Whether it is at a campsite, in a municipal park or in the event of a power failure, the Jackery Solar Generator 500 promises total independence from the power grid and this in the long run. In addition to the Powerbank Explorer 500 with a capacity of 518 Wh, the package also includes SolarSaga 100 W foldable photovoltaic systems, with a charging power of up to 100 W. We have taken the Solar Generator 500.
- The right charging current via solar cells
- Total autonomy from the electrical network
- Solid and practical design
- The feet on the solar panel are a bit unstable
Jackery Solar Generator 500 in a nutshell
Solar Generator 500 is a good solution for those who need electricity everywhere or want to be prepared for all eventualities. During this hands-on, we managed to achieve up to 74W charging power via SolarSaga 100W in the corn sun. And the Explorer 500 holds a 16 “MacBook Pro with a Core i9 through a power-hungry everyday life, even with video editing in Premiere and After Effects.
But such autonomy also has a price: Jackery announces a price of 945.99 euros for the bundled Solar Generator 500. Solar Generator 1000 is even more powerful because it is a powerbank with a capacity of 1002 Wh and with a peak power of 1000 W, as well as two SolarSaga 100 W for a total charging power of 200 W. Its price is 1869.99 euros!
Jackery has also just introduced the Solar Generator 2000 Pro Bundle. It has a capacity of 2160 Wh, a continuous power of 2200 W and six solar modules with a power of each 200 W. You thus have a small mobile solar park with a charging power of 1200 W. But for this you have to pay 6199 euros.
Unboxing and design
The first unpacking is striking, the Powerbank Explorer 500 is certainly the size of a large car battery, but with its 6 kg it is significantly lighter, thanks to the Li-Ion NMC. In addition, there is a generous carrying handle on the top, which makes it easy to travel long distances. The box for Explorer 500 contains a small bag with accessories for the cables, namely a mains charger and an adapter for the cigarette lighter. With the solar panel, you get three options for recharging your Explorer 500. But we will return to that later.
On the front of the Explorer 500 you will find a wealth of sockets. Most exciting is of course the 230 V power outlet hidden under a plastic cap, which provides up to 500 W continuous power. To the left are three USB ports that charge connected devices with a voltage of 5 V and max. 2.4 A. Further to the left you will find a cigarette lighter socket as well as two DC outputs. At the top left is the power input for charging, the display on the right shows the charge level and the current input and output power.
Slightly larger than the Explorer 500, the foldable SolarSaga 100 W module, when folded, measures 61 × 54 cm. But thanks to its handle, its thickness of only 3.5 cm and its weight of 4.7 kg, it is also easy to transport. A pocket is attached to the outside of the SolarSaga 100 W. This hides a USB-A port, a USB-C port, and a proprietary cable to connect the solar panel to the Explorer 500.
All components appear to be of good quality. Two magnets hold the solar panel securely in place when folded up, and to secure it in place, there is a construction made of thin nylon flaps. The flaps certainly look a little crooked at first glance, but in practice the construction is very solid. In any case, the solar panels must be handled with care, because the solar cell elements are not unbreakable. Rain must also be avoided for the solar panels and the power plant.
Performance: Charging and operation
Our first practical test took place under a radiant sun. During a blazing sun, the power supply showed a power of 74 W on the screen of the Explorer 500. In the middle of summer, it can certainly be done better. At noon the sky became a bit hazy and the power dropped to 43 W. As the day progressed as the sun got lower and lower, the charging power finally dropped to 10 W at 5.30pm. On a slightly cloudy day, it takes about three hours to refuel a small shift. It is therefore quite realistic to fully charge the battery using solar energy on a high summer day. According to the manufacturer, this should be possible in 9.5 hours under optimal conditions.
Of course, you can also charge the device via the included power supply or via the car’s cigarette lighter, which should take about 7.5 or 8 hours depending on the manufacturer. In the practical test we saw 85W input power when charging via the PSU to go from 0% to 66%, it took 4h08min. The closer we got to 100%, the slower the charging process became.
The discharge of the battery also went smoothly. In the practical test, I managed to get through a power-intensive everyday life with the Explorer 500. MacBook Pro with the Core-i9 processor and its charger typically required between 60 and 100 W. That day I edited video in Adobe Premiere, worked with Audition and After Effects as well as several Google Sheets spreadsheets. You should be able to supply a less power-hungry laptop for several days with no hassle.
Since you do not go to the campsite to work, but to relax, you still have a mini fridge, an electric air pump, a blender or something like that connected to the Explorer 500. test I could even use a waffle maker rated at 700W on the Explorer 500 , but the fan started quickly and the current accumulator went out after a few minutes.
1000 euros is a lot of money. But in return, the Jackery Solar Generator 500 offers total autonomy from the electrical network, at least in terms of “small” consumers. You will easily be able to charge your daily gadgets and run energy saving devices like refrigerators, TVs, speakers and more.
For more greedy appliances, such as waffle irons, toasters or kettles, the “small” power station is not enough. For that, 500W continuous power or 1000W peak power is just not enough and you have to pay a lot more for one of Jackery’s larger alternatives.