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Can a Solar Generator Power a Refrigerator? [For How Long?]

Tim Carter
Written by Tim Carter Last Updated: July 17, 2022

A solar generator is any technology that uses the energy of the sun to power a unit. The phrase “solar generator” usually implies a portable power station that harnesses sunlight via integrated solar panels and transports it to an internal storage system (a battery). Can a solar generator power a refrigerator or some other power-hungry appliance?

A solar generator can power a full-size refrigerator for at least a few hours, but as long as the generator has enough wattage that your fridge requires and enough energy storage.

The exact amount of solar energy you require mostly relies on the amount of electricity your refrigerator uses and where you live.

It is a little bit more complicated than that, though.

If you are new to solar energy, you might have concerns about where to begin. You’ll need to make another important choice while choosing between the various panels, batteries, and other options. You will have to decide whether to get a solar generator or a whole solar system.

Both solar generators and solar systems produce clean, renewable, off-grid energy using nothing but the sun’s energy.

The two, however, differ significantly in terms of consumption, storage, cost, maintenance, and other factors.

To convert solar energy into usable electrical current, solar generators combine a solar panel, charge controller, battery system, and inverter into a compact unit.

While solar generators have their uses, many boaters, RVers, and most homeowners affirm that a solar system is the best option because it is constantly available and adaptable.

It works best for both daily excess electrical needs and emergency power.

Table of Contents

Can a Solar Generator Power a Refrigerator?

For instance, we might claim that 200 watts of solar power might power the refrigerator at the day’s busiest times, but what happens at night?

Since there is no sunlight at night, things become tricky. You must consider power in terms of kilowatt hours (kWh). For some people, a 300W mono solar panel might be more beneficial.

A solar generator has difficulties while trying to run a refrigerator.

Next to electric ovens, dryers, and central air conditioning, refrigerators are one of your home’s most power-hungry appliances.

The amount of watts required at startup may be up to three times that required once the gadget is operational.

Many refrigerators use 200 to 300 watts while operating and up to 1200 to 1300 watts while starting.

Simply multiply the voltages and amps given on your appliance’s label to find out how many watts your refrigerator consumes.

You can estimate your running watts based on the number you receive. To roughly determine what your starting point is, multiply this amount by three.

Most full-size refrigerators (16 – 22 Cu. ft.) need between 1500Wh and 2000Wh (Watt-hours) of energy per day.

You can estimate how long a specific solar generator will keep your refrigerator running by knowing how much power it consumes, both when it starts and while it is operating.

For example, a 1,600 Wh solar generator can power a refrigerator for almost 8 hours since it consumes about 200 watts when it is operating.

However, it won’t run last for a full 8 hours even though a refrigerator does not run continuously.

The primary factor is that startup wattage will consume a significant amount of energy. As power varies significantly, most of the time it will use a little over 200 watts.

What Is a Solar Generator?

A solar generator transforms solar energy into electricity that can be used right away or stored for future use. Smaller, we typically refer to more transportable systems as solar generators.

You can erect and take them down as needed, or you can change their position for the best possible light exposure.

You can compare them to a standard gasoline-powered portable generator.

Solar generators can power smaller appliances like fans, medium-sized refrigerators, and air conditioners.

Also, solar generators can also power life-saving medical equipment like CPAP machines and other at-home health monitoring.

Here are the five advantages of using a solar generator:

  • It uses the sun’s free, pure energy
  • Low cost of maintenance
  • Quiet and spotless performance
  • It saves money
  • It is easy and compact

What is the Difference Between a Solar Generator And a Solar System?

While there are many similarities between a solar generator and a solar system, there are also some significant distinctions.

Solar systems, just like solar generators, transform the sun’s energy into useful electricity that can either be used immediately or stored in a bank of batteries.

Solar systems, however, are specialized systems that capture solar electricity, as opposed to generators.

For example, you might install solar panels directly on a house, RV, or boat, or you may use movable panels that connect to a complete system.

When comparing solar generators and solar systems, consider how you will use the system.

Portable Solar Generators Vs Fixed Solar Panel Systems

Solar generators can usually be stored and pulled out as needed, making them rather portable.

This makes it a terrific alternative if you are going to need solar power for several portable applications because you can even bring your generator with you if you want to.

Solar systems, even with portable solar panels, involve more long-term installations.

They will always be connected to the electrical system of your house, RV, or boat. Also, you won’t need to reconfigure anything when you use the power of the system.

The advantage, in this case, is that the system is constantly active, even when it is moving, and will produce more electricity overall using panels of the same size. And the best part is that you can use the excess power in several ways.

You don’t need to use all the energy produced by solar generators right now.


However, the generator’s built-in battery capacity is limited and, in most circumstances, you cannot increase it. This prevents you from storing a sizable amount of electricity for usage at night.

This problem does not apply to solar systems.

You can add more batteries to your solar system for extra storage. In most cases, your budget is the only restriction.


On the other hand, you must remember to take out your solar generators to recharge in direct sunlight.

Additionally, the internal battery charging procedure could be sluggish depending on the size of the panels.

Solar systems, however, gain from being permanently installed. As long as your system is functioning properly, backup power should be there when you need it.


Every solar panel needs to be inspected, mostly to keep them clean and make sure no fractures or other problems endanger their operation.

The maintenance of solar system panels, especially those that are permanently mounted, may be more involved and labor-intensive.

Contrary to solar generators that you store or cover when not in use, here the problem is constant exposure to the elements.

Portable solar panels that may be set up or taken down as needed are the exception to this rule.

They link to a complete system.

Because you can move solar generators as needed, they are easier to maintain.

Systems that are permanently placed require you to climb onto your roof or wherever your panel mountings are.

Energy Production and Consuption

Solar generators can be used in portable power applications and have fewer energy requirements. However, a built-in solar system will typically outperform a solar generator for most customers and applications.

For short-term backup needs, you can use a solar generator in an RV or at home, but it is less desirable for continuous use.

Because solar systems are constantly ready, you can always get electricity and be ready in case of a blackout.


You can always add more panels to your existing solar panel installation to use and store as much energy as you need.

However, solar generators cannot create or store enough energy to power more than a few devices or appliances for a little time.

Solar systems are more expensive, but they are worthwhile even though they may be more cost-effective.

For meeting the power requirements of heavy users, it works perfectly.

And paying for the setup might be easier than you think, given to federal tax incentives and other advantages.

Furthermore, the lifespan of your generator will probably be lower than that of a well-maintained solar system, which can last up to twenty years with adequate maintenance.

The brand and parameters have a significant impact on the price of your solar generator.

Powerful generators typically cost more since they can generate and store more energy.

Final Thoughts

So, can a solar generator power a refrigerator?

Definitely yes, as long as the solar generator has the wattage and energy storage that your fridge needs, it can run a full-size refrigerator for at least a few hours.

However, if you’re new to solar energy, consider what’s the best option for you.

If you will invest more in a whole solar power system or purchase a solar generator depends on the many pros and cons of the two and your particular needs.


Tim Carter
Tim Carter

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