Although working from your living room couch is more comfortable than working from a stuffy cubicle, both settings might make you feel bound to a power outlet. Fortunately, cutting the wire and moving your office outside is simple—and you won’t have to bother about charging battery packs ahead of time.
People are looking for a simple, sustainable way to charge their gadgets while off the grid, and portable solar panels are becoming more popular. There’s a personal solar panel out there to meet your needs, whether you’re a tough traveller headed deep into the wilderness or a sunbather looking to get some work done in your local park.
Why should you invest in a portable solar panel?
Solar panels conjure up images of a large field of gleaming black slabs tilted toward the sun. The portable counterparts of the stationary arrays use the same energy-capturing technology as the stationary arrays but in a more lightweight, compact package. This makes them excellent for a wide range of applications, such as powering a recreational vehicle or charging your devices while on the go.
Portable solar panels are also an excellent method to learn about renewable energy. While you may not be ready to install a solar roof on your home, charging a phone or laptop with a tiny panel will help you assess the light levels in your location and determine whether or not solar electricity can satisfy your demands.
Consider the following factors:
Even though most portable solar panels are simple to put up and use, there is always a lot to think about when purchasing new equipment. We’ve compiled a list of the most critical considerations to make before you start working up a sweat in the great outdoors.
Begin by calculating how much electricity you’ll use. Some solar panels come in a variety of wattages, which is a measurement of pure electrical power. The Goal Zero Boulder Briefcase, for example, is a 50-watt, 100-watt, and 200-watt panel that folds into a tiny rectangle with handles for convenient portability. Higher-wattage designs are larger and more expensive, so the optimum panel for you will be determined by the devices you intend to power. When you’re through reading, make sure to read our tutorial on how to charge your gadgets properly.
Lower-wattage panels won’t stop you from avoiding traditional energy sources entirely, but they will charge your electronics more slowly than you’re used to. Take a look at your device’s specifications to see how much power it can accept through its charging wires for the best results. This will assist you to avoid purchasing a panel with a wattage that is too high for your devices.
Options for storing energy
Many portable panels include the wires and batteries needed to store electricity for later use. A power bank comes in handy when you want to use solar energy when the sun isn’t shining: for example, lighting a campsite at night, charging your phone during a thunderstorm, or keeping your laptop running on a gloomy afternoon. Consider acquiring a package that contains the essential batteries, converters, and connectors if you want to stock up on solar power.
You can even forego the attachments and use your solar power right away. Many portable panels include USB connectors, allowing you to charge your devices immediately. On a sunny day, a compact, the lightweight solution can be all you need to keep your phone or laptop going. Leaving batteries and cables out of your solar setup might also help you save money.
The portability of your solar panel is determined by its size, weight, and design. If you’re going to work in a sunny field, a larger, bulkier panel would suffice: you’ll be able to store it in your car until you arrive, so size and weight won’t be an issue. Backpackers and hikers, on the other hand, should opt for thin, lightweight panels that won’t weigh them down on extended hikes. Check the weight and dimensions of a panel, as well as those of all its accessories, before you buy.
Resistance to the elements
While the majority of solar panels are weather-resistant, not all of them are completely waterproof. The last thing you want is for your brand-new gadget to break down and leave you without power since it wasn’t built to resist the environment. Make a point of determining your panel’s hardiness before you buy, depending on the severity of your outside activities and the weather in your area.
Last but not least, think about how much money you’re willing to spend on a new portable solar panel. Although the independence and access to the outdoors that such a small panel might afford is fundamentally important, it is unlikely that it will ever pay for itself through the electricity it produces.
The cost of your panel will be determined by its power output, energy storage components, and overall bulk. Small solar power packs with solar components can be found for $20 to $30, but a larger (and more powerful) panel can cost several hundred dollars. Whatever your requirements, there is a panel that can assist you in venturing off the main route.