Generating electricity with grid-tied and off-grid solar power systems has been going on for decades and now the promise of clean power is moving into the mainstream with the introduction of solar generators. Solar generators not only enable renewable, sustainable power to be generated anywhere the sun is shining, they bring all that functionality without generating any emissions. They represent the promise of the electrical grid of the future in a portable family-sized package.
Jackery sent us their Explorer 1000 Solar Generator System which pairs the Explorer 1000 Portable Power Station with a pair of 100-watt folding solar panels. The result is a system that can generate and store a significant amount of clean, green power without the need for a grid connection. We ran it through the paces for a few weeks and are back to tell the tale of the tape.
Disclaimer: Jackery provided the author with an Explorer 1000 and a pair of SolarSaga 100 watt panels for the purposes of performing this review.
The Jackery Explorer 1000 Power Station is the marriage of a 1002Wh, 46.4Ah lithium battery, a power inverter rated at 1000 watts of continuous power / 2000 watts peak power across a wide range of output formats, and a solar charge controller into a slick portable package.
The Explorer 1000 was designed specifically as a base station for a solar generator system and comes equipped with inputs for solar panels to charge the battery. The solar input ports enable the Explorer 1000 to charge from up to 200 watts of solar panels that, in our testing, were able to recharge the battery from empty to full in around 8 hours.
Tap Into The Sun
To start generating power, it is as easy as unfolding the panels, aiming them to the south, and plugging them into the Explorer 1000. Jackery’s SolarSaga 100 panels are, as the name implies, 100-watt solar panels that were designed to be the ultimate flat-folding solar panels. The requisite cables tuck cleanly into the integrated pockets on each panel for snag-free transport. A pair of kickstands on each panel are secured in place with strips of hook-and-loop for portability while still allowing for a rapid deployment when it’s time to stand the panels up.
At 9.1 pounds each, these panels aren’t just functional, they are truly portable as well. In addition to being able to charge up Jackery’s full range of Explorer base stations, these SolarSaga 100 panels also come with one USB-C and one USB-A output port to allow for direct charging of many portable devices. It’s a handy option to have to make the most of excess solar generation when the battery is full, or for rapid charging of devices from the sun.
While not waterproof, the panels are coated in a temperature and water resistant PET material that feels very solid. The two sections of panel are stitched together with durable cloth to allow them to fold, with beefy TPE rubber handles that sync up when folded to allow for easy carrying.
Power Your Life
The Explorer 1000 sports a wide range of outlets to let you use the power in the way that fits your life. Most of my devices are now powered via USB, so the inclusion of two USB-A and two USB-C ports on the DC side of the device meet the need. I don’t personally use many devices that plug into a standard 12 volt lighter outlet, but it is a really nice addition for those looking to use the Explorer 1000 to keep their automotive accessories charged.
On the AC side of the device, three 110-volt, 1000 watt outlets are spaced out across the front of the device to allow for a wide range of larger, higher power devices to be plugged in without having to worry about larger transformers blocking ports. At 22 pounds, the hefty handle atop the Explorer 1000 made it comfortable to move its mass around without being awkward. It’s not something you’re likely going to consider tossing in your backpack, but it’s perfect for base camp type operations like camping, hunting, outdoor parties at the park, and providing renewable emergency power in the event of grid outages.
Here in Southern California, the increasing prevalence of wildfires has resulted in the introduction of widespread Power Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events where grid power is regularly cut for thousands of residents. A system like the Jackery Explorer 1000 Power Station is an affordable way for residents living in areas where grid outages are not uncommon to keep the lights on and the cellphones charged up.
The system has enough storage capacity and power for a wide range of devices. Here’s a sampling of what it can power and for how long from Jackery:
These are really practical and all, but my personal favorite application of this kit comes from Twitter. Jake from the YouTube channel DALLMYD used the Jackery Explorer 1000 to power the tools he and his crew of misfits needed to break into a bank vault. Sure, it was abandoned, but it’s still pretty cool.
I teamed up with @Jackeryinc to break into an abandoned bank vault!! We used Jackery's portable power station to power all the tools we needed to break into this vault for the ultimate heist! Check out the video to see what we found inside the vault! https://t.co/9wvQMa4sXj pic.twitter.com/pFQy5OD8lF
— Scuba Jake (@DALLMYD) November 15, 2020
Jackery Explorer 1000 Specs
- Capacity: 1002Wh (21.6V, 46.4Ah)
- Cell Chemistry: Li-ion NMC
- Lifecycles: ≥500 cycles to 80%
- Management System: BMS, Over Voltage Protection, Short Circuit Protection
- AC Output: 110VAC, 60Hz, 1000W (2000W Surge)
- USB-A Output: 5V, 2.4A
- Quick Charge 3.0 Output: 5-6.5V, 3A / 6.5-9V, 3A / 9-12V, 1.5A
- USB-C Output: 5V, 9V, 12V up to 3A
- Car Output: 12V, 10A
- DC Input: 12V-30V (163W Max)
- Recharge Time via AC Adapter: 7 Hours
- Recharge Time via 12V Car Adaptor:14 Hours
- Recharge Time via Two SolarSaga 100W Solar Panels: 8 Hours
- Weight: 22.04 lbs (10 kg)
- Dimensions (LxWxD): 13.1 x 9.2 x 11.1 in (33.3 x 23.3 x 28.3 cm)
- Operating Usage Temperature: 14-104F (-10-40℃)
- Warranty: 24 Months
Jackery SolarSaga 100 Specs
- Weight: 10.33 lbs (4.69 kg)
- Dimensions (folded): 24 x 21 x 1.4 in (610 x 535 x 35 mm)
- Dimensions (unfolded): 48 x 21 x 0.2 in (1220 x 535 x 5 mm)
- Operating Usage Temperature: 14-149F (-10-65℃)
- Warranty: 24 Months
- Peak Power: 100W
- Cell Efficiency: 23%
- Power Voltage: 18V
- Power Current: 5.55A
- Open Circuit Voltage: 21.6V
- USB-A Output: 5V, 2.4A
- USB-C Output: 5V, 3A
The Jackery Explorer 1000 tips the scales at $999 which is not too shabby for a 1kWh NMC lithium-ion battery with all the trimmings that come with this consumer device. The team at Jackery have built up an impressive amount of functionality into a compact package. At 22 pounds, it’s no featherweight, but that’s what it takes these days to bring a full kilowatt-hour of batteries to the party.
Head over to Jackery.com to learn more about the Explorer 1000 and the SolarSaga 100 solar panels. In fact, I’d recommend heading over there today as Jackery is kicking off a fifteen percent off sale on everything in the store today that runs November 16th-18th, 2020. It’s a great way to start dabbling in solar generators or to dive in head first into a full blown solar generator system.
All images credit: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica