In recent months, solutions for the autonomous generation of energy with solar panels have been very successful, and if a fixed home solution can be quite expensive, as well as requiring space that only those who have an independent house can afford, portable solutions are very more versatile and require significantly less space.
I’m talking about solar panels that can easily be placed on the balcony or in the garden, and that I can easily move according to the time of day to follow the sun, or take with us to have energy during a day outdoors or a camping holiday.
These solar panels power a charging station, basically a large battery that accumulates energy and allows us to use it through a series of outputs. Let’s imagine a large power bank that also has alternating current sockets to power lights and appliances.
Among the companies that produce this type of solution, Jackery stands out, a company based in California and researching in China, which offers a wide range of solar generators composed of a power station and a series of solar panels. Jackery is the market leader in the United States, and reached Europe with its solar generator models.
I tried the Jackery 1000 Pro, in the configuration with a pair of SolaSaga solar panels of 80W each. I remind you that in the company’s price list there are different combinations even with higher power generators and with more powerful panels up to 2×200 Watt.
The Jackery Explorer 1000 Pro Power Generator
At the center of a solar generator we have the current generator which can be compared to a “large power bank”. Jackery produces several models, all belonging to the Explorer line, and with capacities ranging from 160Wh to 2000Wh, with a variable number of ports based on the model.
Jackery Explorer 1000 Pro has a capacity of 1000Wh and is at the top of the range, managing to power small appliances and much more without problems. The shape is almost that of a parallelepiped, the dimensions are 340x262x255mm and the weight is 11.5kg. On the upper part we find a practical folding handle , which we can open when we need to transport the generator and fold when we need to store it, so as not to require too much space.
The front part includes all the outputs, among which two 220V alternating current Schuko sockets with maximum power of 1000W stand out, two USB-C up to 100W compatible with Power Delivery and also suitable for charging a MacBook, two 18W USB-A and a 12V cigarette lighter socket and up to 100W of power, as well as a LED light with double intensity level and SOS mode.
Also on the front, we have a large display to view all the information on charging and instantaneous input and output power, as well as a series of buttons to enable or disable the various ports, so as not to consume energy unnecessarily if we leave a socket inserted when we don’t need it.
The back is where we find the charging sockets: one is for alternating current, for those occasions in which we have a 220V socket available, and two for direct current – with DC8020 connector – to connect one or more solar panels or to charge from the cigarette lighter socket of a car or camper while driving. On the sides are the cooling grills, in a pleasant orange color that contrasts with the gray of the rest of the product and matches the Jackery logo.
Inside, we have a series of NMC lithium ion batteries for a total capacity of 1002Wh. The advantage in using this type of battery lies in the possibility of delivering greater power than standard batteries, and compressing a greater capacity into smaller dimensions, especially when compared with LiFePO4 batteries adopted by other manufacturers.
Furthermore, the batteries have a low self-discharge level, remaining charged for over a year, and a very high average life compared to standard batteries, maintaining over 80% of their capacity after more than 1000 complete charging cycles.
Jackery Explorer 1000 Pro is also discreetly silent, with a maximum noise level of 46dB which also allows us to stay in the same environment, such as in a camper or a tent.
Safety is very important for Jackery, an aspect in which the company has invested heavily in research and in the adoption of advanced technologies as well as certifications that attest to the work carried out.
Among these we have a battery management system (BMS) typical of heavy vehicles, which through continuous checks on parameters such as voltage, current and temperature ensures that everything is always normal. Even the cooling system, with dedicated ducts and fans controlled by additional temperature sensors, ensures that heat dissipation is always effective while keeping noise at minimum levels.
There is also the 94V-0 certification, which certifies that the generator components are not flammable nor can they explode when exposed to excessively high temperatures, in addition to resistance to impacts and falls up to 1m in height. A whole series of attentions aimed at protecting users that go beyond the minimum safety requirements imposed by European and American bodies.
Among the main uses of a power generator like the Explorer 1000 Pro we have camping and days outdoors, to power lights, electric stoves or portable refrigerators, and much more; but we can use it to reduce the electricity supplier’s bill, by connecting some devices without burdening the home network, as backup energy in the event of a blackout, as an uninterruptible power supply to keep devices such as the computer or router, and even machines, switched on and stable lifesaver of sick people with respirator and other tools.
Jackery SolarSaga Solar Panel
The most sustainable way to recharge the Jackery Explorer 1000 Pro is through the use of one or more solar panels, remembering that the maximum power accepted by the generator is 800W. Among the various packages that the company has provided, we tried one that bundled two 80W SolarSaga solar panels with the generator, for a maximum total power of 160W.
Each solar panel is contained in a bag which makes transport more convenient, but which can also be used as a support if necessary, in addition to the adjustable stand on the back. This is because the panels have cells on both sides , and the bag has a reflective layer that allows light to hit the back face of the panel after passing through the transparent part between the microcells.
The panels have an excellent conversion efficiency of 23%, among the highest values on the market – to date the maximum is always less than 25% – and made of resistant and at the same time light material, for comfortable transport. The IP68 certification is present which guarantees resistance to rain and bad weather, but remember that the socket is not waterproof so it is better to avoid immersing them in water.
The socket is used to connect the cable supplied in the package, which ends with a DC8020 connector suitable for many power generators, including our Explorer 1000 Pro. If you use a previous generation Jackery generator (or a generator from another manufacturer) the The company has included an adapter from DC8020 to DC7909 in the package, which is the format used in the Explorer line with a capacity of less than 1000Wh.
Since we have two direct current input ports on the back of the generator we can directly connect our two solar panels, while if we decide to purchase others we will also need to purchase a combiner that connects two or three panels to a single socket. Be careful, in this case, to keep the inputs symmetrical and therefore to use an even number of solar panels to avoid malfunctions.
In our configuration the generator recharges in approximately 9 hours, but we must always consider that to have the optimal result the panels must always be facing the sun and with an inclination that allows the rays to hit them perpendicularly. We also remember that charging time also varies based on weather conditions and season.
What do you feed and for how long?
To get a rough idea of what we can do with a full charge of the generator, let’s take the overall capacity (equal to 1000Wh) and divide it by the power that is absorbed by the devices we want to connect. A 1000W hairdryer can be powered for approximately 1 hour, a 300W electric heater for approximately 3 hours, a 30W fan for over 30 hours, and so on.
After a few weeks of using the Jackery 1000 Pro solar generator I must say that we have become practically addicted to it, so much so that we have used it in multiple situations.
Even in the cold season, we can take the generator plus solar panels with us in the car, allowing us to power some devices such as an electric barbecue during a trip out of town, and we can think that the experience can only be superior during the summer season, when we will also bring with us a portable refrigerator to keep drinks and meats cool, and we will be able to power other accessories such as an audio speaker or lights for when the light goes down or a projector plus speaker for an outdoor cinema evening (with the projector Xgimi that we have on test) even in the countryside.
We placed the solar panels on top of a south-facing canopy, securing them with safety bands, and although the sun was only present for a few hours during the winter and wasn’t the strongest, we arrived to charge around 20-25% of the Explorer 1000 Pro at the end of each day, which we then used over the weekend to power household appliances such as a blender and lighten the load on the bill.
Also interesting is the pass-through mode, which allows us to use the generator as an uninterruptible power supply and keep the modem and PC active even during a blackout, and by also connecting the TV to continue watching films in streaming even when the light goes out, This is especially possible in the summer months when the load on the air conditioners and the industries in the area sends the power plants into a tailspin and there are very brief but damaging interruptions in voltage .
And of course there is no shortage of camping options: with the panels positioned on the roof of the camper or even a rented van we can keep the generator charged and then use the energy to power the various electrical devices and preserve the health of the vehicle’s battery .
Availability and price
The Jackery 1000 Pro solar generator is available on Amazon and on the official Jackery website at the recommended price of ₱103,119.39; also available a version with two SolarSaga 100 solar panels of 100W each, at the recommended price of ₱112,223.51, and a top version with four SolarSaga 200 panels of 200W each, at the recommended price of ₱236,646.56
Prices that are only apparently high, since they can be considered an investment for saving on electricity bills as well as a convenience for days outdoors, and always in line (if not lower) than the prices of many competitors or specific solutions for detached houses.
Those wishing to extend an existing package or already have a power generator from the Jackery Explorer line can purchase additional SolarSaga 200 solar panels separately at the recommended price of ₱42,425.22 each.
Jackery products are distributed in Italy but can also be found on Amazon and on the company’s European store : right now and until March 15th there is an offer that also includes strong discounts on the model we tried and on the solar panels: the 1000 pro model with two 80W SolarSagas is sold for ₱87,642.38.