I've had some inquiries about my personal solar generator at home setup recently and figured I would explain a bit about my off-grid setup and the benefits or importance of the customizations I have.
First in order to use a solar generator to power your whole home, you should check out our recent blog post about running air conditioning with a solar generator so you know what you're getting into. Right now running your entire home (sustainably) can be expensive, but it's totally doable! I emphasize sustainably because a major reason we get solar generators is for emergency or disaster use. What good is an EV that can "power your home" if it only lasts 1 day? True preppers insist on sustainability, which is why Cutting Edge Power products are all aligned with being able to power your home or business 24/7, every day.
This Rebel is a 6,000W 24V with about 12,600Wh of battery storage. 6,000W is enough to run almost anything in the house, just not everything at the same time. It will even run my EV charger (at half power, 16A @ 240V).
So many EVs and “portable” solar generators claim they can power your home for “1 to 7 days” or some other guess that isn’t backed by any calculations whatsoever. There are so many variables to determine how long you can run off-grid, but one thing is for sure: If it’s little and very portable, it can not run an American home for very long! My setup weighs about 300 lbs total, which is why I move it around on this pallet with wheels. Sure, you can move the Rebel and battery modules around with their built-in wheels. But the bottom line is that Cutting Edge Power is the only company out there right now that truly understands the scale of power that American homes use. Check out our calculators if you’re interested in off-grid sustainability.
My transfer switch is a small one (only 6 circuits.) Cutting Edge Power also sells larger transfer switches and generator interlock switches which can connect your entire electrical panel to the solar generator. The transfer switch is something you can always expand on later, so I figure I can add another one later one. I personally hate running conduit on the outside of a wall, so these wires are ran behind the drywall. Surprisingly a transfer switch is not super difficult to install. If you have some minor experience with wiring switches, outlet receptacles or other home wiring, you should be able to install a transfer switch like this in a few hours. One thing to note is that my switch is manual. I prefer this because I want to run some circuits on solar or batteries all the time. By doing so, it will reduce my overall power consumption and lower my electric bill.
As you can see in my photo, I don't have solar panels connected directly to this Rebel. That's because I have a second Rebel outside which is connected to about 2,000W of solar panels. The second Rebel charges this "primary" Rebel. We’ll get more into that later…
My Rebel is a few years old so it’s important to note some major changes: 1. The on/off switch is now an on/off display screen with battery and inverter status. 2. The 120V receptacles are now waterproof now. The Rebel Solar Generator is designed to be outdoors 24/7. This one has been outside for a couple of years and it’s only been inside for a few months.
The Rebel includes a 240V output and 240V input as standard features. The 240V input can be from a grid connection like mine or from a gas generator.
This Rebel also includes what we call “shore power input” which is just a 120V connection to charge from a regular 120V wall outlet. That can be handy when you’re not at your home.
My Rebel also includes a J1772 Level 2 input. This was an absolute must for me. I think it’s a super useful feature of the Rebel. If I ever need to, I can plug the Rebel into a Level 2 EV charger and charge it up in about 2 hours. It’s super useful on rainy and cloudy days!
Another necessity for me is the Smart Tech Power Meter. I want to be sure to differentiate this Rebel Solar Generator from the cute little solar generators out there: the Rebel is intended to be used 24/7 as a reliable off-grid source. The cute little ones are just for temporarily charging phones or powering a few light bulbs, small scale. If you’re considering a complete off-grid system, it’s important to understand the learning curve with this technology. It’s not so much “mistakes” to worry about in the beginning – it’s more like ironing out that delicate solar input+battery storage+power output to build your perfect setup without spending a fortune. All it takes is one rainy day and your power usage can sneak up on you – killing your batteries very fast. Or maybe one of your panels has a problem and since it’s wired in series the entire array is out and you can’t tell from just looking at it. Things like this can be frustrating to say the least. But at worst, it could take days to recover from dead batteries on a cloudy week. The Smart Tech Power Meter was designed specifically for these situations. It’s a very simple display readout with all the basics (battery state of charge %, solar voltage, how many hours of battery left, etc.). The app is very robust; it updates in real time, it’s wifi based, and when it’s left open, it doesn’t let your screen sleep. For me this is perfect because I can leave it open on an old tablet and mount this display anywhere in the house. It’s so handy that my tablet has a magnet on it for this exact purpose. So basically Cutting Edge Power’s Smart Tech Power Meter is a refined system for off-grid sustainability or emergency off-grid use. In my opinion, it’s well worth the price to add it to your investment.
As always, we’d love to hear your questions or comments. What’s your DIY renewable energy setup and how is it perfect for your application?