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Diesel and Solar Generator Comparison

Diesel and Solar Powered Generators:

Solar powered generators are cutting edge technology. The cost of these solar generators has decreased, and they are now in a position to replace diesel generators completely. If you have a diesel generator or are looking to purchase one, take some time to compare solar generators with diesel generators before you make a decision.

Solar power is free for life, though it has a higher upfront cost. This is a onetime expense, and may seem over whelming at first. However, when coupled with the long 20 year life of solar generators, solar is actually a cheaper source or electricity.

Diesel generators have been in use for a long time, and have long been the only way to generate electricity in off grid locations. Diesel generators require fuel, and this will also have to be transported to the location. The cost of fuel is rising, and the transportation cost makes it much more expensive and inconvenient. Diesel generators are a costly way to produce electricity, and are not getting any cheaper. This makes solar generators a viable option for electricity production in place of diesel generation sets.

Finding a Cost Effective Generator Solution for Your Needs:

If you find the cost of a solar generator prohibitive, hybrid generators are also available. These rely on solar energy to produce the bulk of the electricity, using a backup diesel generator to make up the difference. The amount of electricity produced by the diesel generator depends on your budget, but in most cases, the diesel generator does not have to supply any load. This is due to the solar generator portion of the system, which will take care of the electricity requirement.

Comparison of Diesel Generators with Solar Generators:


Diesel Generator

Solar Generator

System Type

Portable diesel generator set

Portable Solar generator set, with optional backup generator


Lower initial cost, high running costs due to fuel consumption

High initial cost, virtually free for lifetime.


Require periodic maintenance such as oiling of parts and replacement of moving parts

Minimum maintenance required due to no moving parts.


Noisy, smoke discharge and greasy residues.

Also harmful for the environment

Soundless, no discharges.

Environmentally friendly.


Will consume fuel and produce constant energy regardless of load consumption. Most of this energy is wasted.

Will store extra energy and supply it when required. All energy is utilized.

Cost per kWh

Increases with fuel prices

Free after sometime.

Return on Investment


Cheaper than grid power over its lifetime.

Reliability in Rugged Conditions

Will function when required, but lifetime will be shortened by environment.

Will function when required, and is ideal for sunny countries.

Fueling Costs

Requires fuel to be transported to location and manually inserted into tank

No cost for fuel. It is automatically charging at all times in the sun.

Set Up Time

Will have to be refueled before being used

Deployed in a few minutes.

When Not in Use

Nothing will happen, though fuel level will have to be checked before reuse

The generator will retain charge. It will continue to charge as long as exposed to sunlight.

Towing from Location to New Location

Fuel recharge required when reaching new location

Generator will charge enroute, ready to be used when arriving at new location.

Life Time

8-10 years

Up to 20 years.