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Best solar generator for HOT Arizona desert

Trying to figure out which small portable solar generator would be best for us.  We are in the Phoenix area and get temps up to 120+ F in the summer. Rarely go below 35 F in the winter.

I do have several of the small Novoos and Ruffwear solar fold up panels that were rec’d here on the prepared for charging smaller items.

Would like to get something bigger with plugs so we can run larger fans, etc. Not looking to run major appliances.  And yes, we already have some mid size fans that run off of Li-ion batteries.  Cost is not really an issue. Willing to invest in the best product to suit our needs.

Looking at Goal Zero Yeti 150 (lead-acid battery) and Goal Zero 200x (Lithium) and their appropriate solar panels.Q1:  What type of battery is best for our hot desert environment?

Q2: What about Jackery? Better/ Worse/ Same?  EcoFlow RIVER?

Q3: What would you recommend?Thanks for your help, should you decide to respond. Been having a health issue that has been making me foggy and tired, lately, so researching for me, right now, is draining.

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  • Comments (9)

    • 3

      The heat is going to take it’s toll on the batteries over time so keeping the unit in the shade is important to increase the power station’s lifespan. 

      Stay away from the lead acid batteries, they are heavy and don’t have as much capacity or life as lithium ion. And there is a new contender on the market that is significantly better than lithium ion, it is called LiFePo4. So that Goal Zero 200x will retain 80% of it’s battery capacity after 500 discharge and recharge cycles. Not bad to be honest… That’s depleting the unit and charging it up every day for a year and a half, and still your batteries will hold 80% of what they used to when you first bought it. BUUUTTTT… The LiFePo4 blows that out of the water and can handle 3000 charge cycles and still retain 80% of it’s original life. That’s over 8 years of charge and discharging every day. 

      Sounds like you are looking for a small 200wh power station. Here’s comparing that Goal Zero Yeti 200X to, a Jackery Explorer 240, and the Anker 521:

      Screenshot from 2022-04-17 17-05-08

      Screenshot from 2022-04-17 17-05-27

      The Anker 521 is cheaper, has a larger battery capacity, can handle larger devices, has more ports, and batteries last six times longer than the Goal Zero. Plus LiFePo4 batteries do better in the heat than lithium ion. 

      I have a few more recommendations if you would like a larger unit than 256wh, but to just run some fans that should do you pretty well. Just look up the running watts of your fan and divide that by 256wh to figure out how long you can run them.

      • 1

        Thank you, Gideon. That’s really interesting. Yeah, I could go a larger; definitely would love to hear your recs. I was also just looking (briefly) at EcoFlow.  I think they may use Li-ion, though. VERY interested, now, in ones with the LiFePo4 you mentioned.  I am wanting a product that will have a long life here in the desert and not crap out when we need it most (hot months). 

      • 2

        To help give you the best recommendation, can you tell me a bit more about the things that are important to you?

        I can see you want something that will handle the heat and have a long lifespan. What are some things you would like to power? Is weight an issue?

      • 2

        I guess what it boils down to is that I don’t trust my Novoos to stay working for years, and with our heat here in AZ. 

        I want to have a reliable, portable source be able to recharge batteries in chargers (NiMH, Li-ion), charge Baofengs, an ipad and phones with libraries of info on them, radios, mini handheld fans, headlamps, flashlights, etc.   

        I’d like something powerful enough to run a wall plug-in fan, nightly, for an 8 hour stretch, and perhaps run it during the hottest daytime hours, too.  My favorite fan for this purpose is the Honeywell HT-904 TurboForce Tabletop Air Circulator Fan; I have several that I’ve been using for over a decade that have never broken down.

        I don’t want a power station so heavy that I’d need a dolly. 

        I did a bit of looking after you gave me the head’s up on the LiFePo4 batteries. Found my way to BLUETTI.  I think the EB55 is closest fit to my needs from them. What are your thoughts on Bluetti? Or, is there a similar, but better option from another brand? (If you have time and energy to reply, of course.)

      • 1

        Your response is very informative and helpful, thank you for the detail you put into it. 

        Bluetti is a great power station company. When I first became aware of them they had pretty bare bones, no frills power stations with good batteries, but lately they have really upped their game and have made some feature rich stylish models. 

        The EB55 looks to be the best LiFePo4 model that I’ve seen in this size and price range. Plus Amazon has a $100 off coupon going on with the blue model right now!

        Screenshot from 2022-04-19 17-26-40

        I do really like the brand Ecoflow, but like you said all their models are currently running lithium ion batteries besides their latest Delta Max ($1900, 2016Wh). Ecoflow has the fastest charging power stations on the market.

        For your use case, I would go with that Bluetti. The next closest model that I am aware of with LFP batteries is the Anker 535 at $200 more.

        That Honeywell fan uses about 40 watts of power based off of Amazon customer reviews (not sure how accurate those are…), so if you only ran your fan off of that, it would last for about 13.4 hours. The EB55 will be able to charge all of those devices you mentioned many times over.

        If you do end up going with a solar panel to charge your station, I’ve been told that the hotter those get, the less efficient they are. So providing good airflow underneath is helpful more maximum efficiency. I charge my station underneath my panel’s shade to keep the station’s batteries cool.

      • 2

        Oh, for sure, I would never leave this powerbank vulnerable to our sun down here. Our sun destroys everything. I end up sewing my own stuff sacks, carrybags, etc. out of Sunbrella marine fabric with special thread because nylon ones literally disintegrate within a year.

        I really thank and appreciate you for your help with this!  I had no idea about the LiFePo4 batteries.

      • 1

        You should follow up with us in a few if you do end up buying one to tell us how you like/dislike it. 

      • 2

        Just put in the order! I’ll try to do a follow-up, after a couple of months. The true test will be how it operates this summer; hopefully, I can put it through its paces.  We’re hitting lower 90s, this week 🙂

    • 3

      Hello,

      City prepping has just posted a good video about different solar generators.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JcJf6OP7bGU

      Good luck with it!

      • 1

        I’m looking forward to watching that!