Jackery Explorer 1500 and Solar Panels, by Michael Z. Williamson and Jessica Schlenker

This is a review of a battery/inverter/solar panel combination. The Jackery “solar generator” (portable battery pack with charge controller and inverter) and the solar panels were well-packaged. They arrived just after Christmas, so temperature concerns (here in Indiana) have made testing it tricky. The battery pack arrived partially charged, and per instructions, it was plugged in to charge from a 120-volt AC wall jack.

The input options are DC from the solar cells, DC from a car (12 or 24V), or 110/120V AC household current.

Outputs are three 110V outlets (with pure sine wave power, rated for a 1,800-watt load), a 12V automotive socket, two USB A (2.4-Amp and 3-Amp) sockets, and a USB C socket.

The solar generator, a Jackery Explorer 1500, and the accompanying panels are definitely geared toward mobile needs, such as camping. The folding panels are held closed by magnets, and are easily opened. They are rated “IP55” — thus, they can take a splash, but shouldn’t be left in the rain. The “kick-stands” are held flat to the back of each side of the panel by hook-and-loop strips, and assist in orienting them. The panel units fold flat for easy transport, but should not be bent, nor have weight placed on them. Each panel has a 3-port USB direct-charge option, which also connects the cable for connecting to the solar generator.

Our Tests

On the first clear, dry day of sufficient temperatures (see the Addendum), I hooked up my Pop7 LTE tablet up to just one solar panel in the front yard with the best light possible. The tablet went from 0% charge to about 30% charge under suboptimal conditions in about 2 hours.

The lithium battery of the Explorer 1500 is significantly lighter than the lead-acid deep cycle batteries I have, for the solar-wind mini system that I have not yet completed. (In part, because of the battery weight.) I can pick the solar generator up with one hand, and my grade school-age daughter can lift it with both hands and carry it. After the generator was fully charged, it was used to power a 20w bass guitar amplifier for a couple of hours of playing, which used about 35% of the available power. The next day that had clear skies, so I set up the solar generator and attached the two PV panels.

The setup had to wait until later in the day, when the sun cleared into our backyard, as it was far too cold to safely charge the generator outside without damage. The solar panels’ cables had to run through a pet door to the generator, which meant I had to juggle positions a bit. I placed one on a standard-sized round metal mesh patio table, and the other was slightly elevated (to get out of the snow) on a wood frame for the best sunlight exposure I could achieve on a winter afternoon with slight overcast and bare trees. Keep in mind that the Explorer 1500 kit ships with four panels to charge it in a reasonable amount of time, and that all-around I had suboptimal conditions to test it with. That being said, I tested what I could.

With two panels, with a small amount of shading on the lower panel, the input hovered in at about 150 watts. I initially plugged the panels in through the adapters. I found no significant difference in input wattage between both panels through one adapter, one panel direct/one through the adapter, both panels through different adapters, or both panels directly into the generator. Once the unit adjusted to the cables being changed, it went back to about 150 watts in.

After about 75 minutes of charging, the temperatures and sun angle dropped to the point where the panels were no longer effective, and I brought them back indoors. The solar generator gained 5% charge (from 64% to 69%) with just the two panels in suboptimal conditions. I’m impressed.


After bringing everything inside, I plugged the generator back into its A/C power adapter to bring it to 100% charge. Once it reached that, I used it to run a 20w brooding heat plate for chicks, an Ecoglow 20. This was a pretty important test, in my opinion, as the last extended power outage we suffered required us to plug that same brooder plate into the minivan’s inverter for over a day, with the van running. The solar generator’s digital panel indicated that it would run on that output for approximately 50 hours. Over that duration, the generator occasionally kicked on its cooling fan, which was quiet enough that I had to place my hand in front of the fan’s grill the first time I heard it to verify that’s what I was hearing. The generator did run the brooder plate for approximately two full days and a bit before its charge was depleted.

Overall, for a traveling, camping, or quiet short-term emergency power source, this solar generator is fantastic and worth keeping in your toolkit for power outages.

The temperature and rain restrictions make it less than optimal for northern climes, but it would excel for Southern California with its increasingly tougher restrictions on internal combustion engines. It should maintain a standard, properly-stocked refrigerator for several hours, along with a laptop and brief use of a microwave or coffee pot. Its USB A and C outputs will power phones, rechargeable lights, and other devices, and if the solar panels are in use, those will extend the overall life, especially for the tech devices.


We contacted the company several times with questions on operating parameters, and they responded quickly, clearly, and informatively.

Weather and Climate Restrictions: The battery operates from 14°F to 104°F, so the hottest parts of the Southwest and coolest parts of the northern tier will require appropriate shade or shelter. The charging range is above 32°F. At lower ambient temperatures, the warmth from a small charcoal grill in an enclosure (a shed or such) will probably suffice.

The solar cells should of course be protected from impact, bending, and weight. They are a bit more forgiving on temperature, with a design range of 14°F to 150°F. However, high humidity should be avoided, and direct rainfall. This is a notable hindrance here in the Midwest, or in the Pacific Northwest. A tarp will provide rain protection but will need monitoring and adjustment to ensure protection while accessing sunlight. Extended periods of high humidity are hard to work around.

DISCLOSURE: The company furnished us with a free unit to test and review. We will continue to test and update, as needed.