1”

  1. Hi Mark, excited about this build! We live near Hilton head and after the recent hurricane we started to think about alternative energy during an evening on the patio when the power was out!

    I have a question about your chosen battery. you’re building a large powered unit which I like and main Concern would be to power the refrigerator.

    How did you choose your battery? Why one and not two? I saw on Amazon that the optima battery has 55AH, is this enough to power things for a good length of time (say 2-3 days incase any day is cloudy and for extra).

    I am still learning about electricity, so please bear with my questions.

    Can’t wait for video 3, thank you!
    Stephan

  2. This is a fantastic tutorial presentation. I’ve been considering building a solar generator/battery backup solution for my home (we get many storm related power outages each year.) You have done a very good job planning out the components of your generator and assembling them into a finished kit that looks as good as any I’ve seen advertised for sale.

    I’m planning to tweak the idea and use two panels (hinged together) and 2 batteries in the case which will require either a bigger case or some changes in the included components. I also want to put mine to use running low voltage exterior lighting when not needed for emergency power, so I get double duty from it throughout the year.

    Thanks for the thorough explanation of how to get the project done!

    1. Sounds like a great plan Andrew. Please post some pictures when you are done with your build. I would love to see how it comes out!

    1. Hi Dan, not written out as a list. I have them linked in above with the current prices on Amazon. It shows the photo of each item, and the prices change occasionally, so this is more accurate then just listing them out in the text.

  3. The battery quick connect should work to jump a car battery, or to charge the deep cycle battery in the box from a car battery right?

    1. That is correct Josh. The high current quick connect is tied directly to the internal battery, so current can flow either way. Which ever side has a higher voltage, will supply current to charge the other.

  4. Appriciated your video. In fact, I am about to build my solar generator based on your lists. One thing I still think it would be helpful is the schematic. Do you have it?

  5. Some of the items are just showing the amazon logo and not what the item is. It doesn’t take me to the item either if I click on it.

  6. I love the idea and the detailed plans you provided. Thanks so much. I’m going to give this a shot myself.

  7. Hello Mark,

    Thanks for the tutorial, I plan to build a solar system using your specifications. I was just curious as to what load your current specifications can handle. I’m planing to build a unit that supports a household of Fridges, A/C units, lighting, Tv’s.

    Will having multiple batteries help with long term usage. Also should the batteries be wired in a series or parallel connection? Also how long will it take for the battery to be replaced?

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