With the rising price of gas today, it’s small wonder that many of us are starting to look for alternative ways of powering our stuff. The idea of living ‘off-grid’ as they say, is even more attractive for those who take their travel seriously, either with an RV or camping rough in the wild. It’s a good thing therefore that the price of solar powered equipment is coming down, and also that the products are getting easier to use.
The Goal Zero Yeti Solar Power Generator is not the most sophisticated solar rig in the world, nor the cheapest, but what it lacks in state of the art it makes up for in simplicity and user design. There’s no clunky components to assemble, so apart from hooking up the solar panels and the equipment you want to run, it’s fire and forget. The choice of lead acid batteries is clearly driven by cost considerations, so over time we’d expect to see them switch to other more efficient (and lighter) batteries as the technology matures and prices drop.
Sill, we’re impressed by the flexibility of the box, on a full charge you’ll be able to power a fridge for a few days, a TV for 35 hours and a laptop for 30 hours, so it can handle some serious needs. Charging time is long, up to 24 hours using the two solar panels in the default kit, but you can add up to six more panels and cut that charge time down to around 6 hours, which makes a lot more sense (it’ll obviously cost more too of course). You can also plug the thing straight into a wall socket to charge or top up!
The whole kit costs $2000 and includes the solar generator itself, 2 solar panels with carrying cases and a roll cart. Extra solar panels cost $240 a pop and the battery pack will last for 500 to 800 cycles.