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How Do Off-Grid Generators Work?

 An off-grid generator is an essential requirement in many scenarios – whether it’s needed at a construction site or an outdoor event, having a ready-made power supply can make all the difference.

Off-grid generators are most commonly used to power off-grid properties or to offer backup power to homes and farms in the instance of a power outage.

There are many different off-grid generators to choose from these days, which makes finding one perfectly suited to your unique power requirements easier than ever before.

In this blog, we’re going to cover how off-grid generators work and what you should be looking for when selecting the right product for your needs.

How Do Generators Create Electricity?

A generator alone doesn’t actually create electricity; instead, it converts mechanical or chemical energy into electricity. This is achieved by harnessing kinetic energy by forcing electrons from the external source through an electrical circuit. This basically means that a generator is an electric motor working backwards.

Some generators, such as those found at the Hoover Dam, for instance, are absolutely huge and are capable of providing vast amounts of energy by moving the power created by water turbines into electricity. The generators we’ll be talking about today, are much smaller and instead rely on a source fuel such as diesel, gas or propane – which we’ll talk about in more detail later – to create that mechanical power that will induce an electric current.

Once the current has been created, it is pushed through copper wires to power machines, devices and entire electrical structures, such as off-grid systems.

Power Output

The main factor you need to cover when deciding which generator is right for you is the power output. Every scenario will vary, so you’ll need to understand how power is required to run all of your electrical items before purchasing one.

For a generator on a typical off-grid property, you’ll be looking at an instantaneous demand requirement of around 10kW. Of course, if you’re using more power than this, then there are larger models available.

For more finite uses, such as powering smaller machinery on an off-grid farm, for example, this will require a far lower output – perhaps only 2,000 watts.

Similarly, most off-grid homes will probably only be using a generator as a backup option when a battery or solar and wind energy aren’t readily available.


Off-grid generators use three fuelling options:

  • Gas – Gasoline is the best option for those looking for a more budget-friendly generator. Although it is the cheapest fuel available, users must take precautions since it is flammable and must be stored correctly. The liquid will also need to be drained from the tank when not in use since it can begin to deteriorate the generator if left. This option is better for standby generators.
  • Diesel – Diesel is the most reliable fuel choice, and generators of this type are usually at the higher end of the quality scale. However, this also means they tend to be quite expensive, and just like petrol, diesel needs to be used and stored very carefully.
  • Propane – Propane is a good option as a generator fuel since it’s easy to transport and store and it’s relatively affordable. However, most models you find on the market these days will either be gasoline or diesel.

It’s essential to choose a fuel type which suits both your budget and the applications that you need it to power. Generally, propane is used for more professional applications, whereas gas and diesel generators are most commonly used in off-grid systems.

Noise Output

One crucial factor that is often overlooked when looking for the right off-grid generators is noise pollution. Generally speaking, high-powered generators are quite noisy, so it’s essential to consider that when you’re thinking about how that might impact your day-to-day life.

Could it disturb home life? Bother employees in a commercial setting? Or even upset animals if used in a farming application? At Powerguard, we’re on hand to offer advice and expert knowledge when it comes to where your generators will be installed to ensure that it poses little disturbance during daily life.

Inverter Generators

Some generator options come with an inverter option. What this means is that these units provide alternating current, which is converted into DC voltage and ‘inverted’ back to AC voltage. This allows a constant flow of current to reach your appliances.

Engine alternative inverter generators are a good option if you’re looking for a quieter, more efficient solution to your standard generator. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that these often don’t reach high power outputs, so they aren’t suitable for solutions that require power to numerous energy thirsty appliances.


At Powerguard, we are committed to working closely with you to ensure that you’re receiving the most efficient, cost-effective and environmentally friendly generator for your off-grid needs.

As such, if you have questions about what we have covered or are interested in of any of our services, please get in contact with us today.

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