SUNRNR of Virginia, Inc.
Renewable Energy ... Anytime, Anywhere

FAQs - General

Be sure you visit the Technical FAQs page, too!

Frequently Asked Questions

By far, the #1 and #2 most-FAQs:
General: Usage and Operation:
System Planning:
Purchasing and Shipping/Freight:
 Can a SUNRNR run my house? and What will it run and for how long?
kill-a-watt ez power meterThese are complicated questions because they involve your usage requirements.  One SUNRNR can likely provide 5-10% of the power consumed by an average American house. Please visit the What Will A SUNRNR Run? page for various examples involving refrigerators, lights, etc or the Specifications and Energy Req Worksheet pages for a more technical, calculated approach. Or visit the Continuous Usage Graph for an estimate of what average load you could run consistently using one SUNRNR and two panels. A $20 Kill-A-Watt Energy Usage Meter could help greatly in your planning. Devices like EnergyStar appliances or CFL or LED bulbs will extend run times.  

Just like you can run out of gas, it is possible to run out of stored sunshine temporarily, so budgeting, conservation, and understanding consumption is key. As with any battery, its run time before recharging is dependent on its usage load. Being aware of what you want to run and how much power those items take will determine duration.

linkable expansion model  What if I need more power?
There are several ways to mix-and-match "more power" options. The most common is by adding SUNPWR power modules which multiply energy generation and storage. Alternatively, based on balance of system, you may possibly add a second pair of panels to your main unit. 

 How much does the system weigh? (i.e. comment on "portable")
The units weigh 260lbs and the two panels weigh 60lbs. With a SUNRNR's similarity to gas generators, we tend toward their use of "portable" ... stand-alone, moveable/mobile, transportable, uninstalled. SUNRNRs are heavy, even for two strong men, but they roll easily on hard surfaces and are ruggedly-constructed, able to be lifted by a fork truck tine through the handles!

 May I use my own panels instead of purchasing the two Kyoceras included in base unit?
We chose the included Kyocera panels because of their quality in efficiency, warranty, and rugged, stand-alone design. It is possible to purchase units without panels for quantity orders, but your choice of panels must meet our required specifications to ensure proper usage and warranty promises and you will need our SUNRNR-ready unit-to-panels cable to easily adapt them into system.

 Should I use my unit often or can I just wait until I need backup power?
We highly recommend consistent use of all units. Usage-with-recharge exercises and extends the life of the battery (avoids sulfation). Besides, why not reduce your utility bill at the same time and ensure it is charged and ready when needed for backup emergency power. At worst, recharge it from the grid monthly and never let it sit discharged, especially in cold temperatures.

 Can you help me understand the specifications, why they matter, and how they compare to other products?
A few other products seem similar at first glance, but the difference is in the numbers and more thoroughly explained on SpecsExplained and Why SUNRNR?  SUNRNRs are not meant to compete with the grid, permanent residential grid-tie installations, megaWatt trailered systems, scary do-it-yourself kits, low-power inverter/battery units, or hand held, limited-capacity, real-time sunshine supplies.  They are unique in that they were designed to house all the necessary components of an industrial-strength power system within a rugged, easy-to-operate, safety-minded, self-contained enclosure, yet remain portable.  A SUNRNR is an excellent off grid solar backup, or supplemental power supply and we have yet to find any that offer as much continuous power or are patented.  Also, please visit the Return on Investment page for additional perspectives.
recharge with wind
 Can I recharge with sources other than solar?
Yes. Using an Auxiliary Plug, you may recharge a SUNRNR with your 12V, 300+W wind or water (microhydro) turbine. And of course, there is always the grid-powered AC/DC charger. (Wind and water turbines sold through their dealers.)

 Is there a warranty?
A SUNRNR comes with a limited one year warranty which covers material defects and workmanship.

 Are there testimonials and endorsements?

Yes! Please visit the Owners' Words & Pix page!

 Are SUNRNRs American-made?

Yes, and proud of it!  They are assembled in Virginia using 75% Made in USA components.

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 Can I run 240VAC appliances (like well pumps, compressors, most international appliances)?
Yes, the SUN240 model is for 60Hz requirements and the SUN220 for 50Hz, like often used overseas. Please note, each model is a separate unit. The SUN240 cannot split a leg of power off and make 110VAC like a gas-powered generator can. And no, SUN220s and SUN240s are NOT just bigger versions of SUN110s - their designations come from their output, not size.
 Can I run air conditioning?
A SUNRNR's inverter can likely handle the power requirements of your air conditioning, but a/c requires A LOT of power so duration is the problem.  Fans are much better.  Heat and cold (except refrigeration) take a lot of electricity, so we recommend cooking, heating (except fan), and air conditioning use some other source of power.
AUX plug and portal for DC in/out

 Can I get DC power out, too, or just AC?
Yes, each unit has a power socket similar to an automobile's. The AUX portal along with an Auxiliary Plug is able to output 30 amps of DC power. Need more? Try the modified Link Cord for 175 amps out.

 What size pump can a SUNRNR run?
15% of all SUNRNRs sold are dedicated to well pumps! The casual answer to this question is 3/4 Hp, but there are exceptions in both directions. Call 540-271-3403 with your pump's specifications and we will provide a thumb's up or a thumb's down.  We'll be asking for horsepower and depth, but what we really need to know is the "AMP DRAW" both at (locked rotor) start and while running and the run time of a pump cycle.  You may need to ask an electrician (or an electrically-inclined associate) to come by to take readings and get these numbers. See more at Run A Well Pump.

 Can I use my SUNRNR indoors?solar powered washing machine
With no carbon monoxide, toxic emissions, heat, or noise, a SUNRNR may be used indoors. Of course, give it space to "breathe". Garages and outbuildings are perfect.

 Is there any maintenance required?
Besides ensuring the solar panels are clean and free of obstructions so that they make the most power, there is nothing to maintain - no oil changes, no checking battery cells, no refilling gas cans.  However, to get the best life, we state that a unit needs to be turned off when not in use, charged when possible, and used on a fairly-regular basis (exercise the battery).
 How much power can I have per unit per day sustainably?
Trying hard not to use the words Watts, amps, or Volts here on General page, saving that for FAQs-Technical. The quick answer is 1500Wh/day/unit, but check out Continuous Usage Graph for more. Bottom line, 1200Wh of sustainable rate is free with sunshine daily.  The rest comes from storage without overusing the battery's capacity and leaving enough to last until the sun comes up again.

 When/why would I need the pure sine upgrade?
For the most part, modified sine works beautifully, but some desktops (not laptops since they usually have a converter built-in to their power plug), pellet stoves, high-end audio, super-high-quality power tools, and new high-tech appliances require pure (full) sine.

 What is cost of running new overhead grid power to an off grid site?
New overhead can be as much as $500/mi (avg $200/mi). Depending on location, maybe making your own power, independent of the grid, is better.

 How far can the main unit be from the solar panels?
Standard length cable between unit and panels is 30'. Upgrades are available up to 150'. Remember, the stored power may be used whether or not it is being recharged, so a SUNRNR can be used ANYWHERE without being connected to panels and only needs to be within cable range for recharge. Please note, unlike some other brands where the panels are attached to the output unit, a SUNRNR may be used in shade while still getting regeneration from panels in sunlight.

 How far can electrical devices be from unit? Can I use an extension cord or power strip?
We recommend plugging directly in to the unit and if necessary, you may use extension cords, but as always, some power is lost with distance. 
two-panel rack
 What should I do/prepare/plan before purchasing to ensure I am satisfied with my investment?
Planning your system usage and positioning is recommended. The standard solar panel-to-unit charging cable is 30 ft long. If longer than 50' distance is required, a thicker cable is available at additional cost. Because each owner application is different, we ship panels in "portable" configuration. The panels are designed with a rugged frame to stand alone and may be positioned as necessary to maximize sun exposure. Please visit the Accessories page to see racking options. If a non-portable installation is desired, any local solar installer could help in finding the correct racks or mounts, then install according to code. 

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 What if it is cloudy or dark?
Charging is possible through clouds or any light source, although at possibly a much lower rate.  The unit may also be charged by other 12 VDC supplies such as a wind turbine or small microhydro water turbine unit (AUX plug accessory required) or from the grid with our conventional battery charger accessory.  We also offer a stationary bicycle-stand generator.  See the PRODUCTS or ACCESSORIES pages for additional information, but remember there is often bright sun after the storm.

 How long in bright sunshine would it take to charge a fully-discharged SUNRNR?
The included solar panels are rated at 140 W/hr each, therefore charging from fully-discharged in about 10 hours. We recommend charging the battery when possible or while in use. The AGM battery prefers to be charged at a rate about 10% of it's capacity, so if another brand of solar generator quotes a faster charge, it really just has less to charge or is shortening the life of the battery. In some locations, a second set of solar panels may be added to the system. Please note:  Because of how the solar panel cells are connected, ANY shadow on any part of the panels significantly decreases their electricity generation.

 Can I use a SUNRNR in any weather?
The solar panel is weatherproof, but the SUNRNR itself should only be operated when it is protected from the elements and dry (e.g. garage, porch, outbuilding).  Unlike gas generators, it has a zero carbon footprint - no pollutants or deadly carbon monoxide and may be used indoors.

 What is the return on investment in general and as compared to a similarly-sized gas generator?
It would take 40 years of using one MSRP-priced SUNRNR daily if only considering 1500W/day at $0.20/kW grid power. However, if used in place of a gas generator, that comes down to about 6 years. Then, incorporate a couple $300 refrigerator or freezer loads of food and you have greatly increased your ROI. And even better, the ROI is even higher if a unit is allowing your business to stay open in places where grid power is unreliable or only available a few hours per day.

 Are there any tax incentives?
Of course the 30% Federal tax credit is available and many states offer their own, but there are also grants for Rural Energy (Agribusiness, Farmers) and rebates for commercial businesses.

 Do you have distributors or do I have to buy direct?
Please see PURCHASE for various purchasing options.  We are actively expanding our distributorship and sales rep network, updating the website accordingly.  Buying from a dealer or distributor instead of directly from us could very well decrease your cost. Locator information is available on the SUNRNR Dealers page. Also, visit the SUNRNR Events page to see if we might be exhibiting at an expo near you. If interested in becoming a distributor or sales rep, please subscribe to our list on our Home page and requested information will be sent soon as a newsletter.
two units with panels per skid
 How can I calculate estimated shipping costs?
Please call us or a dealer for a quote or visit Shipping/Freight. One unit is usually $200-$600 in the continental US. Cost per unit decreases by 40% when shipped two units per skid. Your unit(s) will come BY FREIGHT TRUCK and ON A PALLET. Residential deliveries cost $140 more than commercial freight docks or picking up pallet at nearest ODFL freight terminal. Units are shipped fully charged. As we expand into exporting, we are finding international shipping to cost roughly $1000 per crated unit(s), but less than $100 per unit for a container.

PO Box 102 • Port Republic VA 24471 • 540-271-3403 • • Made in USA