I'm a pretty jaded type. I don't often get excited, but I was all "a-tingle" when I got word of what was heading my way for review. Most of my reviews are of small items, handheld radios, machetes, hand axes, not 200 lbs. of high-end, high power solar generator.
Needless to say, I was as giddy as a little school girl.
You see, any serious prepping plan needs a foundation based on sustainability. You need to work from a sustainable supply of anything to hold your own, whether it's a supply of beans, bullets or banjo strings. This applies especially for electricity.
The ultimate goal is to live comfortably "off grid". Unless a life of a wilderness mountain man with flint & tinder is your bag, if you want electric lights, air conditioning & internet, you'll need a powerful electrical generator.
The HomeGrid™ 5000HD Solar Powered Generator.
Four heavy boxes arrived from Point Zero Energy by ground freight, with two large deep cycle 12V DC batteries, the inverter/generator unit, unit base, cart wheels & handle. Plus two pairs of solar panels, with two 100 watt panel built into sturdy frames with hinged supports & carry handles. Total capacity of the included solar panels came to 400 watts. Also included, was an assortment of parts including a heavy duty battery charge controller, three heavy-gauge jumper cables & connecting cables for the solar panels, along with an illustrated manual & instructional DVD.
Homegrid™ 5000HD is capable of 5000 watts of continuous 110 & 220 AC Power, and a whopping 22,000 watts of peak surge power. Read that again...TWENTY-TWO THOUSAND WATTS Surge power. Meaning the generator can easily power multiple home appliances simultaneously including refrigerators, freezers, microwave ovens, and cooking appliances. It's pure sine wave power output will safely run power tools, electronics, and medical equipment.
For my test, I plugged into my house transfer switch circuit, specifically to isolate my home off the Utility Company power meter, (and avoiding back feeding). There was no noticeable difference to the house load. The TV worked fine, my computers booted up, lights came on through the house, the refrigerator & microwave ran without a hiccup. Even my water well, with it's 220V AC motor did it's job. Then I ran some power tools... my chop saw & band saw in the shop, they all cut wood with no telltale difference in performance.
Overall, the power draw on the generator was usually less than 2500 watts, most often less than a thousand watts. It was when the refrigerator compressor came on, or when the well pump kicked on that power surged. Throughout my test, the generator was loafing along, operating well under capacity all day & even all night. One exception though, my house AC unit wasn't in the transfer circuit. When I wired up my transfer switch, I didn't include it in the circuit so I couldn't put it to test. Still, the AC is rated to draw 1500 to 3000 watts when operating, the HomeGrid™ 5000HD has the capacity to handle the load. Through the night there wasn't much demand, just the few lights I had on, my computer & TV, and the refrigerator... altogether, no more than 1000 watts. By next morning, the battery status indictor showed less than one quarter depletion, and within the first hours of daylight, the system had regained a full charge by the solar panels.
Using the 400 watt solar panel array, the generator's batteries can easily be topped off throughout the day letting the system handle the heavy lifting alone only during the night. The generator can also accommodate a second 400 watt array as well. Typically the deep cycle battery service life offers 7 to 8 years of reliable service.
Granted, my review was a weekend of use test, and in the long term, my energy demands would widely vary from day to day & seasonally. However, with some reasonable budgeting on the amount of power use, the Point Zero Energy HomeGrid™5000HD could give me a totally off grid existence right out of the box. Just by adding additional batteries & solar cells, the well of electrical power I'd have on tap would be far more than my modest needs. The great news is the HomeGrid™ 5000HD is easily expandable & PORTABLE.
My only gripe isn't really a gripe at all.
I was staggered by the weight the Point Zero Energy HomeGrid™5000HD. Although designed & built to be portable, you'd be smart to have a couple of stout helpers to pitch in moving the generator & battery unit. By myself, it was a task. The solar panels are not a problem, but you certainly work up a sweat horsing the generator unit & batteries around. Imagine taking a hand truck and deadlifting a small refrigerator up some stairs. Again, this isn't really a gripe against the gear, more it's against my own lack of strength. The weight is actually a good testament of the sheer ruggedness built into the unit. Point Zero Energy isn't building wimpy gear here, it's high quality, high capacity & highly reliable power generation equipment. It's well worth the sizable investment to insure safe, reliable, & dependable electrical energy to live totally off-grid, yet still enjoy modern electrical appliances in your household. Until Doc Brown & Marty McFly shows up with a Mr. Fusion home reactor, the Point Zero Energy HomeGrid™ 5000HD is anyone's ticket to an off-grid lifestyle. Now that I've experienced life off-grid, I'm striving for more.
Pay a visit to Point Zero Energy's website to learn more about the complete line of HomeGrid™ Solar Powered Electrical Generators.