Frequently Asked Questions

1) How green are these generators compared to a gas generator? TLDR: 5.7 pounds of emission saved every hour.

Let us look at the example of how green the 1000W solar kit is. Compared to 1000W Honda Gas Backup Generators is the 1000W sunboxlabs kit green? The answer is a resounding “yes!”. While gas generators fire up all over the US during power outages and at RV parks, you will be emitting zero (and your fuel cost will be zero!).

Your greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced by roughly 4.4lbs every hour you run this compared to a gas generator, but more importantly you’re not emitting Carbon Monoxide (CO), Hydrocarbons or Nitrogen Oxide near your house.

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Calculations for nerds like us:

0.22 gallons/hour @ 1.3bhp/1000W assumed * 20 lbs CO2/gallon


2) How green are these generators compared to to the grid? TLDR: After 5.6 years it’s you are saving roughly 0.5 pounds emissions per day, before that it is worse than grid power.

It’ll take 5.6 years of usage every day until this whole system is CO2 net-positive vs. not using it.

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Calculations for nerds like us:

Production footprint mono-cristalline PV: 4200kWhee/kW [1] * 0.4kW = 1,680kWh embodied energy

Production footprint li-ion 18650 battery: 1153kWhee/kWh [1] * 1.5kWh = 1792kWh embodied energy

Total Footprint: 3472 kWh embodied energy

Annual energy production system: 620kWh/y

Payback period: 2364kWh / 620kWh/y = 5.6 year CO2 footprint payback

Source Source Lithium Batteries

3) Will this system save me a money compared to a gas generator? TLDR: Yes – after 3.7 months of usage.

What’s the payback period for our solar battery system? Will it save me money?

3.7 months of run-time until break-even vs. a gas generator. Maintenance cost of the gas generator is not included in this.

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Calculations for nerds like us:

Payback period for 1000W (Large) system: $0/hour running cost.

Cost of running a 1000W (1.3bhp) generator system: 0.22 gallons/hour * $3.189 / gallon in CA. = $0.70/hour running cost.

2,713h of runtime until break-even = 113 days = 3.7 months

4) Will this system save me a money compared to the grid? TLDR: Not really – after 20 years of usage.

20 years until payback vs. grid, but it depends where you’re located. In San Francisco, the payback is 20 years. The further south you are, or the more expensive energy is in your area, the shorter it’ll be. This system will not save you money until after that, and even then is definitely not a “money-saver”. It will however be more valuable in the event of backup generator needs, at camping/outdoors, and of course it’s just generally cool to be independent from the grid and make your own renewable energy.

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Calculations for nerds like us:

Payback period for 400W, 1500Wh system System cost: $1,899

Yearly energy creation: 365d * 4.26hsun/d * 400W = 620kWh/y

Yearly value creation: 620kWh/y * 15c/kWh (CA) = $93/y energy created

100W system payback period: $1,899 / $93 = 20 years until payback

5) Can I charge the battery off my car?

Yes you can! 12V DC in is supported, and an adapter is included in the box.

6) Can I charge the battery off my wall outlet instead of solar?

Yes you can! It’s supported, and an adapter is included in the box.

7) How does it work?

8) How much electricity will it make?

Short answer: it can charge all your laptops and phones and run your speakers and power your lights. It’s a powerful solar system with a powerful battery and inverter attached. It cannot run your iron or laundry, but the 1000W system is enough to back up a full-size, family fridge for a 4 hours a day in summer if the power goes out, or easily power a mini-fridge at the beach for 24 hours. Have fun! :)

Longer answer is in SF it’ll make on average 4.26 * 400W = 1,704Wh (1.7kWh) per day. Of course in winter it’ll make less (around 1.4kWh), in summer more (around 2kWh). Of that 1,500Wh will be stored. And if you’re further north, maybe you will want a second panel for winters. And if you’re further south, even in winter your batteries will always be full even when you’re using energy all day from the system.

Any questions? Get in contact above.

9) Where can use the solar panel and solar generator?

Here are our main suggestions but you can get creative! Let the sunlight inspire you!

  • Rooftop
  • Off-Grid Apartments
  • Condos
  • Balconies
  • Backup during blackouts, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc
  • Backyard experiments
  • RVs
  • Camping
  • Van-Living
  • Tiny houses
  • Boats

1. Car Camping Most people immediately think about camping when solar generators are mentioned. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking to go off grid for a few months or just a fun weekend camping trip in the wilderness, a solar generator is a useful tool to keep with you so you never have to worry about running out of juice.

2. Sleeping in Your Van on Weekends Are you between houses or caught in an emergency and need to spend a night or two in your van? In this case, don’t forget your solar generator! A car or van battery is no match for advanced equipment such as this and your generator can definitely offer long charges and battery life.

3. Living in an RV An RV is luxurious camping if you ask us. But it doesn’t matter what amenities your new recreational vehicle comes with if you don’t have the battery to power everything. As said, vehicle batteries are no match for a solar generator, so if you love camping, you definitely need to pick one up.

4. Skoolie Transformation Most of us are striving to make smaller environmental footprints and with housing prices skyrocketing, a shipping crate abode or skoolie houses are great options. For those of you that don’t know, a skoolie is a school bus renovated to become a livable residence.

Indoor plumbing and power may be hard to come by in this case, so your best bet is a solar generator. Not to mention, it will also eliminate some parts of your carbon footprint and is better for the environment as a whole since it utilizes solar power.

5. Off-Grid House Sometimes you just need to get away for a bit – or for a long time. Off-grid houses such as secluded cabins may need an external power source to make living comfortable. In cases like this, a solar generator is a great choice. They are portable devices that can pretty much supply you power whenever you need it.

Power is always a limiting factor for your range. Many people have shore power anxiety, or have large generators that destroy the otherwise tranquil nature you went out to seek peace in.

6. PG&E Shutoffs There are many reasons why PG&E may temporarily shut off power. Depending on where you live, you may be faced with severe weather conditions, fire threats, or other natural or man-made issues that may threaten public safety.

If the location of a part of the electric system is at stake, PG&E may decide to shut it off. In these cases, having a backup solar generator won’t leave you in the dust. You will still have access to power to charge your devices.

7. Power Outages During Wildfire Season Most of us are familiar with the wildfires that devastated California last year. In these extreme cases, power outages can be inevitable. For this reason, the presence of a solar generator can offer you access to electricity regardless of outside conditions.

8. Hurricanes Unfortunately, for some southern USA states, hurricane warnings come every year. Only a few of us have lived through the full impact of these storms, and many of us will say we wish we had access to electricity.

A preventative measure for when the next hurricane hits is to invest in a solar generator. This way, the machine can keep you protected during a storm.

9. Blackouts in General Blackouts happen sometimes due to the failure of power grids. You can never really predict when they will hit, so to have a backup solar generator means you will always be ready.

10. Preserving the Contents of your Fridge Solar generators come in different sizes and can keep small items like lightbulbs running to powering all your appliances. To guarantee the safety and freshness of the food in your fridge, a solar generator can keep things cool during a power outage.

11. Keeping Your Wi-Fi Working and Your Phone Charged During disasters, people fear for the safety of their loved ones. Having working phones and computers is essential to reaching out to family and friends. A backup solar generator will keep your Wi-Fi running.