How do you use a folding solar panel? I have 5 great ways you can use a foldable solar panel to tap into the free energy provided by our sun. Reading my post will show you how easy a folding panel can bring free sun power into your life.
In recent years governments and eco-friendly organisations. Have been concentrating their efforts on getting people to have solar panels installed in their homes. Neglecting that it is far easier for people to try portable “Solar” panels first. So they can see how effective and easy they are to use.
How Do You Use A Folding Solar Panel?
The best way to use a folding solar panel is when there isn’t an electricity hook up available. They can be used for camping, RV’s, boating, outdoor activities and emergencies such as power outages. They are designed to charge a battery which then supplies electrical power to appliances. The batteries come in all different shapes and sizes. From a smartphone, to a leisure battery, to a portable power station. And the best thing is that you don’t have to be the techie type to be able to use them. You simply point the folding solar panel at the sun and hook it up to the battery and it will charge it.
You Don’t Have To Be A Techie Type of Person To Use A Folding Solar Panel
Yes I have seen those magazines and web pages that blind you with science about portable solar power. Have You?. What a turn off. Instead of telling you how to operate and use a folding solar panel. They want to blind you with facts and figures about its wattage and efficiency with figures and ratios to back it up. And things like how many amps it produces. Or if it is monocrystalline or polycrystalline. Or the circuitry and construction of the solar cells. The list is endless and boring don’t you think?
I won’t lie but my product reviews are a bit like that. This is because the different components do need describing. How would you make a decision on which one to buy? But I do try to explain what the different terms actually mean. And how they operate with the folding solar panel.
I happen to know that most people don’t know what a foldable solar panel will do. And what’s more they don’t give two hoots how it does it. People just want to know how to hook it up and that the thing will work. So if you are reading this because you are not a techie kind of person. You are in the right place.
What Is A Folding Solar Panel?
Ok so if you are completely new to portable solar panels because that is what a folding solar panel is. You will need to know you cannot directly plug it into an appliance like a TV. There are some TV’s you can buy with a built-in battery. You can plug a solar panel straight into these types. But I am talking about your average TV you would have plugged in at home.
You can learn more about this in my article; Can you power a TV with portable solar panels?
As I mentioned earlier you would plug your folding solar panel into a battery then to your domestic TV. But your TV still wouldn’t work because it works with alternating current (AC). I know what you are thinking. He is going to get all techie now and I will lose him. No you won’t. Because I know, you already know that domestic appliances work off AC.
The folding solar panel and the battery both operate with direct current (DC). To convert the DC current to AC that your domestic TV uses. You need an inverter between the battery and the TV. This is what turns the DC electrical current to AC current.
Three varieties of folding solar panel
Folding solar panels normally come in three different types. And it doesn’t matter which type you choose, they will all collect free sunlight. There are types that manufacturers may describe in a different way. But as a rule of thumb these are the three main types.
Soft Foldable Types
These are usually made from industrial strength polymers. They have multiple smaller solar panels sewn into them making up their final power output. So for instance the ALLPOWERS 100w foldable solar charger has 15 x 6.66 watt. Some of these types have a kickstand to prop them up facing the sun. But larger ones like the ALLPOWERS 100w do not. You would hang them from a tree or your vehicle.
Concertina types are also usually constructed from industrial strength polymers. They also have multiple individual solar panels sewn into them. But they fold up in a concertina type fashion. For instance the EcoFlow 160w foldable solar panel has 4 x 40w solar panels sewn into it. This panel does have a kickstand but you can also hang it as well.
These types of folding solar panels are usually constructed from metal and glass. They are made from two solar panels that make up their final wattage. They are wired in series and fold in the middle on hinges like a paste table. For instance the Renogy 200 Watt Solar Suitcase has 2 x 100w solar panels with a built-in kickstand.
Some manufactures call their soft polymer constructed folding solar panels suitcase or briefcase. This is because they fold down into that size. Or are made from 2 solar panels that fold in the middle on the polymer fabric.
5 Great Ways to Use A Folding Solar Panel
Attention campers. You don’t have to sit in your tent at night with a wick and matches to light up the night. Neither do you have to have a warm soda or glass of water. With a folding solar panel and a portable power station. You can provide light and refrigeration for your camp. Remember earlier on I talked about having to have an inverter to power home appliances. The portable power station has one built in. So making a cup of coffee with your coffee machine isn’t a problem. And of course the power station will power all DC rated camping appliances depending on its output. I can almost smell the coffee.
Don’t want to go to the trouble of installing solar to your RV, camper van, trailer or caravan. No problem. A folding solar panel is just the thing to keep your leisure and starter batteries charged. And they have an advantage over installed panels. Because the best sunlight is captured when the sun is directly overhead. With a folding panel you can capture sunlight all day by pointing it at the sun all day. And there is an added advantage that you can park in the shade on a very hot day. Run the air conditioning and position the panel in the sun to keep the batteries charged. That should keep you cool on a hot sunny day.
Installing solar panels on your deck can cause a shading problem with solar panels. Especially if you have a yacht with lots of sails. You only need the sails to shade the panels a little bit and charging can stop altogether. So to alleviate that potential headache. You can use a portable to supplement your house and starter battery charging. This is because you can place the panel in an advantageous position facing the sun. And away from the shading potential of the rigging and sails. That will put your mind at ease because flat batteries are a pain in the neck at sea.
If you’re a hiker, cyclist, trekker, backpacker, adventurist, motorcyclist or travelling a lot in your car. A portable folding solar charger is a must to keep your essential electronics charged. These types of panels are very light and easy to carry in a pack or car boot. And if you add a power bank you can keep your laptop or tablet charged. But it’s main use will be to keep your smartphone charged. If you are out in the wilderness and something goes wrong a fully charged smartphone can be a lifesaver.
Electrical emergencies like power outages are on the rise around the world. A folding solar charger or folding solar panel and power station. Can be a real advantage in these kinds of situations. Keeping your smartphone, laptop and tablet going. And with a power station providing some light, warmth, refrigeration and even cooking capabilities. Let us not forget the all important keeping the wi-fi going. Keeping you in touch with the rest of the world. All depending on the power station’s output of course. I am not a survivalist but it is always good to be prepared for any eventuality
My Closing Thoughts
There are loads of great ways you can use a folding solar panel. They are very versatile and the 5 ways I have outlined in this post should give you food for thought. The biggest benefit is to our planet. You might be thinking how can my use of a folding solar panel help the planet?. Cutting our individual carbon footprint is important in reducing global warming. And even though using a folding solar panel helps with this only a little bit. You will still be doing the environment a favour because every little helps.
I hope you enjoyed my post and have found it helpful. If you have any questions about folding solar panels. Or want to leave your own personal thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment below