Portable solar panels start with solar panels. Solar panels (also known as 'photovoltaic panels') convert light energy from sunlight (made up of energy particles called 'photons') into electricity. Portable solar panels add to the original solar panels by making them portable. They are either folded or lightweight, making them easier to travel with. They are also lighter in weight and are ideal for camping, driving, exploring, and fishing.
How a portable solar panel works?
Unlike solar panels that you might place on a roof, which are set in a fixed rigid frame and sealed under glass, typical portable solar panels are usually wrapped in a protective sleeve made of mesh fabric or plastic. Smaller, inexpensive (under $50) panels will produce between 5 and 50 watts of power, while larger ones can produce 300 watts or more - the same as a regular rooftop solar panel. Smaller panels are usually single silicon solar cells, while larger panels may have two or three panels in a collapsible configuration.
These panels come with a simple jack or set of jacks to output power to various devices. You may find a DC output jack and a USB port that allows the user to charge a mobile phone or laptop directly. In most cases, portable solar panels are paired with portable lithium-ion batteries so their energy can be used in any condition.
While the output of some larger panels can be equivalent to that of a regular rooftop solar panel, portable panels are not meant to replace rooftop solar panels. By design, they lack the structural integrity and voltage regulation of a properly installed rooftop solar system.
On the other hand, installing portable solar panels takes only a few minutes, requires no permits or inspections, and there is no need to worry about damaging your roof.
All solar photovoltaic (PV) panels are made from crystalline silicon wafers that absorb sunlight. The light (photons) from the sun releases electrons from the silicon material to produce an electric current along the electrical conductors in the cell (hence the term “photovoltaic”). The current flows out of the cell in one direction (direct current or DC), either directly into a device that receives DC power (such as a battery) or indirectly through an inverter to produce alternating current (AC) for most household uses.
The main uses of portable solar panels
Because these panels are portable, they are often used by campers, travelers, or anyone who needs a supply of electricity when access to the grid is not possible. But because they come in many different sizes and costs, they also have a variety of other uses.
Camping and hiking are probably the most common uses for portable solar panels. You can attach larger panels to the top of a van or caravan as an alternative to a portable generator. Unlike noisy, smelly generators that burn fossil fuels, batteries charged by solar panels are clean, quiet, and odorless. As even the larger panels are portable, you can leave them in the sun while your tent, camper, or caravan stays cool in the shade.
If you’re going on a week-long hike in a remote area and want to charge your mobile phone for GPS or emergencies, the small solar panels that fit into your backpack will keep you connected to civilization. Larger panels can weigh 25 pounds or more, so they are more suited to car camping than hiking the entire Appalachian Trail.
By placing a solar panel on the deck of your boat or another flat surface, you can use the electricity stored in the battery to run the motor. The panel can also act as a canopy to protect you from the sun when you are at sea. When paired with solar cells, the solar panel allows you to sail without the noise and smell of wind or gas motors. As long as the sun shines, you can sail almost indefinitely without refueling stops.
Special portable marine solar panels are available for solar boating as they are required to withstand corrosive salt water and harsher weather conditions than campers are likely to encounter.
If your panel is exposed to light it will generate electricity, so to avoid electrocution use common sense in the first place. Do not immerse it in water, bend, puncture, or damage it, expose it to heat or flame, or take it apart. If cleaning is required, use a slightly damp cloth without soap. Read the user manual for additional safety warnings.
3. Apartment living
If you live in a flat and your landlord is unwilling to install solar panels on the roof, you could consider a community solar farm or install portable solar panels on your balcony to generate your own electricity. You can take the panels with you when you move out.
4. Power outages
If you work from home and the power goes out, your modem and router will also go out, so if you can’t access your wifi hotspot, you won’t be able to access the Internet. however, with a solar-charged battery backup, you can keep your modem, router, and laptop running until the power comes back on. There are also portable solar panels designed specifically as solar-powered laptop chargers. Depending on the size of the battery, you can also run a small dormitory-sized fridge to prevent food or medicine from spoiling.
5. Think outside the house
You can keep an outdoor structure such as a conservatory or hot tub warm, light up a patio or backyard play area, run a pump on a fountain or bird bath, or power outdoor holiday decorations without having to power them from home.
6. Reduce your carbon footprint
If you get your electricity from a grid that is not 100% clean, renewable power, you can reduce your carbon footprint by using solar panels to run some of the things in your home that need electricity. You can reduce your electricity bill and ensure you are using carbon-free energy.
What to look for when buying portable solar panels
Here are the things to look for when buying portable solar panels
If space or weight is an issue, for example on a backpacking trip, compare the efficiency of various solar panels. The efficiency of a solar panel is measured by its ability to convert sunlight into electricity. Panels with an efficiency of more than 20% are quality products. More efficient panels require less space to produce the same amount of electricity as larger, less efficient panels but may cost more. If space or weight is not an issue, don’t waste your money on an efficient panel when a low-cost, inefficient panel will get the job done.
Shawllar 100W Sport Portable Solar Panel
2. Buy what you need, not what you want
Know what you need and don’t buy more. You can calculate how much energy you need using a simple energy calculator that will tell you how many watts different appliances use. Check the voltage requirements of any gadget. For example, most laptops require a constant 19-volt power supply.
3. Know your installed requirements
Wattage is a unit of power. It measures the amount of energy consumed or produced by a device at a given moment. You need a solar panel (or battery) that produces 100 watts of power to light two 50-watt light bulbs.
wh is a measure of how much energy is used in an hour. If you want to keep two 50-watt bulbs lit for 10 hours, you need a solar panel (or more likely a battery) that produces 1,000 watt hours or 1-kilowatt hour (kWh). There is not necessarily a one-to-one correspondence between wattage and the number of watt-hours the device can output. For example, a 2000-watt target zero-snowman solar generator can deliver 1500-watt-hours.
Weight is not only a factor in the portability of the panel but also in the amount of power, it is likely to produce, if only for practical reasons, as you are more likely to move around a lighter solar panel than a heavier one if you wish, allowing it to produce more power by following the path of the sun throughout the day.
5. Other considerations
Portable solar panels are certainly a cleaner source of electricity than most alternatives, but to make them worth the investment, consider their financial value and convenience.
Shawllar 100W Sport Portable Solar Panel
Providing you with reliable, safe, green energy. Whether you’re camping, hiking, trekking, picnicking, or even having an unexpected power outage, you’ll be able to handle it.
Quality assurance, authoritative certification： FCC certified, ROHS certified, CE certified. Adopt the latest MWT back contact technology, smaller grids, no solder, and no pollution.
Stylish and textured appearance：Color-blocking design Wild zebra pattern embellishment Full waterproof fabric, a hidden zipper and pockets, moodier for camping on rainy days.
Simplify the use process:Open and ready-to-use adjustable height. Close that is to go, no process worries.
1. SUPER fast setup
2. Packs down to something that I would consider takes up no room in the car because it is so thin
3. Has all the connectors available to charge your portable batteries or Power Station (including a simple USB if you want to charge your phone directly)
4. It feels like a high quality item
5. It is nicely organized with the cables
6. It charges fast! (up to 100 watts)
1. I cant think of any.
Maybe I am too impressed with this product, but it works so well I am blown away. On a normal spring late afternoon with direct sun, it was charging my power station at a respectable 68 watts which theoretically can run my Laptop which only needs a 65watt charger. I utilize this to charge my EchoFlow PowerStation which has 288 watt hour capacity. So at 65 watts, it would have taken a little over 4 hours to fully charge, but in my opinion that is AMAZING considering it is coming from this panel. If it was summer, I am sure it would only take 3 hours when it would max out at 100watt.
Another thing I love about this device is how well made it is, easy to carry, and so simple to setup. I will admit I feel ready for the zombie apocalypse now I know I can charge anything is a very short period of time. — Adam Flath”