Generac dominates the home generator market when it comes to combustion vehicles and in 2019, made a move into the residential energy storage space. This year, Generac is pushing the envelope further with a new line of portable power stations, starting with the 1kWh GB1000 and the 2kWh GB2000.
The Generac GB1000
Generac reached out for us to review the GB1000 and we quickly got to work. Both the GB2000 and its smaller sibling the GB1000 utilize lithium-ion NMC chemistry and aside from the nameplate capacity and physical dimensions, boast nearly identical spec sheets. We reviewed the Generac GB1000 which is the smaller of the two units and boasts 1 kilowatt-hour capacity.
The front of the GB1000 is anchored by a center-mounted 4.7″ color display that indicates battery capacity as well as inputs or output power in real time depending on what’s happening. Three AC ports hold down the left side of the front of the unit with two USB-C and two USB-A ports below the screen.
An AC button sits below the AC outlets that turns on the inverter to flips the stored DC power into AC to activate the outlets. Similarly, a DC button near the USB outlets turns on the DC outputs, including a 12 volt automotive style adapter and a pair of barrel-style DC outlets. Finally, at the top of the unit, a 15 watt wireless charging pad enables quick and convenient charging underneath the handle of the unit for phones equipped with Qi compatible wireless charging.
To turn on the unit, simply hold down the center mounted on off button for a few seconds until the display lights up. At this point, the unit can accept a charge from either outlet, a DC charge from an automotive cigarette style adapter or solar panels. The unit comes with adapters for each which store neatly within the unit in a kangaroo pouch style slot at the rear of the unit.
Using Generac’s Power Station
To charge up the unit, we set it up outside with a 100 watt Renogy solar panel tapped into the side. It easily gulped down the 100 watts being pushed out of the solar panel and it’s easy to imagine using a setup like this as emergency backup power source during a grid outage. It can pull in a maximum of 468 watts from solar at anywhere from 10-28V DC.
Alternately, a wide range of solar panels could be mounted to the roof rack of a vehicle and tied directly into the GB1000. This combination could be used as core of the entire power system for an RV or a smaller car camping setup. Generac’s decision to include a 12 volt automotive adapter to charge the battery is a key addition to the kit and makes it easy to use yet another power source. The 12v connection is a great way to supplement a rooftop solar array by powering the unit with a combination of a combustion vehicle’s alternator or in an electric car via a cigarette style adapter. When it comes to building a portable power system, the more options there are to charge it up, the better.
The Generac GB1000 can also be recharged from a standard AC wall outlet. We tapped into this after depleting the battery in our testing and found that it recharged from 6%-100% in just over 5 hours, pulling down just over 400 watts AC. The internal fans on the unit do kick on when charging from an AC outlet, so I found it best to put it in the garage to keep the noise down.
We recently had an additional Tesla Powerwall installed at our house which required the power to be disconnected for a few hours. We use the GB2000 to keep the refrigerator running which I was more than happy to do. It’s ability to crank out power at 1,600 watts continuously or up to 3,200 watts peak for short periods of time is more than enough to support keeping the internet on and the refrigerator running during a grid outage for for a day or more, depending on how much power is being pulled. Pairing the unit with solar panels further extends its base storage capacity in the event of a great outage like this.
We took the Generac GB1000 with us to a birthday party, where it was the star of the show as the sun started to go down. We tapped into the battery to heat up water with an electric kettle for hot chocolate and to keep a pot of apple cider warm in an Instapot. These devices pull a ton of power and it was reassuring to see that the power station could handle the 1,100 watt initial power draw with ease.
It also had no issue powering the 1,500 watt induction cooktop that’s a core part of our portable kitchen setup. Pulling that much power, its 1kWh capacity would only support 40 minutes of cooking at full power. That’s more than sufficient for most temporary setups, as long as it’s plugged into a vehicle’s 12 volt system to recharge or to an onboard solar system to recharge throughout the day.
Overall, Generac GB1000 is a solid piece of kit that would be happily at home putting in work in a wide range of situations. We put it to the test in a range of use cases including car camping, home backup in the event of a grid outage, charging everyday devices like phones, tablets laptops etc, even drawing on the unit for extended periods of time with a range of high power appliances from the car including an electric hot water kettle, Instapot, induction cooktop, and a compact refrigerator.
Not once did the unit balk at the load being thrown at it. It simply smiled and did what was asked of it. It’s a reliable piece of kit from a company that has more experience than perhaps any other in the US with home generators and backup power systems of all types. It’s exciting to see Generac moving into portable power stations and solar generators and we hope to see more from them in this space in the future.
For more information about the Generac GB series portable power stations, head over to the Generac website.
Disclaimer: Generac provided the GB1000 to the author for the purposes of this review.
Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Want to advertise? Want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.
EV Obsession Daily!
Tesla Sales in 2023, 2024, and 2030
CleanTechnica uses affiliate links. See our policy here.